These answers were last updated in early August, and some information may have changed since then. Please visit kenyon.edu/return — including this page of key dates — for the most up-to-date information.
Leave of Absence and Deferral
How may a student request a leave of absence or deferral, also referred to as a gap semester/year, and what does the process for returning to campus look like?
Information about the process for electing an alternative plan of study — studying remotely rather than in person, petitioning to be on campus during your remote semester, delaying your entrance, or taking time off from Kenyon — is available here along with the relevant forms.
Students may also reach out to Dean of Students Robin Hart Ruthenbeck or Dean of Academic Advising and Support Thomas Hawks to explore their options. While there is no deadline at Kenyon for requesting a leave of absence for a semester or the full year, we ask that students who wish to pursue one of the other options submit their request by July 31, 2020. Having this information will help us plan better for how many students can be accommodated in residence for the fall semester.
Students are allowed to initiate a leave after the semester has begun, but they are subject to Kenyon’s refund policy if they withdraw after the beginning of the term.
Information on the readmission process is available here. Although students on personal leaves have their readmission applications reviewed by the Readmission Committee, the process of returning from a personal leave is not a selective one, and there is a strong presumption in favor of readmission, barring exceptional circumstances.
Will there be a limit on the number of students who can take a gap year or a gap semester?
No, there will not be a limit.
If we choose to take a leave of absence and take classes at another institution, will credits transfer?
Any student seeking to transfer credits back to Kenyon should ensure that the courses are taken at an accredited institution and are comparable to courses that would be offered at Kenyon. For example, since we don’t offer public speaking/communications courses, those would not generally be accepted. Students should also work with their faculty advisor and submit the transfer credit pre-approval form to the registrar’s office. Learn more about that process.
Fall and Spring Campus Cohorts
Why were first-years and sophomores chosen to be on campus in the fall, and juniors and seniors chosen to be on campus in the spring?
We understand that being away from campus this fall is a big sacrifice for juniors and seniors.
Our decision about which classes to invite to campus is based on two fundamental considerations. The first has to do with current health conditions posed by the pandemic and the housing capacity of the College. While we hope that the pandemic abates in the next two or three months, nothing we see in national or state-level reports leads us to think that is likely. Kenyon, even with the addition of some residential space, cannot house more than about 1,000 students in single-occupancy rooms and simultaneously hold back some for quarantine or isolation housing. Consequently, we concluded that we could invite only two full classes to campus at one time.
The second consideration has to do with the curricular experience. We believe that first-years would miss the most by not having their first college courses take place in person. In addition, first-years and sophomores are more likely to take courses together while juniors and seniors tend to cluster in smaller, more advanced courses. We also felt that seniors would most benefit from being here in the spring semester to finish up their requirements and reconnect as a class before graduation.
If a junior was intending to go abroad second semester, how should they plan for that?
Students who have been accepted for spring off-campus study should continue to plan for their application, including applying to the program if they haven’t yet done so. Due to the uncertainty of travel right now, we do not recommend making any non-refundable deposits or program commitments that come with financial ramifications. We will hold space for students at Kenyon in spring in case it is needed. Should off-campus study be an option in the spring, we recognize that many students will have a tough choice — study off campus as planned or return to Kenyon.
Some Kenyon students may have to share bedrooms with siblings/family members, not have enough space for performing their work at home, don’t have very good internet capabilities at home, etc. Have you considered these students and created a way for them to ask for permission to come on campus both semesters?
We understand that some students have exceptional circumstances that make remote learning not a feasible option. Students can submit a request via this form to remain on campus for more than one semester, or to return to campus in a semester different from that assigned to their cohort.
As it pertains to students being allowed to attend in-person classes for the full year, can you please clarify what exceptional circumstances are? What is the definition of extenuating circumstances for juniors/seniors to return to campus in the fall?
These will be based on any barriers to a student’s education should they remain away from campus and any other compelling reasons they feel they should be permitted to return to campus, such as issues of health, safety and wellbeing.
Other than international students, are any juniors or seniors going to be on campus during the fall session?
Community Advisors and student firefighters will be in residence during the fall semester, as well as students (including juniors and seniors) for whom remote learning is not an option due to exceptional circumstances at home; those students may submit a request via this form to be in residence this fall.
I am technically in between being a sophomore and junior (supposed to graduate December of 2022); what will I be considered in this context? When will I be on campus? How will the changes affect December finishers?
Students who fall between class years should consult with their academic advisors or Dean of Academic Advising and Support Tom Hawks on the particulars of their plan of study.
How do you plan to make this year special for seniors given that we will not be on campus in the fall and many typical traditions may be cancelled?
We recognize the importance of marking life transitions, and we very much look forward to working with members of the senior class to reimagine senior traditions in this unusual year. We are committed to helping you engage meaningfully with one another, on- and off-campus, throughout the year.
Is there a commitment to protect international students in case the school decides to go fully online?
While the July 6 ICE guidance and associated FAQs have been rescinded, there has not been new guidance issued. We are operating under the guidance from March, which states that if the college goes fully online due to the pandemic, then students may continue in F-1 status. Our take on this is that if we had to move things online as we did this spring, F-1 students would be covered under this guidance and would be allowed to study remotely for the remainder of the semester.
Why are juniors and seniors being left to remote learning in the fall? Upperclassmen take harder and more major-oriented classes that need in-person instruction. Intro classes that underclassmen take can easily be done remotely where the quality of learning isn’t as high.
The faculty are working to design their courses for juniors and seniors so that they take full advantage of distance learning tools to make the courses as rich in content and contributory to their major programs as possible. When juniors and seniors come back to campus in the spring, faculty will be offering in-person classes — seminars, labs and studio-based courses — particularly focused on their curricular needs. At the departmental level, faculty are making adjustments to senior capstones so that students will be able to complete theirs in a way that meets departmental expectations and allows them to bring their studies together in a meaningful way.
First-years and sophomores have a lot of time left at Kenyon, a lot of which will hopefully be untainted by the pandemic. Why would you only give seniors (who already have so little time left to begin with) half a year? Why not let seniors spend both of their final semesters on campus and ask first-years to defer their admission until fall 2021?
We believe that first-years would miss the most by not having their first college courses take place in person. We felt that seniors would most benefit from being here in the spring semester to finish up their requirements and reconnect as a class before graduation.
If a senior lived off campus, could they take in-person classes? Will you consider in-person, non-resident participation to enable science majors an opportunity for practical experience?
We cannot permit students to take in-person classes while living off-campus. One of the overarching goals of this plan is to reduce the density of students on campus — not just in residence halls but in classrooms as well. Doing so will help us mitigate the risk of the transmission of COVID-19.
Is there a chance that the decision not to let juniors and seniors return in the fall will be reversed if the trajectory of the virus changes? How will housing work if that happens?
