On Oct. 23, I received a phone call from Knox Public Health (KPH) which told me that I had come into contact with somebody who tested positive for COVID-19 and would need to quarantine. Initially, the College led me to believe that I would be tested immediately, for my own safety, and that the positive case would be tested twice to figure out whether it was a false positive or not.
I soon found, however, that this was not the case; this is when the chaos began. The College would not test us until Nov. 2, despite the various concerns we had expressed, initially giving us no reasoning as to why. Consequently, we could not inform any of our close contacts whether we were truly positive or not.
The lack of immediate testing was a blatant endangerment of the Kenyon community. It was also reckless to assume that we did not expose anybody else after interacting with the person who tested positive. They made our lives into guessing games of whether we had COVID-19 or not, inducing a state of anxiety for all of us. Taking matters into their own hands, one quarantined student went to the Knox Community Hospital to receive a test, where they tested negative.
After a few days, Director of the Cox Health and Counseling Center Chris Smith called each of us individually and informed us that these circumstances were simply KPH guidelines, which I questioned. If this was truly KPH protocol, then why could a student receive testing almost immediately at the Knox Community Hospital? Furthermore, when KPH contacted us, they explicitly informed us that we could not pick up our meals from Peirce, while Smith said that we had full permission to do so. It was contradictions like these that made me question the actions of the administration.
What is ultimately most concerning — and questionable — is that the College allowed us to go to Peirce. They let potential positives go to the most populated part of campus, which was yet another reckless endangerment of the Kenyon community. In the most recent Collegian article on COVID-19, Smith claims they let us go to Peirce for the sake of maintaining our mental health and to allow students in quarantine to “get some cold, fresh air.” But in an email to a student who asked to have their meals delivered out of mental health concerns, Smith gave another answer: that delivering meals was not doable due to concerns of “limited staffing capacity.”
Due to all these contradictions, I have come to question whether the College’s refusal to immediately test around 10 potential cases suggests a desire to avoid reporting another case on the Dashboard and a potential outbreak. Nonetheless, I invite the administration to rethink their actions, regardless of their original intent. They have wasted both our time and our money, endangering our community in the process.
This writer was granted anonymity in order to protect their privacy.