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Harvey County COVID announcement moves Bethel alert level

July 11th, 2020

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Bethel College President Jon C. Gering, Ph.D., has informed the college community of a change in the color-coded campus procedures for COVID-19.

On July 10, Harvey County Health Department officials, in consultation with Public Health Officer Doyle Detweiler, M.D., identified community spread of COVID-19 in Harvey County.

Gering emphasized that the community spread is not on the Bethel campus.

“Community spread” means area individuals have been infected with COVID-19 who are not sure how or where they became infected.

The Facebook announcement from the Harvey County Health Department went on to emphasize a sense of urgency – but not panic – and renewal of safety precautions in county residents’ daily activities.

“Although we have not yet started our fall semester,” Gering wrote in an e-mail to students, faculty, staff and administrators, “I am using as guidance the color-coded ‘Bethel College Procedures and Safety Measures’ that will be in place starting Aug. 19.

“Under these guidelines, Bethel [moves] to the Orange status because of the determination of community spread in the county. My conversations with members of the Bethel College Emergency Response Team confirmed this decision.”

Bethel employees ended mandatory work from home in late June. When on campus, all employees must keep a six-foot distance from others and wear face coverings when distancing is not possible.

Effective July 11, in accordance with level Orange, there is no nonessential travel for college employees, and a return to minimal staffing with rotating staff schedules and telework where possible.

In addition, no outside visitors are allowed on campus, unless they are Mojo’s Coffee customers.

“[These] are additional safety measures,” Gering wrote. “Please continue to wear masks, use sanitation stations and maintain physical distancing.

“These behaviors will help ensure that we reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community before the beginning of the fall 2020 semester.”

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel is the highest ranked Kansas private college, at #12, in Washington Monthly, Top 200 Bachelor’s Colleges; ranks at #23 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest; is Zippia.com’s highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates; stands at #57 among 829 U.S. colleges and universities listed by lendEDU as “Best for Financial Aid”; has the #10 RN-to-BSN program in Kansas according to RNtoBSN.com; and earned its second-straight NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star gold award, based on student service and academic achievement, all for 2019-20. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.