We regret that we are not able to invite all students back to campus this fall, even if the trajectory of the virus dramatically improves. We hope to be able to invite all students back to campus in the spring, but if conditions do not improve, we will invite juniors and seniors, as well as international students and other students with exceptional circumstances.
Is there a chance that the spring semester will be fully remote if things get worse in the winter?
Yes. While we hope to be able to invite all students to campus in the spring, or at least to invite the junior and seniors classes, we also recognize the need to be flexible and will be in regular communication this fall should our plans need to change course for spring.
Will student EMTs/firefighters (juniors and seniors) be allowed to live on campus?
Yes, student firefighters will be in residence through the 2020–21 academic year.
Will Orientation Leaders be on campus with first-years?
We are currently working on a program that incorporates virtual and in-person components in order to acclimate new students to campus. The Orientation Leaders, as well as faculty advisors, are a large part of this supportive effort. Orientation Leaders who are sophomores will conduct this work on campus; Orientation Leaders who are juniors and seniors will conduct this work remotely. While it will feel a little different than in a “normal” year, we have every expectation that new students will feel welcomed into the Kenyon community.
Do you anticipate a likely date by which you will have determined if first-years and sophomores will be able to return to campus for the spring semester?
A decision about the spring semester will be made some time during the fall semester.
If fall semester for on-campus students starts Aug. 31, will there be any breaks? Will students be required to leave campus before Thanksgiving, like previously indicated?
In-person instruction for fall will run through Nov. 24 with no October break, and students will need to vacate their residence halls by noon Wednesday, Nov. 25. We understand some students may be unable to return home due to exceptional circumstances; those students may apply to remain in residence between Nov. 25 and the start of the spring term. More information will be provided later this fall.
If you are a senior and arrange housing for yourself in the fall, will you be allowed to be on campus and use the resources of the College i.e. professors’ office hours, while taking courses online?
No. One of the overarching goals of our plan is to reduce the density of students on campus — not just in residence halls but in our academic spaces as well. Doing so will help us mitigate the risk of the transmission of COVID-19. We encourage students learning remotely to continue meeting with faculty virtually and to use other remote library and research resources facilitated through Library and Information Services (LBIS).
Your email said adjustments are being made to the class schedules. Does that mean my student may lose some of the classes for which he is registered? Will he have to go through registration all over again and how has that process changed?
All departments are working on a revised class schedule, using the current schedule as a starting point. Each course will be noted as being taught in person or remotely, and some courses may be shifted to the spring semester or replaced, depending on the students enrolled. Students residing on campus may take some remote courses. The new schedule will be released by July 25. Returning students will then adjust their schedules during an initial drop/add period: Aug. 17 — 25. All students will be able to make final changes to their schedules — such as adding credit beyond 2.25 units, individual studies and audits — during the usual fall drop/add period: Aug. 31 – Sept. 7.
How soon will it be determined if a class will be remote or in person? Will the updated course schedule indicate if a given course will be only online-only or in-person/hybrid?
This will be noted when the new schedule of courses is released on July 25.
When and how will first-year students select their classes?
First-year course registration will be completed online no later than Aug. 17.
How will first-year students be supported in their course selection and registration? By what date will students have to take a placement assessment for languages?
Faculty advisors and student Orientation Leaders have been in touch with all first-year students to support them in course selection and registration.
Faculty in Kenyon’s language programs will reach out to students about short online placement exams based on a survey of interest that was sent to first-year students on July 1. If a student has not yet completed that survey, they should email faculty in their language of interest to indicate they would like to take the placement exam (the same applies for placement exams in mathematics and music theory). If a student has sent AP or SAT II scores (in Spanish, German or French) to the registrar’s office that meet the language requirement, those scores can be used to determine placement in upper level classes.
If a student has not yet received the results of their COVID-19 test conducted upon their campus arrival and needs to remain in quarantine on the first day of classes, will their place in their classes be secure? What will the effect of a positive result be on student schedules?
In the event that a student in residence needs to self-quarantine or move to isolation housing, the Dean of Students will work with students to notify faculty in order to minimize course disruption as much as possible.
How will drop/add work? Will it be in person as it was in the regular school year, where we attend the class we wish to add and speak to the professor?
Returning students will adjust their schedules during an initial drop/add period: Aug. 17 — 25. All students will be able to make final changes to their schedules — such as adding credit beyond 2.25 units, individual studies and audits — during the usual fall drop/add period: Aug. 31 – Sept. 7. Specific procedures will be communicated as that period approaches.
Do upperclassmen still have the option of taking lower level classes online even if these classes will be in person this fall?
In some cases, yes. Please consult the revised schedule of courses when it is released to see what courses will be available online.
Arrival, Testing and Quarantine/Isolation
Could we choose to test in our home city and bring negative test results with us on the first day?
While we considered the option of having students be tested prior to their arrival on campus, we abandoned the idea due to the inconsistent availability of the test, as well as the logistical concerns of confirming test results during the move-in process.
What type of test is being used to screen students as they arrive, and how quickly will the initial test results be available upon arriving on campus?
We will conduct an initial rapid antigen screening of all students upon their arrival to campus. Once they arrive in Gambier for their designated move-in day, students will be directed to the Kenyon Athletic Center for testing. Each test takes approximately 15 minutes to process, with results available immediately. Since the “false positive” rate for this test is approximately 5-10 percent, students who receive a positive screen will receive a follow-up confirmatory PCR test and will be required to self-quarantine until those results are received within 48-72 hours. Students who receive a positive confirmatory test will be isolated, with their care managed and contacts traced by Knox Public Health (KPH).
If students are required to quarantine upon arrival to campus while awaiting COVID-19 test results, how will that work? I assume the student will not be permitted to have contact with family after the COVID-19 testing? Will we be able to visit our student while in quarantine upon arrival at Kenyon?
Students will only go into quarantine if they test positive for the presence of the viral antigen (via rapid screening), and then only for 48-72 hours until results from the follow-up PCR test (which detects presence of viral RNA) arrive, confirming that the student is not a carrier of the virus. If the PCR test results come back positive for presence of viral RNA, our local public health commissioner and staff will assume responsibility for the student’s care, such as daily health assessments and symptom monitoring, which could include additional COVID-19 testing. In most cases, depending on the student’s residential assignment, the student will be moved to isolation housing and their meals will be brought to them. During that period, the student will stay in place and not have contact with others until they have met all quarantine or isolation exit requirements.
Can students who are waiting on test results be sent home to quarantine instead of in their room?
In order to minimize risk to our community and limit possible exposure to the virus, we are requiring that students self-quarantine on campus instead of traveling home. If a student tests positive during the initial rapid screening process, they will be quarantined on campus while awaiting the results of the more confirmatory PCR test (approximately 48-72 hours).
How will students in quarantine or isolation get food?
Meal delivery will be coordinated by Knox Public Health through Kenyon College.
