LIBERAL – Students were back on the Seward County Community College campus on Tuesday after starting the semester with remote-learning only classes.
Students and instructors returned to campus and filled classrooms, following safety protocols with masks being worn and social distance being observed along the addition of air purifiers.
SCCC President Brad Bennett was pleased that the students were able to return to in-person learning.
“It’s great to have the students back on campus,” Bennett said. “That was always our goal. The data shows that students do better in the classroom than in a remote-learning format.”
While it was important to have students back in the classrooms, it was more important to make sure the campus was safe in terms of COVID.
As a precautionary measure, college administration decided to make the first week of classes of the 2021 Spring Semester remote learning only. The reasoning was to make sure there was not a spike in COVID case transmission after the holiday break.
“I think having the first week in a remote format was the correct decision, but it’s good to have students back,” Bennett said. “Every student I saw today all had their masks and was socially distancing. If we all follow safety protocols, I think we have a good shot at getting through this semester clean.”
The decision to proceed with in-person learning came after another good result in the second round of testing. Dorm residents were tested on January 11 and of 80 students, there were no positive results. This followed the first round of testing which took place on January 4; of the 68 students tested, only one was positive.
Testing will continue, but on a weekly, randomized basis, which began on Tuesday. It will be conducted among the general student population including student-athletes and dorm residents. Students who are taking all their classes via remote learning will be exempt from the testing.
Random testing is extremely important because it will allow the college to track the positivity rate of individuals who are asymptomatic, showing no symptoms.
Individuals will be notified if they have been selected at least 72 hours prior to the test. If a student elects to not participate in the random screening, they will be treated as presumed positive and be required to quarantine per the Kansas Department of Health and Environment guidelines.