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Lyon College announces COVID-19 testing protocols

Lyon College has announced its protocols for entry testing and surveillance testing for the spring semester.

For more information on this topic and others, like testing, quarantine, and move-in, visit lyon.edu/coronavirus.


1. What kinds of tests will Lyon use?

The College will use Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Tests, commonly known as PCR tests, for entry testing and Rapid Antigen Tests for surveillance testing.

Both tests use the anterior nasal swab technique. The swab goes approximately 1 inch into the nose, and the test can either be self-administered under the supervision of a medical professional or be administered by a medical professional. The College will NOT utilize the nasopharyngeal swab, also known as the “brain tickler,” which is required to go more than 1 inch into the nasal cavity.

The results of the PCR Tests are provided to individuals within a 2-3 day period. Results are usually returned 24-48 hours after the lab receives the samples. The results of the Rapid Antigen Tests are provided to individuals within 24 hours of the sample being collected.

The College will NOT use the more invasive nasopharyngeal swab, also known as the “brain tickler,” which is required to go more than 1 inch into the nasal cavity.


2. How will Entry Testing work?

The College will use PCR tests for the entry testing procedure and a staggered move-in day schedule to conduct tests:

      • Basketball Teams, Select Res Life Staff – November 30, 2020
      • Wrestling/Cross Country/Track & Field/Basketball Teams & Select Resident Life Staff – December 28, 2020
      • Lyon College Staff/Faculty – January 5, 2021
      • Remainder of Resident Life Staff - January 8, 2021
      • Baseball/Softball/Volleyball/Cheerleaders/Golf Teams & All Additional Residential Students (excluding the Football Team) – January 15, 2021
      • Commuter Students – January 19, 2021-January 21, 2021
      • Football Team – January 22, 2021


Entry testing will be performed in the Temp. All students, staff and faculty will show their Lyon College ID at the check-in stations to help verify identification and will sign an informed consent form.

Small groups of 2-4 people will be called to the sample collection area and walked through the testing instructions.


3. How will Surveillance Testing work?

Lyon will use Rapid Antigen Tests for surveillance testing to maintain a safe learning environment for all members of the community. Each member of the Lyon community will be tested every other week during the spring semester. 

Every building on campus will be divided into two groups: Group A and Group B. Each group will include half of the people that live and/or work on each floor. Commuter students will be divided evenly between the two testing groups. 

Each group will then be divided into 5 testing sub-groups so that one sub-group can be tested each weekday. Group A will report for surveillance testing during the odd number weeks of the semester (Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, etc.), and Group B will report for testing during the even number weeks of the semester (Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, etc.).

Surveillance testing will also be performed in the Temp. All students, staff and faculty will show their Lyon College ID at the check-in stations to help verify identification and sign an informed consent form.

Small groups of 2-4 people will be called to the sample collection area and walked through the testing instructions.

If you test positive, the COVID Coordinator will contact you within 24 hours. If you do not hear from the COVID Coordinator within 24 hours, this means you tested negative.


4. What happens if you test positive for COVID-19?

If you test positive for COVID-19 during entry testing, the COVID Coordinator will notify you via phone call and begin the contact tracing procedure. You will need to identify anyone you may have been within 6 feet of for a total of 15 minutes during a 24-hour period that may have been exposed to the virus.

If you are not having symptoms, then the College will identify close contacts starting 4 days prior to your positive test. If you are having symptoms, the College will identify close contacts starting 2 days before your symptoms began. 

You will be asked for names and phone numbers of your close contacts so they can be informed and begin the quarantine process.

For privacy reasons, the person who tested positive will not be identified by name or where the exposure may have occurred.

You will then begin a 10-day isolation period. If you are a residential student, you will be contacted by Dean Lai-Monté Hunter and/or Sh’Nita Mitchell to coordinate moving you to one of the isolation rooms that have been set up on campus. If you are a commuter student or staff/faculty member, you will begin a 10-day isolation period at your home.


5. What happens if you test negative for COVID-19?

If you test negative for COVID-19 during entry testing, the COVID Coordinator will notify you via email. Once you are notified that you tested negative, you are free to move around campus.

