Dear Southwestern College Community,

We are in regular communication, and working closely with, the County Health Department as we continue to monitor the spread of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We have been tracking the situation as it has evolved over the past several weeks, while simultaneously reviewing and adjusting our response plan.

We are implementing mitigation precautions that are commensurate with our assessed level of community transmission and impact, as provided by the CDC and KDHE. The current risk assessment level for Cowley county is minimal, with concern of possible escalation to the moderate risk level. At this time, there are no documented cases in Cowley County and there is no sustained community transmission in Kansas or Oklahoma. There have been a limited number of confirmed cases in Kansas.

Given the assessment above, classes are not canceled but will be delayed, residence halls will reopen as planned, at the conclusion of spring break on Sunday, March 15. We will resume operations for the spring semester on March 16, however, classes for the spring semester will resume on Wednesday, March 18. On Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, faculty/staff will work to make preparations for those students who will require remote learning opportunities.We continue to stay in close contact with our local, state, and national public health officials. Indeed, tomorrow morning our team has several meetings scheduled with local and state authorities. During these meetings, the latest data and public health recommendations are reviewed and applied to our campus community and our local community.

Students, faculty, and staff returning from travel in high-risk countries, or who have had exposure via close contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patient(s), or who have traveled within a community in the US where active person-to-person disease spread is ongoing, must remain in a place of isolation for a period 14 days. Such individuals are required to contact student life before returning to campus. 

Additionally, students who are at increased risk of severe illness should consider requesting individual plans for remote learning. Faculty and instructors will work with our academic dean to develop plans for students who will need to continue their studies remotely.

Regarding specific campus events, athletic events, and travel, the risk associated with each event is being assessed under the advisement of public health officials and other authorities, such as the NAIA and KCAC. Any decisions made regarding cancellation will be immediately communicated to parties directly affected and posted to 

Finally, we remain committed to balancing the health and safety of our community with efforts that minimize disruption to our students and their learning. There are many considerations at hand as we work to develop and adapt our plans for this semester. We stand ready to make appropriate modifications to our response plan as necessary. We will remain vigilant in our monitoring, engaged in our partnership with local health authorities, and will provide timely communications regarding any changes moving forward.

We are prayerful for all those who are directly and indirectly affected by this illness, we will support each other, and we will carry-on as Builders in ways that are appropriate and safe.

Please continue to monitor for updates.

Brad Andrews