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Three Athens State University employees test positive for coronavirus

Athens State University (Image from Athens State University)

Some employees at Athens State University tested positive for coronavirus.

Posted: Jun 24, 2020 10:43 AM
Updated: Jun 24, 2020 6:27 PM

Athens State University confirms three employees tested positive for coronavirus.

School officials say none of the cases originated on campus. The university implemented health check points back in May, when employees started to return to campus. 

However, University spokesperson Chris Latham said even with this precaution, they were preparing for possible cases.

"This is something that we have been anticipating with the number of cases rising in Alabama," Latham said. "So we're actually grateful for only having a few cases and we hope that those are isolated."

The school started these check points to check people for symptoms at both campus entrances. Everyone has their temperature taken, and are asked a number of screening questions by a health professional. The persons name is taken down, and is handed a wrist band. 

"That's the initial step for somebody to come on campus and we feel that's a safe guard to keep kinda anyone from coming on campus that could potentially have COVID 19 or test positive," Latham said. 

However, he said he understands it is not going to completely stop the virus considering asymptomatic cases. But, he is confident the university is taking as many precautions as it can to keep both faculty and students safe.

"We have everyone's safety in mind and we have the procedures in place to protect that safety," Latham said.

At this time, employees who have been exposed to those who tested positive are quarantined off-campus until they receive a negative test result.

The university's president sent the following letter to faculty and staff Wednesday morning:

Colleagues,

Over the course of the past few days, we have had our first confirmed cases of employees testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. These developments are certainly not unexpected given the increase in cases in Alabama.

In each case where an employee has tested positive, our Human Resources Office has coordinated the response with both the person testing positive as well as those with whom they may have had contact. Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, an individual who has had contact with someone who tests positive for a minimum of fifteen minutes at a distance of less than six feet is deemed to have been exposed. Accordingly, all individuals who met this criterion have been advised to be tested and self-quarantine. If the test is negative, an employee will return to work. If the test is positive, an employee must remain off campus for a period of fourteen days from the date they were initially tested.

As everyone on campus is aware, we have stringent screening procedures in place for all persons coming onto the campus, and these will remain in place. The work areas that have been impacted have been closed for deep cleaning by our third-party cleaning service until the cleaning is completed. We will continue to monitor events as they transpire and take all necessary actions to ensure a safe work environment.

Finally, we simply cannot stress strongly enough the need for everyone on campus to practice social-distancing and to wear face coverings in any circumstance where a minimum of six-foot spacing cannot be maintained. We are extremely grateful that only a few cases have been identified. There is no evidence that these originated on campus. Please feel free to reach out to your immediate supervisor or HR if you have any questions or concerns.

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