Since COVID-19 has an incubation period of up to 14 days, would the College consider having even on-campus students attend classes remotely for the first two weeks of the semester? If not, how will Kenyon handle the risk of an outbreak, given the increased risk of exposure to the coronavirus from air travel, which may result in students being tested before coronavirus is detectable?
Based on conversations with our local public health officials, at this time we do not intend to have all students self-quarantine for the initial 14 days. We are also asking students to notify our health center immediately if they are symptomatic, and we will test them accordingly.
Will there still be a phased move-in period? When will that schedule come out?
Fall move-in will be phased, with students being able to select their move-in time slot in early August.
Are additional family members allowed on campus if only one member moves the student into the dorms?
We request that each student bring only one family member for fall move-in. We certainly recognize the hardship involved in this request, and the College’s decision on this matter was not made lightly. With our top priority this fall being the health of the Kenyon and Gambier community, however, we believe that, if students were to arrive on campus accompanied by multiple family members, the probability that that would render other precautions ineffective would be prohibitively high.
Now that everyone will need to be in singles, will the single room surcharge still be incurred?
All Kenyon housing this year will be charged at the same rate — a residence hall double room.
Will first-year students be guaranteed on-campus housing? Will first-years generally be grouped in particular residence halls?
Yes. At this time, we are confident that we will be able to house all first-year students using only the traditional residence halls on North Campus (Mather, McBride, Gund, Lewis, Norton, Watson and Caples).
Will juniors/seniors who already received housing assignments keep them for the spring or have to go through the housing lottery all over again? And if a student was approved for housing accommodations, will those still stand or will they be altered?
Students (who are not first-years) will need to select their rooms again. If the student has a medical accommodation, they will be pre-housed prior to the general housing lottery. Students who were planning to live in program housing may be housed there, and we are working with the program house managers to reassign students based on the reduced density model.
Once students’ test results come back as negative, why can’t they live in a room with a roommate? Are first-years only living in singles or will living in a double be an option?
All students will remain housed in single rooms in order to help prevent spread of the virus.
Will there be a plan to disinfect bathrooms in residence halls between use?
Restrooms in traditional residence halls will be sanitized twice daily (morning/afternoon), and deep-cleaned at least one time per day, including weekend days. Disinfecting wipes will be provided to allow for students to wipe down surfaces.
Given the low occupancy numbers in apartments, students assigned to those spaces will be provided with supplies and have responsibility for cleaning their restrooms regularly. The increased need for cleaning across campus necessitates these changes in cleaning protocols. Restrooms in apartment areas will continue to be deep-cleaned by custodial staff over the winter break period.
I worry about my first-year being lonely and isolated the first few weeks. What are you planning to do to combat this? Are first-years going to find out who their roommate would have been?
We are currently working on a program that incorporates virtual and in-person components in order to acclimate new students to campus. The Orientation Leaders, as well as faculty advisors, are a large part of this supportive effort. While it will feel a little different than in a “normal” year, we have every expectation that new students will feel welcomed into the Kenyon community.
Connecting first-year students with their assigned roommates is something that our Orientation Leaders and Community Advisors will take into account while designing start-of-the semester programming.
How many students do you expect on campus for the fall?
As we are still fielding deferral requests from incoming and returning students, we do not yet know precisely how many students will be on campus during the fall semester. But, even with the addition of some residential space, we cannot house more than about 1,000 students in single-occupancy rooms and simultaneously reserve space for quarantine or isolation housing.
If conditions improve and all students are allowed to return in the spring semester, will previously single rooms be converted to double/triples? How will this be facilitated, and will students preferences be kept in mind if a room change is to occur?
If all four classes of students end up being housed on campus in the spring, most rooms would be shared by multiple students (as in the case of a “typical” semester at Kenyon). As of right now, a housing selection process has not been firmly established in anticipation of the possibility that all four classes of students will require on-campus housing in the spring.
If you have been accepted into division housing for the 2020-2021 school year, how is the College going to handle those housing arrangements?
Given the priorities of providing all students with their own rooms, housing all first-year students in traditional residence halls on North Campus, and dedicating certain residential spaces for quarantine/isolation housing, Residential Life determined that, unfortunately, accommodating the housing selections made via division housing would not be feasible for the 2020-2021 academic year. Students who had previously selected a room via division housing will re-select housing via the housing selection process on Aug. 7. Said students might, alternatively, opt to select a room at the Comfort Inn to be their living space for the fall; this “prehousing” process for the Comfort Inn will begin the week of July 20.
Where can we find a list of things that first-year students should bring/pack as they move into their residence hall?
View a list of recommended items to bring to campus. Because students may be in residence for only one term, students should plan to take their belongings at the end of the semester or arrange to store them at their own expense. In addition, students may need to relocate in the event they test positive for COVID-19, or if the College needs to send students home. For all these reasons, we strongly encourage students to consider carefully what they are bringing to campus and to pack as lightly as possible.
Will the resident student farmers be allowed to return to take care of the Kenyon Farm?
Program housing, including the Kenyon Farm, will be pre-housed with rising sophomores prior to general housing selection on Aug. 7. Residential Life will be in touch with those rising sophomores who have been approved to live in a program house for the fall 2020 semester.
How many individuals will be allowed to live in an on-campus apartment, such as an North Campus Apartments or New Apartments?
Apartment-style housing will be configured so that every student living in a given apartment will have their own private bedroom (i.e., a bedroom that they will not have to share with a roommate), though some apartments will house multiple students (with each having their own private bedroom).
Will apartments be available in the housing lottery? Can we form housing groups in these cases? Or will all housing be on an individual basis? Will students still be able to make housing requests with friends, even though everyone will be in a single?
If a group of students is selecting housing in an apartment, one member of the group can reserve/select the apartment for the whole group, such that all members of the group will be signed up to live together in that same apartment, just as with last year’s housing selection process (although, for this fall semester, each student in a given apartment will have their own private bedroom).
Will the apartments be open for sophomores to choose in the housing lottery? If not, what buildings will be designated for sophomores?
Yes, all apartment-style residential areas on campus (North Campus Apartments, Aclands, Morgans, New Apartments, etc.) will have rooms and units available that sophomores can select during general housing selection on Friday, Aug. 7. Sophomores will also have the option to select rooms from any of our traditional residence halls on South Campus (Manning, Leonard, Old Kenyon, Bushnell and Hanna).
Will those who have already been placed in housing (like those in substance-free housing) be put back into the housing lottery; will someone’s prior position in the housing lottery change?
Students (who are not first-years) will need to select their rooms again. If a student has a medical accommodation, they will be pre-housed prior to the general housing lottery. Students who were planning to live in program housing may be housed there, and we are working with the program house managers to reassign students based on the reduced density model.
Since students will be living in the Comfort Inn, will the Knox Area Transit (KAT) shuttle have an extended and more reliable schedule to accommodate them?
