COVID-19 Update: Quiet period extended through April 9

Date

Dear Kenyon campus community,

Based on the results of this week’s COVID-19 testing, which included all students in residence, we have made the difficult decision to extend the quiet period through Friday, April 9, continuing to operate at a moderate level of alert. Since Monday, we have received 1162 test results (of 1177 administered), 10 of which were positive. These are in addition to the 10 cases confirmed last week.

The pattern of cases over the past two weeks — which totals 20 confirmed cases, the most we have seen this year — suggests that transmission is not limited to a single cluster of close contacts. We recognize that the quiet period restrictions affect the lives of our students in significant ways. But we also know that the best way to contain community spread is to minimize unsupervised activities and large gatherings where masking and social-distancing cannot be ensured.  

These policies, together with another full round of testing next week, will be important tools for containing cases and concluding our semester successfully. But the most important tools are the choices we each make everyday — to wear a mask in the presence of others, keep at least six feet apart, avoid crowds and wash our hands often. As vaccine eligibility expands, and with the prospect of hosting a clinic on campus in the coming weeks, it is all too tempting to let down our guards. But we must remain vigilant.

Thank you for continuing to put the health and well-being of our community first.

Sincerely, 

 

Sean Decatur
President

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As a reminder, the following guidelines are in place:

Testing

All students in residence will undergo COVID-19 testing next week, including students who have been partially or fully vaccinated. Testing will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Lowry Center’s Toan Track and with the following schedule:

  • Monday, April 5: Last names A-F

  • Tuesday, April 6: Last names G-M

  • Wednesday, April 7: Last names N-Z

If you cannot make your designated testing day due to inflexible circumstances, please email COVID Support Coordinator Tristan Neviska: neviskatj@kenyon.edu

Dining

All student meals are available for takeout only. This includes extended dining. Outdoor seating will be available near Peirce Dining Hall. Students in quarantine will continue 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.

Student Gatherings and Guests

Study lounges and other common spaces are closed. There can be no in-person extracurricular activities, including club sports, indoors or outdoors. Informal gatherings of 10 or fewer persons, masked and following distancing guidelines, may take place outdoors. Students may have up to one guest in their residence hall rooms/apartments. 

Student Work

During quiet periods and other times when activities are temporarily restricted due to COVID conditions, students may attend classes in person but on-site student work may be limited. Supervisors are encouraged to identify opportunities for remote work and, if those are unavailable, to work with students to schedule additional hours when the quiet period ends. 

Our policies are intended to provide students and supervisors with the flexibility needed to tailor projects and schedules around COVID disruptions. However, if students face financial hardship due to a loss of income of any kind, including income expected during the academic year, I encourage them to request emergency relief funds by completing this brief online form. This is open to students whether or not they are receiving other financial aid. Once a request is granted, students receive funds as a check.

Athletics

Regrettably, we cannot allow competitions scheduled during this quiet period to proceed. We know this news is disappointing for student-athletes and athletics staff who have been preparing for competition this spring. To avoid risk of injury once competition resumes, we are allowing varsity teams to continue training, with mandatory masking through practices and an increased emphasis on physical distancing. Students with questions should contact their coach.

The Lowry Center will remain open to students and employees, who must reserve workout times using the KenyonFit app. Partner play will not be allowed, and basketball, racquetball, squash and tennis courts will be limited to one person per court. 

Admissions and Athletics Visitors

Admissions and athletics visitors who have already registered will be allowed to proceed with precautions in place, as per Kenyon’s visitor policy. No new visit registrations will be accepted. Registered visitors include newly admitted members of the Class of 2025 who are being provided with a moderate visit opportunity designed to be short, supervised and safe.

Because admitted students and their parents are determined to visit college campuses regardless of policies in place, providing an opportunity to visit with health and safety guidelines in place is the best way to protect our community. With supervised visits, we can do more to ensure that visitors adhere to campus protocols, including those safety standards. Inquiries and concerns can be directed to admissionsdean@kenyon.edu.

Travel

As a reminder, students may not travel outside of Knox County without advance permission from Dean Hart Ruthenbeck. Travel within the county should be limited to essential activities and taken with care given broader public health conditions. 

Academics and Other Operations

Classes and all other operations will continue as scheduled.