GROVE CITY – As Grove City College leaders keep up with monitoring COVID-19 cases on campus, they’re also preparing to continue in-person classes next semester.
“This has been an unprecedented story of collaboration and dedication,” said GCC President Paul J. McNulty.
The campus community has responded well to the adjustments being made, and the college is thankful for the students’ resiliency, especially those who have been quarantined or in isolation, he said.
The college has been providing regular updates on the virus, mainly via the internet. On the website for myGCC at my.gcc.edu/ICS, there is a COVID dashboard that shows positive cases of the virus.
As of Aug. 16, 29 students and five employees have tested positive.
The latest data from Oct. 26 to 28 shows that there is one new case recently confirmed, a student.
On the GCC homepage at gcc.edu, there is a link at the top that takes you to progress reports about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the school.
That includes the recent announcement that the spring semester will start on Jan. 25 with in-person classes.
Moving in for students will be done in phases, and Easter break will be a week long to help with flu season.
The experience of managing the threat of the virus this semester will help address challenges next year, McNulty said.
Both web pages have more information plus links to the college’s health and safety plan, which addresses a number of issues, like how the college responds when a student or employee tests positive.
Positive students are moved into designated housing to self-isolate, and the college helps with contact tracing. Those who were in close contact are also moved into separate housing, McNulty said.
Based on guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, those individuals are in quarantine for 14 days after the last known exposure.
Testing is repeated to check for negative results. Employees who have been exposed or are symptomatic are asked to contact their healthcare provider and self-isolate.
Those who have been exposed but show no symptoms must also quarantine.
The college has provided washable face masks for staff and students, plus about 20,000 disposable masks for visitors and the science labs.
There are multiple disinfecting stations in each building, all classrooms and in public areas.
In mid-October, there was a rise in cases, so the college held off on in-house dining and campus activities for one week, McNulty said.
“Fortunately, case numbers slowed down the following week,” he said.
He said there are many people to recognize for their cooperation: the students, college staff and faculty, the Allegheny Health Network, and the Richard King Mellon Foundation, which gave the college a grant.
The $210,000 grant is being used to help offset unexpected costs related to the pandemic response.
“We have also received tremendous support from people and businesses in the community that we look forward to celebrating at some future point,” McNulty said.
For more information about COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website at health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus