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Knox Together: A Plan for 2020-21 Visitor Policy Give Now
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Knox Together

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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

January 14

KNOX TOGETHER UPDATE - Week of January 11, 2021

Dear Knox Community,

Following a significant amount of research and consultation with public health authorities, we have determined that students can begin returning to campus starting Monday, February 8. Students received a  communication from the Campus Life Office in November with their assigned return to campus/testing date and time. Campus Life will also resend this email for your convenience by the end of next week. If you have any questions about your return to campus, please contact campuslife@knox.edu.

Why we made this decision

Governor Pritzker announced that Friday, our region (Region 2) will be moving to Tier 2 mitigation rules, relaxing restrictions from Tier 3. The governor indicated in a statement that Illinois did not experience the post-Thanksgiving uptick in COVID cases that plagued most of the rest of the country. While closely watching the post-holiday positivity rates, his administration is cautiously optimistic. 

We are ever mindful of the consequences of the pandemic for our educational mission. Numerous studies and news articles -- and our own experiences and internal data -- have shown that prolonged isolation is stressful for all of us. This impact is especially profound for our students, who have selected a residential college experience as the best place for their learning. The remote instructional environment has allowed us to keep moving forward while protecting the health of the community during this stage of the pandemic. At the same time, we know that a return to campus is necessary to provide the full range of human-powered, engaging experiences that our students have come to expect from Knox College.

We also learned a great deal about mitigating the virus on our campus during the fall term and have developed an even stronger plan to keep our campus healthy. Our plan includes a new more comprehensive and less-invasive testing regimen combined with an updated quarantine strategy. Many colleges in our peer group are implementing similar plans, and when we look at ours in comparison to others, we are confident that our enhanced Knox Together plan is the right one for our community. 

Virtual forums to answer your questions

We will host two virtual forums to answer any questions you may have about the return to campus, testing and safety protocols, and other questions related to our Knox Together plan. They will both be held on Wednesday, January 27. A faculty and staff forum will take place at 12:00 PM Central Time, and a forum for family and students will be held at 7:00 PM Central Time. 

Stay tuned for further details and links to the virtual forums.

Vaccine rollout and information

There is hope on the horizon for a faster vaccine rollout. This week, the CDC communicated new vaccine priorities for people 65 years of age and older and those with preexisting conditions that enhance their vulnerability to severe COVID-19 disease. More pharmacies and community centers around the country are being authorized to administer vaccines. Governor Pritzker is also expected to soon announce a timeline for the next phase of the vaccine rollout. 

Knox College Health Services is in constant communication with local officials to determine when vaccines will be available for the Knox College community, and we will continue to share any updates or changes with you. Each county in Illinois is going to prioritize available vaccines to residents, according to the guidance of local health experts.

Important improvements to testing protocols 

We tested all students for COVID-19 twice upon arrival to campus in the fall term, with ongoing surveillance testing throughout the term. While this was successful, we are implementing a much more comprehensive testing program with a less-invasive and equally accurate test for winter and spring terms -- one that delivers results faster and only requires saliva from those being tested. All students will again be tested twice upon their return to campus. Additionally, all students will be tested every other week during both terms. 

The test administered will be the Shield Illinois Saliva Test, created and used by the University of Illinois system, and also used by many other educational institutions in Illinois and other states. 

The Shield Illinois Saliva Test will also be available to faculty and staff, who may test for symptoms or concern of exposure.

An employee or student who develops symptoms or has a concerning exposure will be asked to test as soon as possible. Faster testing and quarantine will help us preserve the health and well-being of our campus community.

Stay tuned for emails with further details regarding the upcoming terms’ testing days and times.  

What students need to do upon returning to campus

Upon your return to campus, please remember that you can transmit the disease to others even if you are exhibiting no symptoms, so for the health of our community, it is important that you quarantine in your room until you have received a negative test result. While we anticipate getting results within 24 hours, you should anticipate that your initial quarantine could last for up to 48 hours. Initial quarantine means that you are required to remain in your assigned room, except to use the restroom and pick up meals three times a day from dining services. You must wear a mask and maintain at least six feet of physical distance whenever you are outside of your own room (both indoors and outdoors). 

