Berry College closed its campus to the public Wednesday afternoon after a student tested positive for COVID-19. The property will remain closed until further notice, according to a release from Berry President Steve Briggs.
“We have recorded our first case of a student testing positive for COVID-19,” Briggs said. “The student was asymptomatic when tested and is now isolating off-campus. Through contact tracing, others at risk due to direct contact have been notified to quarantine ... That determination is made by appropriate campus officials in cooperation with local public health authorities.”
The decision came as the college was already preparing to implement a face mask policy on campus following a City of Rome mask ordinance voted in Monday evening, according to Briggs.
“Although we are not within the city jurisdiction the college was prepared to implement a similar policy beginning Aug. 1 in preparation for the fall school semester,” Briggs said. “In cooperation with the city, and given the increased prevalence of the coronavirus locally as well as these two new cases on campus, the college will require suitable face coverings in all public contexts on campus effective Thursday, July 16. The policy will continue until further notice.”
The new Berry College policy requires a face covering in any public context: classrooms, academic and administrative buildings, Krannert, Cage Center, the Library, residence hall common areas and hallways, or campus offices. Face coverings are also required in open air areas if people are not separated by at least 6 feet.
According to the release, face coverings may be removed in personal settings (offices, residence hall rooms) if no one else is present. Face coverings may be removed for dining, personal hygiene and personal recreation, but with a required 6 feet of separation. Immediate family members living on campus are exempted from this policy in private or personal contexts.