Latest COVID-19 Update from President Decatur
Dear members of the Kenyon College community,
Like colleges and universities across the country, we continue to take steps to safeguard our community in a rapidly changing public health environment. Three cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Ohio on Monday — none associated with Kenyon College, nor linked to community spread within the state. However, we know that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure to the virus. And with most students and faculty away for spring break, we are in a unique position to put policies in place to minimize exposure.
For this reason, we have decided to delay the reopening of student residences until Saturday, March 28, at 5 p.m. Specifically:
For students, spring break will extend one week, through Sunday, March 22, while faculty and staff prepare for remote teaching and learning.
Coursework will be conducted remotely the following week, March 23–27. (Details will follow.)
Classes will resume on campus on Monday, March 30.
We recognize that any shift in operations is disruptive, and we do not take these measures lightly. These plans reflect our latest knowledge regarding the emergence of COVID-19 in the United States and abroad and will continue to be evaluated as circumstances change. We have carefully weighed these decisions, which reflect our obligations to and care for the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community and which follow guidance issued by the State of Ohio. The work of the College continues and we remain fully committed to honoring our academic mission and meeting the needs of our community.
In order to limit potential exposure to the virus and minimize its spread at Kenyon, students may not return to campus before Saturday, March 28, at 5 p.m. We understand that some students cannot go home (for example, international students); those unable to leave must complete this petition form by no later than Thursday, March 12, at noon. Students who are currently on campus and are not granted a petition must depart campus by no later than Friday, March 13, at noon. We will provide those approved to remain on campus the support they need, and are working to arrange for modified dining and other services. To further minimize exposure to the virus, we expect that students who must extend their stay will not travel outside of the local community. Students with questions regarding their specific housing situation should contact the Office of Residential Life at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students with on-campus employment should contact supervisors to discuss their schedules.
Contact: Office of Residential Life
Faculty members should use March 16–20 to develop plans for remote instruction. The Center for Innovative Pedagogy will offer workshops on different strategies and technologies for remote instruction. Faculty will receive a message from Joe Murphy, director of the CIP, with additional details about these opportunities.
Contact: Provost’s Office
Administrative offices and campus services will continue to operate as they normally do during spring break. (See below for information about adjustments to travel, meetings and events.)
Contact: Your supervisor or division head
All collegiate athletic practices and competitions are suspended during this period. The only exception is the men’s and women’s swim teams, which at this time are scheduled to travel from campus on Saturday for the NCAA Division III championships in North Carolina. Teams that are currently off campus may complete their scheduled games through Saturday, March 14, and student-athletes must return home. (For student-athletes who cannot return home, please see above.) During the period of March 15–28, non-conference games will be canceled outright, while every attempt will be made to reschedule NCAC conference games. Student-athletes and athletics staff will receive additional details from Jill McCartney, director of athletics, fitness and recreation.
Contact: Office of the Director of Athletics, Fitness and Recreation
Meetings, Events and Gatherings
All on-campus events of 50 or more are canceled through April 5.
Contact: Office of Campus Events
Visitors to Campus
Regretfully, we are not able to welcome visitors to campus through April 5. Daily campus tours, information sessions, interviews and junior visit days are canceled. We ask students to refrain from inviting personal guests to campus during this time, with the exception of family members assisting with travel arrangements.
Contact: Admissions Office, Office of Residential Life
All college-sponsored travel on common carriers (trains, planes, public buses, etc.) or to events with more than 50 people in the U.S. and abroad is suspended until April 5. Employees who are traveling on behalf of Kenyon currently should be in touch with their supervisor to discuss plans for their return.
Contact: Your supervisor
The College’s decision to suspend travel does not apply to off-campus study. We are deferring to trusted program partners and will not prevent students from participating in a program unless the provider suspends it. Kenyon’s Center for Global Engagement will continue to monitor the situation closely and be in touch with students directly if anything changes.
Contact: Center for Global Engagement
Prepare and Prevent
Make prevention part of your routine now.
Employees who are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness should take steps to isolate themselves and contact a physician. Please call or email your supervisor if you have questions about your situation.
If you have traveled to regions affected by CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notices or have come in contact with someone with COVID-19, follow CDC recommendations to isolate yourself for 14 days, monitor your health and practice social distancing.
Fear and anxiety about disease can be overwhelming, and especially so if you experience heightened anxiety in your everyday life. The Employee Assistance Program is available to employees. Students (on campus or abroad) have 24/7 access to a licensed clinical behavioral health professional who can assist with immediate support, crisis intervention and stabilization. ProtoCall can be reached by calling Campus Safety at 740-427-5555.
Contact: Cox Health and Counseling Center
Questions and Communications
Further updates will be posted on Kenyon’s COVID-19 webpage and emailed to students, employees and parents. We also will post a set of Frequently Asked Questions on our website and will update it regularly.
Contact: Office of Communications
The health and safety of our Kenyon community is our top priority as we navigate the challenges associated with COVID-19. We appreciate your partnership in helping us continue, to the best of our ability, the College’s core academic mission while protecting the wellbeing of those in our community. While we realize that these decisions will immediately raise questions and concerns, we ask that you exercise patience as we navigate this complex situation together. Please take seriously recommendations issued by global health authorities and our campus directives, and exercise good judgment.
While this is not how we had envisioned spring semester would unfold, we know that the strength of our community will reinforce us during these uncertain times.