In response to rising COVID-19 community spread across Harvey County and the rest of Kansas, as well as an uptick in on-campus cases, Hesston College will proactively raise its CARES Level of Concern on Saturday, November 21, from “R – Restricted” to “E – Elevated.” An “Elevated” level is initiated when “community spread of a COVID-19 outbreak affects students across campus.”
Hesston College’s Administrative Council initiated the rise in CARES level out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to ease the potential burden of care on local healthcare systems. Harvey and surrounding counties have increasingly raised alert levels and tightened restrictions on gathering sizes, and the college has recently experienced a slight increase in active COVID cases. Current active COVID-19 cases at the college include eight students and two employees. Students and employees with COVID-19 are isolating at off-campus locations.
According to the Hesston College website, an “Elevated” CARES level further restricts on-campus gatherings. Classes and campus activities may go fully online, all athletic practices are suspended and access to campus is closed to the community. Students may return home over the pre-Thanksgiving weekend if they wish and complete the semester online. The college’s revised plans were finalized in consultation with the Harvey County Health Department.
“Hesston students were already scheduled to return home over Thanksgiving break and complete fall semester classes online,” said Deb Roth, vice president of Student Life. “Given the timing, it makes sense for us to offer students the opportunity to head home early without penalty, if they so choose.”