GAMBIER, Ohio — After two rounds of COVID-19 testing for all students in residence, and with no positive test results among those students, Kenyon College has ended its campus “quiet period” and will lift some restrictions on campus life, which had been in place since move-in days in late August.
Students are now permitted to resume activities including dine-in meal options, use of the Kenyon Athletic Center, and in-person extracurricular activities. Throughout the semester, students and employees must follow health and safety guidelines, including limits on group sizes, the mandatory wearing of face coverings, and physical distancing from others.
The College will proceed with a third round of COVID-19 testing this week for all students in residence. Starting Sept. 14, one quarter of students on campus will be tested each week. All employees reporting to campus for work completed tests at the start of the semester; to date, the College has received only one positive test result, from an employee who had been working remotely. In addition to these regular testing practices, Kenyon is partnering with the Village of Gambier to sample Gambier’s wastewater for levels of RNA from dead particles of SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.
With guidance from Knox Public Health, Kenyon has developed rigorous protocols to quarantine students in case they are exposed to COVID-19 and to isolate students should they have a positive test result. Kenyon has secured additional housing in order to safely isolate students; this housing will be managed in close cooperation with Knox Public Health, who will manage their care and the contact-tracing process. Isolation housing accommodations include three College-owned properties in Gambier, including the McIlvaine Apartments, as well as the Comfort Inn, located in Mount Vernon. The Inn’s only occupants during the 2020–21 year will be Kenyon students and professional staff; this arrangement also makes it possible for the hotel to retain employment of its staff.
Regrettably, Kenyon is unable to fully open its campus to visitors this semester. Visitors are welcome to visit the Brown Family Environmental Center and the Kokosing Nature Preserve during daylight hours and must practice physical distancing as well as wear face coverings if there is an expectation of coming within 6 feet of another individual. Please note that while indoor facilities (including restrooms) for the BFEC and KNP will be closed, the BFEC will have a portable restroom available to guests outside its resource center. Visitors to the Gund Gallery are asked to check their temperature before visiting to ensure it is below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, to wear a face covering and maintain physical distancing for the duration of their visit, and to wait to enter the gallery if it has met its new maximum space occupancy of 50 people.
For more information on Kenyon’s response to COVID-19 and plans for the 2020–21 year, visit kenyon.edu/return.