Kent State Provides Initial Guidance for Return to Campuses
Dear Golden Flashes,
Over the last several months, Kent State University faculty, staff and leadership have been consulting with local and national authorities as well as our own health experts as we work to develop a return-to-campuses plan that ensures, to the greatest extent possible, the health and safety of all members of the Kent State community.
Let me begin by reiterating the precepts that guide our planning. Our plans must protect the health and safety for everyone in our university community; reflect the values and mission of Kent State; and allow our students to be successful, our employees to thrive and our scholars to be innovative and creative.
We plan to resume residential living and a number of in-person classes in August. Although we will be together in person, there will be notable differences during the next school year. Students will likely enroll in a combination of face-to-face and remotely taught courses.
Also, we will eliminate Fall Break and move to fully remote instruction for the two remaining weeks in the semester after Thanksgiving. This will reduce the amount of travel to and from campuses, which reduces the potential spread of the virus. Other fall 2020 academic calendar changes are under study. If at any time during the semester the pandemic worsens, we will be prepared to move all instruction to remote learning.
While we will not have a Fall Break this coming semester, we recognize the importance of student mental health and will continue to enhance student mental health services this upcoming academic year. At any time, students may access mental health support services through our Step Up and Speak Out initiative.
It is important to reiterate, whether you are currently on campus or returning during our phased plans to reopen, all Kent State community members are required to adhere to the Flashes Safe Seven principles to ensure the safety of our community. Following these safety principles is the single most important action any of us can take to remain healthy and protect our fellow Flashes. We plan to provide two reusable cloth masks for every student and employee.
To prepare for a return to campuses, the planning group has outlined a phased approach for students, faculty and staff.
While these plans are subject to change as we monitor developments with the virus, they will guide our continued preparations. Additional details of the plan are forthcoming, including information about contact tracing, virus testing, and quarantine and isolation protocols.
Employees currently working remotely should continue to do so until additional guidance is provided by their supervisor. Staff members will return to campus at different times, depending on their roles and responsibilities. Some employees may continue to work remotely as their role allows, possibly beyond the beginning of fall semester. Supervisors will receive additional information shortly.
We understand how important it is that decisions be made as soon as possible regarding which specific classes will be delivered in person or remotely. Virtually every part of the university is working diligently to identify feasible academic solutions given the constraints driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As always, University Health Services is open and available to answer questions about COVID-19 and safe practices at 330-672-2322, or after hours, contact the Kent State Nurse Line at 330-672-2326.
My heartfelt thanks to all faculty, staff and students whose great work is shaping our plan to come together as a community. Thank you all for your patience as we prepare for a safe return to on-campus activities and the start of fall semester. We must all be diligent in our actions to protect the health of every member of our community.
Manfred van Dulmen, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs
Chair, Reopening Steering Committee