Tim and Deb Smith sat down with Elim President Mike Cavanaugh to talk about the school. Photo provided by Deb and Tim Smith

BY DEB AND TIM SMITH
OUR ELIM CONNECTION ~ Almost exactly a year ago, we made our first “official” visit to the Elim Bible College and Institute as members of the press. It was part of a 2020 series we had planned focusing on Lima, and it evolved into one of the more compelling pieces of our Lima puzzle.

We wrote about Elim’s present, and we wrote about their past; a story that begins way back in 1831. We shared our work with them, they felt blessed by it, and we were invited back more and more frequently. By the end of 2019, we had become regular guests and had multiple invites to cover events there during the spring of 2020, but then Covid kicked in and all the spring plans were shot to the devil.

In the April 9th Sentinel issue we covered how Elim shut down when the virus broke. As our Elim component within our “Lovin’ Lima” series restarts this week, we thought we’d accompany it with this side story on how Elim is reopening. As colleges across the country struggle with various circumstances affecting this situation, we thought our readers would find it interesting to see how the college closest to us is tackling the challenge.

COVID CURRENT ~ Here is the current plan on how Elim will safely reopen its campus and restart operations with students, faculty, and staff. Right off the bat there’s an element of the process that’s different because it reflects the international make-up of the college campus.

Students have been arriving on campus in four groups. International students and domestic students coming from restricted states arrived on Friday, August 14 to quarantine for two weeks. Subsequently the returning students arrived in two waves, the first throughout the day on Thursday, August 27th with the second wave arriving early in the day on Friday, August 28th.
Following the processing of all the returning students, it was time to welcome the newcomers. Incoming freshmen came on campus during the second half of the day on Friday the 28th.

IF COVID APPEARS ~ A separate building on campus, with private bathrooms, has been designated solely for the purpose of isolating or quarantining individuals living on-campus who develop COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for the virus. Meals will be delivered to them and high sanitation protocols will be implemented. Students who are exposed to a person who tests positive for the virus will need to be tested and quarantined in an isolated dorm room for 14 days.

Visitors will be limited to invited guests only. Elim will be closed to the general public. Bi-directional foot traffic will be reduced. Every building will have one-way traffic flow to reduce a close proximity of students moving through the entrances and exits. Signs will be posted around the campus that will direct students on where to enter and exit buildings.

WORSE CASE SCENARIO ~ If one student in a residence tests positive, all of the exposed students in that residence will be tested and quarantined in their building for 14 days. If 10% or more of the student body begins to complain of COVID-19 symptoms, outside testing will be required and if an unacceptable number of students test positive for the virus, remote learning in the dorms will be implemented and meals will be delivered to dormitories.

In the event of encountering a high risk of COVID-19 spread, a decision will be made to shut down all on-campus operations.  Students will be asked to leave the campus.  Classes will be conducted virtually and special accommodations will be made on campus for international students or those who are unable to travel home. The Elim campus officials will do everything possible to ensure a safe and calm departure.

For the sake of our many friends at Elim, we hope it never comes to this.

©2020 MHFL Sentinel

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