Kent State’s coronavirus plan cuts back in-person instruction, limits dorm capacity

Coronavirus

KENT, Ohio (WJW)– Counting down the days until fall semester, college campuses will look different and with extra safety precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Kent State University released a new, updated coronavirus response plan on Monday and launched a safety initiative called “Flashes Safe Seven” that focuses on seven safety measures students, faculty and staff should focus on to manage the virus.

It includes everything from tips on washing hands, to recognizing and reacting to symptoms of COVID-19.

“We feel we’ve done everything we can do to put a plan in place that keeps people safe and healthy and now it’s up to everybody else to make sure that it happens,” said Manfred Van Dulmen, KSU Reopening Committee chair.

In March, students were abruptly sent home and nearly all learning went online, but planning for the fall started soon afterward and included the creation of a COVID-19 response team comprised of medical and public health professionals. The team will be located at DeWeese Health Center and responsible for managing, “COVID-19 information and procedures regarding testing, isolation and quarantine situations.”

Renovations were completed on a dormitory with negative pressure rooms for those who are infected. However, a big focus is on prevention starting with when they arrive on Aug. 19.

Usually, when students move in, it takes one or two days, but this year will be spread out over a five-day period. Also, all dormitory rooms will be limited to two students.

They’re also scaling back on all classroom activities.

“About 75 percent of our classroom experiences are remote, 25 percent of classroom experiences are in the classroom,” Van Dulmen said. “And student organizations are working hard to make sure whether it’s in-person or remotely that students feel connected so they feel part of a larger institution.”

Exactly how fall athletics will resume is still undetermined, said Van Dulmen, but training is underway. 

He said this is just the start. They will continue tracking and monitoring the virus even after classes resume on Aug. 27.

“And we will adjust plans as we need to. If we don’t feel it’s safe, we will scale back. We work with our health commission and we will make adjustments as we move forward,” Van Dulmen said.

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