COVID-19 Update: Quiet period extended through Feb. 28

Date

Dear members of the Kenyon College community, 

As you know, Kenyon students-in-residence completed their third round of COVID-19 testing this week. We have begun to receive the results: Of the 1,188 tests registered since Monday, we have received 584 results, and a total of 5 positives — a positivity rate of 0.9 percent. This is a higher rate than we saw in the first two rounds of testing. Given the timing, we can assume that some transmission took place while on campus or in the local community. 

As is our practice, students who test positive are in isolation and Knox Public Health (KPH) is tracing contacts. With each positive case, there have been more close contacts (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) than we might have expected given our shared commitment to public health practices. Keeping a distance from friends and colleagues can be difficult and, if anything, has become harder as the pandemic extends on. But for a residential community like ours — which is more porous than pods or households — it is crucial that we maintain a physical distance, wear masks and not linger in groups, even among our closest friends and colleagues.

Given the most recent data, we are extending the quiet period through Sunday, Feb. 28. In addition, students-in-residence will complete two additional rounds of testing over the next two weeks. Testing will take place in the Lowry Center; please watch for an email from the Cox Health & Counseling Center on Sunday with next week’s testing schedule.

As a reminder, the following restrictions are in place during this period (view at-a-glance chart): 

  • Classes will continue as scheduled with standard precautions: wearing a mask, keeping a 6-foot distance and washing hands regularly. 

  • Students who have tested negative, as well as those who have been cleared to resume activities following isolation or quarantine, may dine in Peirce. Hours will be extended beginning Feb. 15 to help spread out usage, and dining managers will continue to take steps to ensure that people move through the servery quickly. Takeout meals are available to students in quarantine and meals are delivered to students in isolation.

  • 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.

  • The Lowry Center will continue a schedule of regular hours in order to spread out usage. Locker rooms will be closed. 

  • Visitors to campus are restricted to only essential service providers.

  • All other operations will continue as scheduled. Students should consult their supervisors regarding any possible modifications to on-campus work.

I recognize that maintaining these restrictions is not easy, but we believe it is a necessary precaution to keep our community as healthy as possible. We will continue to track our surveillance data closely — test results, wastewater samples and reports of symptoms — to inform our decisions going forward.

 

Sincerely,

Sean Decatur
President