You will not have to do entry testing again, but you will participate in surveillance testing every other week throughout the spring semester.

at Thursday, November 19, 2020

Lyon senior designs bicentennial coin for Independence County

A Lyon senior’s design has been selected for Independence County’s bicentennial coin.

The coin commemorates the 200th anniversary of the county’s founding, which was established in 1820. Batesville was established in 1821, and it is the oldest existing city in Arkansas.

Samantha Long, a fine arts major from Cave City, created the coin’s design based on her own interpretation of what Independence County Judge Robert Griffin had requested. 

The front features a Native American based on the Cherokee tribe as a nod to Arkansas history and a steamboat as an homage to Independence County’s beginnings as a trade area. The back of the coin features a glimpse into modern-day Independence County, showing local farmers and businesses coming together while Independence County grows in the background.

“I felt that it was very important to incorporate farmers into the design because our community has so much to thank them for,” Long said.

She continued, “My brother gave me the idea to have them shaking hands, as a way to show the two coming together to help build our community.”

Professor of Art Dustyn Bork had approached Long about submitting a design. He told her it would be a great way to gain experience for her fine arts major.

“This is an excellent example of a Lyon student seeing their design come to fruition in a tangible way,” Bork said. “What an awesome opportunity for Sam and to celebrate our community.”

“It’s honestly an honor to be selected for something so important!” Long said. “I couldn’t believe it at first, and I did feel a bit anxious during the process.”

She concluded, “But by the end of it, I was very proud to have had the opportunity to leave my small mark on Independence County.”


at Wednesday, November 18, 2020

What will Lyon classes look like this spring?

Classes will look different when students return to Lyon College this spring. Provost Melissa Taverner wants students and faculty to remember that these changes will let them learn in-person safely.

“We are not primarily a remote instruction institution,” she said. “We want people in the classroom because that’s where the powerful educational moments happen.”

Policies for in-person classroom instruction have been adapted to keep faculty and students safe.


Masks and Social Distancing

“Masks are not even a question,” Taverner said. “If you are in a building, classroom, bathroom or corridor, you have to wear a mask.”

Faculty members are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), and plexiglass dividers are being installed at the front of the lecture halls.

“Faculty members will be behind that divider and will also be socially distanced from the students,” she said. 

The students will also be socially distanced from each other within the classrooms.


Labs and Studios

Labs and studios provide a unique challenge, Taverner said, because they are “very dynamic” environments where faculty need to move around to check students’ work and provide guidance.

“We’re still going to be social distancing as much as possible in those situations. If a faculty member is moving around, they’re still going to have on PPE.”


Reduced Classroom Capacity

Classroom sizes will be reduced to 50% capacity to help Lyon achieve proper social distancing for each course. The College’s informational technology (IT) department has developed software to match reduced capacity courses with appropriately-sized classrooms.

Taverner advises students to be sure to check their course schedules since classes may not be held in their traditional buildings.

“We may have classes in classes that are different from their usual locations, but let’s remember that we will be back on campus,” Taverner said. “That is our number one goal.”


Cleaning of Classrooms

All classrooms will be professionally cleaned before the beginning of each day. There will be cleaning carts in every classroom so that students and faculty can wipe off their areas before moving on to their next class.

“Logistically, it would be impossible to clean every room between classes because we have 10 minute intervals in between,” Taverner said. “We’re going to ask students and faculty to wipe off their areas where they have been sitting or working on their computers.”

She said cleaning personal materials, such as books, backpacks and phones, is also “incredibly important.”

“It might not be a bad idea to have disinfectant wipes and clean the outside of your computer and keyboard once or twice a day,” Taverner said.


Building Traffic

The academic buildings will also have directional entries and exits, meaning that foot traffic will be moving in a single direction. If people are entering and exiting a building through the same door, the possibility of passing close by each other and transmitting COVID-19 is higher, she said.

“We are working on getting signage up,” she said. “We want to make people aware that there will be directional travel. It’s to keep the turbulence down and to keep the possibility of transmission down.”

