SCCC steps up to quarantine families in need

Seward+County+Community+College+will+be+using+the+72+open+rooms+excluding+the+Student+Living+Center+for+families+who+need+to+be+quarantined.+They+will+only+be+available+for+residents+of+Liberal.+

Calen Moore

Seward County Community College will be using the 72 open rooms excluding the Student Living Center for families who need to be quarantined. They will only be available for residents of Liberal.

By Annette Meza, Seward County Community College

Seward County Community College stepped up to serve the Liberal community by providing shelter for those who need to be quarantined after being exposed to those with COVID-19. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Seward County Emergency team requested that the college help shelter those in need. 

President Ken Trzaska said the board of trustees unanimously voted that the county would be allowed to use up to 72 free rooms located in Hale Court and the mansions. 

Most importantly, the 10-12 students who are still housed in the Student Living Center (SLC) will be completely separated from any families who choose to stay at SCCC. 

“It’s a sense of humility to be able to provide support for the community. I was like okay, let’s figure out a way to make this happen to be an option for the community because at the end of the day we are all trying to get through it and be safe,” Trzaska said. 

Currently, the Seward Emergency Team houses individuals for quarantine in hotels. So essentially, the 72 rooms wil house the overflow of people who have been around a COVID-19 patient or around someone who has tested positive asymptomatic. If someone is tested positive, they would be removed from the college. 

Pullquote Photo

It’s a sense of humility to be able to provide support for the community…at the end of the day we are all trying to get through it and be safe.”

— Ken Trzaska

“If they break quarantine, they would be asked to leave to keep people safe. The rooms will also be Hazmat cleaned so that they could be used for other people who come in,” Kay Burtzloff, SCCC board of trustees member, said.  

Community members who stay at SCCC would be completely quarantined during their stay. They will be monitored by a site manager from the emergency team and a member of the  National guard for the safety of the families.

“I understand that if the families do need groceries, the site manager will be able to get it for them and the emergency team will take care of that for them as well, but Great Western Dining will be providing food for them if they’d like,” Burtzloff said. 

As for students and the future school year, Trzaska confirmed that these rooms will be used until they are done being needed, but will be ready for student use in the fall. However, a soft reopening of the school is being talked about right now in May. 

 “Students would be safe to use these rooms in the fall, as they would be Hazmat cleaned by the state,” Trzaska said. 

Employees of SCCC would also be completely separated from any community member staying in the housing facilities, as “keeping our employees and teachers safe is the most important thing to us right now,” Trzaska added. 

Additionally, this opportunity would be only available to residents of Liberal and not surrounding areas of Liberal. Trzaska is speaking to other communities such as Garden City, as president of the state association of community colleges, to let them know how to follow in the steps of SCCC. 

“We are planning in the fall for face-to-face classes, additional blend-flex classes and additional online classes,” Trzaska added. “We will do whatever we can so that students are comfortable to be back at SCCC. We definitely won’t be back to normal, but we will be flexible as we are keeping an eye on things throughout the rest of the summer.” 

This story was originally published on The Crusader on April 28, 2020.