Important Information About Kent State’s COVID Response

Dear Kent State University Students, Faculty and Staff, 

As we look forward to the fall semester with great enthusiasm and much Golden Flash spirit, one of our main priorities is to provide guidance to ensure the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff as we return to campuses. Our reopening committees have developed sound and thorough plans to help manage the effects of the virus on our campuses, and while the situation is ever changing, we are prepared for that as well. As always, all of you play a key role in managing the virus by adhering to the Flashes Safe Seven!

This fall semester will include many experiences for learning and growing with students meeting new friends, the challenge of rigorous academics with faculty experts and the collaboration of community members across our campuses. As we pursue our meaningful goals at Kent State, we must be knowledgeable about the new normal required to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. I am sharing important information for fall semester so you may understand how we will manage the effects of the virus on our campuses and what you can do to keep our community healthy.

Kent State COVID Response Team

Kent State has established a COVID Response Team located at DeWeese Health Center. This team is responsible for managing COVID-19-related information and procedures regarding testing, isolation and quarantine situations. This team will serve all campus locations. The COVID Response Team is led by the chief university physician, and its members include a coordinator, nurses and expert public health staff. Any Kent State community member who has been exposed to, diagnosed with or shows symptoms of COVID-19 must contact the COVID Response Team at 330-672-2525.

Contact the COVID Response Team if you:

  • Have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are being tested for the virus due to symptoms suggestive of the infection.
  • Have had close contact with an individual confirmed to have COVID-19 by laboratory testing or medical clinician. Close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
  • Live on campus in university housing and have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, loss of smell or taste, fatigue, muscle or body aches, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Have returned from international travel, regardless of country.
  • Are entering Ohio after travel to states reporting positive testing rates of 15% or higher according to the state of Ohio's COVID-19 Travel Advisory.
  • If you have emergency warning signs such as trouble breathing, seek emergency medical care immediately.

Learn more about self-reporting requirements at the COVID Response Team webpage.

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for the virus:

  • Isolate at home and call your doctor immediately to seek medical advice. Always call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • Notify the Kent State COVID Response Team at 330-672-2525.

Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are sick with COVID-19 and those with no symptoms and a positive test result) from people who are not infected. In Ohio, isolation orders are issued by local public health departments to control the spread of communicable diseases. This care may be altered by your medical care physician and/or local county health care authorities. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for guidelines on isolation.

The university has allocated space on campus for students living in the residence halls to safely isolate if they are diagnosed with COVID-19.

More information about what to do if you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 can be found at cdc.gov/coronavirus.

If you have been in close contact ─ within six feet for at least 15 minutes ─ of someone who has COVID-19, or through contact tracing, it is determined you have been in close contact with a positive or probable COVID-19 case, you will be notified by the COVID Response Team or the local health department and advised to quarantine.

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick. According to CDC's quarantine start and end guidelines, those in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health and follow directions from their state or local health department. If you have been instructed to quarantine by a medical or public health professional, please report your quarantine status to the Kent State COVID Response Team at 330-672-2525.

Students, staff and faculty who are symptomatic can receive a COVID-19 test via University Health Services at the DeWeese Health Center on the Kent Campus. However, those in need of a test must first take part in a telemedicine visit with a clinician, who will order a test. To schedule an appointment, please call 330-672-2322. There are no walk-in appointments at the health center. Additional information can be found in the reopening section of the university's coronavirus page.

I know many of you have questions about the processes and protocols for managing the virus on campuses. Here is some helpful information to address many of the most frequently asked questions.

Will I be notified if I have been in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case?

If you are determined by the local health department to be in close contact with a positive or probable COVID-19 case, you will be notified by the local health department or the COVID Response Team and advised what you should do regarding quarantine. The local health departments are responsible for doing contact investigation on all positive COVID-19 cases. The Kent State COVID Response Team will help the local health departments with contact tracing to identify as early as possible close contacts of a positive or probable COVID-19 case.

Will I be informed of a positive case on campus?

Information relating to COVID-19 cases and contact tracing will be kept confidential as it is privileged and protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The name of a COVID-19 case will not be disclosed. If you are determined to be a close contact, you will be contacted and instructed by public health officials. If you are learning, living or working in a space where COVID-19 exposure has occurred, you will be notified about cleaning procedures.

In the event the local and or state health officials determine there is an outbreak on a campus, Kent State Public Safety and University Communications and Marketing will issue a university-wide communication.

What should I do if I know of someone who is COVID-19 positive, has symptoms or is a close contact?

If someone tells you their COVID-19 status, refer that person to the COVID Response Team or ask the person if you may notify the COVID Response Team with their information.

What should I do if I know I am a close contact of a COVID-19 case but I have not been notified by the health department or COVID Response Team?

Notify the COVID Response Team immediately at 330-672-2525. You should begin your quarantine immediately when you are informed by a close contact that they are positive or presumed positive by a medical professional. 

Do I have to be ill to get a test?

The DeWeese Health Center will provide testing to patients who have COVID-19 symptoms, are close contacts of a COVID-19 case, are at high risk or are part of a cohort that has requested testing, as long as there are testing supplies. You must call ahead at 330-672-2322 to schedule a telemedicine visit. There will be no walk-in appointments. Testing sites in the community vary on whether they will test patients without symptoms. Call ahead to inquire.

What should I do while I wait for my test results?

As soon as you are tested, you should begin to quarantine to minimize the spread of the virus in the event you are positive. Testing results may take up to 14 days to receive depending on where you have testing and if you are symptomatic.

Will areas where a person with COVID-19 works, teaches or attends class be closed for cleaning and disinfecting?

Exposed areas will be disinfected according to CDC guidelines. The COVID Response Team and local health department will determine the areas to be cleaned and disinfected based on information gathered during contact investigation. Find more information on cleaning and disinfecting facilities, outdoor spaces and sidewalks.

How will I be notified if my building is closed?

Those responsible for building management will be notified by University Facilities Management or the COVID Response Team of any building, or area within a building, being closed. Notification will include the area and duration of closure. Building managers will be notifying anyone who works and/or attends classes or activities in that building, or area within the building, of the closure and of any contingency plans necessary during the closure.

If I live in the residence halls, can I quarantine in my room?

The university has allocated quarantine space in residence halls for students who live in the residence halls. In some cases, with prior approval from the COVID Response Team, a student may be allowed to quarantine in their room. The university will provide linens and food. The local health department will provide case management and coordinate with the COVID Response Team and the DeWeese Health Center. Unless there is an objection from the local or state health department, a student may return home to quarantine.

Where can I learn more?

If you have questions regarding coronavirus/COVID-19, please call 1-833-4ASKODH (1-833-427-5634), the COVID Response Team at 330-672-2525 or email coronavirus@kent.edu.

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about reopening plans may be found at Kent State's reopening hub.

Kent State employees with work-related questions should contact Human Resources at 330-672-2100.

For any questions about health-related issues, contact your medical provider or call your local health department. If you are in Kent, call the Kent City Health Department at 330-678-8109.

I hope you find this information both reassuring and helpful. We are ready to welcome all Golden Flashes to our campuses this fall! Remember to familiarize yourself with the Flashes Safe Seven principles.

We must all carefully practice our health and safety guidelines and protocols so we may continue activities on campus.

Stay healthy, stay safe and go Flashes!

Sincerely,

Manfred van Dulmen, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs
Interim Dean of Graduate Studies
Chair, Reopening Steering Committee

 

POSTED: Monday, August 3, 2020 - 11:05am
UPDATED: Monday, August 3, 2020 - 11:15am