North Central Remains In-Person; Extends Suspension of Athletic Activities

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Due to rising positive cases of COVID-19 in the Naperville area, North Central College has announced it will extend the suspension of all athletic activities. In a separate statement, the College also announced it intends to continue in-person learning.

Athletics Still Suspended

On October 29, North Central announced the suspension of athletic activities, to be reevaluated on November 6. Vice President for Enrollment Management and Athletics Marty Sauer released a statement at the time, saying:

Since early August, our athletic department has been engaged in tireless efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while also creating an environment for our student-athletes to participate in practices, conditioning, and other team activities. The health and safety of our student-athletes has been our top priority.

The College had not been participating in interscholastic competitions, only team practices, scrimmage and weight training sessions.

In the newest announcement, Sauer states:

We will direct our efforts during this time to ensuring a safe return to campus for our student-athletes in January. In the meantime, we continue to urge everyone on and off campus to continue following the procedures and protocols set forth by the College’s Institutional Response Team and the Athletic Department.

Encouraging Testing Trends

North Central also announced it will continue in-person learning in accordance with its existing health and safety protocols and allow the student body to remain on campus.

The college noted that while the rolling positivity rate in Region 8 of the Restore Illinois Plan was 13.7% as of November 9, the College’s latest rolling 7 day average at that time was 6.4%.

In a letter addressed to students, North Central stated:

In recent days, I have heard from several of you and your families regarding the recent increase in the daily positive test results reported on the College’s COVID-19 website. First, let me say that I understand this information can be concerning and perhaps cause anxiety or fear. I am writing to share with you some of the information that eases my own anxiety and makes me and others at the College, including the COVID-19 Institutional Response Team (IRT), confident that the College can continue to safely operate in-person for the remainder of the fall semester and into the spring.

North Central also cites its recently installed surveillance testing program, which has shown encouraging results with the number of positive cases of COVID-19 among the campus community decreasing since the peak on October 31.

As of Friday, November 6, the college had restricted the number of those who could attend college-approved, in-person events hosted by recognized student organization, college offices, faculty, staff or students to 10, and required that face coverings be worn and physical distancing be maintained.

For all the available resources provided by North Central, visit the College’s COVID-19 page.

Kevin Jackman reports for Naperville News 17