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Warren Wilson College ends semester with no on-campus cases of COVID-19

Warren Wilson College ends semester with no on-campus cases of COVID-19
Warren Wilson College took multiple safety measures to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, including daily temperature checks, classes taught partially online and outdoor classes. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

A local college finished the fall semester without a single case of COVID-19 on campus.

Warren Wilson College took multiple safety measures to prevent the virus from spreading, including daily temperature checks, classes taught partially online and outdoor classes.

A spokesperson said the lack of cases is a testament to how seriously everyone is taking the coronavirus

"We owe it all to the faculty, staff and students who took the virus seriously and followed the health and safety protocols that we had in place," Warren Wilson's Mary Bates said.

Warren Wilson was also the only college in Western North Carolina that canceled all competitive athletics at the beginning of the semester.

“It was disappointing not to play this semester during my senior year on the team, but it was the right call,” Ethan Vanderbleek, who serves as captain of the men’s soccer team, said in a news release. “I would have liked to play but I’m glad the school put our safety first. It was decisions like these that made it possible to keep us at zero cases.”

CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION CENTER: TRACK THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS, IMPACTS, AND HEADLINES ABOUT THE PANDEMIC HERE

Five Warren Wilson students served as Student Health Ambassadors through a program with the Mountain Area Health Education Center and other regional colleges. They completed rigorous COVID-19 training and supported the community by planning wellness programming, distributing information, supporting students who were feeling anxious or in quarantine, and facilitating a pen pal program with students from other colleges.

Partway through the semester, also in partnership with MAHEC, Warren Wilson began offering regular testing to student athletes. Last week, in conjunction with a program sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, the college began offering students and employees the opportunity to have an antigen COVID-19 test before leaving campus for Winter Break.

“I am grateful for our community, for the ways we have demonstrated courage and resilience during this challenging semester,” Warren Wilson College President Lynn Morton said in the news release. “I am exceedingly grateful that we made it to this week without the outbreaks of COVID that have so seriously affected other campuses. In the end, we were able to ensure the health and safety of our campus because of the students, faculty and staff who took the virus seriously and followed our health and safety protocols. We are extremely grateful for the sacrifices everyone made to prioritize safety this semester.”

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