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Spike in COVID-19 cases brings new precautions to campus

Bethel’s COVID-19 Alert Level rose to Level 2 last week, resulting in several new protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.

By Rachel Blood | News Reporter

Bethel’s COVID-19 Dashboard shows a range of Alert Levels from zero to four, zero being the complete absence of cases and four shutting down all campus-based operations. According to an email sent to all Bethel students Oct. 30, level two is now in effect, resulting in a mandatory precautionary quarantine for all residents of Arden Village through Nov. 6. Level two is described as “moderate” and is defined as “campus resources and procedures are being taxed by the spread of COVID-19.”

As of noon Nov. 2, 88 undergraduate students and 14 staff members are in quarantine due to exposure. 25 undergraduate students and one employee are in isolation with positive test results.

Health services said the recent cases have mainly occurred in clusters and not large community spaces like classrooms or labs. 

Bethel announced that ViralSign screening would be available in the Brushaber Commons from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. The screening technology identifies the virus in individuals before they become symptomatic through an advanced infrared imaging system. 

Mass testing will be available Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Robertson Center Gym for Bethel students and their families. A Bethel ID card and a government-issued ID will be required, and individuals are encouraged to refrain from consuming food or beverages, brushing teeth or chewing gum an hour prior to testing.

Arden Village students and student athletes will be required to test Wednesday – those who don’t must quarantine off-campus for 14 days beginning Wednesday.

On-campus testing has moved from the Lakeside Center to Health Services. Testing appointments can be made by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 651-635-8500. 

Increased visiting restrictions have been placed on residence halls. Parents, commuter students and other non-resident students or visitors are not permitted inside residence halls. Overnight guests are prohibited. Room capacity remains two over normal occupancy.

An email from Bethel President Ross Allen sent out Tuesday stated that winter commencement ceremonies will be fully virtual. 

“While I know this is disappointing news for many of you,” Allen wrote, “our first priority continues to be the safety and wellbeing of our community.”

Students must continue to fill out Campus Clear, wear a mask in public spaces and follow social distancing guidelines to promote the safety of the Bethel community.

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