First COVID-19 Case 07/25/20

Southwestern Check-in Testing Identifies First COVID-19 Case

Press Release and Email: 07/25/2020

As part of Southwestern College’s Fall 2020 Semester Plan, all students, staff, and faculty are being tested for COVID-19 as they arrive to campus. Test results received on Saturday identified the first positive case within the campus community.

Campus testing, administered by William Newton Hospital nurses, began on Monday, July 20. As of Saturday, July 25, a total of 394 tests had been performed. Results for 198 tests had returned; 197 tests returned with a negative result for COVID-19, while one test has returned positive for the virus. The results for 196 tests remain outstanding.

“The individual who tested positive is in isolation, and is being cared for and supported,” said Dan Falk, dean of students. “We are working in close coordination with public health and local care providers while also seeing to the needs of this member of our Builder family. We’ll do everything we can to help care for them as they recover and will work closely with our public health officials to fully address the risk of virus spread.”

For residential students, the college has designated housing where students will complete a period of isolation after testing positive for the virus. A college care team is also in place to deliver meals, help with transportation to health care, and to check in on the student’s emotional well-being while in isolation.

“When we decided to test our whole campus community we knew it was probable that we would identify cases and we made preparations based on that assumption – but we also knew that identifying positive cases as early as possible, isolating those individuals and caring for them, while working with public health officials to address all the different components of the situation, would best position us to keep our campus community safe from the spread of the virus,” said Brad Andrews, college president.

In addition to testing at check-in, the college has implemented numerous safety procedures as part of the fall plan: including a required pre-semester quarantine of all students, staff, and faculty; the wearing of masks on campus; and restrictions on both social gatherings and travel.

The college also chose to bring residential students to campus in phases. Check-in times have been assigned to each student, reducing social interaction during their move-in to the residence halls. As part of that check-in, students are tested and asked to isolate until their test has been processed.

“One important component of our plan was to bring students back to campus early, allowing time to test for the virus before classes and modified activities begin – in doing so we are working to eliminate as many pathways for the virus as possible,” said Andrews.  


A member of the Southwestern College campus community has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual, a student, is in isolation and is receiving support as they recover.

The case was identified Saturday, July 25 as a result of the college’s campus-wide testing, performed during the check-in process. The positive test occurs as the college community begins a required pre-semester quarantine. This period of quarantine will allow the individual time to recover and pass through the contagious period before being released by public health officials to return to the campus community, likely prior to the beginning of the academic year.

The City-Cowley County Health Department is guiding the response and working to complete thorough contact tracing, identifying and informing individuals who are at risk because of contact with the individual, with full support and participation of the college. The health department is also advising the college on the cleaning and disinfecting of facilities and spaces affected by this case.

Please be aware, there have been 128 total cases in Cowley County, 41 remain active. It is important to remain diligent in taking appropriate precautions to protect your personal health –avoid large social gatherings, monitor your personal health, wash/sanitize your hands often, wear a face covering when in public spaces on campus and in the community.

Please see the attached news release. Continue to monitor for additional information and updates 

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