Coronavirus

Concord Community Schools learned Wednesday that a school employee has tested positive with the novel coronavirus. This is the first and only confirmed case among its students and staff, according to a statement provided by Concord Schools.

The individual works at Concord Intermediate School. Concord Community Schools will not be releasing the employee’s name or position within the school.

The employee was not at work while showing symptoms of COVID-19. Schools have been closed to students since March 13 and staff since March 16 and will be cleaned thoroughly during the closure.

“Compassion is how we manage through these difficult times. We are extending compassion to our students, staff and Concord families during this unprecedented national pandemic. Our thoughts are with this employee, the employee’s family, and the Concord community,” Concord Community Schools Interim Superintendent Denise Seger said. “We encourage our community to stay safe by following the advice of local, state, and national health officials, including practicing good hygiene, contacting medical professionals if symptoms present, and ensuring that social distancing is taking place.”

Concord Community Schools students and staff have been asked to work from home until at least May 1, following an executive order by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

The Concord Community Schools employee is among the five confirmed cases announced in Elkhart County thus far.

Elkhart reduces city staff to essential only

At a special call meeting Tuesday of the Elkhart City Council, the board passed on first reading an ordinance outlining the city of Elkhart’s response to Holcomb’s executive order to reduce the city staff to essential personnel only.

This ordinance has been moved to second and third reading, which will be held Friday evening.

Mayor Rod Roberson stated in a new release, “By the hour, the circumstances we are facing are changing. Decisions are required at a moment’s notice. This ordinance will allow our administration to put the health of Elkhart’s residents first. We’ve been responding to COVID-19, and this legislation is an attempt to be proactive as we understand we cannot anticipate what lies ahead for Elkhart. We know that the council will carefully consider this ordinance given the extraordinary circumstances we are facing. I look forward to further discussions that will lead to the passing of this ordinance.”

Jayco donates RVs to aid local COVID-19 response

Jayco in Middlebury is donating several units to a local health care facility and area first responders in an effort to help with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The South Bend Clinic has received two Seismic 4125 toy haulers from Jayco to serve as additional space for pediatric immunizations outside of the clinic with the goal of keeping kids safe during the pandemic. Toy haulers provide the space needed as well as the ability to ventilate the unit easily by opening up the unit using the rear ramp door.

Upon receiving the units, Kelly Macken-Marble, chief executive officer for The South Bend Clinic, said, “This really is a game-changer for us. The donation of these two units will help keep our teams and patients as safe as possible.”

The South Bend Clinic has the units set up and ready to receive patients.

Jayco also donated one unit to the Middlebury Fire Department to use as a quarantine space should one of their firefighters become infected.

“These are unprecedented times but we’re all in this together,” said Derald Bontrager, president and chief executive officer for Jayco. “We value and appreciate what our health care workers and first responders are going to be doing for our community over the coming weeks and want to help them during this time of great need.”

LaGrange County funders respond to COVID-19

The LaGrange County Community Foundation and United Way of Elkhart & LaGrange Counties are combining efforts to respond to needs that arise from COVID-19.

The Community Foundation and United Way, in consultation with other community entities, will provide COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants to help address the impacts of the outbreak and recovery.

Together, the organizations have committed $34,000 to the effort and will provide support to nonprofit and other community organizations engaging in basic needs relief, short-term response, and long-term recovery in LaGrange County that is directly connected to COVID-19. Priority will be given to organizations providing basic needs services to people who are immediately suffering from the crisis.

The Good Samaritan Fund at the Community Foundation will be used to support the community response to COVID-19. Donations made to the Good Samaritan Fund will support the COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants, ensuring local nonprofits have the ability to provide critical services.

The Good Samaritan Fund was established at the Community Foundation in 2008 to support emergency relief for residents in LaGrange County, and continues to provide a way for neighbors to support each other during a critical time.

Donations to support COVID-19 relief efforts in LaGrange County can be made securely online at lccf.net/covid-19donate. Administrative fees to the Good Samaritan Fund will be waived; one-hundred percent of donations will support relief efforts.

For more information about the Community Foundation’s response to the public health crisis, please visit lccf.net/Covid-19.

Grace College continues remote learning

Grace College officials announced Tuesday that on-campus classes in Winona Lake are suspended through the end of the spring 2020 semester. Grace’s courses will continue to be delivered remotely, and the commencement ceremony scheduled for May is suspended.

“This is one of the hardest decisions of my 40-plus years in higher education,” stated Grace College President Bill Katip. “While we all deeply desire to be together on campus, hold classes as normal, worship together at chapel, and do life together, we know that the COVID-19 pandemic requires something different.”

Grace residential halls will remain closed, and in-person campus events are canceled for the remainder of the semester.

But Grace is finding alternative methods to keep its students, staff and faculty connected. “We want to continue to foster the Christ-centered environment we all love at Grace, so we are creating new ways for our campus community to connect. Although we are not physically together, it’s more important than ever that we are ‘together’ as a community,” Katip said.

The college will post weekly chapels via YouTube and its residence life staff is finding virtual ways to connect with students. Student involvement opportunities will include documentary viewings, guided workouts, and even a virtual concert with The Gray Havens.

Grace’s admissions office is offering live stream visit days and virtual visits with admissions counselors, faculty, coaches, and students ambassadors at www.grace.edu/visit. Additionally, due to the postponement of SAT/ACT testing, Grace has gone test-optional for fall 2020 applicants above a 2.5 GPA. Students that complete Grace’s free application at www.grace.edu/apply will not be required to submit test scores and are eligible for financial aid, including merit scholarships.

Grace will continue to provide updates about commencement and other summer events at www.grace.edu/covid-19/.

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