Kent State asks students to avoid parties, limit interactions for next two weeks


KENT, Ohio (WJW)– Kent State University and Kent city health officials have a message for students: Do what’s right.

Portage County, home of Kent State, was raised to the red level of the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, which determines a county’s risk for coronavirus, on Thursday. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said a majority of COVID-19 cases were tied to activities at off-campus housing and Greek housing.

On Tuesday, the university said those hosting parties and gatherings must stop or face disciplinary action.

“Now is the time for Flashes to unite and do what’s right,” said Kent State President Todd Diacon and Kent City Health Commissioner Joan Seidel, in a joint statement.

“Our entire community must step up now and take responsibility for slowing the spread of COVID-19. This is a critical time in the fight against the virusand we must have an immediate and concerted effort to decrease the transmission of new cases.”

Kent State and the health department issued the following recommendations for the next two weeks:

  • We are asking all Kent State University students to avoid all gatherings and parties.
  • We are asking Kent State students to limit their interactions with others by only attending class and participating in physical exercise. 
  • We are asking Kent State students to be especially observant of their behavior and that of others as we fight to reduce the spread of the virus. If you see troubling behavior, report it on the Flashes Safe Seven Accountability page, which has been established to hold us all accountable by offering a place to report violators. 
  • For those who fail to practice stringent safety principles, we won’t hesitate to take the strongest disciplinary actions that our Code of Student Conduct allows, up to and including warning, probation, disciplinary suspension, disciplinary dismissal and other educational or corrective measures. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and fail to quarantine as required will face the strongest disciplinary action. 

According to the statement, the city of Kent is prepared to take more aggressive measures, including potential mandatory quarantines for various off-campus housing areas, if Portage County remains at the red level.

The Ohio Public Health Advisory System examines the following factors: new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases that are not in congregate settings, sustained increase in COVID-19-related emergency room visits, sustained increase in COVID-19 outpatient visits including telehealth, sustained increase in COVID-19 hospital admissions and intensive care unit occupancy.

Yellow or Level One: County has triggered zero or one of the indicators. 

Orange or Level Two: County has triggered two or three indicators.

Red or Level Three: County has triggered four or five indicators. 

Purple or Level Four: County has triggered six or seven indicators.

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