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Welcome desk receptionist reaching out to every Clarke University student

Clarke University welcome desk receptionist Mary Ellen Herbst makes phone calls to students to check in on them amid the COVID-19 outbreak that forced students from the Dubuque campus. Photo Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (Maggie Wedlake/KCRG)
Clarke University welcome desk receptionist Mary Ellen Herbst makes phone calls to students to check in on them amid the COVID-19 outbreak that forced students from the Dubuque campus. Photo Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (Maggie Wedlake/KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Mar. 31, 2020 at 9:21 PM CDT
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A familiar face at Clarke University is taking the time to check in with students now that they won't be coming back to campus this Spring.

For the past week, Mary Ellen Herbst, the welcome desk receptionist, has been working her way through a list of about 850 students. She is personally calling each one to make sure they are doing okay during their time away from campus due to COVID-19.

Herbst said Clarke is a tight-knit community and the time away is hard on everyone. In a time of uncertainty, Herbst is hoping to brighten Clarke's students' days even just a little bit.

"They did leave kind of hastily and then when they found out they wouldn't be coming back," Herbst said. "Clarke just wants them to know that we think about them every day and they are a very huge, important part of our lives."

Herbst even used the extra minutes on her flip phone to make the calls.

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