COVID-19 Update: March 20, 6 p.m.
This has been a week like no other for the Kenyon community. Our campus operations have changed dramatically in a matter of days, with implications for a host of logistics concerning classes, move-out processes and student employment, among other pressing matters. We recognize you have myriad questions, and while we may not have all the answers yet, we have identified a few areas of critical importance for you, included below and on Kenyon’s website.
Retrieving your belongings. The College has given you some options to collect your belongings, with the aim of giving you the flexibility to make decisions to keep you safe and well, and our community safe and well. Those options are detailed here. If you requested to retrieve your belongings in person prior to March 23, you must not be on campus at any time other than your designated three-hour window, and limit your interactions with others to the greatest extent possible. We recognize that the procedure is strict, but it is necessary to protect your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of our campus community. For this reason, too, there is a moratorium on students returning to campus between March 23 and at least May 1, at which point we hope to know more about COVID-19 and its impact. We are very grateful to students and families who have already moved out successfully and expeditiously. More questions regarding student residences and belongings are addressed here.
Academics. Nothing can truly replace Kenyon’s on-campus academic experience, but we will do our very best to ensure the semester continues with as few disruptions as possible. Please know your faculty are working hard to make your remote learning as fruitful and as innovative as possible under these unusual circumstances. Many of you have had questions regarding how labs, art courses, music lessons and other classroom environments might translate to remote learning. We have encouraged your faculty to be in touch with you directly regarding your specific courses, and we have answered some common questions here.
On-campus employment. We know many students may be anxious regarding the status of their work-study job or other employment on campus, and we want to assure students for whom work-study is part of their financial aid package that the College will not leave you in a situation in which you cannot gain access to those funds at this difficult time. We are sorting out the many individual circumstances that characterize the hundreds of student workers on campus and expect to be able to communicate more in the next week about student employment. In the meantime, please contact your Kenyon supervisor to discuss your options.
Access to counselors. Allowing our counselors to work with students who are physically located outside the state of Ohio is not possible at this time due to the complicated nature of state licensure requirements. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio relaxed its rules in order to facilitate the ability of behavioral health counselors to provide teletherapy for in-state residents. We are currently assessing how to set up this service for Kenyon students who are residents of Ohio, since it will require counselor-training and a software platform that is HIPAA compliant, and will be in touch when we have an update. No matter your location, you have 24/7 access to ProtoCall, which provides a licensed clinical behavioral health professional to assist with immediate support, crisis intervention and stabilization. ProtoCall can be reached by calling Campus Safety at 740-427-5555 and requesting to be connected.
Civil Rights and Title IX policies and procedures. Even if you are not on campus, you are still protected from discrimination and/or harassment due to one or more of the characteristics detailed in the College’s Notice of Non-Discrimination. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) remains open, with staff working remotely, and both Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator Samantha Hughes and Civil Rights/Title IX Deputy Coordinator Kevin Peterson can help you via email, phone or Google Meet. After normal business hours (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. EDT), you may reach them by calling Campus Safety (740-427-5000) and requesting to be connected to either Samantha or Kevin. More information is available here.
If you have questions not addressed above nor through Kenyon’s online COVID-19 FAQs, please email email@example.com. Additionally, our COVID-19 call center (740-427-5093) is open next Monday–Friday from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. EDT.
One final note: It’s true that Kenyon’s suspension of its residential program will have, and has had, profound implications for campus operations. That is unavoidable. But what is within control for all of us is our ability to sustain our sense of community, even as we are physically apart. As President Decatur mentioned in his earlier video message to students, our friendships and connections can and must be maintained over distance. Even as you practice physical distancing and refrain from large group gatherings, please make sure to stay in touch virtually with your friends, your faculty, Kenyon staff and the neighbors in Knox County that you have come to know and appreciate, and who care about you. And please do take time to rest and restore your mind this weekend, as President Decatur recommends in his most recent blog post. This is a new normal for all members of the Kenyon community, but we are confident we will come through it stronger than ever.
Best wishes, and be well.
Meredith Harper Bonham ’92
Vice President for Student Affairs
Joseph L. Klesner