By Courtney Cole/Delta Staff Writer
Covid-19 has become a huge aspect of people’s life this year and administrators at Missouri Valley College are continuing make and revise a plan to deal with the virus.
Valley is one of many colleges and universities across the United States that chose to open back up in their fall semester and allowed students to live on campus and go back to in-person classes.
Diana Bartholomew, vice president of academic affairs, said Missouri Valley College is doing its best to work with students and faculty to deal with being in a global pandemic.
Bartholomew said the college has opted against setting a certain percentage of students in quarantine or a number of Covid-19 cases to trigger having classes be pushed online. She said administrators have decided instead that, if they see a spike in cases, they will determine what would be the next step.
“We do not want to wait till we hit a certain percentage if we see something coming,” Bartholomew said.
The college is also working to update students and faculty about how many students or staff on campus have tested positive on campus at least twice a week. This is done via email messages and a page on the college’s website.
Bartholomew said Missouri Valley College is doing well as a population, especially in the precautions they are taking. By wearing a mask, social distancing and even sanitizing after every class. She is constantly walking around campus popping up at athletic events or even in classrooms and seeing everyone doing their part as a community to keep themselves and people around them safe.
If it comes to stopping in-person classes, students will most likely continue to remote within their dorms and participate in their class online like a shelter in place order. In this way students who possibly have the virus will not be able to spread it while traveling back home and to their families.
Keeping the college open is also helping those students who do not fully have certain resources (such as a reliable internet connection) at home.
Bartholomew said administrators are taking everything day by day due to the fact everything is constantly changing and they are trying to take into consideration different ideas with the coming spring semester. This includes ideas like testing every month or even testing again when students return in the spring. No firm decisions have been made while they watch for global developments like the availability of a vaccine.
Colin Smith, assistant athletic director, deals with the athletes and their games going on throughout the school year. Colin not only deals with many students but many other colleges as well.
Smith said the college never wanted the games to constantly be postponed, but they are taking into consideration of what is going on and they not only want to keep their athletes safe but also the ones around them.
Smith said the athletic staff is ready for everything to go back to normal and allow the fans and families to be able to come and see the athletic events in person. Part of that process includes taking into consideration requirements of the NAIA before making these certain decisions.
The Missouri Valley college athletic department realizes such things as testing, masking, communication and documentation are important and have incorporated them into its approach to handling Covid-19.
In addition, a new spectator policy has students who are not participating in an athletic event but watching not only wear masks but social distance as well. Everyone on campus is expected to follow these rules and guidelines.
There are many guidelines and procedures by The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and The Heart of America Conference have come up with. This includes testing throughout the teams, especially if someone is showing symptoms, and contact tracing if needed. Before every practice athletes have to get their temperatures tested and wellness checks have to be taken.
“The landscape of this virus changes quickly, so we as a department must adapt but think about the safety of the student-athletes and staff of both competing institutions.” Smith said. “We are in constant communication with our staff as well as other college athletic departments.”