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Shepherd temporarily closing Wellness Center, suspending team practices; on-campus instruction to continue as planned

ISSUED: 6 November 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — As part of Shepherd University’s ongoing weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing, four positive results were identified this week, involving one employee, one commuter student, and two student athletes. Subsequently, the university decided to test an additional 125 student athletes. The results of those tests have identified 17 additional positive cases, with a few tests still outstanding.

Shepherd is working very closely with the Jefferson County Health Department, actively collaborating with the department on collecting contact tracing data.

Exercising an abundance of caution to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19, Shepherd will protect students and the community by temporarily closing the University Wellness Center today (Friday, November 6) — due to the elevated cases on campus and in the community. Faculty members will be contacted by Student Affairs if any students in their respective classrooms are involved in a COVID event. Additionally, the university will further reduce the seating capacity and increase social distancing protocols in the Ram’s Den and other dining venues to assist in stopping the spread. Athletic team practices are suspended temporarily. On-campus instruction will continue as planned, in addition to online and hybrid academic delivery modalities.

Several of Shepherd’s new cases are residence hall students. The increased number of isolated and quarantined cases in residence halls is not exceeding Shepherd’s planned capacity to manage COVID-19 efficiently, but the university will carefully evaluate that status on an ongoing basis if the on-campus and community surge worsens.

The Jefferson County Health Department is using the Shepherd campus as one of three locations for ongoing countywide auxiliary-testing due to the volume of cases in Jefferson and Berkeley counties. Friends and family of Shepherd employees and students are encouraged to obtain free testing on November 8-14 administered in the parking lot of the Wellness Center.

Shepherd has been administering surveillance testing of employees and students each Monday since October 12. All Shepherd employees and students should participate in the weekly testing when alerted that they have been randomly selected. Results are available on Shepherd’s COVID-19 Dashboard https://www.shepherd.edu/covid-19-dashboard/.

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