Berea College halts classes amid COVID-19 concerns


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Jacob Eads

Berea College has announced it will cease all instructional activities Friday, March 13, in response to “growing COVID-19 challenges.” 

According to the college’s website, administrators determined that it would “not be possible to adequately assure student and employee safety in the circumstance of a case of COVID-19 occurring on campus.”

Faculty were instructed to give immediate consideration to how their courses can be “brought to closure” by Friday, and students were instructed to consider returning home from campus. Residence hall rooms will be fully vacated by Saturday, according to a statement from the college. 

However, the college announced continuing accommodations on campus can be provided for those who cannot return home. 

These announcements come as six people are currently being treated for COVID-19 in Kentucky. Governor Andy Beshear suspects more cases will emerge in the near future. 

Berea College is the only Kentucky higher education institution to cancel in-person classes due to health concerns at this time. 

Western Kentucky University released a statement earlier this week that it anticipates “returning to normal operations following spring break,” but is developing contingency plans as an alternative. 

The University of Louisville, Eastern Kentucky University, and Northern Kentucky University have not issued statements regarding the possibility of changing instructional procedures. 

UK Spokesperson Jay Blanton said early Tuesday that the university’s COVID-19 administrative workgroup is continually meeting to develop contingency plans for campus, should a change in instructional procedure be needed. No decisions have been made yet about enacting the contingency plans, said Blanton.

“This is a dynamic and fluid situation,” said Blanton. “Things are changing hourly and daily and we need to be monitoring it and we need to be communicating to the campus.”

Other universities across the country like Ohio State University, the University of Washington and Harvard University have all cancelled in-person classes due to COVID-19 concerns, an NPR report shows.