Welcome back, Kenyon College.
To the upperclassmen who have waited an arduous 11 months to return to Kenyon, it feels good to finally be home. To the returning sophomores and first years, we are excited to finally see you in person and share the magic of being on campus once more.
While this moment of reunion feels almost too good to be true, it is essential that we not forget the sobering responsibility we have now that we’re here.
The COVID-19 pandemic is much worse than it was when we were sent home last March, when only a handful of cases were recorded in Ohio. Now, the state is recording on average more than 5,000 cases daily, with 200 in Knox County alone. On campus, too, the numbers are reflective of the virus’ increased spread across the country, with the College reporting six student positives in the past week.
As a result, our return to campus has been far from familiar. The precautions we must take — isolating in our rooms, eating alone, distancing from friends and classmates — are not easy, but they are absolutely essential. We must move about campus with empathy in mind, cognizant that an irresponsible act not only endangers ourselves, but also threatens the safety of other students, employees, community members and even those in surrounding areas.
It is a relief and a comfort just to be back on campus. Let’s focus on the things we can do safely — outdoor walks with friends, socially distanced in-person classes and brief but meaningful encounters on Middle Path. Let’s remember that the precautions we take ensure we can be in this wonderful place for a little bit longer and have even more gratitude for this community when things do return to normal.
As for the Collegian, we will continue to publish digitally to ensure safe reading for everyone. We are excited to continue to deliver reliable and pressing news to the Kenyon community. Last semester, we worked hard to cover historic events on campus, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unionization of student workers. We promise to bring the same attention to detail and critical eye to our coverage this semester.
Kenyon’s mission statement challenges us to “treat one another with respect and kindness” in our mutual effort to “recognize the fundamental dignity of all.” This effort is, as the mission statement points out, what “unifies us across our backgrounds, identities, and positions.” Complying with the new COVID-19 restrictions is a sign of respect and kindness for students, professors, and staff members. These new rules may distance us physically, but they unify us in a larger sense, ensuring that all who live and work on campus feel safe, valued and respected. All we have control over is ourselves and our actions. Let’s be responsible, together.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Mae Hunt ’21 and Evey Weisblat ’21, managing editor Jackson Wald ‘22 and executive director Elizabeth Stanley ’21. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.