The Lyon Building, for example, has a front entrance, two side entrances and two back entrances. Taverner said the front entrance will probably be an entrance only, and the side and back entrances will be designated as either “entrance only” or “exit only.”


Faculty and Students with Health Conditions

The College is approaching situations where faculty or students have existing health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19 on a “case-by-case basis.” Lyon is not committing to offer every course remotely or as a hybrid between in-person and remote instruction this spring. 

“I have a few faculty members who for legitimate reasons do not need to be back in the classroom,” Taverner said. “Those folks have actually petitioned me to be able to continue their courses remotely, and I have said ‘yes.’”

She said the small number of students who are immunocompromised or have other health concerns for themselves or family members have been advised to work with their faculty members to access lectures remotely. Many faculty members will be streaming or recording their lectures to assist with that process.

“We want students to know that if they get sick either with COVID-19 or another illness they will not be locked out of their courses for two weeks,” she said. “We’re going to do our best to help them continue doing the work they need to do in their courses as they are able.”

Fortunately, she said, faculty members have spent the past year developing strategies and practices for remote instruction that are “extremely effective.”


Social and Ethical Responsibility

Personal behavior is key to ensuring Lyon can resume in-person instruction, Taverner said. Everyone must remember to wear their masks, socially distance and wash their hands frequently.

“You have to be an active participant in how we create this environment that is as safe as possible. We don’t want people to be paranoid about it, just cautious.”

Taverner continued, “We need to have an understanding that we’re in this together. If we look out for each other, and ourselves, we have a much better shot of actually making it to in-person Baccalaureate and Commencement in May.”

Lyon is constantly monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly within Batesville, Independence County and the state of Arkansas.

“We understand that we’re not separate from these larger communities,” Taverner said. “This is on everybody’s radar at all times. If we need to adjust our plans in response to local pandemic conditions so that we can keep our community safe, then we’ll adjust them.”

at Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Lyon students named ‘outstanding delegates’ at Model UN

Submitted photo

(From left) Taylor Fitterling, Jihye Jung and Timmy Tignor were part of Lyon's delegation to the virtual Arkansas Collegiate Model United Nations on Nov. 6.


Lyon students were recognized as “Outstanding Delegates” for the first time at the Arkansas Collegiate Model United Nations (ACMUN) on Nov. 6.

Kristen Towery, Samantha Baxley, Timmy Tignor, Charles Fancyboy, Taylor Fitterling and Jihye Jung participated in this year’s conference. Baxley and Tignor were named Outstanding Delegates, and Towery, Fitterling and Fancyboy were named Honorary Outstanding Delegates.

“Lyon did really well this year,” said senior Timmy Tignor. “We had three new students who had no Model UN experience, and we did awesome!”

He continued, “The standout moment was that Lyon had never won an Outstanding Delegate before. I was so happy to see that we were able to do this well.”

Jihye Jung said the students have been meeting every Thursday with Assistant  Professor of Political Science Dr. Jaeyun Sung to practice opening statements, speech scripts and how to write resolutions for Model UN. They even virtually practiced in a preliminary session with the Model UN team at Harding University before the conference.

The ACMUN conference is usually held at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway, but the event was held virtually over Zoom this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I think everyone adjusted pretty quickly,” Jung said. “Also, since the Zoom meeting makes us change our username and background, it was even easier to notice delegates and their representative countries.”

Jung said this year’s topic was “Preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.” The students worked to solve the problem by establishing a new council, which they named the Arab Cooperation and Defense Council (ACDC).

“It was impressive that we made our own council, named it, and made our own rules,” Jung said. “Our first resolution was unanimously agreed upon, and we all applauded together.”

“The hard work put into drafting and passing two committee resolutions by other members of the Council of the Arab League was truly inspiring,” said junior Taylor Fitterling said. 

Fitterling chose to represent Syria and enjoyed researching his country’s stances on particular issues. 