Until further notice, the KAT shuttle schedule will remain as it is laid out in this document. We’re working in partnership with KAT to ensure the service will accommodate students living in Mount Vernon.
If a student doesn’t drive and needs to be on campus early morning for training, can they be guaranteed to not be in the Comfort Inn?
We anticipate that all 60 of the rooms at the Comfort Inn will be filled the week of July 20 with students who voluntarily request to be housed there, so that students participating in general housing selection on Aug. 7 will only be choosing from on-campus housing options.
Will the Comfort Inn provide bedding? Most students’ sheets are twin XL. Will they change sheets also? Are emotional support animals allowed at the Comfort Inn? Will it cost more to reside at the Comfort Inn? Will their staff be regularly tested for COVID-19?
Kenyon will provide bedding for Comfort Inn rooms. The Comfort Inn is a pet-free zone (including fish) but Kenyon-approved ESAs are allowed. These rooms will cost the same as all other housing. As the Comfort Inn staff are not Kenyon employees, they will not be included in our regular campus testing protocols. Any student who would prefer not to have staff enter their rooms may opt out of housekeeping services.
Will all dining services have to be at Kenyon even for those living at the Comfort Inn? Are there any plans to bring some dining services to the Comfort Inn residents?
All Kenyon students living either on campus or at the Comfort Inn during the fall semester will be on the College’s meal plan, which covers all meals that students receive from Peirce Dining Hall. College staff is looking into the possibility of having breakfast at the Comfort Inn provided for the students who choose to reside there.
Kenyon stored my belongings after we left during spring semester. Will Kenyon be sending all belongings back to students who will not be on campus this fall semester, and when? Or, if we are deciding to do remote learning for the year, but currently have items stored at Kenyon, when will we be able to get those items shipped?
Via this form, you can request that Residential Life either mail all of your belongings to you, or store all of your belongings until you return to campus in the spring. Please note that ResLife will either mail all of your belongings to you, or store all of your belongings until you return to campus; ResLife will not be able to mail some of a given student’s belongings and store the rest of that student’s belongings.
Why, if we are halving the amount of students on campus, do some (how many?) students need to live in a hotel or other off campus location?
Offering rising sophomores the opportunity to room in the Comfort Inn (with a capacity of approximately 60 students) is a necessity because of the College’s prioritization of the following: (1) that each student (rising sophomore and incoming first-year) has their own room; (2) that each first-year student live in a traditional residence hall on North Campus; and (3) that there is sufficient apartment-style housing to accommodate students that need to go into isolation housing.
It sounds like students may be spending more time in their residence halls than usual this year. Can you share how strong and reliable the Wi-Fi is in the residence halls?
Generally, the Wi-Fi signal in the residence halls is reliable and strong. The greater issue with students spending more time in residence halls concerns bandwidth, and we are doubling the bandwidth available for the residence halls for streaming media entertainment. In fall of 2019, our bandwidth available for streaming media (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, etc.) would peak at around 80 percent capacity. That simply would not have been enough this fall. We do have the ability to increase the bandwidth further at fairly short notice, too, in case the usage is more than we have anticipated.
Will the residence halls have the furniture for two people even though everyone is living alone?
Unfortunately we will not be able to move excess furniture out of the double and triple-sized rooms.
Can students ship boxes to campus prior to arrival?
Protocol for shipping has not yet been solidified, though we do plan to permit students to mail belongings to campus so that they do not need to travel to campus with all of their belongings in tow.
What does housing selection look like for juniors and seniors?
The housing selection process for juniors and seniors will be configured once the College has made a decision as to which classes will be on campus during the spring semester.
Will program housing (Crozier, Unity, etc.) still be in place?
Students who were planning to live in program housing may be housed there, and we are working with the program house managers to reassign students based on the reduced density model.
Can first-year students have cars on campus now?
Yes, first-years may have vehicles on campus. If you plan to have a vehicle on campus this term, please register your vehicle within 24 hours of arriving on campus; an online registration form and more information on parking permits is available here.
When students come home before Thanksgiving, do they need to bring all of their stuff, or can they store some things on campus?
Students should plan to take their belongings at the end of the semester or arrange to store them at their own expense. In addition, students may need to relocate in the event they test positive for COVID-19, or if the College needs to send students home. For all these reasons, we strongly encourage students to consider carefully what they are bringing to campus and to pack as lightly as possible.
What is the plan for de-densification and social distancing in the dining hall?
The servery will be controlled for limited flow, and most dishware and utensils will be disposable, as physical distancing in the dishroom for AVI staff is a challenge. Most stations will be staffed for service, rather than self-service. Only Kenyon students will be permitted to eat in Peirce Hall, which will be designated for dining only (no meetings or studying). Students must wear masks until seated. In accordance with state regulations, tables will be placed six feet apart. Peirce also will have extended hours this fall in order to de-densify meal times. In addition to servery access, students will have access to grab-and-go meals from Peirce.
Will there be any new dining options outside of Peirce Dining Hall given the circumstances?
Our focus continues to be on how students can dine in Peirce safely. However, we are working on a program whereby other food purveyors/restaurants might prepare food in Peirce in order to provide more variety for students. We may also look into bringing food trucks to campus for outdoor events.
Will you offer another option to dining where students can opt-out of getting food only from Peirce? That is, an option to not rely on the College for meals and food, rather the student can opt-out of paying for Peirce and use that money to provide their own meals?
All students in residence will remain on the Kenyon meal plan.
Could Gund be reopened as a dining hall again?
At this time we are not planning to use Gund Commons for dining services.
Can you opt out of the dining plan if you do not feel safe having others prepare your food in Peirce?
All students in residence will remain on the Kenyon meal plan.
In-person and Remote Learning
How will textbooks be handled for seniors studying remotely? Will the bookstore ship them or will professors provide material online?
Students learning remotely or on campus can continue to order textbooks from the Kenyon College Bookstore. In addition to offering free shipping on textbooks, the bookstore will offer a pickup service for students on campus who order their books online. Many faculty also use our Moodle learning management system to upload and share texts with students; additionally, a number of library and research resources are available to students who are learning and researching remotely.
Has Kenyon given special consideration to students studying the natural sciences and whose course requirements necessitate in-person lab work?
We know that some departments or programs will have to make greater curricular and pedagogical adjustments than others. Along with the natural sciences, performance-based programs and studio art also face some distinctive challenges, as certain essential features of labs, ensembles and studios are not easily transferable to remote platforms. Our departments are aware of this and are working to facilitate the academic progress of their students. Some courses may be shifted to the spring semester while others may be adapted to remote instruction, including some labs. New schedules of courses and descriptions of any program changes should be ready this week.
There are students who don’t need to be on campus to complete their major, but there are some that do. Was this taken into consideration?
