Life on campus may look and feel a little different this academic year, as it has throughout the world during this pandemic. Promoting the health and well-being of our campus community will be done, in part, by modifying spaces and enhancing public health and cleaning protocols. But it also will require your commitment to supporting a healthy culture in which you contribute to your own well-being and the well-being of others.

The general housing selection process will begin Wednesday, Jan. 6. All students invited to be in residence for spring 2021 — including those in residence this fall — will participate in the housing selection process. Students with approved housing accommodations will be pre-housed prior to the general housing selection process. For the 2020–21 year, theme and division housing will not be an option due to the de-densification of residences. All ADA housing accommodations will remain in place, in addition to assignments within program houses.

Rooms in traditional residence halls will remain single-occupancy this spring. We will increase residential capacity in campus apartments (Acland, Farr, Market, Morgan, New and North Campus Apartments, and Taft Cottages). By permitting students to share rooms within these units, we will increase our capacity on campus without compromising the health and safety of our students; these decisions were made in consultation with local public health experts. As is consistent with our fall semester isolation and quarantine protocols, should a student in an apartment test positive for COVID-19, they would be moved to isolation housing, and their housemates would quarantine in the apartment until Knox Public Health allows them to return to normal campus access.

For the 2020–21 year, the College has secured additional housing for isolation of students with positive test results. This housing will be managed in close cooperation with Knox Public Health, which serves as the lead agency when any resident of Knox County tests positive for COVID-19. In most cases, students will be isolated at the Comfort Inn, a 60-room hotel located in neighboring Mount Vernon. The Inn’s only occupants during the 2020–21 year will be Kenyon students and professional staff.

During the initial testing period after students arrive on campus, and potentially at other times of the semester, students may be required to self-quarantine in their rooms.

Medical care is coordinated by KPH in concert 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 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.

Please visit the COVID-19 Health and Wellness page for more information on steps to take if you have symptoms or test positive. 

Should conditions warrant, the College may implement a “quiet period” aimed at minimizing contact within the Kenyon community. During a quiet period, students will be required to limit movement around campus to essential activities only. 

While in a quiet period, students will be able to: 

• Attend classes (while wearing face coverings) 

• Minimally interact with individuals while observing 6-foot physical distancing

• Obtain meals from Peirce Dining Hall, to be eaten outside or in their rooms

• Engage in informal outdoor gatherings of 10 or fewer persons, masked and following distancing guidelines

• Have up to one guest in their residence hall room/apartment 

• Reserve workout times at the Lowry Center, provided they have received one negative test result or clearance to resume activities following quarantine or isolation.

While in a quiet period, students will not be able to:

• Engage in in-person extracurricular activities

• Use study lounges and other common spaces

• Eat inside Peirce Dining Hall.

Students must continue to observe 6-foot physical distancing and wear face coverings everywhere indoors (except while alone in their room) and in trafficked areas outdoors regardless of whether the College is in a quiet period. 

For details on the spring 2021 opening quiet period, and the phased easing of restrictions, view this at-a-glance chart (PDF).

In close cooperation with our AVI partners, Peirce has been retrofitted to allow for students to obtain food in takeout containers. Students are asked to access the servery only from the atrium; please do not re-enter the servery from the Great Hall. Peirce may have adjusted hours this year; please consult AVI’s website for the latest information.

When the College is not observing a quiet period, 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. Due to limited seating, we encourage students to be considerate of the time spent in Peirce to allow other students to sit down. Most dishware and utensils will be disposable, as physical distancing in the dishroom for AVI staff is a challenge. 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 face coverings unless eating. 

All Kenyon students in residence will continue to participate in the College’s meal plan. If you are in isolation housing, food will be delivered to you.

Students in quarantine are permitted to pick up their meals from Peirce Pub, using a dedicated entrance on the north side of the building to access the lower level. Students with mobility concerns will be able to arrange accommodations. Students in quarantine may not eat inside Peirce Dining Hall. 

Policies related to student employment were developed in partnership with a COVID-19 Student Employment Working Group and Kenyon College senior staff to address the potential circumstances that student employees and employers may face. They were issued in August 2020 and clarified in February 2021 based on feedback from student workers and supervisors.

While the College is observing a quiet period, students may not engage in in-person extracurricular activities. The Office of Student Engagement, in collaboration with Student Council, has developed guidelines for in-person extracurricular activities for times when the College is not observing a quiet period. These guidelines, which may be reevaluated as the semester progresses, currently allow for:

• Virtual meetings and events

• In-person meetings with 10 or fewer people, appropriate distancing and face coverings

• Hybrid meetings with 10 or fewer people, appropriate distancing and face coverings

• “Phase Two” activities for club sports

When planning extracurricular activities, please refer to the campus wide events and gatherings guidelines as well as the Student Handbook, Student Organization Handbook and COVID-19 specific guidelines and directives. Organizations may need to re-purpose allocated funds to work within new restrictions; contact the Business and Finance Committee (BFC) of Student Council for guidance. 

Off-campus travel may be allowed in very selective circumstances; contact student.engagement@kenyon.edu for guidance and approval. For guidance and approval regarding “Phase Three” activities for club sports, contact clubsports@kenyon.edu

In-person activities where appropriate distancing cannot be observed, or without face coverings, or with more than 10 participants are not allowed at any time. 

We recognize that these new guidelines and the dislocation of our community may present questions and challenges regarding extracurricular activities. When in doubt, please contact the Office of Student Engagement and/or Student Council.

Residence halls were designed to build community — which presents us with a challenge this upcoming year as we seek to promote public health and well-being. Lounge spaces within traditional residence halls will be configured differently this year to allow for physical distancing. Community kitchens will not be available for use for the foreseeable future. Laundry rooms will be outfitted with hand washing or sanitizing supplies and will have guidelines posted for physical distancing. We encourage you to navigate hallways with care, being sure to maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and your fellow residents. 

Enhanced cleaning protocols will be implemented in all shared spaces, and you may be asked to wipe down some spaces after use. Every shared bathroom, lounge and community kitchen will have a maximum occupancy sign. 

Regarding visitors: Students may visit friends in other residences (and they must wear face coverings while doing so). Please note that residence hall lounges are restricted to residents of that hall, except for lounges designated as study spaces. Students will be limited to a ratio of one guest (who is a Kenyon student) per resident. Overnight guests are allowed under these guidelines: They must be a Kenyon student (no external visitors); the number of people in your room must not exceed the ratio of one guest per resident.

To protect our community, including our local neighbors, students in residence must agree to remain in Knox County for all nonessential travel. Requests to leave Knox County for essential reasons, e.g. medical appointments, must be sent to Dean of Students Robin Hart Ruthenbeck (hartruthenbeck1@kenyon.edu) as far in advance as possible, and at least 48 hours prior to the intended travel. We also ask that students limit their non-essential travel within the county as much as possible.