Keene State College President Melinda Treadwell was awarded by the New Hampshire Business Review for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on campus.

President Treadwell said she thinks the award comes at a weird time.

“I am humbled by this award,” Treadwell said. “Any success is the work of the group, but I got the privilege of leading. The whole group did the work. I feel I did my best, but there’s still more I need to do.”

Department Chair for the Safety and Occupational Health Applied Science program Dr. Wayne Hartz said via email that President Treadwell’s efforts to mitigate the virus on campus exceeded expectations.

“From my perspective, her leadership while fulfilling ‘normal’ roles as President (of) Keene State College was (is) remarkable while at the same time, she led responses to the threat of COVID-19 since February 2020.

The president’s award comes after Keene State maintained an average positivity rate of 0.19 percent for the fall semester. That figure means that 78 individuals, both students and employees at the college tested positive out of a total of 40,648 tests administered for the semester, according to Keene State’s COVID dashboard.

The University of New Hampshire, Keene’s sister school in the USNH, by contrast, reported more than 750 cases for the fall semester (from late August to mid-December) with a total of 981 positive cases from July 27 of last year until January 24 of this year, according to UNH’s COVID-19 lab testing dashboard. The University’s positivity rate for that period however was 0.27 percent, just 0.08 percent higher than Keene’s. Additionally, UNH administered a total of 358,567 tests, more than seven times that of Keene State.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the city of Keene and Cheshire County as the college welcomes students back on campus, maintaining those low incident rates from the fall may already be proving difficult for Keene State. According to Keene State’s COVID dashboard, the college has seen a total of 46 positive cases from January 4 through February 15, with a positivity rate of 0.51 percent, more than double the positivity rate for the fall.

For more information on how Keene State is handling COVID-19 on campus, you can visit the KSC surveillance monitoring dashboard to see the college’s cumulative data on the virus or click here to see the data from February 17th.


Hunter Oberst can be contacted at:

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