At the current time, we do not foresee being able to make exceptions for students who want to be on campus both semesters because of their majors. One of the overarching goals of the new plan is to reduce the density of students on campus. Doing so will help us mitigate the risk of the transmission of COVID-19. Changing the course of study simply means students adjusting their course schedule, not changing majors. All departments want their students to be able to make progress in their academic program and they are currently adapting their curricula. If you have specific questions about any changes, please contact the chair of the relevant department.
What accommodations and commitments will be made for students who face significant challenges to remote learning or do not have adequate home environments? We understand that some students have exceptional circumstances that make remote learning not a feasible option. Students can submit a request via this form to remain on campus for more than one semester, or to return to campus in a semester different from that assigned to their cohort.
Will students living on campus be permitted to participate in online-only courses?
Students on campus will be able to enroll in courses offered entirely remotely.
If a junior is registered to take lab classes first semester, how will they take those classes in any meaningful way online?
All departments want their students to be able to make progress in their academic program, and they are currently adapting their curricula to the plan for the 2020-21 academic year announced earlier this week. Some courses may be shifted to the spring semester while others may be adapted to remote instruction. New schedules of courses and descriptions of any program changes should be available soon. If your student has specific questions about any changes, they should contact the chair of the relevant department.
Will grading this fall semester follow the same policies as in the remote spring semester?
The temporary grading policies adopted this spring do not extend into the 2020-21 academic year.
Have you considered allowing junior and senior art majors on campus both semesters?
At the current time, we do not foresee being able to make exceptions for students who want to be on campus both semesters because of their majors. If you have specific questions about any changes, you should contact the chair of the studio art department. No single approach will work for every department. We know that some departments or programs will have to make greater adjustments to their programs than others.
When will the library be open and ready for use?
Kenyon's new library will open in the spring of 2021. Right now, the building is scheduled to be completed in March, which is about two months later than previously projected. The two month delay is due to bad weather last winter and the need for safe distancing practices for construction workers.
How are those students you have decided not to invite back to campus going to have access to reference materials they will require?
The vast majority of academic resources, especially academic journals and databases, have been available to Kenyon students anywhere in the world for more than a decade. In the spring and summer, the library invested in huge numbers of electronic books, in consultation with the faculty, to ensure that students can complete assignments and meet their research requirements. More information regarding remote library and research resources is available here.
Why is the fall semester only 12 1/2 weeks of in-person instruction, and the spring semester 14 weeks of in-person instruction?
After Thanksgiving there will be an additional period of remote instruction so that both semesters offer 14 weeks of instruction.
Why is the spring semester exam week, May 13-18, listed as remote? Will seniors and juniors on campus not be taking exams in person?
The format of spring semester exams will, in fact, be up to individual faculty members to determine, although they will strive to make the exam-taking experience equivalent for those on campus and those off campus. On-campus seniors will be able to remain at Kenyon until Commencement, assuming an in-person ceremony is able to take place on May 22 as is tentatively scheduled. We will update everyone regarding spring semester scheduling if and when changes occur.
Senior Capstones, Graduation Requirements, Commencement
Shouldn’t seniors be at Kenyon for the full year considering comps? Will students be expected to complete senior capstones remotely? How will senior comps that are scheduled for the fall be handled? Will they be moved to the spring so students can have in-person experience and support? Will this be left up to the individual departments?
At the departmental level, faculty are making adjustments to senior capstones so that all students will be able to complete them in a fashion that meets departmental expectations and that allows students to bring their studies together in a meaningful way.
My son is a drama major. He had November dates for his senior performance. How will that be handled?
Each department is examining senior exercise requirements and will be in touch with their students. Please contact the chair of the department if you have further questions.
What if things worsen in the spring and the Class of 2021 never gets to return? Will you do anything to celebrate them?
Yes. At this time, an in-person Commencement is tentatively scheduled for May 22, 2021. But if conditions worsen, we may move the in-person ceremony to a later date and recognize the senior class with a virtual event, as we did this year for the Class of 2020.
Can students graduate with seven semesters at Kenyon instead of eight?
Yes, we will be flexible in waiving the usual requirement to be enrolled for eight semesters.
Our son is an incoming first-year but wondered what happened to the Class of 2020? I assume there’s no fall event as proposed?
The Class of 2020 was recognized with a virtual Senior Celebration in May and will still be invited to an in-person Commencement event when conditions allow during the 2021 calendar year.
Tuition and Fees, Scholarships and Aid
How will financial aid and scholarships work if students take a gap year? Assuming our financial position stays the same, is there any way that deferring until fall 2021 could put our financial aid in jeopardy? Is financial aid going to change?
Generally, award packages remain intact, but it is important for the individual student to consult with financial aid staff about their specific situation. They can help you explore your options and review any impact that taking time off will have on your financial aid award.
The 10 percent credit applies only to tuition. Need-based financial aid will be adjusted based on changes to housing and meal costs. Please look for a revised financial aid notification to be sent in the next few weeks that will provide better information on individual situations.
For those of us that will be virtual in the fall, how will Kenyon adjust tuition to reflect the educational difference?
A one-time tuition credit — 10 percent, or $3,040 per semester — will be applied to students’ accounts in recognition of the changes to our residential experience. Room and board will be charged for only the semester students are in residence; all rooms will be set at the double-occupancy residence hall rate ($2,710 per semester), even though all students will receive singles. The student activities fee ($150 per semester) will be charged for only the semester(s) students are on campus.
For low-income students and juniors (whose on-campus housing is covered by Kenyon), can/will the College provide a housing stipend to find housing away from their current situations for a more equitable semester?
There will not be a housing stipend in the traditional way; however, the College will provide financial aid to help address indirect costs that students incur while studying remotely. In most cases, this will result in reduced billed costs and not a refund to the student. Please look for a revised financial aid notification to be sent in the next few weeks that will provide more information on individual situations.
Why are we still being asked to pay the activities fee if life on campus is going to be changed drastically?
The student activities fee ($150 per semester) will be charged for only the semester(s) students are on campus. All funding goes directly to student organizations, which will continue to build community and engage even within the constraints of the ongoing crisis.
Since the students living in the Comfort Inn will be forced to commute and will be deprived of the on-campus experience, will you supplement the cost of a parking pass since many may prefer to have a car on campus so they don’t miss out on campus life?
Students living at the Comfort Inn will receive free campus parking in the South 1 lot near Peirce Dining Hall (in addition to free parking at the inn). Students must still register their vehicles with Campus Safety, as usual, but will not pay to receive their parking sticker.
Will the health and counseling fee be charged when the student is not on campus?
A separate health and counseling fee has been eliminated and is now a component of the tuition charge.
Once school starts, is there a date before which one would get a full refund if Kenyon had to close.
There is no date before which one would get a full refund if Kenyon had to close down residential operations for the semester.
If Kenyon were to transition to fully remote learning during the course of the semester and a student did not want to continue the semester under those conditions, refunds would be subject to Kenyon’s refund policy. You may also want to consult the Tuition Refund Insurance plan, which this year is an opt-out policy rather than an opt-in policy.
