Things Will Be Different, but We’re All in This Together

Dear Kent State University Students,

We look forward to welcoming you to campus soon! Although I wish – as I'm sure you do – that we were not still in the grips of a pandemic, I am confident in our preparation for a great 2020-2021 academic year.

At Kent State, for the past four months we have been preparing for a "new normal" so that you can have a safe and successful semester, even in the face of unwelcome changes and uncertainty brought about by COVID-19. We have come up with a plan to meet these challenges – and we have the ability to adapt quickly as the situation demands.

Many of you will be taking your courses remotely. We understand that you desire more in-person learning – and we wish more courses could be face to face. However, the need to reconfigure our classroom space according to the best advice from scientists and public health experts, as well as our governor, has limited the number of in-person classes we can deliver. We are confident, though, that we have created safer, physically distant classrooms that feature 6 feet of separation between each student, and our great team from Academic Affairs and the Office of the University Architect identified new spaces for instruction, including the ballroom in the Kent State Hotel and Conference Center.

Our professors and employees face the same challenges and uncertainties that you and your families do. They are parents of young children. They have aging parents with the kinds of pre-existing conditions that generate additional problems for those stricken during the pandemic. Many are in high-risk groups. Flashes take care of Flashes, so faculty who wish to teach only remotely may do so. More than 600 Kent State professors completed an intensive, voluntary training in online pedagogy this summer in order to ensure that you have an excellent experience in the remote courses you'll be taking this fall. In addition, students who are uncomfortable with in-person classes may also choose to attend their classes remotely.

Even in the best of times, we know that many of you struggle to make ends meet – and these are far from the best of times. Because of the pandemic, many of you lost the part-time jobs you depend on to pay for college; many of your parents lost their employment, as well. In response to these needs, our great donors quickly provided more than $1 million in emergency funding to help students in the early months of the pandemic. Rents were paid, computers were purchased and hot spots for internet access were provided.

And over the past months, we have increased need-based funding. Flashes take care of Flashes, so if you and your family are impacted economically by the virus, we encourage you to contact One Stop for Student Services as we may be able to provide additional aid for those of you with the highest levels of unmet need. You will be heard, and we will do everything we can to help support you at this time. 

While this fall semester won't be everything you’d hoped for, you will still have many meaningful opportunities to engage with one another in and out of the classroom – whether virtually or at a safe physical distance – as we all follow the Flashes Safe Seven principles. You are practiced at creating communities online, and we look forward to seeing what you will make of this moment. 

Flashes are tough and resilient, and we will get through this together!

Stay safe, show your Golden Flash spirit – and we can't wait to welcome you this fall semester.


Todd Diacon

POSTED: Thursday, August 6, 2020 - 8:25am
UPDATED: Tuesday, August 11, 2020 - 12:20pm