Campus Report

2020-21 Update for employees

Office of Communications
August 14, 2020

Dear Kenyon College faculty and staff,

We are in the home stretch of our preparations for the arrival of students to campus and approaching the starting gate for a year that will be unlike any other. Work continues to move at breakneck speed and I am writing to catch you up on several important milestones.

COVID-19 Testing
The College has engaged the laboratory EverlyWell to provide rt-PCR COVID-19 tests and processing for Kenyon College employees and students. The test is one you administer yourself, and kits are on route to most employees’ homes for added convenience. Employees whose work is primarily campus-based, including maintenance, safety, dining and the Kenyon Inn, will receive a test kit from their supervisor and administer the test on campus during one of their shifts, also for convenience. 

Kits are expected to arrive on campus and at employees’ homes next week. Indeed, many of you may have received an email and/or text message from EverlyWell saying that a kit is on its way to you. We apologize for that message arriving ahead of this one, but we are encouraged by EverlyWell’s commitment to communicating with individuals at every stage of the process. Please be assured that EverlyWell observes all health privacy regulations (HIPAA), will not share your personal information and will contact you only about your tests and results.

You will receive detailed instructions with your test kit, and I encourage you to watch this video in advance to see exactly how the test is administered. It is critically important that you follow the instructions precisely, including shipping your test sample on the same day you collect it. The kit includes a prepaid overnight shipping label (UPS or Fed-Ex) and can be dropped at a drop-box prior to the carrier’s last pick-up on weekdays. Those in the Gambier area may drop off their package at the Kenyon College Bookstore by 1 p.m. or Mail Center by 3 p.m. on weekdays if you wish for the College to deliver it to the carrier on your behalf.

Employees who will be working on campus in some capacity should administer the test as quickly as possible after receiving it. Results will be emailed to you and to the Office of Human Resources within 72 hours; positive results will be reported to Knox Public Health for case management and contact tracing. Later this month, the College will publish on its website a dashboard of aggregate COVID-19 data for the campus, village and county, including number of tests administered and number of positive results; no personally identifiable information will be shared.

Return to Campus Protocols for Employees
The College has updated the Return to Campus Protocols for Employees issued in June to reflect the latest public health guidance and institutional policies. Most notably, Kenyon will provide paid COVID-19 Health Leave for work missed due to quarantine or isolation; part-time or on-call employees will qualify for paid COVID-19 Health Leave for any previously scheduled hours missed due to quarantine or isolation. This is in addition to other paid leave (SPF, vacation) offered by the College.

One of the most important things we can do is stay home when we are sick or when we suspect that we have been exposed to the coronavirus. For that reason, each of us is expected to complete a daily health assessment before reporting to campus. We have created this flowchart (PDF) to help you know what to do in various scenarios. We also will provide you with a health and safety bag that includes a mask, hand sanitizer and a Kinsa smart thermometer, which can integrate with your smartphone or other device for daily reminders or other added features.

While we hope that these protocols and the Kenyon College Commitment provide clarity about what is expected of all us, we recognize that the demands for every office and division are different, as are the circumstances for every individual. This year more than ever, we need to be in regular conversation with our supervisors and co-workers about what is working and what is not. We encourage you to explore options like teleworking and flex time, both to keep the density of campus low and to gain flexibility in juggling new demands at home. But we also recognize that some duties are necessarily time and place bound, and that our students and colleagues are counting on us in ways they have not before. It will be an imperfect balance, to be sure; please extend yourself and one another a degree of grace as you seek equilibrium.

Return to Campus Protocols for Students
Just over 40 international students are expected to arrive beginning Monday, with the remaining on-campus students arriving the week of Aug. 24, for a total of just under 1,000 in residence. Another 700 will be studying remotely this fall. I am grateful for all of the work that has gone into preparing for students’ arrival as well as into creating a rewarding experience for students off campus. For more information about the plans and expectations for on-campus students during their initial arrival phase, as well as throughout the semester, please read this update from Vice President for Student Affairs Meredith Harper Bonham. And for information about the financial support we are offering students and their families, please see this memo from Vice President for Enrollment Diane Anci and Director of Financial Aid Craig Slaughter.

In many ways, the opening of the academic year will be like no other in Kenyon’s history. But in at least one way it will be the same: It is only possible because of the excellent work that you do on behalf of Kenyon’s students.

With gratitude,

Sean Decatur