Coronavirus: Wittenberg temporarily moves to remote learning, will hold free pop-up testing clinic

Wittenberg University students walk on campus on Aug. 26. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Wittenberg University students walk on campus on Aug. 26. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Wittenberg University temporarily moved to remote learning this week due to a spike in COVID-19 cases on campus.

“At this time, while we have a majority of students pursuing in-person learning, we also have a number of students currently requiring remote learning as a result of quarantine and/or isolation,” a statement from the university’s COVID Response Team said. “Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure a more equitable learning model for our students, the COVID Response Team has made the difficult, yet prudent decision to move to remote learning.”

As of Sept. 8, Wittenberg has 53 active cases, 1 resolved positive case, 54 total positive cases to date and 22 pending test results, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard.

That’s a significant increase from just over a week ago when the university had reported just one active case. According to Wittenberg’s website, the university has 1,504 full-time students.

“All those associated with individuals currently awaiting test results have been contacted and are in self-quarantine as per established health protocols,” the statement said.

Students will use the distance learning model for two weeks and in-person learning is scheduled to resume on Sept. 21. Classes on campus began in-person on Aug. 17

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The statement said residential students should remain on campus during this time unless they’ve been asked to go home to isolate or quarantine.

“This is consistent with guidance from Governor DeWine and national coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci,” the statement said.

Campus offices, Center Dining Room and other dining services, Thomas Library, and the Health, Wellness and Athletics Complex will all remain open. All student organizations can also continue to meet as planned while utilizing all health and safety protocols, the statement said.

According to the statement, the decision to move to remote learning was made by the COVID Response Team with full support from President Frandsen, senior staff and the Clark County Combined Health District.

The response team called the decision to move remote, “difficult, yet prudent.”

“All the members of the COVID Response Team recognize that this decision may cause disruption and even some frustration,” the statement said.

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Despite remote learning, the response team is asking those on campus to continue to follow all health protocols including wearing a face covering both inside and outside, staying at least six-feet apart from others at all times, engaging in good personal hygiene, monitoring health daily and limiting gatherings to 10 people or less.

In order to get a better understanding of the spread of COVID-19 on campus, Wittenberg will hold a free mass testing pop-up clinic from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday at the university’s Health, Wellness and Athletics facility, Cindy Holbrook, senior communications assistant at Wittenberg said.

“The event will be managed by the Ohio National Guard,” Holbrook said.

The clinic will offer a free COVID-19 test to any student, facility or staff member who wants one, Holbrook said. Results from tests will be available within a week.

53: Active COVID-19 cases at Wittenberg University

22: Awaiting test COVID-19 results at Wittenberg University

1,527: Total COVID-19 cases in Clark County

Source: Wittenberg University COVID-19 data