How will students be financially compensated if they need to go home or if they get sick?
Please consult the optional Tuition Refund Insurance plan.
If a student gets sick and is unable to complete their coursework due to COVID-19, will they be able to return for an additional semester at no charge?
If a student becomes sick with COVID-19 or any other illness, the student will not be able to return for an additional semester at no charge. You may want to consider the optional Tuition Refund Insurance plan.
It looks like Kenyon has raised tuition again for this upcoming year to $30,400 per semester. In the last three academic years the tuition has increased almost $5,000 per semester. I don't understand why Kenyon is raising the tuition, while also offering a discount. Could you please explain. Thank you.
In 2018-19, the tuition charge was $53,830. In 2019-20, the tuition charge increased to $56,430, a $2,600 increase from the previous year. In 2020-21, tuition increased to $60,800, a $4,370 increase in tuition. About $1,900 of this increase was due to the elimination of the Health and Counseling Fee. In the past, that fee was charged on a separate line of the tuition billing statement.
Due to the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the College felt it important to provide some relief to families, so a one-time tuition credit was an appropriate action to take at this time.
If a student will be learning remotely in the fall, will room and board be deducted from the fall tuition bill?
Is the one time credit of $6,080 guaranteed regardless of whether students are in attendance for both semesters?
Yes. The tuition credit will be applied evenly over both semesters.
Will a refund on the meal plan be granted to students who are not on campus?
Students who are not on campus will not pay for room and board, which includes the meal plan.
Management of COVID-19 Cases on Campus
What criteria will be used to determine if Kenyon needs to go fully remote in the fall should cases continue to rise?
In addition to following federal, state and local public health guidelines, we are tracking several key indicators to gauge conditions: gathering limits, rate of new hospitalizations, health care facility surge capacity, viral diagnostic testing, contract tracing and supply of personal protective equipment. We are working closely with the Knox County Health Commissioner on our opening plans, and we will continue to consult with the commissioner to assess conditions over the course of the semester.
Can you discuss testing during the early weeks of the semester? Due to the incubation period, students exposed to the coronavirus during travel to Kenyon may become contagious between three and 14 days after arrival. Testing upon arrival is essential, but focused testing during those first two weeks will be critical to preventing the virus from gaining a foothold on campus.
Throughout the year, Kenyon will administer COVID-19 antigen testing to approximately 25 percent of campus weekly, with special considerations for those who travel away from campus and/or are at increased risk of exposure. Students who become symptomatic or believe they have been exposed will be screened by our campus medical providers and tested.
Can you address medical insurance? If a student defers for the semester/year, will they be able to keep Kenyon's medical insurance?
The College is researching all possible student insurance options at this time.
How will students on campus be informed about increasing numbers of students who may become ill from the virus?
We will provide regular updates on the COVID-19 infection status of our campus community members (in aggregate). Additionally, Knox Public Health regularly provides public information regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 in Knox County.
What will happen if a student does contract COVID-19 on campus? Can you provide more details beyond where they will be housed? Will they go to Knox Community Hospital? Will we have the ability to get them to our home hospital? Will there be medical staff to look after them; will their parents be able to visit them; will parents be expected to collect them and take them somewhere they can recuperate?
All students (domestic or international) will receive the same support if they test positive for COVID-19. If a student is placed into quarantine or isolation, Knox Public Health (KPH) will be contacted. KPH will have one of their nurses directly communicate with the student to understand a first-hand experience of what occurred. If illness is suspected (quarantine), KPH or Kenyon’s Cox Health Center will conduct COVID-19 testing. If the test results are positive (isolation), KPH takes the lead on daily health assessments and symptom monitoring, which could include additional COVID-19 testing. During that period the student will stay in place and not have contact with others until they have met all quarantine or isolation exit requirements as determined by Knox Public Health. Meals will be coordinated by KPH through Kenyon College, and College staff will check in on students virtually.
If the student’s health worsens, the College Township Fire Department will transport the student to Knox Community Hospital (KCH). KCH has already demonstrated their ability to care for Knox County residents who have become ill with COVID-19. Whether the student can be moved to another facility will be at the discretion of public health and medical professionals.
What medical personnel will be monitoring sick students in the quarantine zone? How will parents be notified? Is there anything we can do to ensure we are notified? What will happen if students continually test positive but are asymptomatic? Can students choose to leave campus and then return when they no longer test positive?
Staff from Knox Public Health (KPH) will take the lead on daily health assessments and symptom monitoring, which could include additional COVID-19 testing. During that period the student will stay in place and not have contact with others until they have met all quarantine or isolation exit requirements. Meals will be coordinated by KPH through Kenyon College, and College staff will check in on students virtually.
It is our expectation that students will notify their families if they test positive. Students can give permission to share health information with their families by completing this Release of Information form (PDF). If a student has been admitted to the hospital and is unable to communicate with family members, our standard protocol is to notify the family.
Knox County has had a relatively low incidence of COVID-19. How well equipped are Kenyon and Knox Public Health (KPH) to handle a possible surge in cases with students coming from all over the U.S. and the world (e.g., how many beds are available for isolation of confirmed cases, how many hospital and ICU beds are available)?
Knox Community Hospital has already demonstrated their ability to care for Knox County residents who have become ill with COVID-19.
Please give a sense of the campus health center. How is it staffed? Is there an MD or NP who could write prescriptions if needed? Is it open 24 hours? What is the plan if a student is very ill and requires hospitalization?
The College's health center is staffed by two full-time nurse practitioners plus a part-time contract physician and additional nursing staff. More information can be found on the center's webpage. After hours, students may reach one of the nurse practitioners via the College's on-call system. The College Township Fire Department, staffed by EMTs, is located in the center of Gambier and can transport students to Knox Community Hospital if necessary, which is approximately 7 minutes away. We are also pursuing a relationship with a telehealth service to provide 24/7 access to medical care. Additional local health care options are listed here.
Is the presence of the coronavirus in wastewater increasing currently and will students and families get live, current updates on that now and through the next academic year?
The College is participating in a program to monitor wastewater for the presence of the coronavirus in the Village of Gambier, providing an early warning sign of a possible rise in infections. We will provide regular updates on the COVID-19 infection status of our campus community members (in aggregate). Additionally, Knox Public Health regularly provides public information regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 in Knox County.
There are a variety of COVID-19 tests available for both the rapid antigen and the PCR nasal swab test. Which particular tests are being used at Kenyon? Also, has there been discussion about the utility of antibody testing on campus? If a vaccine miraculously became available this year, where do college and university health centers fall in priority of receiving vaccine stock?
