Kent State prepares for fall semester with course adjustments, new public health procedures

Troy PiersonReporter

Kent State plans to increase remote learning and bolster preventative health measures in preparation for reopening campus in the fall. 

In a Zoom meeting on June 17 with members of local news outlets, Interim Associate Provost Manfred van Dulmen addressed questions about updated procedures the university will follow to reopen its campuses.

The university is looking at both classroom capacity to teach in-person classes, van Dulmen said, as well as which professors would be comfortable with teaching in-person. The university is also considering using non-traditional spaces on campus for academic courses.

According to an email sent by Interim Senior Vice President and Provost Melody Tankersley, Vice President for Enrollment Management Mary Parker, Vice President for Student Affairs Lamar Hylton and University College Dean Eboni Pringle, around 40 percent of courses will be held in person on campus, and 60 percent will be held remotely. 

Van Dulmen said the entire course schedule should be available by the end of the month for all students to see which classes are online and in-person. The new schedule is not a result of budget cuts and will not have an impact on university finances, van Dulmen said. 

The email stated the university will renovate parts of campus to meet standards for contact tracing and testing. These renovations will include installing negative pressure rooms at the DeWeese Health Center for on-site testing, van Dulmen said. The university is also looking to use a trailer that can be used to perform on-site testing as a secondary option. 

The email also announced a residence hall on the perimeter of campus will be converted for students “who are living on campus and may require isolation.” Van Dulmen said the location of this hall is yet to be determined. 

The email detailed the establishment of a COVID Watch Response Team, which will track the spread of the virus on all of Kent State’s campuses and establish “a system for students, faculty and staff to report cases of the virus or potential exposure.” Van Dulmen said the Watch Team is being organized to assist local health departments with contact tracing.

According to Executive Director of University Media Relations Eric Mansfield, the university will not allow triple rooms for next fall to promote social distancing. Mansfield also said out of the 6,000 beds in residence halls on campus, over 90 percent of those accommodations are reserved by students for the fall. 

There will also be availability for students to reserve housing options in the spring, Mansfield said, if students opt out of housing for the fall semester. Students have until July 10 to receive a refund on their housing deposit.

Contact Troy Pierson at [email protected]