Masks required indoors on main campus as of July 29

Alton Northup, Reporter

Masks are required indoors on Kent State’s main campus following Portage County moving into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s high community spread designation for COVID-19.

The university regularly monitors COVID levels and bases its policy off of CDC recommendations “for counties at ‘high,’ ‘medium’ or ‘low’ community levels when making determinations for safety precautions” on campuses, according to an email sent to students, faculty and staff Friday morning alerting them to the change.

Masks are not required while working alone in an enclosed space.

Portage County currently has 373 COVID positive cases as of Friday afternoon, a 51 percent increase from the previous week, according to data from the CDC. The rise in cases comes just under a month before students will return to campus for the fall semester and is over the case load from November 2021 when the campus had strict protocols in place.

High community spread is benchmarked by 100 cases per 1000,000 residents; Portage County is experiencing 229.59 cases per 100,000 residents.

The CDC recommends those in a county with high community spread “wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation, stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, get tested if you have symptoms [and] if you are at high risk for severe illness, consider taking additional precautions.”

Other KSU campuses requiring masks are the Trumbull campus, the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, the Cleveland Foot and Ankle Clinic and the College of Podiatric Medicine. These locations are in Trumbull and Cuyahoga county, where there is also high community spread.

Melissa Zullo, the director of the university’s pandemic institutionalization effort, could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

Alton Northup is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].