Keeping campus healthy will require the cooperation of everyone in residence, as well as faculty and staff. Our return-to-campus protocols were developed in close partnership with Knox Public Health and were informed by guidance provided through the State of Ohio’s “Responsible Restart Ohio” plan. We encourage all members of our community, no matter where they are located, to follow guidance and directives issued by the Centers for Disease Control as well as their local public health authorities.
At the start of the fall semester, and throughout the semester, we are implementing a rigorous program of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for all faculty, staff and students; more details are below. When students test positive for the virus, the College will work with Knox Public Health to provide student care including housing arrangements, food delivery and clinical monitoring.
In addition to testing, the College will implement a system for daily symptom monitoring and tracking for all members of the community. Plans are underway to distribute smart thermometers with an aggregate monitoring function for all students, faculty and staff. In addition, the College has, in cooperation with the Village of Gambier, implemented a wastewater testing program to detect the presence of the virus in our community. All of this collected data will assist us in monitoring virus levels and inform our decision-making in collaboration with Knox Public Health.
Recognizing that there is no single approach to preventing the spread of COVID, we also are incorporating a number of strategies to minimize risk to our community: the universal wearing of face coverings (other than in private residential spaces or offices), maintaining safe physical distances, limits on mass gatherings, practicing good public health hygiene and monitoring our health closely. Limiting virus transmission will rely on all members of the Kenyon community practicing safe and healthy behaviors.
All student care and support is confidential (licensed healthcare professionals) and private (staff whose duties do not require a professional license). Student health information will not be shared with any person (including parents) unless the student has given permission by completing a Release of Information form.
We will provide regular updates on the COVID-19 infection status of our campus community members (in aggregate). Additionally, Knox Public Health regularly provides public information regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 in Knox County.
The Cox Health and Counseling Center, located at 104 W. Scott Lane is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m (Health Services) / 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Counseling Services). Students should call the Cox Center to schedule appointments prior to entering the building: 740-427-5525 (Health)/ 740-427-5643 (Counseling). All persons entering the Cox Center will undergo screening. We are currently exploring adding more resources to augment our health services for students, including the possibility of telehealth options and staffing during non-traditional office hours.
Students seeking access to care after hours should call Campus Safety at 740-427-5555. Full-time Campus Safety officers are trained as emergency medical responders and can assist with coordinating transport to Knox Community Hospital if necessary. Additional local health care options are listed here.
All students in residence and all employees who will be working on campus will complete COVID-19 testing prior to their arrival. Throughout the year, Kenyon will administer COVID-19 testing to approximately 25% of campus weekly, with special considerations for those who travel away from campus and/or are at increased risk of exposure. Students who become symptomatic or believe they have been exposed will be screened by our campus medical providers and tested; faculty and staff will be directed to KPH or their local public health authorities for screening and testing. Additionally, the College is participating in a program to monitor wastewater for the presence of the coronavirus in the Village of Gambier, providing an early warning sign of a possible rise in infections.
The College receives copies of test results and will update by noon EDT each weekday a dashboard of aggregate data including confirmed cases, recovered cases, the number of students and employees who have been tested, and the number of students in quarantine or isolation. The dashboard also will include information regarding COVID-19 presence in Gambier and Knox County. All students and employees will be emailed weekly a summary report of the presence of COVID-19 on campus. To sign up for a daily dashboard reminder, please fill out this form. Regular updates also will be shared on Kenyon’s social media channels. Please note that personal data will be kept in confidence and shared with only those responsible for managing care.
Kenyon will assume the cost of all COVID-19 testing.
Upon their arrival to campus for their designated move-in day, all students will be directed to the Kenyon Athletic Center, where they will receive a self-administered polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test produced by EverlyWell; please watch this video in advance so you know exactly how the test will be administered. Each test takes less than 10 minutes to administer. Within about 72 hours of receiving your sample, Everlywell will notify you (via the email and/or text number you provided when registering your kit) that your test result is available on their website.
Until the results of the test are known, and through the quiet period in place until Sept. 4, students are asked to self-quarantine by limiting their movement around campus and especially their contact with others. All meals will be available in to-go containers from Peirce Dining Hall. If your test result is positive, an Everlywell physician will call you with guidance, as well as a staff member from Knox Public Health, who will oversee the care and manage the contact tracing process of any Knox County cases of COVID-19. It is important that you respond to their outreach, so please make every attempt to answer your phone while you are awaiting results, check your voicemail regularly and ensure that it does not become full.
