New Policy to Help Us Fight COVID-19
Dear Kent State University Students, Faculty and Staff,
I am proud to say that this pandemic has shown us the many ways in which Kent State was well prepared to deal with a major public health emergency. Still, some challenges are new to us, and we must remain flexible in how we respond as a community.
To that end, the university has adopted a new administrative policy regarding epidemics, pandemics and community health requirements. This new policy will give the university the flexibility we need to better manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
At its core, this new policy will give the university the ability to establish health requirements for members of the university community. This policy also allows the university to meet the guidelines and requirements set by the Ohio Department of Health for institutions of higher education.
For spring semester, these requirements will take form with mandatory COVID-19 testing for any student living in university housing upon move-in and throughout the semester, mandatory random screening testing of students registered for in-person classes or working on campus and random screening testing of groups of employees who are unable to maintain physical distancing standards during their work on campus. Soon, you will receive additional details about our plans for spring semester testing.
We now know that frequent, widespread testing is the best way to control the spread of this rampant virus. This approach is central to our prevention strategy for spring semester.
A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examines the success Duke University had during fall semester with its aggressive strategy of mandatory, weekly COVID-19 testing for students, combined with safety practices nearly identical to our Flashes Safe Seven and effective contact tracing. Duke was able to keep its infection rate to less than 1% of its student population.
Kent State's new administrative policy will apply to our entire university community, including faculty, staff, students and student organizations conducting their activities on or off campus, as well as to visitors to any of our campuses. Medical and religious exemptions may be granted.
The policy will remain in effect through June 30, 2021, by which time we will reevaluate whether we will need to continue these measures depending on the state of the pandemic.
Anyone who fails to comply with any imposed health requirement, such as COVID-19 testing, may be subject to student or employee disciplinary action. However, it is my great hope that you will embrace these new requirements, including mandatory testing, for what they are: a concerted effort by our university to provide a safe environment for all of us to live, learn and work.
When we say Flashes Take Care of Flashes, we take that responsibility to heart, and we believe that the brief inconvenience of getting tested for COVID-19 is well worth the outcome of keeping us all healthy.
Remember, keep being diligent in practicing our Flashes Safe Seven on and off campus, and let's do all we can to keep our communities and families safe and healthy.