First Bluefield College student tests positive for COVID-19

BLUEFIELD, VA (WOAY) – Bluefield College reports its first student to test positive for COVID-19.

Below is a statement from the college:

“As promised in our communications since the beginning of this pandemic, we will keep our campus community informed of situations as they arise. In recent weeks we have slowly welcomed back students to residential life on campus. We have stuck to our approved protocols in order to be as safe as possible during this season of uncertainty. You will recall these protocols were put to the test and were found to be successful with the positive testing of three employees before students arrived on campus this summer.

Today, a student seeking to move onto campus tested positive during the check-in process. Shott Hall was then closed and disinfected by our facilities team utilizing our new electrostatic cleaners. These cleaners are EPA-certified to kill the virus. The student did not move onto campus following the test. Rather, the student chose to return home to quarantine with family until the student is no longer contagious and tests negative for COVID-19. Staff members from Student Development and Academic Affairs will be working with the student to ensure the student misses nothing during the first weeks of class and transitions to campus seamlessly at the appropriate time.

Three staff members, all appropriately wearing masks and following protocols, were in brief contact with the individual before the student’s positive test. These staff members were sent home and will be tested next week per our protocols before returning to work on campus. We have notified our partners at the Virginia Department of Health and will continue to follow their guidance as we have to date in all matters pertaining to this pandemic.

Out of the more than 400 students who have been tested to date, this was our first positive test for a student. Considering the multitude of locations from which our students have come, this is truly a blessing. We will hope and pray that this will be our only one, and I ask you also pray for this student and family as they recover from the virus.

It is natural to feel uneasy and unsure of the days ahead of us, especially as we see cases rising around us in the region and country. However, I encourage us all to continue practicing safe habits and following guidelines concerning wearing masks, socially distancing from one another as much as possible, and following our other protocols developed to enable our campus to resume activities this fall as safely as possible.

Please remember that our response team is monitoring the virus, its progression, and activity on campus each day. We will respond rapidly and appropriately to situations as they arise. We pledge to continue being open and transparent with our campus community as well. With the situation contained, we will proceed with our opening week activities as scheduled at this time.”

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