After you receive a negative test result, you will participate in modified quarantine until Sunday, February 21. Modified quarantine means that you can hang out in your own suite/house’s common area as long as you wear a mask and maintain at least six feet of physical distance. You can also get fresh air, walk around campus, engage in recreational activities, and visit with friends outdoors, while continuing to follow our safety protocols, including wearing a mask and maintaining six feet of physical distance. All students are asked to participate in modified quarantine, even if they have been on campus for the first part of winter term. 

Questions and Answers

Here are answers to some questions we expect you might have right away; please also remember to visit the Knox Together website for answers to other questions. You can also email together@knox.edu and attend one of the virtual forums we are holding on Wednesday, January 27 if you have additional questions.

How does this impact quarantine protocols for those arriving from abroad?

Students arriving from abroad will follow the same quarantine plan as those arriving from within the United States. If a student shows any COVID-related symptoms, their quarantine period may be extended.

Does this quarantine plan apply to students who stayed on campus during winter break?

Students who lived on campus during winter break will have a COVID-19 test but do not need to quarantine in their rooms while awaiting test results. However, they must participate in modified quarantine until February 21.

When will staff be returning to campus?

Essential employees providing direct services to students, such as dining services, will need to be on campus when students return. Those not providing direct services will continue to work remotely until a vaccine becomes widely available to members of our community.

What if my roommate and I have different arrival dates, so our initial quarantines end on different days?

If Roommate A’s initial quarantine ends before Roommate B’s, Roommate A may move into the modified quarantine phase, moving about campus while adhering to mask and physical distance policies. However, no in-person classes or student activities will be allowed until all students have received their first test results.

What types of meals will be available during quarantine?

Knox Dining Services will offer modified service during the move in and testing period. All meals will be provided through the Hard Knox Café.  Once the testing and quarantine period has concluded, The Gizmo, The Outpost, and Grab n’ Go will resume regular service hours.

Mealtime hours during the move in and testing period are below. Enter Hard Knox through the doors on the side with the gallery, and exit through the Campus Card office. Dine-in seating will not be available during this time.

Monday through Sunday:

Breakfast         7:30 – 9:30

Lunch               11:00 – 2:00

Dinner              4:30 – 7:30

Menu choices will be posted in the following locations: On the dining services webpage, through an optional daily menu mail, on digital screens in the gallery, and at the service counters. To reduce wait times, two counters in Hard Knox will offer take away food items, including two packaged hot entrée choices, rice or potato, vegetables, sides, desserts, and canned or bottled beverages, as well as a vegan meal option. 

As with last Spring and Fall terms, any dietary or spiritual food needs can be communicated directly with Chef Joe, and we will make arrangements for accommodations on an individual basis.

Dining inquiries can be directed to Doug Stenfeldt, Dining Services General Manager, at djstenfeldt@knox.edu, or Joseph Peterson, Executive Chef, at jdpeterson@knox.edu.  

How will I get my mail/packages/textbooks during quarantine?

We are working on the details of how this will happen, but we will make sure you can access essential textbooks and mail when you return to campus.

Can I work in my on-campus job during quarantine?

You can work in your on-campus job during initial quarantine if you can do so remotely. Exceptions may be made for students who lived on campus during the first part of winter term.

Can I go off campus during quarantine?

Not during initial quarantine. You can travel within Knox County during modified quarantine, as long as you wear a mask and practice appropriate physical distancing.

We know this is asking a lot of you, and we encourage you and your family to regard this as a short-term sacrifice—a collective community effort that will give us the very best chance at continuing in-person instruction for the duration of the term.  

Please remember that adherence to the quarantine protocol is a core expectation of the Knox Together Pledge. I hope you will take a moment to review and sign the Pledge if you have not already done so. You will need to be logged in to your Google account with your Knox email address and password to access the Pledge.

