BEREA, Ky. — If a student tests positive for COVID-19 at Berea College, there is a possibility that the student may have to withdraw from classes according to their COVID-19 procedures.

What You Need To Know

  • Testing positive and quarantines may require students to withdraw from classes, the college's president said

  • Berea College is requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for students

  • Faculty and staff were not mandated, but highly encouraged to get vaccinated 

  • Some students are fearful of getting dropped out of their classes

A week into classes at Berea College, sophomore RA Cali Underwood said COVID-19 will always be a concern, and with policies in place, it may frighten some students more than others.

“There are constantly changing policies for the betterment of our school and so like, there's a fear of not knowing what's next, and that is the thing for people as well as you know their families,” Underwood said.

Berea College has required COVID-19 vaccination for students to be on campus. The faculty and staff were strongly encouraged to do the same, but not mandated. 

“I feel very safe on campus. I know the delta variant is pretty scary, especially since I have little siblings, so wearing a mask is protecting me and protecting everyone else,” Underwood said.

In addition to the mandate for students, the COVID-19 policies also state that students in a 10-day quarantine may be asked to withdraw from their courses if necessary. 

“I guess that's understandable because the classes here are hard and it's like a normal semester, and it's a very academic heavy school so it's, it's understandable. It's scary, but like I understand where they're coming from,” Underwood said.

The President of Berea College, Lyle D. Roelofs, was not available for an interview but submitted a statement explaining the university's procedures.

“When a student tests positive and quarantine is mandated, we will evaluate each individual situation. Factors that need to be considered include the nature of the courses in which the student is enrolled, how much flexibility there is in meeting academic requirements in the course, and even when in the semester the quarantine occurs.

"If the quarantine period would not allow the student to be successful in classes and labs for the current semester, options will include withdrawing from a class or taking a leave for the remainder of the semester. There would be no financial consequences in such a case, and the student would be eligible to return to continue studies the next semester.

"Delays in academic progress are unfortunate, and we will avoid them if at all possible. We also need to acknowledge, however, the reality of quarantine, its necessity for protecting the health and well-being of other students and employees, and its potential impact on academic progress.”

Underwood said students are scared about getting the virus because for some students, the campus is more than just a place to learn. 

“This school is an escape for a lot of people from home. And the fact that they might have to withdraw, it can be scary,” Underwood said.