After the first full week of testing students, Georgetown College’s positivity rate was 2.1 percent, said Jonathon Sands-Wise, vice president of enrollment management.

Some 390 students, faculty and staff were tested by WEDCO Health District this week, he said.

“I can’t say enough good things about Dr. (Crystal) Miller and WEDCO,” Sands-Wise said. “Their support has been great.”

Sands-Wise was placed in charge of the college’s task force on management of COVID-19 over the summer.

The college opened with in-person classes earlier in August, and while there have been pockets of outbreaks of COVID-19, for the most part it has been managed. The college’s Facebook page notes there have been 27 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on campus with 94 students quarantined due to exposure.

As a precaution, college will be testing one-third of the student population each week at WEDCO, but the college’s medical center has a rapid test system in place, as well, Sands-Wise said. The rapid test is for those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 or who are showing symptoms, he said.

“If the county’s positivity rate drops, we may relax that a bit, but that’s the plan for now,” he said. 

Prior to school starting, the college invested heavily to improve the ventilation system throughout campus with window fans, energy reduction ventilators and improving air exchanges in some buildings, he said. The college also installed various outdoor classroom settings, complete with benches and blackboards so students can social distance in class, he said.

“I have an 8 a.m. class and I enjoy teaching outdoors a lot,” Sands-Wise said. “At that hour, it is sometimes difficult because students are sleepy, but I’m finding the students are more awake and alert when we are outdoors.”

Georgetown College is welcoming possibly its largest freshman class ever with 426 true freshmen and 34 transfers, he said.

“It is the largest freshman class at the college ever to my knowledge,” Sands-Wise said. Many of those students are from Scott County, he said. The class is above average for SAT/GPA, slightly above average for diversity, more females and more non-athletes than a typical class, he said.

Of course, keeping everyone healthy is critical, he said.

“I don’t want to say too much because it can turn on you,” Sands-Wise said. “But overall, I think all the pieces are coming together. We are catching the virus quickly, and taking the appropriate steps.

“So far, this has gone better than I had ever hoped.”

The college will be providing regular updates on its COVID-19 testing on its Facebook page.

 

Mike Scogin can be reached at mscogin@news-graphic.com.

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