Changes to COVID-19 Protocols

Dear Kent State University Students, Faculty and Staff,

Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began to designate county levels for COVID-19 community spread, we have been following its guidance related to quarantine and isolation and have been requiring masks indoors at our campuses or locations in counties where the COVID-19 community level is high.

Recent changes in CDC recommendations, however, have caused us to reevaluate the requirement of masks indoors when community levels are high. Effective today, face masks are no longer required indoors on our campuses, regardless of the community level. However, when the CDC designates a county at a high level of community transmission, face masks are highly recommended.

University leadership has reached this decision after careful review of recently updated CDC guidance and in consultation with medical and public health experts from the Kent City Health Department, the DeWeese Health Center and our College of Public Health. 

We believe this change aligns with the CDC’s new recommended guidelines, which are based on high levels of immunity created by both vaccines and immunity from those who have recovered from the COVID-19 virus. Combined with the availability of effective treatments for the virus, we have confidence the potential strain on our healthcare system is now minimal.

Masks will continue to be required in all healthcare facilities on any of our campuses or locations.

Please understand that we may require indoor masks again should a new, more severe COVID-19 variant emerge, if the number of COVID-19 cases in our community spikes or if our hospital systems become overwhelmed with cases.

Quarantine and Isolation

In addition, we will be following the CDC’s new recommendation that quarantining is no longer required for those who are exposed to someone with COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status. This means that residence hall students exposed as a close contact to someone with COVID-19 will no longer be required to move to a quarantine room. They should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days, monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested on day 6 after exposure.

We will continue to provide isolation rooms for residential students on our Kent Campus who test positive for COVID-19 to mitigate virus spread. However, under the new CDC guidance, any student who tests negative on day 6, following five days of isolation and improved symptoms, will be allowed to return to their regular residence hall room provided they continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others through day 10. 

Staying Healthy

We cannot emphasize strongly enough what a vital role widespread vaccination played in getting our community to this strong of a level of immunity. We continue to encourage all students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to get all booster shots when eligible.

Vaccines and boosters are available at the DeWeese Health Center on the Kent Campus and at numerous locations throughout Northeast Ohio convenient to all our campuses.

For those who wish to monitor COVID-19 community levels for personal health reasons, we will continue to email updates on Thursday evening and update Kent State’s community level dashboard weekly. This information also can be found on the CDC’s website.

We support anyone who prefers to continue to wear a mask for personal health and safety reasons, and we strongly urge everyone to be respectful of others’ decisions regarding mask-wearing. Masks and at-home test kits continue to be available throughout all our campuses.

Let’s continue to work together so that all Golden Flashes have a safe and healthy semester.

Sincerely,

Melissa Zullo, Ph.D., MPH
Director, Pandemic Institutionalization Effort
Interim Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs
Program Coordinator – Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Professor of Epidemiology, College of Public Health

Lisa Dannemiller, M.D.
Chief University Physician
Interim Director, DeWeese Health Center

POSTED: Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - 12:15pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - 12:38pm
WRITTEN BY:
Melissa Zullo, Ph.D., MPH and Lisa Dannemiller, M.D.