On Thursday, the College reported a second positive COVID-19 test result in the Kenyon community. “It is an unusual case and demonstrates some of the complexities of testing,” said Director of Cox Health and Counseling Center Chris Smith in a News Bulletin.
When asked by the Collegian what he meant by “unusual,” Smith declined to elaborate, but said that the person who tested positive was not on campus. “It is important to remember that not every positive test reflects a new case of COVID, nor is every Kenyon test administered on campus or even in Knox County,” he added in the News Bulletin.
Last week, the College conducted its second round of baseline COVID-19 testing as classes commenced. According to Kenyon’s COVID-19 dashboard, the College has received 2,523 test results since testing began on Aug. 21. Of this total, 620 tests were received in the last seven days.
On Sept. 9, the Office of Communications sent an email stating that, “As a precaution, one student is in quarantine due to presenting mild symptoms, and they will resume normal activities once they receive a negative test result from Everlywell.” It is not clear if this is where the positive test result comes from, or what specifically prompted this email. During the initial round of testing, one employee who has been working remotely tested positive for COVID-19, the College reported.
According to Smith, the testing process was logistically similar to that of the first round, and used the same Everlywell self-administered tests, which will be used throughout the semester.
In the first round, students were tested immediately upon arrival to campus, while last week they had to find time in between their classes to get tested last week. To account for this change, testing was conducted during various blocks of time throughout the week, which gave “agency [to] students to responsibly manage their own time according to the testing requirement and their personal schedules,” according to Smith.
Despite scheduling concerns, the second round of testing was ultimately successful. “We were pleasantly pleased [that] all except about 20 students completed the second round of testing,” Smith wrote in an email to the Collegian. The Health Center contacted those students directly to ensure that they met the testing requirements.
The third and final round of baseline testing began on Tuesday, Sept. 8 and is expected to continue through Friday, Sept. 11. Starting Sept. 14, the College will test a quarter of the student body each week, on a rotating basis according to last name. The College has said that they will not announce all future positive test results.