As Lebanon County endures the highest rates of COVID-19 seen since the beginning of the pandemic, local education institutions are having to revise plans in reaction to confirmed cases.

Read More: Lebanon County daily COVID-19 tracker

Lebanon Valley College had originally intended to continue in-person classes until Thanksgiving Break, but on Friday the college announced that it would be ending in-person classes by the end of this week, with all classes expected to be 100% virtual by Monday, Nov. 9.

“We have been fortunate to have continued in-person learning so far this semester, but the worsening county, state, and campus data trends are concerning,” said recently-installed LVC President Dr. James MacLaren in an email to LVC students.

Read More: Lebanon Valley College names physicist James MacLaren as its 19th president

“There has been an increase in the number of tests administered to campus community members and some recent positive results,” continued MacLaren, noting that the college had seen an uptick in the number of students in isolation and quarantine.

“While there is no crystal ball to project the future, there is significant evidence that we should manage the situation before an outbreak occurs on campus,” said MacLaren.

According to the email, the decision to end classes early was made with “unanimous support” from the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. While some exceptions are in place for students who need access to technology, housing, food, or other services, all students without a pre-approved waivers must vacate dormitories no later than Saturday, Nov. 7, by 4 p.m.

“Though I wish we could have made it to the Thanksgiving break, winding down now—just two weeks ahead of schedule—is the most prudent thing to do,” said MacLaren in the email.

LVC will be hosting a virtual town hall later this week for sutdents and families to address outstanding questions.

While LVC is the only residential college in Lebanon County, it is hardly the only educational institution pressed to adapt plans this fall in response to COVID-19 spread. Last month, Lebanon High School spent a week operating remotely, as did Northwest Elementary before that.

This week, Northern Lebanon High School and Northern Lebanon Middle School are operating virtually. ELCO High School is also in a week-long virtual operation period, which began last Wednesday and will conclude Tuesday, Nov. 3, with students back in class at the high school on Wednesday, Nov. 4.

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