He said he learned three mains lessons at the conference: be careful when choosing a country that has not engaged in much international activity, be certain to “go beyond or expand upon your country’s ‘official’ position to deliver persuasive arguments and obtain support for your resolution,” and be willing to collaborate and compromise with other student delegations in order to foster a friendly and cooperative “international” environment.

Jung enjoyed how a small group of students was able to share their thoughts, resolve the problems at hand and achieve peace.

“Seeing us come together, I imagined a world without conflict and dispute.”

She is planning to attend graduate school to study international affairs, peaceful resolution and human rights in particular.

“Even though it’s just a Model UN, all the delegates were serious and critically thinking about the issues that the Middle East has today,” Jung said. “I found that we can definitely make a better world.”

Lyon’s Model UN team will compete again at the Midwest Model UN (MMUN) in February.

“The Model UN team this year brought well-deserved outcomes. They really worked hard throughout the semester,” Sung said. “I believe our students are prepared to face the next level of competition.”

at Thursday, November 12, 2020

Top 5 Questions from Creative Dining forum

Lyon College hosted a Creative Dining forum on Nov. 6 to address questions and concerns about how dining services would be adapted to meet the COVID-19 protocols.

Dean of Students Lai-Monté Hunter and Director of Dining Services Lorenzo Surrisi led the discussion.

“We are hoping this opportunity will provide insight on how we plan to move forward as we prepare for the spring semester with dining and catering events,” Hunter said.

Surrisi said Creative Dining Services has developed a “playbook” for COVID operations that will be applied when the entire student body returns to camps.

Below are five of the top questions from the forum:


1. Will seating capacity be limited in the Edwards Commons dining hall?


Yes. Surrisi said seating capacity will be limited to 30 tables that sit four persons. Plexiglass dividers are being installed between the tables to protect students.


2. What happens if all the tables are full within 15 minutes?


Surrisi said Creative Dining will have overflow dining spaces in case this occurs. He said they are currently considering using the Maxfield Room on the bottom floor of Edwards Commons for overflow dining.

“We will also have a takeout component,” Surrisi said, “that allows students to carry out meals versus eating in the dining hall.”

This new feature will take some of the pressure off the fixed dining space, he said.


3. Will students still be able to serve themselves?


No, there will be no self-service. Surrisi said Creative Dining Services is not allowing for any such practices.

“We will be serving all foods that were previously self-service,” he said. “Going forward, we will have attendant service, and some foods will be ‘grab and go’ with instructions that if you touch it then it’s yours.”

If an item, cup or utensil has been touched, then it will be considered “out of circulation,” Surrisi said. There will be signage indicating this in all “grab and go” areas.

“We are expanding ‘grab and go’ service to the Salty Dog,” he said, “and we will have meal exchange at both the Lyon Den and Salty Dog.”

Surrisi continued, “In prior semesters, those services were available as cash, credit or declining balance. Now we’re adding meal exchange to take pressure off the dining room.”


4. How will isolated or quarantined students be served?


Once Lyon determines that a student has come into contact with COVID-19, Hunter said Student Life will communicate to Creative Dining that the student is in need of meals. Isolated or quarantined students will be allowed to select items from the menus, and the meals will be delivered between 11 a.m. and noon for breakfast and lunch and around 5 p.m. for dinner.

“If there are complications that may arise during that particular time, then we are in communication with our nurses as well,” Hunter said. “This system has gone pretty well thus far for the small number of students who have been on campus.”

“I think we have the procedure down,” Surrisi agreed. “We had the chance to refine it the last couple months. To the best of my knowledge, we haven’t received any negatives from the packages delivered [to isolated students].”

“The team has done extremely well,” Hunter said. “When we do place those orders and go to pick them up, the orders are ready. That’s been a big help because we can make sure we’re on time based on what we’ve told students.”


5. How will COVID-19 policies affect catering for campus events?


Hunter said that if students want food to be served at any event Lyon will require them to have Creative Dining cater. 

“We are going to limit opportunities for students to serve large groups from an event and programming perspective,” he said.


For more information, please visit lyon.edu/coronavirus.

at Tuesday, November 10, 2020