On Wednesday, Lincoln College announced a transition to online instruction two weeks earlier than planned amid rising cases in Logan County and surrounding communities.
Lincoln College reports 11 active cases of COVID-19 and an increasing number of individuals in quarantine due to primary exposure to the virus.
“In the past 24 hours, an increasing number of our campus population were moved to quarantine. Despite having high compliance among faculty, staff, and students in following safety protocols, the data presents an untenable situation,” said Lincoln College President David Gerlach.
The early transition is an attempt to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. In recent weeks, Logan County cases have risen to 726.
“We are making these difficult decisions based on reliable public health data and updates from the Lincoln College Health Services Department. We are mindful that transitioning to remote learning creates disappointment and frustration amongst students and employees. I hoped we could finish the last two weeks of the fall semester in-person; however, the health of our campus community is a substantial concern,” said Gerlach.
Students may remain on campus through November 20 but will meet academic requirements remotely until after the holiday. Students choosing to remain on campus are subject to campus restrictions and must prepare for severely limited on-campus activities and interactions.
Beginning immediately, the college will close all public areas of campus, including athletic facilities, Lincoln Heritage Museum, Lincoln College Bookstore, McKinstry Library, Meyer-Evans Student Center, and all outdoor recreational areas. All athletic competitions and practices are temporarily suspended.
All academic support services will continue to be offered in online formats. These support services include advising, disability services, library resources, career services, and academic tutoring.
Dining Services remains open with a modified grab-and-go process. Residential students will schedule meal pick-up times, which will allow for reduced density, and a safe flow of persons entering and exiting during meal times. Residential students in quarantine will continue to have food service delivery available.
Lincoln College Health Services and the Logan County Health Department continue to partner in monitoring individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, scheduling testing, and contact tracing analysis. Exposed or symptomatic students living off-campus, as well as employees, are instructed to remain at their home residence, following CDC quarantine and isolation guidelines.
Prior to the announcement about transitioning online, classes and building schedules were modified to reduce the number of students and faculty within academic buildings. Lincoln College reduced in-class time to comply with safety guidelines; additionally, some classes are already delivered in an online format, including all Accelerated Bridge to Education (ABE) courses and graduate courses.
Facilities on campus impacted were identified and are currently undergoing rigorous targeted cleaning and disinfecting, which is in addition to the daily cleaning and disinfecting regimen. These steps will be taken in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations.
“The decision to move online for the remainder of the fall semester was not taken lightly. Our students achieve higher levels of success when we can operate in person, providing engagement that is critical to student learning. However, pivoting our plans to reduce the likelihood of spreading the virus further is essential in safeguarding our campus community,” said Gerlach.