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Benedictine mass testing as students return to campus

"They told us to expect 1-3% of your population (to test positive) and that’s kinda right there where we’re at,” said Linda Henry, Vice President of Student Life for Benedictine College.

Posted: Aug 14, 2020 4:13 PM
Updated: Aug 17, 2020 8:49 AM

(ATCHISON, Ks.) Moving day has been anything but ordinary for the ravens. 

“Yeah, it’s been crazy. None of us can say we’ve ever been through something like this,” said Lindsey Hart, Co-President of Campus Activities Board for Benedictine College.

Across the country, colleges and universities are dealing with how to handle students testing positive with COVID-19 as they welcome students back to campus for the fall semester. One college in Atchison, Kansas already seeing students test positive with the virus. 

“Yes, we have. You know, they told us to expect 1-3% of your population and that’s kinda right there where we’re at,” said Linda Henry, Vice President of Student Life for Benedictine College.

Friday morning, Benedictine College welcomed their incoming student athletes in a staggered move-in schedule. 

“We’re doing a staggered move-in. Last Saturday, we moved in all our returning athletes and we tested them afterwards. On Tuesday, we moved in all our student leaders and tested them. Today, we’re moving in our freshman athletes,” said Henry.

Friday night, those incoming student athletes will be tested for COVID-19. The Atchison-based college is offering mass testing for all students and staff by providing free saliva-based testing. While the testing is not mandatory, non-student athletes can sign a form to not be tested, it is highly encouraged. 

“All of our faculty and staff and students. All of our student athletes are required. Our other students, there’s an opt out if they would like. We can get the test results in 24-48 hours,” said Henry. 

Students who do test positive will return home or the school will arrange off campus living. 

While COVID-19 is a reality campuses across the country are facing, Benedictine students said they couldn't wait to get back. HILE 

“It’s the happiest reunion after so long apart,” said Hart. 

The pandemic forced students to stay home and not return after their spring break to finish off their school year. Student leaders said being apart from one another made the reunion that much sweeter. 

“We were gone from campus for six months and everyone is so ready to be back and be together,” said Wyatt Iseman, Co-President for Campus Activities Board for Benedictine College.

Proud parents dropping their students' off at the dorms said moving their students across the country during a pandemic has been nerve wracking. 

“We’re coming from hotspot California where they’ve cancelled all sports, but Benedictine they’re trying to make the season happen, but it’s still a little scary,” said Diana Handy, Raven Mom. 

Seniors at Benedictine admit at first, they were worried the health crisis was going to ruin their senior year, but they said rather than worry, they're learning to cherish the present moment. 

“I think that after everything going into this year, we can just remember to enjoy every moment and just be glad where we are now and we can’t worry about anything else,” said Hart. 

Benedictine staff believe this year will be their highest incoming freshman class.

The college is mandating masks on campus and practicing socially distancing.

The first day of school begins Wednesday. 

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