All members of the Kenyon community will be administered a rapid, nasopharyngeal antigen screening developed by Inspire Diagnostics. The test takes approximately 10 minutes. Since the false positive rate is 5-10%, any student who receives a positive test result will then be administered a confirmatory PCR test through LabCorp and placed in temporary quarantine housing until the results are received 48-72 hours later. Due to the lack of reliability, we are not pursuing antibody testing. At this time we are unaware of how and when college and university health centers will receive vaccines in the event they become available this year.
Will the students be tested before returning home so parents are confident they are not bringing the virus back home?
In addition to our initial reopening plan to test the entire Kenyon community, we also plan to test a percentage of our students on a weekly basis over the course of the semester. While testing is an important component of our health and safety plans, we are also asking members of our community to follow physical distancing guidelines as well as mandating face coverings. It is our hope that all of these measures will mitigate any spread of the virus.
Can you describe more specifically what a period of isolation while waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test will look like, including how students will get food?
Knox Public Health (KPH) serves as the lead agency when any resident of Knox County tests positive for the virus. Working in close partnership with KPH, the College has identified and secured isolation housing should students become ill with COVID-19. During the initial testing period after students arrive on campus, and potentially at other times of the semester, students who receive a positive antigen screen result will self-quarantine in their rooms. The College may designate specific quarantine areas during that initial period, and we will share more details as they develop.
Medical care will be coordinated by KPH in collaboration with Cox Health and Counseling Center staff for students who are directed to isolation housing or who are asked to self-quarantine in their rooms due to possible exposure to COVID-19. Students in isolation housing or who are self-quarantining will have food delivered to them. Students will need to meet KPH’s standard of wellness in order to return to normal campus access. The dean of students will work with students to notify faculty in order to minimize course disruption as much as possible.
To ensure compliance, how will Kenyon track students that test positive while in Knox Public Health care? Regarding weekly testing of 25 percent of the student body, is it up to the student to “raise their hand” if exposure is possible or illness felt? If the weekly testing is a random sample of 25 percent of the student body, how can we ensure all students are tested at first signs of the virus? Will students that had set housing arrangements be eligible for similar arrangements if/when COVID-19 is not an issue?
Should a student receive a confirmatory diagnosis of COVID-19, our local public health commissioner and staff will assume responsibility for their care. In most cases, depending on the student's residential assignment, the student will be moved to isolation housing and meals will be brought to them. Their symptoms will also be monitored by public health staff. We are also asking students to notify our health center immediately if they are symptomatic, and we will test them accordingly.
Regarding housing, students (who are not first-years) will need to select their rooms again. If a student has a medical accommodation, they will be pre-housed prior to the general housing lottery. Students who were planning to live in program housing may be housed there, and we are working with program house managers to reassign students based on the reduced density model.
Given there are already shortages of tests in many states, how can you guarantee that there will be enough at Kenyon?
We have been assured by LabCorp that there will be sufficient PCR tests for our population.
What will the access to Mount Vernon and Columbus look like? What will the testing protocol look like for students who return to campus from Mount Vernon or Columbus?
To protect our community, including our local neighbors, students in residence must agree to remain in Knox County for all nonessential travel. We also ask that students limit their travel within the county as much as possible.
Face Coverings and Physical Distancing
Where will masks be required and what will be the consequence (if there is one) for not wearing one?
All members of the Kenyon community will be required to wear face coverings. Students will not be required to have a face covering while eating in the dining hall or exercising in the KAC, or while they are in their residence hall room. We are currently working on an addendum, with input from students, to the Student Handbook that makes clear our behavioral expectations for the 2020-21 year, as well as the consequences for lack of compliance, which will depend on the severity of the infraction.
Can you share examples of how Kenyon plans to use outdoor space for academic, social and dining purposes as weather permits in the fall semester?
We are in the process of identifying areas of campus that can accommodate temporary tents in order to accommodate instruction as well as dining services and social gatherings. We are striving to use all possible options in order to incorporate physical distancing into our daily activities.
How are the social guidelines going to be enforced and is there any punishment for not following them? Will it simply be a social contract/honor code?
The Office of Student Affairs is currently collaborating with Campus Senate on a document that all students coming to Kenyon for in-person instruction this fall will be asked to read and review.
How will students be allowed to interact with local businesses (Wiggins, Chilitos, Village Inn)? Are they required to follow the same guidelines as in Peirce Dining Hall even if the business has different operating conditions?
Students will be able to support local dining options while abiding by the public health guidelines in place at each establishment.
What will restrictions be regarding interactions with Mount Vernon? Will students be allowed to eat off campus at restaurants/go shopping at Walmart?
Students will be permitted to travel to and from Mount Vernon, but will be encouraged to exercise good judgment in making choices that minimize the possibility of contracting the virus.
Clubs and Organizations, Extracurriculars, Student Life
How will clubs, Greek life and outside performances work with only incoming first-years and sophomores on campus? What aspects of campus life such as clubs and other extracurriculars will be allowed in-person?
We will leave it to the discretion of the leaders of each individual club to determine how their group might best continue to hold meetings and put on programs/performances while respecting physical distancing parameters, and given the fact that primarily first-years and sophomores will be on campus in the fall. Student organizations are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Student Engagement for guidance and support.
Will the Kenyon Athletic Center be open for student use?
The KAC will open prior to the start of the fall semester. In accordance with local, state and federal guidelines, we will limit the number of people using the KAC at any one time. We are finalizing processes for doing so, including the implementation of a check-in and reservation system for some spaces. We are carefully assessing federal, state and local guidelines in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment for KAC users. Protocols will include limits on the number of people in specific spaces, physical distancing, enhanced cleaning protocols and a requirement for users to wear facial coverings when they are not actively engaged in physical activity.
What kind of effort will be made to fully immerse first-year students in the Kenyon community, given the current physical distancing requirements?
In response to the fact that students will be housed in their own rooms and will need to practice physical distancing when out and about on campus, Residential Life will be supporting and training our staff of Community Advisors (all of whom will live on campus) in coming up with creative ways and coordinating innovative programmatic opportunities for students living on campus to (within the parameters of physical distancing) engage with one another and build community in meaningful ways. Our Office of Student Engagement will likewise support our body of student organizations in developing programs through which all students living on campus might connect with one another.
Will students be able to write for the Collegian and Thrill and apply for Sunset Press and the Kenyon Review?
It will be left up to the discretion of the leadership of those particular organizations to determine how to best engage and involve students during this fall semester.
If all students can return in the spring, could both fall and spring sports run contemporaneously?
To do so will require a waiver of current NCAA rules for sports participation. At this time, we are working with the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) to explore various options for creating enhanced opportunities for spring practice and competition should conditions improve.
