On Aug. 28, the last Friday of the summer, Assistant Director of Campus Safety Timothy Todd Bell sent an email with the final pre-semester change to campus life for fall 2020: restricted hours for nearly all on-campus buildings.
Beyond the new schedule, how the buildings are used will change as well. During the day, doors in classroom buildings have either been locked or kept open to avoid congestion and promote as much one-way traffic as possible. This, however, may change if inefficiencies arise or winter temperatures become too harsh. According to Bell, the College is treating the new building schedule as an “active document” and will continue to update it as needed.
Given the update’s timing, it was perhaps jarring, but Bell explained that this is simply another precaution in the College’s fight against COVID-19. In order to best construct a plan, information had to be gathered from various groups with “knowledge of the processes.”
While delayed when compared to the College’s other COVID-19-related policies, the timing of the update was a result of careful planning. Considerable communication was required to ensure that every department has access to the necessary space.
For students to enter a building outside of a pre-scheduled time, they must obtain permission from both the Office of the Provost and the department housed in the space. While seemingly a cumbersome procedure, Bell explained that it is quite the opposite.
“The Provost Office created [a] Google Form for faculty and staff to make requests for students to use certain academic areas after buildings have closed,” he said.“This format will streamline the approval process.”
Traditionally communal spaces are undergoing a slightly different treatment. While not subject to the same continual rotation of students that classrooms are, many still have restrictions on hours. Not only are these precautions meant to deter groups from lingering together, but the closing of these versatile spaces will preserve them as a plan-b.
Gund Commons Ballroom, typically a popular gathering space for studying and events, is completely closed to the public. Bell clarified that it will likely be a site for COVID-19 testing. Other buildings on campus could follow suit as Kenyon’s needs evolve and be used in completely novel ways.
The new building schedule and its restrictions are in addition to, not a replacement for, the limitations on the number of people in enclosed spaces. Both of these strategies are meant to work in tandem with mask-wearing, testing and social distancing policies in order to best keep the College safe.