COVID-19 Update: Campus to shift to moderate alert

On Nov. 14, 2020, President Sean Decatur announced that the College was shifting to a moderate level of alert through Nov. 25, the end of the residential semester.


Dear members of the Kenyon College community, 

As you know, cases of COVID-19 are rising at an alarming rate across the country. Earlier this week, Ohio’s governor and our county health commissioner issued statements asking residents to take every precaution. On Thursday afternoon, Knox County’s alert status was raised to “red,” indicating very high levels of exposure and spread in the community. 

While Kenyon’s testing program has yielded thankfully few positive results, we have had two positive results among employees in the past seven days; this morning, we were alerted of one positive result among students in residence. As is our practice for those who test positive, the student is in isolation and Knox Public Health (KPH) is tracing contacts. Anyone who might be considered a close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) will receive a call from KPH to advise of any additional precautions required. 

Given the local conditions and the implications that exposure may have for upcoming travel, the campus will shift to a moderate level of alert — effective at 5 p.m. today, Nov. 14, through Nov. 25, the end of the residential semester.

As a reminder, at moderate alert:

  • All student meals are available for takeout only starting with dinner today. Students are welcome to eat outside and in their residence hall rooms, but not inside Peirce.

  • Study lounges and other common spaces are closed.

  • There can be no in-person, extracurricular activities or small gatherings.

  • Students may not have guests in their residence hall rooms/apartments.

  • Athletics activities are suspended and the Lowry Center is closed for fitness and recreation. 

  • Visitors to campus are restricted to only essential service providers; there will be no new admissions or athletics tours scheduled.

  • All other operations, including classes, will continue as scheduled with standard precautions: wearing a mask, keeping a 6-foot distance and washing hands regularly. Students should consult their supervisors regarding any possible modifications to on-campus employment.

Testing of students will continue as planned through the end of the residential semester. On Sunday, the Cox Health and Counseling Center will distribute next week’s schedule for student testing. 

I recognize that these enhanced restrictions are not easy and that it is especially disappointing to end our residential semester in this way. But we believe they are a necessary precaution to keep our community — on campus, in Knox County, and in all the places our students will be returning to — as healthy as possible.


Sean Decatur