Sept. 15, 2021, update: Please review the adjusted guidelines Kenyon has implemented to respond to evolving COVID-19 conditions. Read COVID-19 Steering Committee Chair Drew Kerkhoff's message to the Kenyon community regarding these updated guidelines.

Very high vaccination rates among Kenyon’s students and employees give us confidence that we are able to manage risks involved with in-person instruction and residential life on campus. At the same time, the pandemic is not over. COVID-19 remains with us, but we are moving from life under COVID, to living with COVID.

The following policies apply to the fall 2021 semester. Our ongoing mitigation efforts will continue to follow best practices outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with our state and local public health partners. Thus, details of our policies will likely change in response to new knowledge and new circumstances, but they will always be designed to protect the health and well-being of the campus community, based on the best available information.

Staying Healthy


  • Students are required to provide proof of immunization for all vaccines recommended by the CDC, including COVID-19. Requests for reasonable accommodations for medical exceptions and sincerely held religious beliefs are considered on an individual basis. 

  • The influenza vaccine also is required for students and will be provided on campus at no charge to students when our allocation of this season’s vaccine becomes available later this semester.

Face coverings. Masks offer added protection; they are required in certain circumstances and recommended in others. Based on current CDC and local public health guidance:

  • Masks are currently required indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Exceptions include: students in their private room (but masks are required in common areas of residence halls or apartments); employees working alone in a private office or workspace; individuals who are actively eating or exercising; individuals whose health or job prevents them from wearing a face covering (see return to campus protocols for employees). 

  • We will continue to monitor local and regional case data, review CDC guidance and consult with local public health authorities on our policies. Should conditions allow us to relax our mask mandate, unvaccinated individuals will be expected to continue to wear a mask in the presence of others indoors. 

Distancing. Unvaccinated individuals are expected to maintain a 6-foot distance from others. Event spaces are limited to 85% of normal capacities so that those who choose to maintain a distance greater than 3 feet can do so.

Managing COVID-19 Cases and Mitigating Transmission

COVID-19 testing. With a largely vaccinated population, our testing program will focus on symptomatic students and surveillance testing of unvaccinated students. 

All students may elect to receive up to one COVID test per week, though weekly surveillance testing will be compulsory only for unvaccinated students. Students may pick up self-administered Everlywell kits in the mailroom on the lower level of Gund Commons weekdays between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Please note that samples must be shipped to the lab on the same day they are collected, and the mailroom cannot accept samples for shipment after 2:30 p.m. Everlywell kits provide the accuracy of a PCR test with the convenience and efficiency of self-administration; the turnaround time for results is generally 24-48 hours from the time the sample reaches the lab. The Cox Health & Counseling Center will continue to offer medical evaluation and testing for all students reporting COVID-like symptoms, and close contacts will continue to be tested 3-5 days after exposure in accordance with public health guidance.

Symptom checks, and what to do if you have symptoms. Because of the possibility of breakthrough infections, and the importance of limiting community spread, all community members are encouraged to continue daily symptom checks. 

  • Students exhibiting two or more COVID-19 symptoms should schedule an appointment with the Cox Health & Counseling Center for medical assessment, which could include testing. To schedule an appointment please call 740-427-5525 or email

  • Symptomatic students suspected of having COVID-19 will remain in quarantine pending test results. During this period, they must wear a face covering at all times and are not permitted to go to class, participate in athletics or other extracurricular activities, or dine at Peirce (they may enter the building to pick up take-out meals).

What happens if you test positive for COVID-19.

  • Students who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate and undergo contact tracing by Knox Public Health, with assistance from Cox Center staff. They will remain in isolation for 10 days (from the onset of symptoms or receipt of a positive test result). During this period, they must wear a face covering at all times and are not permitted to go to class, participate in athletics or other extracurricular activities, or dine at Peirce (they may enter the building to pick up take-out meals).

  • Cox Center staff will remain in contact with all students in isolation, and will help them to connect to local health providers as necessary.

What happens if you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

  • Fully vaccinated students who are determined to be close contacts by Knox Public Health will receive a COVID-19 test within 3-5 days of exposure, and must wear a face covering at all times until they receive a negative test result. During this period, if they are asymptomatic they may attend class and pick up takeout meals from Peirce, but not dine in. 

  • Unvaccinated students who are determined to be close contacts will be quarantined. During this period, they must wear a face covering at all times and are not permitted to go to class, participate in athletics or other extracurricular activities, or dine in at Peirce (but may pick up takeout meals). They will receive a COVID-19 test approximately 5 days after exposure and, if negative, will be released from quarantine after 7 days. 

Campus Life

Athletics. Kenyon will follow NCAA guidelines (PDF) for fall training and competition.

Dining. Peirce Hall will offer both dine-in and takeout options for students starting with breakfast on Thursday, Sept. 16. At this time, Peirce will not be open to employees for dine in or takeout meals. Private dining rooms will be used for general student seating and may not be reserved for private functions during meal times. Students dining in Peirce should distance as much as possible, continue masking whenever they are not actively eating and drinking, and limit their time in the dining hall to the extent possible. 

Events, meetings and gatherings.

Registered events: Events hosted by the Office of Student Engagement, student organizations, or other campus offices or departments will be limited to 50 participants outdoors, or to the adjusted capacity of the indoor event space. Event organizers must assign a compliance officer (student or staff) to ensure that participants adhere to all campus guidelines. Food and beverages may not be served at indoor events; if served at outdoor events, they should be distributed in individual servings. Exemptions to any guidelines, including capacity limits or serving food and beverages indoors, must be approved by the Events Advisory Committee: email We encourage organizers to consider hosting events outdoors or in other well-ventilated areas, keeping gatherings small or offering virtual programs.

Informal events: The limit for outdoor informal gatherings is now 50, just like registered events occurring outdoors. The limit for indoor informal gatherings in public spaces is now the capacity established for the space in which the event is occurring, just like registered events. For informal gatherings occurring indoors, participants need to mask at all times and food/drink is prohibited. The limit for indoor informal gatherings in residential spaces is now one guest per resident; for example, an apartment with 8 residents may host 8 additional guests.

Travel. Students may travel off campus and return without any need for a quarantine period or entry testing. (Unvaccinated students participate in weekly testing.) It is advisable to consult CDC guidance for domestic and international travel.

We encourage students to exercise caution if they travel for October break and to take an Everlywell test upon their return. The College is actively considering requiring entry testing for students returning from Thanksgiving break and for the spring semester; please watch for further communication on this.

Visitors. The campus is open to visitors, including family and friends of students in residence as well as prospective students and families. Visitors must adhere to all campus guidelines, according to their vaccination status.