Is Olivet set to go remote following outbreak of 40 students COVID-19 positive on campus?


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BOURBONNAIS – Less than two weeks after Olivet Nazarene University announced active COVID-19 cases had plummeted to zero for the first time since classes resumed in August, the campus reported 40 active cases Friday.

It’s the largest list of active cases on campus to date this fall.

As of September 20th, the school could report zero active cases of the pandemic among it’s over 2,525 traditional undergraduate students on campus for the first time since returning to school. While cases of the virus had been reported, active cases had remained low, peaking at 9 active cases at one time with most students isolating off-campus.

That was until Friday, when the University announced the 4000% jump in active case counts since September 20th.

At the beginning of the fall semester, University President Dr. John C. Bowling warned classes could move online if a major outbreak of the pandemic occurred on campus.  “If there is a major outbreak of the disease, we may have no choice but to close the campus once again and transition to a fully online delivery.  I don’t think any of us prefer that outcome.” Dr. Bowling said in August.

The University has yet to release a live total count of all cases to date on campus since returning for the fall semester.  The school has been limited on any additional data released to the public.

Among the 40 new cases announced Friday included 21 students who are now isolating on campus and 19 students who are isolating off-campus. The sharing of case numbers is an act of compliance with the U.S. Department of Education Clery Act, which guides what health and safety information universities share with their campus.

The school did not administer universal COVID-19 testing to students before a return to campus back in August. The University had welcomed students back to campus this past spring before retracting the statement based on state guidelines days later.

Roughly 85% of all classes at the University hold some face-to-face instruction this semester.

Olivet is scheduled to wrap the fall semester before the Thanksgiving Holiday.

As of Friday, 618 pandemic cases had been reported in Bourbonnais since mid-March. As of October 1st, 2,816 cases of the pandemic reported in Kankakee County.

Shane Saathoff
Shane Saathoff
An active writer for two decades, Shane's focuses on local news and events throughout the area, Shane is an active historian, science nerd, and tech geek. Shane is a native of Bourbonnais, IL, and alumni of Olivet Nazarene University.


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