Southeast Arkansas College closing campus due to COVID-19, 3 students exposed to presumptive COVID-19 patient


PINE BLUFF, Ark. (News Release) – The safety of SEARK students, faculty, staff and visitors is our top priority and the College is closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and following protocols as set forth in our emergency response plan.

The Arkansas governor announced today the first presumptive patient in the state with the coronavirus. Earlier today, three students in the SEARK Respiratory Therapy Program were advised that they were exposed to the patient while performing their clinical rotation at the Jefferson County Medical Center. The students have been instructed to quarantine for 14 days after their initial exposure to the infected patient, which would be March 30, 2020.

Unfortunately, these three students were unaware of their exposure and attended classes in the McGeorge Building on campus Wednesday, March 11, 2020. While the risk of the spread of infection to other students as a result of this is low, out of the abundance of caution, SEARK is closing campus to provide our custodial services staff an opportunity to perform a deep cleaning of the building, paying particular attention to the Allied Health classrooms and equipment. The cleaning will comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and the college is working in conjunction with the Arkansas Department of Health.

SEARK continues to vigilantly monitor and respond to any information regarding COVID-19, particularly the presumptive case in Pine Bluff. Our priority is the health and safety of the Southeast Arkansas College community. Regular updates are being provided to all students and employees and the college has launched a Covid-19 website at that will be the source of information during this time.

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