MOUNT VERNON – Mount Vernon Nazarene University will be suspending in-person classes and extracurricular activities for one week following a COVID-19 outbreak on campus.
"After evaluating the number of positive cases and those in quarantine within the MVNU community, as well as the increase in cases in Knox County and the state of Ohio, MVNU has issued new campus protocols that allow us to take a pause to gain control of the spread of the virus," the university announced on its website Monday.
There are currently 18 active cases at MVNU, according to the university's online tracker, which is updated daily. There are 97 individuals (students and/or staff members) in quarantine due to contact tracing. It's unclear how many individuals have been tested at MVNU since the school year began; according to the university's website, there have been 38 total positive cases.
MVNU announced several measures on Monday aimed at stemming the outbreak on campus. These protocols will be in effect through midnight, Oct. 26:
-- All classes will transition to remote learning with the exception of labs and studio classes.
-- Chapel will only be available online.
-- Cafeteria will be open for carry-out only.
-- Athletic practices and competitions are suspended.
-- Practicums, internships, field work, and clinicals are suspended.
-- Gymnasiums and workout spaces are closed; intramurals are suspended.
-- Baseline COVID-19 testing protocols have been activated.
The following protocols will remain in place:
-- Masks: Required everywhere (inside and outside), except in residence halls or apartment rooms.
-- Residence life visitation: No visitors, including other MVNU students, will be permitted in apartments or dorm rooms.
MVNU's COVID-19 task force will meet with Knox Public Health officials on Oct. 26 to examine current campus numbers and determine next steps.
MVNU's recent COVID-19 spike corresponds with local, state and national trends. Knox County has seen a steady increase in cases over the last two weeks; after recording just 44 cases in September, the county has seen 72 new cases already this month. There were four county residents hospitalized as of Tuesday, according to Knox Public Health.
Ohio has seen a sharp increase in cases over the last week-plus, and a record number of residents are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, according to data released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Health. National data indicates a similar trend, with most states exhibiting "escalating" or "unchecked" community spread, according to NPR.
MVNU began classes Aug. 19, and its first semester is scheduled to run through Nov. 24. To read more about MVNU's reopening plan, click here.
Knox Pages has reached out to MVNU for clarification regarding its increased prevention measures. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.