Bluefield College moves to remote instruction temporarily after 21 positive cases of COVID-19 are confirmed

BLUEFIELD, VA (WOAY) – Bluefield College leadership made the decision to move all classes to remote instruction the remainder of the week, Tuesday, September 22 through Friday, September 25.

During this time, only essential personnel determined by executive leadership team members will report to work. All other employees will work remotely from home the remainder of the week. All athletic competitions and practices will be postponed through Sunday, September 27. The Herb Sims Center will also be closed during this time.

This remote instruction period will allow for a deep cleaning of facilities around campus and for additional testing to be completed.

Following the Labor Day holiday and an unapproved off campus gathering, rapid testing of
students began with 24 students in isolation or quarantine. Through further contact tracing by College staff members and local health officials, college leadership now confirms 21 positive cases with an additional 44 students in observation. These cases have come from a variety of sources within the campus community, including community spread outside of the identified social gathering sources. Affected students are in the care of the College’s student development team. Students who test positive for COVID-19 are immediately placed in quarantine while those who may have been exposed are placed in isolation until they test negative for the virus. “While this latest increase in students testing positive for the COVID-19 virus is a setback, I am hopeful this pause in seated instruction will assist in our efforts to ensure other students, faculty and staff remain safe,” said president Dr. David Olive. “I know that everyone desires the very best for our campus community, and I am certain we will come together to overcome this latest outbreak so that we can safely and successfully can complete the fall semester.”

A reevaluation will be held on Sunday, September 27, by College leadership to return to seated instruction, on-campus work, practices, and competition. The 29th Annual Duremdes Christian Emphasis Week at Bluefield College, scheduled for this week, September 23-25, has been rescheduled for September 30 – October 2 with artist and author Nigel Darius. All three-morning sessions will be live-streamed for public viewing, Wednesday through Friday, at 10:00 a.m. You can view the three-day event on our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmGz_1VWHr_d2KzH_bwWuJw.

Bluefield College will no longer have a fall break next week. Courses will continue on Thursday, October 1 and Friday, October 2. Bluefield College will conclude courses at the Thanksgiving holiday with exams being taken either before leaving campus or remotely after the holiday. For additional information, please contact the Office of Academic Affairs at 276.326.4203.

College leaders continue to pledge transparency with the Campus Community and share these situations as they arise. Decisions on responses and recommendations for adjustments to the semester continue to be made by the College’s COVID-19 Taskforce in concert with College leadership. This group collectively continues to monitor the virus and situations daily to make appropriate decisions. Bluefield College has planned to offer courses in-person and online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are able to attend classes either way and are able to quickly pivot solely to remote instruction.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com