Daily COVID-19 Update: March 9, 2020

Dear Bereans,

Some faculty and students have expressed concern and have suggested curtailing some campus activities including classes and labor.  Unfortunately, given the close proximity in which we work, learn and live, curtailing just classes and labor will not offer meaningful protection from the potential spread of infection in our community.

If we become aware of any member of the College community having come in contact with someone having a confirmed case of Coronavirus illness, a two-week quarantine is necessary.

  • For faculty and staff, that would be a self-quarantine at home for that duration.  An employee required to undertake self-quarantine would not be required to use sick time, and, to the extent possible, would be expected to undertake whatever responsibilities might be conducted through email, phone communication, etc.
  • For students, quarantine space has been identified, labor would be excused, food will be delivered, and any course participation would need to be via on-line methods.
  • COVID-19 testing, as mandated by state and local health officials, will follow any period of quarantine.  Individual(s) must be cleared before returning to campus and normal activities.

A considerably more serious situation obtains if we become aware of an actual COVID-19 diagnosis of any member of the on-campus community.  At that point local government and health officials will step in and do contact tracing to identify others who may have been exposed.  The number of contacts any one of us has with others will make that complicated, and the number identified would likely be appreciable.  In that event, all options will be considered but there may be no alternative but to close the campus under guidance from state and local health officials.  In that event:

  • Students able to go home will be expected to do so; others will be accommodated on campus with known contacts of the infected person(s) quarantined in so far as we are able.
  • Non-essential employees will not report to work, except as directed by their supervisor. These employees would be expected to work remotely to the extent this is possible.
  • Such a development will cause many complications, and I have charged a task force chaired by Provost Strong-Leek to work on details of that planning.

I have been in contact with the presidents of some other Kentucky colleges and universities—similar planning is underway at those other schools.  Our planning will continue to be informed by a full range of governmental, medical and other information resources, including our own community.

We can, of course, hope that all of this planning will turn out to be unnecessary, but it seems that we and most other residential colleges and universities in the country face the need to prepare for a major disruption. The cooperation and understanding of every member of the campus community is essential to safeguarding the health and well-being of all Bereans.

With all my concern for this troubling situation,

Lyle Roelofs, President