Sharing Important COVID-19 Updates
Dear Kent State University Students, Faculty and Staff,
I trust you are enjoying a productive spring semester. As we draw closer to spring break, I want to provide some useful information to keep our Kent State community healthy and safe.
Vaccines at the Field House
The Portage County Combined General Health District will hold a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Kent State Field House from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 23, and continuing every Tuesday at the field house this spring.
Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots will be available. The clinics are open to anyone who lives in Portage County and who meets the state eligibility requirements for a vaccine. The health district expects to be able to administer 1,600 shots per day at these clinics. Registration is required and must be made through the county health district.
Today, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that all Ohioans age 16 or older will be eligible to receive a vaccine as of Monday, March 29, and all Ohioans age 40 or older and all those with serious medical conditions including cancer, heart disease, obesity and chronic kidney disease are eligible for a vaccination as of Friday, March 19.
In addition, the Ohio Department of Health has approved University Health Services to become a COVID-19 vaccine provider. To date, however, University Health Services has not been notified if or when any vaccine will arrive for distribution at the DeWeese Health Center.
Kent State strongly encourages all members of the university community to get a COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible. The Ohio Department of Health offers an online site to find vaccination locations in all counties and to register for an appointment.
Having much of our population vaccinated against COVID-19 is part of the university’s strategy for safely returning to more traditional campus operations for the 2021 Fall Semester, including a greater number of students living in residence halls, a larger number of in-person classes and expanded in-person participation in campus activities and sporting events.
For those members of our university community who are in the process of getting vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance on when the full effects of the vaccine are in force – two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Even after being fully vaccinated, it is important to continue to follow the Flashes Safe Eight principles for the safety of all in our community.
New Travel Guidance
With spring break approaching, it is important to note that the CDC still recommends against all travel unless absolutely necessary. Travel increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19, and the CDC recommends all travel be delayed even for those who are fully vaccinated. We hope travel opportunities will return soon, and we are planning for study abroad opportunities for the 2021-2022 academic year, subject to administrative approval and CDC guidelines for safe travel. Travel guidelines for university employees remain in place, and employees are asked to only travel if required and critical for the job and to replace travel with a remote event if possible.
I know many of you are waiting on information regarding our plans for spring commencement. We will be sharing an announcement about commencement this week. We are all excited for in-person events and activities to return. Based on state guidelines, many university events or gatherings still will be substantially limited in size. If you are considering organizing an event, please remember to consult the current Event and Activities Guidelines and register your event with the university. We continue to carefully monitor all state health regulations and hope that in the coming weeks and months guidelines will relax so that we can safely bring more people together.
Even as the percentage of people vaccinated against COVID-19 continues to increase and the number of cases continues to decrease, please remember that the virus and new variants of it are still actively circulating. Ohio needs to remain at 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks for all state COVID-19 health orders to be rescinded. We are currently at 155 cases per 100,000, which is comparable to the disease rate of mid-October 2020. So we are hopeful that the future looks bright, but we know we are not there yet. This virus is still with us.
You have been doing a great job of keeping the cases of COVID-19 low within the Kent State community by following the Flashes Safe Eight. We are confident you will continue on that safe path because for the past year you have demonstrated your dedication to our motto: Flashes Take Care of Flashes.
Manfred van Dulmen, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs
Interim Dean of Graduate Studies
Chair, Pandemic Leadership Committee