Kent State President Todd Diacon and Kent City Health Commissioner Joan Seidel stated in an email the rise in COVID-19 cases is attributable to gatherings off-campus, and that students attending these events “must stop or face disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.”

The Sept. 22 email was a response to Portage County raising to a COVID-19 Level 3 Red Status, which was announced by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Sept. 17. 

DeWine said the daily average case count rose from 5.5 on Aug. 24 to almost 11 on Sept. 4. Kent State classes began Thursday, Aug. 27. 

This is the first time Portage County is in a Level 3 Red status since the alert system went into place.

Diacon announced the university will recommend the following measures for students to help decrease the number of cases over the next two weeks: 

Diacon stated the city of Kent will take stringent action if Portage County remains at Level 3 Red Status, which includes “potential mandatory quarantines for various off-campus housing areas to contain and stem the spread of this virus.” 

The city is already practicing a zero-tolerance policy for off-campus gatherings that violate noise or other city ordinances, according to the email. 

Despite the new Level 3 Red status, the Office of the Provost stated in an email that in-person classes at Kent State will remain the same unless the instructor chooses to change them. Beginning on Sep. 18, all Kent State dining locations will be take-out only and all residence halls will be limited to Kent State students living on campus, with no outside visitors allowed.

Students who fail to practice these behaviors may be subject to the strongest disciplinary actions the Code of Student Conduct allows, which includes warning, probation, disciplinary suspension, disciplinary dismissal and other educational or corrective measures. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and fail to quarantine as required will face the strongest disciplinary action. 

Students should be observant of their behavior and others around them, and should report troubling behavior to the Flashes Safe Seven Accountability Page. 

Students should limit their interactions with others by only attending class and participating in physical exercise. 

Students should avoid all gatherings and parties.

Contact Troy Pierson at rpierso4@kent.edu

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Hi, I’m Lauren Sasala, a senior journalism student from Toledo. I’m also the editor in chief of The Kent Stater and KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important news about Kent State and the Kent community. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.

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