Fifth Year Guarantee reminder

We also want to remind you of our “Fifth Year for Free Guarantee.” If you are enrolled at Knox full-time for the entire 2020-21 academic year, you can return to campus for up to one additional year of study, tuition-free—and take part in more of the opportunities you’ve been looking forward to. If you’re interested in pursuing this option, please work with your academic advisor to determine appropriate course selections. Student-athletes will need to consult with the athletics department about eligibility requirements.

Hope on the horizon

The health and wellness of our campus community continues to be our top priority. Faculty and staff are working very hard to deliver the quality education our students want and deserve. There continue to be many aspects of our environment that we cannot control, but we have learned from the fall term, and there is hope on the horizon for the warmer weather months. In the meantime, we need to remain as flexible, nimble, and resourceful as ever, as our country continues its efforts to mitigate the pandemic. 

Looking forward to seeing you next month!

TERESA L. AMOTT
President

January 7

KNOX TOGETHER UPDATE - Week of January 4, 2021

Dear Knox Community,

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a peaceful, restful and safe holiday season. I also want to extend a warm welcome back to our faculty, staff, and students as we start our winter term virtually. 

The rollout of the vaccines in Illinois has begun with frontline health workers. We are in touch with the public health authorities and are awaiting information on the sequence of vaccinations. At present, we do not know where higher education will fall in the priorities, but we will share any information we receive as soon as possible.

We will continue our safety protocols for the foreseeable future, however, as it may take more time than expected for us all to receive the vaccines. Illinois Governor Pritzker’s mitigation plans for our health region (we’re currently at Tier 3) remain in effect, as well.

Parents and Students - What to do now

Students will need to complete an online check-in by this Friday, January 8 by logging in to my.knox.edu. Online check-in is very important to the Registrar, Student Financial Services, and other offices needing to know who is enrolled this term. Students will not be able to access any Knox apps or student schedules until the Online Check-in process is completed.

Our current plan is still to have students return to campus the week of February 8. We have identified next Friday, January 15 as the date by which we will advise you of any necessary modifications to this timeline. If we need to consider alternative options, we will look to guidance from national, state and local public health authorities.

Faculty and Staff - What to do now

Please continue to plan for students returning to campus starting February 8. Dean Schneider’s separate report to faculty on December 11 addresses details of the calendar and contingency plans for winter term.

This week, we began implementation of our updated plan for testing faculty and staff. As you know, everyone must be tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to campus, just as we did in the fall. Please refer to this email from Health Services about return to work testing processes. If you have questions about testing, please contact Health Services.

If you traveled via public transportation or participated in a gathering with individuals outside of your household during the holiday break, you should not return to campus until you have quarantined at home for 14 days or received a negative COVID-19 test result. You can access testing beyond what Health Services is offering by contacting the Knox County Health Department at (309) 344-2225, or by contacting your primary care provider. The ideal testing window is five to eight days after possible exposure. Please feel free to reach out to Human Resources or Health Services with any questions about testing options. 

Similarly, students engaging in on-campus work or research activities in your areas must contact Health Services to arrange for a COVID-19 test immediately following any travel or holiday gatherings, and quarantine until they receive a negative test result. 

Coronavirus Response and Relief, Supplemental Appropriations Act 

Recently, we were gratified to learn that institutions of higher education will receive some funding from the new Supplemental Appropriations Act recently signed by President Trump. At this time, we do not know how much we will receive, whether there will be restrictions on the use of the funds, or how soon we will receive funds. We will communicate any updates to you when we receive additional information.

We encourage you to visit the Knox Together website, and follow our social media channels for campus updates. Thank you for your support and care for our campus community as we navigate these uncharted waters together.

TERESA L. AMOTT
President

December 17

KNOX TOGETHER UPDATE - Week of December 14

Dear Knox Community,

I know we are all happy to see some hope on the horizon with the first deliveries of a highly effective COVID-19 vaccine this week. We will still need to practice our safety protocols for the foreseeable future, however, as it will be some time before we can all receive the vaccines. 