From the NCAC website: “The NCAC remains committed as a conference and as individual institutions to building an academic and athletic experience for our student-athletes that is as safe and robust as possible. Even though we continue to diligently work with the NCAA and our partner conferences in the region and across the country to find ways to conduct competition and championships in the spring semester, it is important to keep in mind current realities as well, including but not limited to the following: 1. Current NCAA legislation does not permit fall sports to compete in the spring. 2. If current public health conditions continue or worsen throughout the upcoming months, the opportunities for competition will remain as they are for this fall. 3. If public health conditions permit more robust competition in the spring semester, it will be important to remember athletics will continue to look different as various resources such as staffing, field space, availability of lighting, and weather will create significant challenges as we try to maximize opportunities for 23 sports over the course of one semester.”
Can senior athletes be given opportunities to play their fifth year of eligibility in graduate school programs?
Any student-athlete who does not complete their four seasons of eligibility while enrolled at Kenyon will be permitted the opportunity to use that season while enrolled in a graduate school. Those interested in doing so will need to work with the compliance officer to be entered into the Transfer Portal as a graduate school participant.
Health and Counseling
What will counseling services look like for students outside of Ohio during the school year?
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. The counseling staff is happy to assist students with identifying resources in their local area if needed.
All Kenyon students have free access to the online therapy service Talkspace. A network of thousands of licensed clinicians with a diverse set of backgrounds and identities, Talkspace connects users to a dedicated therapist from a secure, HIPAA-compliant mobile app and web platform. Once you sign up and are matched with your chosen therapist, you will exchange text, voice or video messages. Students will be able to use the service at any time throughout the year, and from anywhere. Instructions on how to access the service are available here; for more information, contact Associate Director of Counseling Holly Baker (email@example.com).
In addition to Talkspace, students 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.
I currently use Talkspace and it was good to use for the break, but I am unsure if I will be able to continue using the service effectively without access to live sessions with my therapist. Will there be an upgrade in the service to allow students to access live sessions?
The contract we have with Talkspace that is active until the end of the academic year does not include the option for live sessions. It does include the option to send video messages back and forth with your therapist. Staff will gladly discuss other options if you choose not to continue with Talkspace.
Will the College pledge to reintroduce a peer-to-peer mental health support, as practiced by the Peer Counselors in their original function?
Peer-to-peer support is a crucial component of Kenyon's mental health program, and compliments the professional practice offered by the College. During the 2019-20 academic year, the Cox Health and Counseling Center leadership team continued conversations with current Peer Counselors about their student support goals and potential options that would safely and conscientiously support their path forward. The leading option being considered by current Peer Counselors is to become an Active Minds chapter, and the College fully supports this transition.
Please answer for the fact that students presenting at the health center with COVID-19 symptoms in the spring were dismissed and told to “drink some tea and go back to class.” How are we supposed to trust that you have our best interests in mind after that?
For specific concerns regarding what a student may have been told by a member of our health services staff, Vice President Meredith Harper Bonham ’92 would be happy to learn more about what occurred so we can improve our care moving forward. Please let her know if you would like to schedule a time to talk.
Will Beer & Sex exist in the 2020-21 academic year? If so, what will it look like?
The Cox Health and Counseling Center communicated with members of their department organizations via email on Friday, July 10, 2020. Beer & Sex will exist in the 2020-21 academic year. Given the newly announced campus operations plan and the current public health recommendations/restrictions (i.e. limit gatherings, physical distancing, face coverings), we are unclear what Beer & Sex campus activities will look like. Health Center staff are in communication with the student president of Beer & Sex and should have an update for other members in the coming weeks. Many of the current members of Beer & Sex are juniors and seniors and will not be in-person at Kenyon during the fall.
What is the plan for work-study positions for students who relied on on-campus jobs for an income and to pay for school?
Positions that can be done remotely will be advertised as such, and campus employers have been encouraged to support telework where possible. If you expected to continue in a work-study position you held last year, please reach out to your supervisor to learn whether the position can be done remotely.
Will students be able to work on-campus jobs remotely? They are missing out on gaining experience and money.
In some cases, yes. When advertising a job, the supervisor should indicate expectations for the job, including whether it can be done remotely, and that there is no guarantee the job will be for the entire year. Students will only be paid for hours worked.
I read that “Community Advisors and other approved students arrive August 21-23.” Does this mean all CAs will be on campus both semesters?
All CAs have been invited to return to campus for both the fall and spring semesters.
As in a “typical” semester, a staff of Community Advisors will live among their peers and foster safe, inclusive, and enthusiastic residential communities. This coming semester, Community Advisors will play a particularly central role in developing and implementing innovative programming to allow students to build community and engage with one another in meaningful ways.
Communications and Decisions
Sources have reported that a wastewater test in Gambier showed a large spike in COVID-19 cases over the July 4 weekend, with as many as 20 current residents suspected to be infected. Why did the Kenyon community have to hear about this through an anonymous source instead of an official statement from the administration?
Professor of Biology Joan Slonczewski is partnering with the Village of Gambier on a wastewater monitoring project. Professor Slonczewski reported via a July 12 employee email that results from wastewater monitoring indicated between 2 and 20 people in Gambier possibly having been infected with the coronavirus. We do not yet have confirmed cases of COVID-19 among members of our campus community. Throughout the academic year, we will provide regular updates on the COVID-19 infection status of our campus community members (in aggregate). Additionally, Knox Public Health regularly provides public information regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 in Knox County.
Is there any chance Kenyon will adopt the Oberlin model and have three semesters of instruction, giving students more time for in-person instruction? Is Kenyon considering adding a summer semester for the summer of 2021 as some other schools are doing?
The three-semester approach is one we considered seriously. However, even with the addition of some residential space, Kenyon cannot house more than about 1,000 students in single-occupancy rooms and simultaneously hold back some for quarantine or isolation housing. We believe de-densifying student residences, combined with mandatory face coverings, distancing and testing, is our best strategy for minimizing the risk of transmission given the current health conditions posed by the pandemic. The three-semester model would necessitate housing more than we could accommodate in single-occupancy rooms and limit our capacity for quarantine or isolation housing.
How can students feel safe returning to Kenyon in the fall knowing that administration may be withholding vital information about the safety of the campus?
We are unclear on exactly what is being referred to in regard to the administration withholding vital safety information. Vice President for Student Affairs Meredith Harper Bonham ’92 can provide additional information if more specific information is shared.
Can you guarantee that non-tenured faculty members will not be penalized by the tenure review board for criticizing Kenyon’s handling of the pandemic?
The Tenure and Promotion Committee conducts reviews of tenure-track faculty members. There is a pre-tenure review and a review for tenure. The basic policies are spelled out in sections 2.4.2 and 2.4.3 of the faculty handbook. One thing to note is that the committee is composed of faculty members. They base their evaluation on letters submitted by departmental colleagues, faculty colleagues in other departments and students. In the case of tenure reviews, we also ask for reviewers outside the College to provide their expert opinion. In other words, while administrators orchestrate the process, the reviews themselves are a matter of faculty governance. The criteria of evaluation — the things that the committee is expected to consider — is clearly spelled out.