Each student will be permitted to have one family member or guest assist them with move-in. All guests are asked to self-assess symptoms before arrival. During the check-in process, everyone must wear protective face coverings while on campus. Anyone exhibiting symptoms will be denied access to campus buildings.
In addition to being tested upon arrival, all students will be tested 2 more times within the first 14 days of arrival on campus.
The College has engaged the laboratory EverlyWell to provide rt-PCR COVID-19 tests and processing for Kenyon College employees (as well as students; please see above). The test is one you administer yourself, and kits are being mailed to most employees’ homes for added convenience. Employees whose work is primarily campus-based, including maintenance, safety, dining and the Kenyon Inn, will receive a test kit from their supervisor and administer the test on campus during one of their shifts, also for convenience.
Kits are expected to arrive on campus and at employees’ homes the week of Aug. 17. You will receive detailed instructions with your test kit and are encouraged to watch this video in advance to see exactly how the test is administered. It is critically important that you follow the instructions precisely, including shipping your test sample on the same day you collect it. The kit includes a prepaid overnight shipping label (UPS) and can be dropped at a drop-box prior to the carrier’s last pick-up on weekdays. Those in the Gambier area may drop off their package at the Kenyon College Bookstore by 1 p.m. or Mail Center by 3 p.m. on weekdays if you wish for the College to deliver it to the carrier on their behalf.
Employees who will be working on campus in some capacity should administer the test as quickly as possible after receiving it. Within about 72 hours of receiving your sample, Everlywell will notify you (via the email and/or text number you provided when registering your kit) that your test result is available on their website. If positive, an Everlywell physician will call you with guidance, as will a staff member from Knox Public Health, who will oversee the care and manage the contact tracing process of any Knox County cases of COVID-19. It is important that you respond to their outreach, so please make every attempt to answer your phone while you are awaiting results, check your voicemail regularly and ensure that it does not become full.
Knox Public Health (KPH) serves as the lead agency when any resident of Knox County tests positive for the virus. Working in close partnership with KPH, the College has identified and secured isolation housing should students become ill with COVID-19. During the initial testing period after students arrive on campus, and potentially at other times of the semester, students may be required to self-quarantine in their rooms.
Medical care will be coordinated by KPH in concert with Cox Health and Counseling Center staff for students who are directed to isolation housing or who are asked to self-quarantine in their rooms due to possible exposure to COVID-19. Students in isolation housing will have food delivered to them. Students will need to meet KPH’s standard of wellness in order to return to normal campus access. The Dean of Students will work with students to notify faculty in order to minimize course disruption as much as possible.
Fear and anxiety about disease can be overwhelming, and especially so if you experience heightened anxiety in your everyday life. We also know students and employees may be experiencing added stress at this time due to shifting or uncertain financial circumstances.
Kenyon’s counseling staff is available to provide counseling, including telemental health counseling, to students who are physically located in the State of Ohio. To schedule an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 740-427-5643. Allowing our counselors to work with students who are physically located outside the state of Ohio is not possible at this time due to the complicated nature of state licensure requirements. The counseling staff is happy to assist students with identifying resources in their local area if needed.
All Kenyon students have free access to the online therapy service Talkspace. With a network of thousands of licensed clinicians with a diverse set of backgrounds and identities, Talkspace connects users to a dedicated therapist from a secure, HIPAA-compliant mobile app and web platform. Once you sign up and are matched with your chosen therapist, you will exchange text, voice or video messages. Students will be able to use the service at any time throughout the year, and from anywhere. Members of the Class of 2020 will have access to Talkspace until Aug. 15, 2020. Instructions on how to access the service are available here; for more information, contact Associate Director of Counseling Holly Baker (email@example.com).
In addition to Talkspace, students have 24/7 access to ProtoCall, which provides a licensed clinical behavioral health professional to assist with immediate support, crisis intervention and stabilization. ProtoCall can be reached by calling Campus Safety at 740-427-5555 and requesting to be connected.
In light of recent events and with a vision to more effectively serve the student body, the Cox Health & Counseling Center is preparing to provide more flexible services and increase access to resources that support our BIPOC student population.