Kent State holds Facebook live event to discuss student support services, answer fall semester questions

More than 400 Kent State faculty members spent this summer implementing new strategies to move forward during the fall semester so students can continue to learn and operate on campus despite changes brought on by COVID-19. 

Vice President of Student Affairs Lamar Hylton and Dean of University College Ebony Pringle were present for a Facebook Live event held Thursday at noon by Eric Mansfield, executive director of University Media Relations at Kent State.

Kent State holds a KSU Kickoff event each year welcoming students back to campus in the fall. Faculty, staff and members of Kent State’s upper administration have adjusted to make sure they are able to follow Flashes Safe Seven principles and keep students safe. The schedule and locations for KSU Kickoff will be available Aug. 15 on the Destination Kent State mobile app. 

This fall’s incoming freshmen will be welcomed in a nontraditional fashion, but the university is ensuring the excitement is still there. Faculty will continue to encourage students to adhere to the Flashes Safe Seven principles while honoring the new community feel for incoming Kent State students

Resident life at Kent State will resume, but will also look different. Usually students are welcomed during a one to two day move-in, utilizing day one for new students and day two for returning students. However, this fall resident services will practice a staggered move in day over a five day period for students and their families. Hylton said cleaning will take place during those days with set times for move in. There will be a max two-person occupancy to each room this semester in accordance with the Flashes Safe Seven and the university adhering to government guidelines.

If students don’t want to arrive during the dates implemented, they are advised to contact resident hall services directly to adjust their move in schedule.

“Overall, we’re still continuing to make sure we have a stable and robust student experience,” Hylton said. 

Recreational and dining halls will now have face-to-face opportunities and virtual experiences. The Student Center will still be open although it will operate differently compared to previous semesters. While the Student Center is normally used as a place for community building and relaxation, classes will be held there during the fall semester to help with occupancy limitations and to adhere to safe guidelines. 

Dining halls will reopen under new hours with grab and go opportunities and limited indoor seating. There also will be two new main dining facilities which are currently being constructed.

“There will be challenges to this because we’re just human beings, we’re not perfect,” Pringle said.

The office of Student Accessibility Services [SAS] will continue to provide support for students in need in and out of the classroom, while ensuring the university is in tune with safety requirements. 

Some students attending the Facebook live event were concerned with the required face coverings conflicting with health concerns. 

“Face coverings of some sort are required, however if for any reason health reasons prevent you from following those guidelines contact SAS to put in the necessary request,” Hylton said.

There will be onsite COVID-19 testing available at the University Health Center, which will reopen July 27. There will also be self-isolation rooms in the resident halls for students who may test positive for COVID-19 or encounter someone who has tested positive. At this time, Hylton said testing will only be available to symptomatic individuals.

Tutoring and advising will also still be available. Starting this fall, Kent State’s Academic Success Center will host virtual tutoring and study groups. Advisors are prepared to meet virtually, hold drop-in sessions face-to-face and even by phone, Pringle said. 

Kent State will also hold virtual experiences and face-to-face opportunities like virtual career fairs, which Pringle said were quite successful in the past. 

“We’re going to make sure you’re starting to prepare for your life after Kent state,” she said. 

Students are encouraged to visit https://www.kent.edu/studentaffairs for more details and information. 

Contact DaJonay Johnson at [email protected]