Winter Term Update Nov. 19

Dear Students and Families:

As the fall term concludes, we write to provide an update on planning for the winter term. We know that the fall has been challenging in many ways and hope that the coming holidays bring some respite and safe reconnection with loved ones. 

With a few exceptions during holiday weeks, we will provide weekly email updates on the College’s plans. We also encourage you to keep an eye on K’s COVID-19 page.

Students and families have raised the question of what would prevent in-person, residential learning in January. The College’s ongoing assessment of key indicators—community spread of the virus, local hospital capacity, spread of the virus among students and employees, testing supplies and resources, availability of PPE, capacity of designated campus quarantine and isolation spaces, and health of staff in key areas (for example, the Student Health Center, Campus Safety, Facilities Management and Dining), to name a few—will inform decisions about in-person learning. If our assessment of these issues suggests that we cannot safely resume a modest level of residential living and in-person learning, we will change our plans and communicate them immediately. Similarly, we will continue to pay close attention to federal, state and local public health guidance. A legal mandate from any of these entities could result in an immediate change to our plans, as well. The primary concern for the College is the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, and this priority continues to guide our planning process. 

As we go forward, planning efforts to resume a modest level of in-person learning in January 2021 are aligned with the most successful practices currently in use. Plans for the winter term include:

  • Testing upon arrival for all students and employees who will spend time on campus during the winter term.
  • Daily surveillance testing for up to 2% of students and employees.
  • Ongoing testing and support for symptomatic students and for those students who have had exposure to a COVID-19 positive person.
  • Residential students assigned to rooms by themselves to decrease density.
  • A phased move-in for residential students, controlled access to residential spaces by non-residents and designated quarantine and isolation spaces. 
  • Designated staff members to facilitate COVID-related care and support.
  • Reduced classroom densities to accommodate physical distancing; airflow in each classroom space has been evaluated, with appropriate modifications made, as part of the campus ventilation analysis.
  • Enhanced cleaning and ventilation protocols for campus facilities, including the provision of ultraviolet lights and air purifiers in public places where they are needed.
  • All winter term classes offered in an online format for the first week to facilitate entrance testing for students and employees. Designated classes will transition to hybrid or required on-campus components during the second week of the term.
  • Assigned dining times for lunch and dinner to decrease density and to avoid queuing, with a range of freshly prepared meals to go and a limited number of in-person dining seats (depending upon local and state guidance).
  • Clear expectations for community behavior (community safety commitments) designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. These expectations—such as masking and social distancing requirements—will be continually communicated in the coming weeks and are expected to be met by every member of the campus community and by every visitor to campus. Students who fail to meet the expectations risk immediate removal from campus residence and/or access to campus resources. While our goal is to rely on the good judgment of community members in abiding by the commitments—without reminders—we will enforce them with speed and rigor when warranted. This means that access to in-person classes might be jeopardized if students fail to abide by the expectations.
  • Careful planning by the Athletic Department, aligned with guidance from the NCAA, about the resumption of athletic preparation and competition. Winter sports will include men’s and women’s basketball as well as men’s and women’s swimming and diving. Spectators will not be permitted at practices or competitions.

We will provide more detailed information about these broad areas in the coming weeks, along with other relevant matters. We invite questions, which can be submitted to, and we will answer them as soon as possible.

We wish you a happy end of finals, a happy Thanksgiving, and healthy, safe days ahead. 

Sarah B. Westfall
Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students

Danette Ifert Johnson