You will likely find some of the content in this email to be similar to the content in last week’s communication, but it is important information that will keep our community updated and safe; that is why we are sending it yet again this week.

Return to Work Testing for Faculty and Staff

We have updated our plan for testing faculty and staff starting on Monday, January 4.  Everyone will need to be tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to campus after the holidays, just as we did in the fall. You recently received an email from Health Services about return to work testing processes. If you have any questions about testing, please contact Health Services.

Travel Guidance

Additionally, we ask that you be especially vigilant about your safety and health over the coming holidays. If your holiday break plans include traveling via public transportation or participating in a gathering with individuals outside of your household, you should not return to campus until you have quarantined at home for 14 days or received a negative COVID-19 test result. You can access testing by contacting the Knox County Health Department at (309) 344-2225 or by contacting your primary care provider. The ideal testing window is five to eight days after possible exposure. Please feel free to reach out to Human Resources or Health Services with any questions about testing options. 

Similarly, students engaging in on-campus work or research activities in your areas must contact Health Services to arrange for a COVID-19 test immediately following any travel or holiday gatherings, and quarantine until they receive a negative test result. 

Plan for Students Return to Campus

Our current plan is still to have students return to campus the week of February 8. We have identified Friday, January 15 as the date by which we will advise you of any necessary modifications to this timeline. If we need to consider modification options, we will look to guidance from national, state and local public health authorities.

Stay in the Know About Knox Together 

Visit the Knox Together website, and follow our social media channels for campus updates and news about Knox students and our extended Knox community. Check your email for these Knox Together Updates.

Parents and Students - What to do now

Students will need to prepare for the remote start of the winter term on Monday, January 4, continue to plan for a return to campus the week of February 8, and remember that we will make and communicate a firm decision on January 15 about any plan modifications.

Faculty and Staff - What to do now

Please continue to plan for students returning to campus starting February 8. Dean Schneider’s separate report to faculty on December 11 addresses details of the calendar and contingency plans for winter term.

We also ask that you follow Illinois Governor Pritzker’s mitigation plans for our health region (we’re currently at Tier 3). Watch for the email on January 15 announcing any change in plans for the winter term.  

We wish you all a happy holiday season and ask that you also stay safe and practice appropriate safety protocols. The safety of our campus community depends on how each one of us celebrates the holidays. Thank you for your support and care for our campus community as we continue to adjust to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.

TERESA L. AMOTT
President

December 17

Dear Knox Community:

As we look ahead to returning safely after the break, we are asking that each faculty and staff member be tested for COVID prior to resuming work on campus. Health Services will be administering COVID-19 testing to all faculty and staff. There is no cost to you for this testing. 

Testing will be offered at the T. Fleming Fieldhouse on the following dates and times:

  • Monday January 4 9 am-1 pm
  • Wednesday January 6 9 am-1 pm
  • Wednesday January 13 9 am-1 pm
  • Wednesday January 20 9 am-1 pm
  • Wednesday January 27 9 am-1 pm
  • Wednesday February 3 9am-1 pm

You may choose the date and time of your testing. Please select the date closest to when you plan to return to work on campus, keeping in mind that test results take 2-4 days. In order to assist Health Services to plan staffing and supplies, please indicate your preferred test date by clicking here. Test results will be sent to you via email from Health Services. 

We realize that some of you are essential workers on campus and, therefore, will be returning on or before January 4 (or maybe you never stopped working). In this case, you should plan to test on January 4 or as soon as your schedule allows. There is no quarantine required of employees during the time that they are awaiting test results. We do ask that you follow all usual hand hygiene, physical distancing, and masking protocols. In addition, stay home if you are sick. 

We look forward to seeing you in January. Best wishes from Health Services!

Abby A. Putnam MS, NP-C
Knox College Health Services

December 10

KNOX TOGETHER UPDATE - Week of December 7

Dear Knox Community,

As we get closer to the holidays, we want to remind you of a few items from last week’s email.

