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COVID-19 on college campuses: What if someone tests positive?

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(WVVA) -- Back-to-school in the age of the coronavirus includes a COVID-19 test. All students, faculty and staff of West Virginia institutions are required to receive one before returning to campus, per an executive order by Governor Jim Justice.

The proactive approach to keep the virus off college campuses also includes reactive protocol - in the case that one of those tests comes back positive.

At some schools, separate dorm rooms are being used as isolation units to minimize possible exposure.

"We go ahead and put the student into quarantine," explained Josh Cline, VP of Institutional Advancement at Bluefield College. "We've reserved a number of rooms in certain dorms that are more isolated, that we can section off easier."

An evaluation is then done to determine where the positive individual has been on campus.

"We do a deep clean of those facilities using our electrostatic cleaners," Cline said. "[They] just do a really nice fogging of the room, and just coat and sanitize everything. We do that for the student's dorm room, also, so it's a clean environment as well."

In addition, any person that tests positive cannot return to campus until they recover.

"Once they test negative, we put them in the database to be able to come back to campus," explained Dr. Ted Lewis, Provost at Bluefield State College.

However, thanks to technology, students who are quarantined won't fall behind in class - and professors have the ability to teach remotely.

"A number of our classes are delivered online, some are taught through a hybrid model," Lewis said. "But anything that's a face-to-face class, and the student tested positive - then that faculty member will work with that student to make sure they can complete their assignments."

Bluefield State College will return to in-person instruction on August 24th; anyone with a positive test - or no test- will not be allowed to attend on-campus classes.

Jade Burks

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