Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

Important information for students in residence

Office of Communications
August 14, 2020

Dear students who will be in residence,

We are eagerly anticipating your presence on campus later this month. Right now it feels too quiet, and we can’t wait for you to arrive. Many, many people at Kenyon have been hard at work all spring and summer preparing for students to be back. With the ever-changing pandemic landscape, our plans have necessarily shifted and evolved, and I am grateful for your patience over the last several weeks and months. I also am mindful that with new protocols, despite our best efforts, we will undoubtedly encounter some hiccups. Thank you for your cooperation, as well as your willingness to provide us with some grace as we implement some processes for the very first time. If you have feedback on how things are going, we encourage you to reach out to the College's COVID-19 working groups as well as through your Student Council representatives.

I am writing to you today to provide some additional logistical information, and to review with you expectations and plans for students both during the initial arrival phase, as well as throughout the semester. More detailed information is also available online.

Move-in Process Reminder and Testing, August 24-27
When you arrive, you will first check in at the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC), Toan Track (enter through the glass doors on Meadow Lane). You will receive a self-administered, rt-PCR COVID-19 test produced by EverlyWell. I encourage you to watch a video in advance so you know exactly how the test will be administered. Results will be sent to you and to the Cox Health & Counseling Center within 72 hours. Students already on campus and those arriving prior to August 24 will be tested on Friday, August 21, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m..  

Once your initial COVID-19 test is complete, you will proceed to the Multi-Activity Court (MAC), also in the KAC, to finalize documents, pick up your room key, receive your welcome kit, and receive other relevant information. You may then go to your assigned residence hall for move-in with one individual who can assist you. You and your helper are required to wear a face-covering when outside of your residential space.

Quiet Period
In order to manage the risks associated with travel and of bringing the community together for the first time, we have set in place a number of specific expectations until September 4. During this period of time, and in order to minimize contact within the Kenyon community, students are required to limit movement around campus to essential activities only. Students will be able to attend classes (while masked), minimally interact with individuals while observing 6-foot physical distancing, and obtain meals from the dining hall to be eaten outside or in their rooms. There will be no in-person, extracurricular activities or small gatherings, no guests in residence hall rooms, the KAC will be closed, and students may not eat inside Peirce Dining Hall. After September 4, students will be permitted to dine within the facility, and extracurricular activities may take place in person as long as participants observe public health directives for small gatherings.

During the quiet period, students will be administered a total of three COVID-19 tests (including the test administered at move-in). More details will be provided regarding that process in the coming days. Should conditions warrant, especially if there is a rise in cases on campus or locally, the College may need to implement another “quiet period.”

In close cooperation with our AVI partners, Peirce Dining Hall is being retrofitted to allow for students to obtain food in takeout containers. There will be two separate, served buffet lines, one in the Great Hall and another in Thomas, to provide some choice in food variety. Students with special meal accommodations will be served in the Atrium. After September 4, students will be permitted to eat in Peirce at tables spread throughout the building. Tables will have strict capacity requirements and clear barriers atop them to promote safety and social distancing

Packing Light
It is very important that you bring to campus only those items that are essential for the semester. This is to assist you in the event you need to move into a quarantine or isolation room, or if the College needs to change course and send students home prior to the end of the semester. While we hope very much that we will not need to exercise this option, we nonetheless want to ensure that students are appropriately prepared. As a reminder, residence hall room assignments are only for the fall, and therefore all students must clear out their belongings at the conclusion of the semester on November 25.

Smart Thermometers
During move-in, you will receive a Kinsa smart thermometer that is attached to an app to assist you in completing your required daily health assessment and in monitoring potential symptoms. The College will not use responses through the app to track or follow-up with any student. You are instead expected to seek medical advice for symptoms you may experience, which might include receiving a COVID-19 test. The aggregate information, without any association to specific individuals, will help the College monitor and report information on the community’s COVID status.

Travel and Visitors
Please remember that throughout the semester, off-campus travel will be limited to Knox County, and should be minimized as much as possible. Any travel outside the county must be for essential needs, e.g. medical appointments. Other than during the move-in process, non-Kenyon visitors are not allowed on campus.


Wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing and washing hands frequently will be critical to the success of an in-person semester. We have all practiced these basic public health protocols in our own home communities over these last few months — and now we all must put them into practice in our Kenyon home. Navigating this new campus culture, with its myriad new expectations and restrictions, will not be easy for any of us; these directives in many ways feel antithetical to who we are as a close-knit community (for guidance on hugging, this article may prove helpful!). Following these directives will help us protect not only ourselves, but others in our community, at Kenyon and throughout Knox County. To echo Dean Hart Ruthenbeck, we are in this together.

Sincerely yours,

Meredith Harper Bonham ‘92, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs