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Bethany College delays start of semester for on-campus COVID-19 testing

BETHANY — Bethany College has announced it will delay the start of the fall semester by a week to coincide with campus-wide COVID-19 testing.

Incoming freshmen will arrive Aug. 13, and upper-classmen will follow Aug. 14. The start of classes will move to Aug. 17.

“The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff must guide every decision we make,” Bethany President Tamara Nichols Rodenberg said. “The decision to change the start date is driven by the fact the required testing is available on campus these dates. This will allow us to test all members of the Bethany College community within 24 hours of arrival on campus.”

The decision was made Friday by the president and the Board of Trustees under advisement from medical professionals and the NCAA.

The college also is recommending that all students receive a negative test before arriving on campus and self-isolate at home until their scheduled move-in date.

As a precautionary measure, from Aug. 13-24, the college will prohibit groups larger than 20 individuals and limit dining hall hours.

Students will be required to sign a “Protect the Herd” agreement that acknowledges they will follow college policies, monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms and report to the Wellness Center, wash or sanitize hands frequently, get a flu vaccine, maintain social distancing, wear a proper face covering, and keep personal belongings and spaces clean.

For students or families who have specific health concerns, Bethany is offering an entirely online option. Those students interested in applying for the remote option should email Dean of Students Jerry Stebbins at gstebbins@bethanywv.edu.

Bethany also will implement a Level 1-4 warning system based on the presence of COVID-19 cases on campus. Each level will further determine when and how meals are provided, athletic practices and club activities are held, and the delivery method of classes.

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