Campus Report

COVID-19 Update: Planning for fall 2020

Office of Communications
April 24, 2020

Dear members of the Kenyon College community,

Like the rest of the nation, we look forward to when we can resume our activities in their fullest possible form, having taken hard but necessary steps this spring to curtail the surge of COVID-19 in our state and across our country. Early and decisive leadership has served Ohio well, and we expect that the state will continue to honor its public mission with compassion and intelligence as we make the delicate turn from crisis intervention to sustained crisis management. 

Many of us are eager to know what the next phase will bring, especially for residential institutions like Kenyon. The Class of 2024 is actively taking shape and we share their enthusiasm for being in Gambier this fall. I have been heartened by the length to which students, faculty and staff have gone to nurture ties to campus and to one another even at a distance. It underscores just how integral face-to-face interaction is to the Kenyon experience, whether in classrooms, around dining tables or on playing fields. And while much will depend on forthcoming guidance from governing bodies, I am more certain than ever that our contingency plans for the fall must preserve as a top priority the in-person dimension of a Kenyon education, without compromising the safety of our community and the health of the broader public.

A team is actively at work on plans for how we can responsibly reopen our residential program. We are considering several scenarios, including delaying the start of the academic year in order to accommodate an in-person, residential fall semester. We will continue to follow the guidance of federal, state and local health authorities, both with respect to the timing of our opening and the protocols we will need to have in place to promote public health (e.g., physical distancing, health screening, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine). We will keep you informed as new guidance is issued and our plans develop accordingly.

Kenyon is a residential college, and the physical place — our presence in Gambier, the setting of the campus, the iconic Middle Path stretching from Old Kenyon to Bexley Hall — has shaped the experience of our students, faculty and staff for nearly 200 years. Lasting connection to people and place is a deeply held value, and we intend to honor that in our plans for next year.


Sean Decatur

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