Return to Campus Plan Enters Final Phase

Dear Kent State University Students, Faculty and Staff,

We are now two weeks into the spring semester and are beginning the third and final phase of the university’s return to campus plan.

Our efforts for the spring semester are focused on preventing the spread of COVID-19 to our Kent State community. Our strategy is at the leading edge of national best practices for ensuring the health and safety of all, and we believe it will provide students, faculty and staff with the best possible campus experience given the ongoing pandemic. As always, we will remain flexible and adjust to any developments with the virus and to changes in state, county and local health guidelines.


Testing

This week marks the beginning of in-person instruction for those classes that were designated as in person for the spring semester but began in a remote format for the first two weeks of the semester. Please remember, it is more important than ever to carefully monitor your health and to stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms.

Any student, faculty or staff member with COVID-19 symptoms should stay home and contact the COVID Response Team at the DeWeese Health Center at 330-672-2525 to arrange for a COVID-19 test or visit at CVS Minute Clinic, a local emergency room or urgent care facility or consult your primary care physician. No matter where you are treated or tested, it is important to contact the COVID Response Team so the team can work with your local health department and begin to trace your contacts within the university community to alert others of possible exposure.

We have expanded COVID-19 testing this semester to include mandatory weekly testing for all students living in residence halls; a thorough program of random screening tests for Kent Campus students, faculty and staff; rigorous testing for all involved in athletics; and a program of wastewater monitoring for early detection of COVID-19 outbreaks. This strategy will be continually reviewed, updated and adjusted to accommodate the evolving pandemic conditions throughout the spring semester.


Vaccinations

Kent State has established a vaccine committee that is working on the university’s strategy for COVID-19 vaccines in conjunction with the Kent City Health Department and the Portage County Combined General Health District. Our goal is to develop a strategy that optimizes access to vaccines for the Kent State community. Please stay posted for forthcoming information.

Currently in Ohio, vaccines are being provided to selected priority groups based on guidelines established by the state. If you are eligible to receive the vaccine through a COVID-19 vaccine provider in Ohio now or in the future, we strongly encourage you to get it. Our goal is to have everyone in the Kent State community protected against this deadly virus, and vaccines are an essential tool in this prevention strategy.


Important Dates and Information

Following are important dates and information for academics and activities from Feb. 1 to May 12.

Academic Calendar

  • In-person and remote instruction continue through Sunday, April 11.
  • Spring break takes place Monday, April 12, to Sunday, April 18.
  • All courses will be held via remote instruction from Monday, April 19, to Tuesday, May 4.
  • No courses or parts of courses will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on May 4 in observance of Remembrance Day.
  • Wednesday, May 5, is a reading day.
  • Final examinations take place remotely from Thursday, May 6, through Wednesday, May 12.

Information for Academics and Activities

Employees – Employees needed to maintain current campus operations and student support will continue to report to work on campus. Employees who can work remotely are encouraged to do so. Please check with your supervisor to determine your work plan. Student workers also are working on campus.

Employee COVID-19 Illness or QuarantineThe Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a federal law that had offered paid sick leave for those dealing with COVID-19-related illness, expired Dec. 31, 2020. The university since has implemented new procedures related to illness or quarantine due to COVID-19. For questions related to time off due to COVID-19 quarantine, refer to this informational page for appropriate steps and contacts for any additional questions you may have.

Travel – University-sponsored travel – with few exceptions – is not allowed until further notice.

Ohio’s travel advisory remains in effect for all individuals coming into Ohio from states reporting positive COVID-19 testing rates of 15% or higher. Anyone traveling from these states is advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. The Ohio Department of Health also is recommending against travel to these states.

Research and Creative Activities – Researchers/Artists whose Request to Return to Research form was approved by the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs will continue their work on campus.

Athletics – All student-athletes are back on campus practicing, training and/or competing. Only employees needed to support athletics in person should be on campus. Other employees should work remotely. 

Events/Student Activities – Select events will take place in accordance with Kent State’s event procedures and policies, state and local guidelines and the Flashes Safe Seven. Virtual events are ongoing; check the Event Calendar for schedules.

Visitors – In-person campus tours have resumed; all visitors must follow state guidelines, wear a cloth face covering and maintain physical distance. Those experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms should not visit campus.


We hope the semester is shaping up to be a productive and successful one for you. While vaccines provide hope for the future, as new variants of COVID-19 spread across the country, it is more important than ever that we diligently monitor our health daily, stay at home if we are sick and get tested immediately at the first sign of symptoms. Also, please dutifully follow the Flashes Safe Seven principles, which include wearing a face covering, practicing frequent handwashing and physical distancing, and avoiding gatherings. 

Our goal is a safe, healthy and successful semester from start to finish for all of us.

Sincerely,

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

POSTED: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 - 4:42pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 - 4:42pm
WRITTEN BY:
Manfred van Dulmen, Ph.D.