Daily COVID-19 Update: April 2, 2020

Dear Bereans,

This is the update for Thursday, April 2, 2020.

Something to share from Aaron Beale for Student Crafts

Yesterday, Deloris Reed of Student Crafts was contacted by an alumna named Dixie Shugars (I mean the name is good enough to share on its own!).  Ms. Shugars (originally from Casey County, now living in Maui) is in her 90’s and contacted Calvin Gross to inquire about a book she remembered that documented Berea’s early history (Deloris thought it was called Berea College: The First 50 Years , which likely refers either to the Elizabeth Peck history of our first 100 years, or the subsequent version by Peck and Emily Ann Smith covering our first 125 years.)  Anyway, Calvin figured out what she was looking for and had several copies one of which he mailed to her at no charge.  This absolutely meant the world to Ms. Shugars and is another great example of someone in our community going above and beyond in the present moment.

Ms. Shugars contacted Student Crafts to purchase a gift (two Glade coffee mugs) for Calvin as a thank you.  Not surprisingly she and Deloris hit it off on the phone and had quite a long conversation about the wonderful things that make Berea so special.

An announcement from HR

Beginning now and running through June 14th of this year, utilizing the telehealth option (livehealthonline.com) available in our Medical Benefits Plan will be covered at no cost share to members.  This applies regardless of which plan (Premium, Core, or High Deductible) you are signed up for.  Should you have specific questions, please feel free to contact Brandon Noble at Human Resources at 859.985.4225 or at his email nobleb@berea.edu.

An announcement from Student Life

Students, for the safety of our you and our community, we’re expecting and requiring students on campus NOT to invite any visitors to campus. Do not go to other people’s houses to socialize or to conduct any business.  We expect our students to follow the Executive Orders signed by Kentucky’s Governor, to “Stay Healthy At Home.”

Bringing visitors to campus or visiting other people both in and outside of the community, puts your safety and the safety of the entire community at risk, including the safety of others still living and working here at the college.  As Governor Beshear says, “You must do your part to slow the spread of the coronavirus.” Doing otherwise is not acceptable and could potentially result in a student conduct violation. Remember, #TogetherKY

An announcement from Madison County Public Health

Fraudulent test sites have been discovered in Louisville.  They operate on a cash-only basis and provide meaningless results for your money.  As soon as the police and public health authorities close them down, they pop up elsewhere.  Beware should such a con come to our area.


We lost a treasured and beloved member of our community.  Rev. Randy Osborne, retired Berea College chaplain and assistant to the president passed away at his home in Berea this morning.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his devoted wife, Melissa, also a Berea retiree, and his family.  More information will be provided later by Loretta Reynolds

An announcement from the Run/Walk Club

Back by popular demand, the Run/Walk Club will be resuming activities this coming week.  If you are in town or on campus, join us each MWF morning at 8:00 am if you would like.  We will meet at Seabury Circle and walk or run a campus circuit.  Maintenance of proper social distancingthroughout the activity will be required, meaning no one is allowed to pass the president!

Making Sense of an Infodemic: Computing Perspectives on Coronavirus

By Jasmine Jones, Assistant Professor of Computer Science (on behalf of the Computer Science Dept)

The speed and scale of digital communications, including online news, social media, and messaging apps, have drastically changed the ways the public learns about and responds to public health crises. These three short readings: a research article, a twitter thread, and a blog post— provide a glimpse of computing perspectives on recent events.

Reflecting on an Infodemic as a Crisis Informatics Researcher

“WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that we are not just fighting an epidemic, but what he called an infodemic. And indeed, there are already numerous cases of false information about the virus spreading online — sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.” (Kate Starbird, University of Washington)

How Data Scientists may be accidentally misleading People

Data visualization professor Evan Peck identifies and explains 5 ways that data visualizations in news articles, created by well-meaning data scientists, are actually contributing to misinformation about the spread of coronavirus in the U.S.

See Something, Say Something: Correction of Global Health Misinformation on Social Media

This research article, published during the 2017 Zika virus epidemic, presents an experiment with college students to test whether “social” vs. “algorithmic” correction of misinformation on social media has a greater effect on personal belief. It proposes how public health campaigns should address misinformation in the midst of an emerging disease outbreak.

Those of you who have been away from campus will be pleased to learn that the landscaping around Danforth Residence Hall has been completed.  Students remaining on campus are housed in Danforth, Deep Green and Bingham.  Note the large number of Berea Bikes in use!


Stay safe, stay careful, stay socially distant, but in touch in other ways,
Lyle Roelofs, President