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The secret to preventing COVID-19 spread

By Staff | Oct 23, 2020

Shepherd University has been extremely fortunate and successful in addressing the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Our containment strategies started in January 2020 and continue today -­- led by the Campus Health Task Force, in partnership with the local health department and the community. I am proud to reveal that we have left no stone unturned in our mission to mitigate SARS-CoV-2. We have deployed a multifaceted approach comprised of extensive sanitation with laboratory validation of SARS-CoV-2 negativity; COVID-19 diagnostic testing; daily health check reports; mandatory face coverings; and de-densification and social distancing in classrooms, residence halls, dining venues and administrative buildings, concomitant with offering a flexible academic delivery system to ensure the continuity of education to meet our students’ goals for success. In addition, a comprehensive strategic plan has been implemented to isolate residential students immediately upon notice of a positive result and to quarantine any potential contacts.

As the fall 2020 semester began and continues today, we have not experienced more than six active COVID-19 cases (which were placed in isolation immediately) at any one time point. Currently, we have three reported active COVID-19 case among our students, staff and faculty. This type of remarkable track record does not happen merely by luck. Our success can be attributed to the collective efforts of each and every person on campus and our community members, together with the superb guidance of our local health department-fortified by the governor of West Virginia supporting the cost of COVID-19 testing. We realize that our numbers can change at any time, but our immediate goal is to continue our vigilance with 5.5 weeks to go before our students return to their respective homes to take their final exams online, enjoy the holidays and return safely to campus in mid-January.

We need to pause for just a moment to celebrate our success, keep our eye on the finish line, stay the course, await the COVID-19 vaccine and enjoy each other’s company, within the confines of COVID-19 safety measures. I am profoundly proud of our noteworthy accomplishments and our inspiring will to survive and succeed.

Mary J.C. Hendrix, Shepherd University president