Plan for Returning to Campus to be Finalized by January 15

Our current plan is still to have students return to campus the week of February 8. 

However, with the potential for increased transmission during the holidays, a vaccine rollout plan that may shift frequently, and changing guidance from health officials about the safety of travel, we have identified Friday, January 15 as the date by which we will advise you of any necessary modifications to this timeline. As we consider modification options, we will look to guidance from national, state and local public health authorities.

For Students and Parents: What to do now

Please enjoy your holiday season and stay safe, wearing your masks, practicing physical distancing, and quarantining after travel or gatherings that may put you at risk for exposure. Avoid indoor venues that may attract crowds, and if you celebrate with others, try to do it in groups of 10 or fewer. 

Visit the Knox Together website, and follow our social media channels for campus updates and news about Knox students and our extended Knox community. Check your email for these Knox Together Updates.

Prepare for the remote start of the winter term on Monday, January 4, continue to plan for a return to campus the week of February 8, and remember that we will make and communicate a firm decision on January 15 about any plan modifications.

For Faculty and Staff - What to do now

We wish you a happy holiday season and ask that you also stay safe and practice appropriate safety protocols. The safety of our campus community depends on how each one of us celebrates the holidays.

Faculty, please continue to plan for students returning to campus starting February 8. Dean Schneider will share a separate communication regarding winter term preparations.

Staff, please continue to follow Governor Pritzker’s mitigation plans for our health region (we’re currently at Tier 3). Watch for the email on January 15 announcing any change in plans for the winter term.  

We thank you for your continued resilience and flexibility as we adjust to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. The coming winter term will likely require that we continue to observe our COVID-19 practices, and yet, there is certainly hope ahead for all of us in 2021. May your holidays be safe, peaceful, and enjoyable.

TERESA L. AMOTT
President

December 3

KNOX TOGETHER UPDATE - Week of November 30

Dear Knox Community,

As we enter winter break and begin preparing for the remainder of the academic year, we want to share recent news from The Midwest Conference, provide information about a decision date for any potential modifications to the current plan for students to return to campus the week of February 8, and update you on our Knox together communications.

The Midwest Conference Announces Plan for Fall and Winter Sports

The Midwest Conference (MWC) Presidents Council announced today that it would not sponsor league competition, including championships, for fall and winter sports during the 2020-2021 academic year. The decision was unanimous and covers men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s swimming & diving, men’s and women’s indoor track & field, and volleyball. The recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases, both regionally and nationally, the resulting impact on academic calendars, and the continued uncertainty surrounding the pandemic were all factors in the decision not to play a winter athletic schedule. 

We know that this is a very disappointing day for our fall and winter sport student-athletes, but they should not be without hope. As we did in the fall, we will keep moving forward to reimagine athletics seasons to ensure our student-athletes have the most robust experience possible this year. The Prairie Fire Athletics Department will provide athletics-centric training to fall and winter student-athletes when they return to campus. Our Prairie Fire student-athletes and coaches will continue to adapt and adjust as we navigate the COVID-19 landscape together, keeping in mind that the health and well-being of our student-athletes is our number one priority. Fall and winter student-athletes will receive more detailed information from the Director of Athletics and head coaches in the weeks ahead.

Decision Date for Returning to Campus (or not)

As you know, there is much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, including the potential for increased transmission during the holidays, a vaccine rollout that is still in the early planning stages, and guidance from federal, state and local health officials about the safety of travel. Our current plan is still to have students return to campus the week of February 8. Nonetheless, given all of the unknowns, we have identified Friday, January 15 as the date by which we will advise all of you of any necessary modifications to this timeline, including the possibility of completing the entire winter term remotely. As we consider modifications, we will look to guidance from national, state and local public health authorities.

Regular Communications

With this email, we will begin a regular weekly cadence of communication to you, every Thursday with the exception of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. 

We will also send special, singular emails as needed to communicate important and urgent news. 

Prior to returning to campus, students and their parents will also receive emails regarding health protocols to follow once students are back at Knox.  

