MISHAWAKA—Bethel's efforts to suppress COVID-19 are looking up. According to Vice President for Student Development Shawn Holtgren, the current situation is far better than some of the situations from last semester.
“This semester, so far, night-and-day better than last semester, as far as cases and coordination,” Holtgren said.
As of Friday, Feb. 12, there were zero cases for staff and faculty for at least 12 days and Bethel announced to its students that it was moving to the Blue Risk Level. Bethel has worked hard towards the mitigation of the virus on campus proper and with the student body as a whole. Holtgren appreciates the people who are assisting in efforts to hold down the severity of the number of cases by following organizational guidelines.
“I want to give a shout out to our own people who are taking it seriously and doing the things we asked,” Holtgren said. “It’s very inconvenient and not optimal, but they’re helping us stay open and face-to-face.”
The people directly involved with overseeing COVID-19 safety are part of the COVID response team. According to Julie Beam, the dean of students, the team coordinates and manages the day-to-day circumstances. This COVID response is led by the efforts of Andie VanHimbergen, RN, BSN, the school nurse and Sarah Hauck, head athletic trainer and adjunct faculty. The team looks to continue in this pattern of minimal to no cases.
Bethel has just entered the Blue Risk Level; details about this level can be found at betheluniversity.edu/intheknow. This page can also be accessed by clicking on the orange tab labeled “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates” at the top of Bethel University’s main website, betheluniversity.edu.
Beam says that Blue Risk Level is a good place to be, but that we cannot get ahead of ourselves.
“[The numbers] could change by the minute,” Beam said.
Staying vigilant about being safe is the best course of action. According to the current Bethel Status Report, Blue COVID-19 Risk Level states that the campus is low risk but must have increased readiness on the part of the students and faculty.
Bethel has also looked to the CDC for more information for COVID-19 stipulations, including the shortened quarantine times. The time of quarantine will be 10 days from last exposure or 7 days from last exposure with a negative test result.
Bethel has also started testing on campus. There is an RV set up on campus for the purpose of COVID-19 testing according to Julie Beam. The testing will occur on Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.