BLUEFIELD, VA (WVNS) — 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020: Bluefield College updated the situation involving a COVID-19 outbreak on campus. According to a release, two additional students tested positive for the virus at the week beginning on Aug. 31.
Retesting began on Saturday for those students who were in quarantine. This was two weeks following the initial positive tests. As a result, 78 students were moved out of isolation. There are still 20 students who are quarantined.
Ahead of the labor day weekend, college administrators offered words of caution. Students were urged to stay on campus and remain in the local area as much as possible.
“I have heard from a number of students, as well as continue to personally believe, that we all desire an on-campus experience this year, even with the modifications we have put in place. I also believe that our student-athletes desire to engage in playing their sport this year. So together, we need to continue doing our best by not traveling outside the immediate area—unless it is an emergency—during this holiday weekend and throughout the remainder of the semester,” said President David Olive.
In his message to the campus he presented several options to keep students entertained over the holiday weekend.
Enjoy a BBQ with us! Take part in Residence Life’s Labor Day Cookout this Saturday, September 5 from 2:00-6:00 p.m. at Bluefield City Park.
Enjoy the great outdoors! The weather will be beautiful this holiday weekend. Bluefield College is surrounded by incredible natural beauty, and the area is worth exploring! Mountain Trail Outfitters (located on campus) has the gear you need to explore and have fun outside; just call Anne Pelchar’s office at 276.326.4256 to secure gear during the week or Campus Security on the weekend at 304.887.1795. Just remember you will have to fill out a waiver to use College equipment.
SALT will hold a bonfire during the extended weekend (weather permitting) with hot dogs and s’mores with yard games set out all day Monday! Stay tuned to the Bluefield College app and Student Development social media for details.
Did you know there are ten waterfalls around us you can hike to? Did you know there is a drive-in movie theater nearby? Did you know there is a former coal mine that you can walk through? Did you know there are geocaches all around the area? Check out our local tourism agencies’ websites below to find something outdoors, fun, and safe to do in our local area:
· Local Outdoor Activities – http://www.bluefield.edu/outdoors/
· Visit Tazewell County (VA) – https://visittazewellcounty.org/
· Heart of Appalachia (VA) – https://heartofappalachia.com/
· Visit Mercer County (WV) – https://visitmercercounty.com/
· Visit Southern West Virginia (WV) – https://visitwv.com/
Enjoy a good book this weekend. I know you have much to read in each of your courses this semester. However, don’t forget to take time out for a fun read. I’ve been reading this summer the book, Hamilton, by Ron Chernow, and I next want to read The President is Missing, by James Patterson and Bill Clinton.
Enjoy the campus. This campus is your home. Spend time getting to know it. Hang out on the quad all day, catch up on that show you have been wanting to watch (Kathryn and I have been watching the Netflix western Hell on Wheels), or start a pick-up game of any sport with other students. Also, there are trails going across the back hillside of campus that connect to the trail system in City Park.
Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 8 p.m. UPDATE: More students test positive for COVID-19 at Bluefield College.
Nineteen members of the BC football team tested positive for COVID-19. Through contact tracing, BC administrators believe the source of community spread was from a social gathering in Radford, Virginia over the weekend. The football program suspended all activities for the next seven days. Each student was placed in pre-identified quarantine rooms until they test negative for the virus.
Bluefield College leadership decided to move all classes to online instruction for Thursday and Friday. They plan to resume in-person instruction on Monday, August 24, 2020. During this time, campus staff will deep clean facilities around campus.
“Bluefield College leadership continues to monitor the situation on a day-to-day basis,” said President David Olive. “We will provide updates to our campus community to be transparent and responsible in communicating how we move forward as a campus.”
Bluefield College now has a total of 21 COVID-19 cases.
BLUEFIELD, VA (WVNS) — UPDATE Monday, Aug. 17, 2020 4:07 p.m.: Another student has tested positive for COVID-19 at Bluefield College. President David Olive released this information on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.
The first student tested positive for COVID-19 was on Saturday August 15. Olive said the new case is completely separate from the first case.
According to the release a student, already on campus, requested a test from the Department of Athletic Training, which administered tests as students arrive to campus.
The student previously tested negative during the move-in process at the beginning of August and has been on-campus for some time now. The student is now quarantined and is being cared for by Bluefiled College’s student development team.
The College temporarily closed parts of the campus where the students have been so they can be sanitized. The College also notified the Virginia Department of Health officials, and continue to work closely with them.
What we do know is that the student has been in the greater Bluefields since arriving to campus and in limited contact with individuals on campus. Whether the greater community could be a possible source of acquiring the virus or from someone close to the student, it continues to reinforce that we must follow the College protocols and guidelines from our healthcare officials.
“We are fortunate that our cases continue to remain extremely low, cases are mild cases, and our response to situations as they arrive are rapid. This does not minimize the experience of what anyone is going through with this virus. Our prayers continue to be with those and their families that are combating this virus, especially in the worst-case scenarios. It is also easy for fear to creep in and immediately begin to look for drastic changes for the course of the semester. However, until we receive guidance from government officials, health officials, education officials, or other institutions and bodies of interest to the College’s operations, we will remain open on-campus and on-line to serve our students’ needs in the modality of their choice.”David Olive, Bluefield College President
The College will continue to be transparent with the campus community and to share these situations as they arise. The decisions are made by the College’s COVID-19 TaskForce.
“While we all had hoped that we could go through this academic year without any positive cases within our campus community, we now know that isn’t reality. Winston Churchill once said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” I encourage everyone to stay positive and focused on the semester ahead of us, and please do practice good hygiene, mask wearing, and social distancing…for your health and that of our campus community.”President David Olive
ORIGINAL STORY: One student tested positive for COVID-19 at Bluefield College in VA. The President of the college made the announcement on Saturday, August 15, 2020.
In the past weeks the college has slowly welcomed back students to residential life on campus. the college however, do have approved protocols in order to be as safe as possible during the pandemic.
With these protocols put in place the College was able to identify three employees that tested positive for COVID-19 before students returned to campus. But on August 15th a student who was moving onto campus tested positive for the virus during the College’s check-in process.
Shott Hall was the designated check in location that students were required to process through with a test and temperature check before they could go anywhere else on campus. That was immediately disinfected by the staff using their new electrostatic cleaners.
These cleaners are EPA-certified to kill the virus. The campus reports the student did not move into the dorm following testing, but did return home to quarantine with the family until they are no longer contagious.
Staff members from Student Development and Academic Affairs will be working with the student to ensure the student misses nothing during the first weeks of class and transitions to campus seamlessly at the appropriate time.
Three staff members, all appropriately wearing masks and following protocols, were in brief contact with the individual before the student’s positive test. These staff members were sent home and will be tested next week per our protocols before returning to work on campus. We have notified our partners at the Virginia Department of Health and will continue to follow their guidance as we have to date in all matters pertaining to this pandemic.
Out of the 400 students that returned to campus, this was their first positive case.
Bluefield College President David Olive believes this is a blessing considering the multitude of locations from which our students have come. He hopes and pray that this will be the only one.
“It is natural to feel uneasy and unsure of the days ahead of us, especially as we see cases rising around us in the region and country. However, I encourage us all to continue practicing safe habits and following guidelines concerning wearing masks, socially distancing from one another as much as possible, and following our other protocols developed to enable our campus to resume activities this fall as safely as possible. “Bluefield College President David Olive