Kenyon will operate fully in-person for the 2021-22 academic year, President Sean Decatur announced via a news bulletin on Tuesday. The College will require all students enrolling in the fall, as well as students in residence over the summer, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Requests for reasonable accommodations for sincerely held religious beliefs and medical exceptions will be considered on an individual basis, but it is our expectation that an overwhelming majority of students will be vaccinated,” Decatur said.
Kenyon joins a number of other colleges and universities in this decision, including Bowdoin College, Grinnell College and Vassar College, according to a list compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Several institutions in Ohio, including the Ohio State University, will not require students to get vaccinated before returning in the fall.
As students completed their COVID-19 tests last week, they were encouraged to fill out a survey on their vaccination status. According to Decatur, upwards of 800 students have reported being at least partially vaccinated; 279 of those students reported being fully vaccinated, according to Director of Health and Counseling Chris Smith.
As students get vaccinated, or receive their second dose, they should re-submit the form with their updated information.
Despite the end of the quiet period, all students were tested again this week. As of Wednesday, there were two active student cases and 16 students in quarantine, according to Kenyon’s COVID-19 Dashboard.
Starting next week, students who have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks, and are therefore fully inoculated, will no longer be required to take weekly COVID-19 tests. Smith emphasized that, despite this change, students who are fully vaccinated must continue to follow all health and safety protocols, including mask wearing and social distancing.
Current CDC guidelines allow for fully vaccinated individuals to have small, indoor, maskless gatherings with other fully vaccinated people or with unvaccinated people who are not at risk for severe cases of COVID-19. Still, the CDC recommends those who are fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and socially distance while in public.
Looking ahead to next semester, Smith said that the campus should see a return to some normalcy. “We are hopeful for a campus experience during the fall 2021 semester that will not require the same level of precautions that are present during an active pandemic,” he said.