LIBERAL – Three individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 on the Seward County Community College campus. The cases were reported late last week.
The college has followed its COVID-19 protocols, which include but are not limited to the individuals self-quarantining, notification of those who many have come in contact with the infected individuals, classrooms being disinfected, and the cases being reported to the Seward County Health Department.
“Our team has worked diligently to create a COVID-19 playbook as a guide for these situations, which we know will occur despite everyone’s best efforts to behave with responsibility and respect,” said SCCC President Dr. Ken Trzaska. The college can require masks and social distancing on campus, but what students and team members are exposed to in other settings is the wild card. The goal, Trzaska said, is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus.
“Our plan may not be perfect; no one’s is. The dynamic and ever-changing nature of our circumstances create the opportunity for each of us to step up and demonstrate strong and respectful leadership,” Trzaska said.
He went on to note that SCCC “fully anticipates” regular updates to the Playbook, and welcomes suggestions and insights from all team members and students. The avenue for this is the firstname.lastname@example.org email, which will serve as the clearinghouse. Additionally, the college’s COVID-19 response team will release a weekly summary of positive tests, and pending cases awaiting test results.
The college continues to urge all individuals to follow CDC guidelines which include wearing masks, washing hands and social distance at least six feet apart.
Despite the COVID-19 positives, from an academic perspective, things went as well as expected with the start of the fall semester.
Masks are required for students, faculty, staff and administration while on campus and guidelines were being followed. If students or visitors did not have a mask, a mask was supplied to them.
In the spring when the pandemic hit, the college scrambled to put a together a plan to finish up the semester. For the fall, the college had a little more time. Using what it learned during the spring and with the summer break, the college put together a more comprehensive approach to classes with both in-person, remote learning and a hybrid – combination of both.
According to Luke Dowell, SCCC vice president of academic affairs, things went well, but there were some bumps in the road, which is par for the course.
“I think things went as well can be expected,” Dowell said. “We did have some things come up that didn’t work as well, but that’s expected. Even in a normal semester, you’re going to have issues to address and deal with. From what I saw and what I heard from talking to people, it sounds like we had a pretty good week.”
Among some of the issues were class sizes and getting students divided between in-person classes and remote learning. With students continuing to enroll, some classes were larger than expected, but adjustments were made and over-enrolled classes were moved to different spaces.