Ozark Christian College has instituted a one-week, campuswide self-quarantine of students because of a high number of COVID-19 cases. The self-quarantine runs through this Saturday. Additionally, all fall sports have been suspended for the semester.
Last Wednesday, the Joplin, Mo., school reported that 10 percent of its residential student population was in quarantine or isolation.
As of this 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, Ozark had 12 total active cases—11 students and 1 employee—of people who are either symptomatic or had tested positive for COVID-19 (that was down from 21 active cases—18 students and 3 employees—on Monday morning.) The students are in isolation “in a pre-arranged location” while the school “provides for cleaning, academic, and nutritional needs.”
All this week, classes and chapel services are being held online. The Student Center, Multi-Purpose Building/Fitness Center, and the Missions Building and Chapel lobbies are closed.
The OCC offices, bookstore, and library remain open, and students are permitted to work on or off campus, but they have been asked to stay in their dorm rooms as much as possible or to go home for the one-week period.
“The goal of these decisions is to control our quarantine and isolation capacity and especially to preserve our residential classes this fall,” Damien Spikereit, executive vice president of administration, wrote on OCC’s website. “Now more than ever, it’s crucial that you wear your masks, wash your hands, and watch your distance from each other. Please continue to take these precautions seriously for your health and the benefit of our entire community.”
Ozark made the “difficult decisions,” Spikereit wrote, “in order to not overwhelm our quarantine and isolation capacity, and so that we can remain on campus for the rest of the semester.”
The school suspended fall sports but hasn’t made a decision regarding winter sports, Spikereit wrote.
“While we’re disappointed for our student-athletes, we’re proud of how our Ambassadors represent Christ, even in adversity. We’re grateful that our fall sports coaches will remain employed by the college and stay connected to our student-athletes, encouraging and shaping them as they pursue Christ.”
During this “self-quarantine” week, the dining hall is continuing to serve meals, but all meals are “to-go” only. Students are not permitted to enter dormitories other than their own, and they are discouraged from participating in any group activities where strict social distancing cannot be observed.