Dozens of COVID cases confirmed at Bethel

Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., announced Aug. 16 a cluster of COVID-19 cases was identified among students and staff. The Harvey County Health Department confirmed at least 50 cases — 43 students and seven staff — out of about 500 people tested.

Testing began Aug. 3 among employees and student community assistants. The first positive case was announced Aug. 5.

Individuals were self-isolating in Bethel’s 45 campus slots or at their permanent residence. County health department director Lynnette Redington said the individuals “are generally in good health and good spirits.”

The possibility of community spread moved Bethel to “orange” status. Courses will be offered in hybrid format with limited use of classrooms. No campus visitors are allowed.

Orientation student leaders, international students and students from state-recognized COVID-19 “hot spots” returned to campus and were tested Aug. 10, followed Aug. 13 by returning athletes and student chaplains, and first-time freshmen and transfer students Aug. 14.

A third of returning students were scheduled to step on to campus and be tested Aug. 18, but their arrival was delayed by the shift to “orange” status. Classes were scheduled to begin Aug. 19.

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