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Kent State offers update on what school will look like this fall, including mask requirement

The physical school has been mostly closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

KENT, Ohio — Kent State University is still gearing up to welcome students back to campus this fall semester, and on Tuesday officials offered more information on how things will look.

The college is currently in "Phase 2" of its reopening process, with most summer classes still taking place online but a select few being allowed to return to classrooms. The latest guidelines, detailed in a letter to students from Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Lamar R. Hylton and Dean of Students Dr. Talea Drummer-Ferrell, include information on residence halls and campus locations as well as actions students must "pledge" to take.

Specifically in the pledge, students will be required to wear face masks when in public areas to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. KSU will provide each student with two cloth face masks each, and social distancing and hygiene protocols will also be strictly enforced.

While a sizable portion of classes will take place remotely, others will indeed be in-person. Students must follow the "Flashes Safe Seven" principles during this type of instruction, and failure to do so could result in discipline under the school's code of conduct.

Residence halls will be open for the first time since March, when the school physically closed at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hall spaces (including lounges) will also be available, but rigorous cleaning measures will be in place and students must still wear their masks everywhere except their own rooms.

Campus dining and retail locations will also be back in business, with expanded "grab-and-go" options for food and even the library to be offered. The school also plans to hold its "Blastoff" events at the start of the school year "in a safe manner," allowing students to inquire about campus organizations they would like to join.

Although the pandemic is far from over, most health experts say it is ideal that students in grade school or college be allowed to return to such buildings in the fall as long as safety measures are enforced. Gov. Mike DeWine agrees, and last week offered his administrations guidelines for restarting K-12 education.

"Fall 2020 is right around the corner, and we will soon feel the unmistakable energy of Golden Flashes on all our campuses!" Hylton and Drummer-Ferrell said. "We are excited to welcome you home and look forward to a great year! Go Flashes!"

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