As Northland College continues to negotiate the perils of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have pledged to update the community on the status of our campus. Accordingly, I took the opportunity to report to the Ashland City Council earlier this month, and I anticipate remaining in close communication with city officials during the 2020-21 academic cycle.
The wide-ranging protocols to safeguard the campus community are based on recommendations from Johns Hopkins University, the Center for Disease Control, and the American College Health Association. Also, we are maintaining a close working relationship with Ashland County Health Services, and are genuinely fortunate that our on-campus health office has significantly expanded its services to reinforce our current needs.
In preparation for welcoming students to campus, the College engineered a drive-up testing facility with rapid results for each new and returning student. Because every student has been tested multiple times, the College has completed more than 1,300 COVID-19 antigen tests since early August. During that labor-intensive, though, highly-effective onboarding process, three individuals from Wisconsin tested positive but were able to recuperate comfortably at home before returning to campus.
Of the 505 beds in our residence halls, sixty have been specifically reserved for quarantine and isolation cases. Fortunately, due to the apparent effectiveness of our protocols and the discipline of our students, faculty, and staff, we have not yet needed to utilize our isolation or quarantine capacities. Our college community is vigilantly adhering to face-covering requirements, maintaining physical distance, and we are conducting some on-campus classes and seminars in specially-designed outdoor venues. A number of our faculty have even opted to split the students between classroom and online study, in order to impede the potential for exposure to the virus.
We are now four weeks into our fall semester, and campus life in September 2020 has certainly taken on a remarkable flavor, given that there are no public events and athletic competitions have been suspended until further notice. Students are expecting to complete the semester by Thanksgiving, at which time they will travel home and not return for the second semester until January 2021. Once the campus has been cleared to open in 2021, we will bring students back in sequence and repeat our testing procedures.
Should a surge of the virus occur, despite all of the precautions in place, scenarios have been developed to transition to a virtual learning environment. In order to respond flexibly, $150,000 in recent foundation awards have helped situate faculty forces with the requisite technology to combine in-person instruction and, at the same time, address the pedagogical needs of online students.
I believe that by employing best practices and remaining vigilant, this is a moment for Northland and the region to shine. We at Northland College remain indelibly, steadfastly, and unquestionably committed to our educational and community values.