For Students and Parents: What to do now

Please enjoy your holiday season and stay safe, wearing your masks, practicing physical distancing, and quarantining after travel or gathering that may put you at risk for exposure. Avoid indoor venues that may attract crowds, and if you celebrate with others, try to do it in groups of 10 or less. 

Check the Knox Together website, and be sure to follow our social media channels for updates on what’s happening on campus, and other news about Knox students and our extended Knox community. Check your email regularly for these Knox Together Updates.

Be prepared for the remote start of the winter term on Monday, January 4, continue to plan for a return to campus the week of February 8, and remember that we will make a firm decision by January 15 about any changes to the current plan.

For Faculty and Staff - What to do now

We wish you a happy holiday season and ask that you also stay safe and practice appropriate safety protocols. 

For Faculty, please continue to plan for the students’ returning to campus starting February 8. You will also want to develop a contingency plan, should the decision on January 15 be that winter term remains remote

Staff, please continue to follow Governor Pritzker’s mitigation plans for our health region (we’re currently at Tier 3). Watch for the email on January 15 announcing any change in plans for the winter term.  

Thank you for your continued support and patience as we navigate the rough waters of these unprecedented times.

TERESA L. AMOTT
President

December 3

Midwest Conference Announces Plans for Fall and Winter Sports in 2020–2021

November 12

Dear Colleagues:

Many of you have asked about the status of our campus after our fall term ends on November 30. As you may recall, in response to rising COVID-19 numbers in our Health Region, Governor Pritzker recently imposed enhanced mitigation measures across the state. Public health officials nationwide are also expressing great concern about the potential for virus transmission during winter indoor gatherings, especially around the holiday season.

To ensure the health and safety of our campus community during an especially vulnerable time, we will return to Phase 1 of our three-phase plan for reopening the campus on Monday, November 30. Phase 1 encourages remote work for most employees and allows up to 25% of employees to work on campus, following physical distancing, mask wearing, and additional safety protocols. Please speak with your supervisor about any needs to de-densify your work area to ensure compliance with Phase 1 guidelines.

If your holiday break plans include traveling via public transportation or participating in a gathering with individuals outside of your household, you should not return to campus until you have quarantined at home for 14 days or received a negative COVID-19 test result. You can access testing by contacting the Knox County Health Department at (309) 344-2225 or by contacting your primary care provider. The ideal testing window is five to eight days after possible exposure. Please feel free to reach out to Human Resources or Health Services with any questions about testing options. 

Similarly, students engaging in on-campus work or research activities in your areas must contact Health Services to arrange for a COVID-19 test immediately following any travel or holiday gatherings, and quarantine until they receive a negative test result. Students who have applied for on-campus housing should have been notified of their approval to engage in on-campus activities. Any students not living on campus but wishing to engage in on-campus academic activities during the winter break or during the remote portion of winter term must apply to the Dean of the College through this form

For safety purposes, we are also implementing a modified lock-down of campus buildings. The following buildings will remain open to campus community members only during the break, and will follow our normal business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.:

  • Seymour Library
  • SMC
  • Seymour Union
  • Alumni Hall

The E&L Andrew Fitness Center and outdoor athletics facilities will be available for current on-campus students, faculty, and staff, and will require following physical distance and mask protocols. The outdoor soccer, basketball, track, and tennis facilities will be open. The Memorial Gym, T. Fleming Fieldhouse, and Frank M. Lay Pool will be closed. The Fitness Center hours (as of November 23) will be Monday through Friday 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The Center will be closed on Sundays. 

We appreciate your support as our plans to ensure our campus community remains healthy and safe continue to evolve with the pandemic. If you have any questions, feel free to send them to together@knox.edu. Thanks to you all for your patience as we stand Together at Knox, and please accept my best wishes for a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable holiday season.

TERESA L. AMOTT
President

November 4

Dear Knox Community,

On Sunday, November 1, Illinois Governor Pritzker announced enhanced COVID-19 mitigations for our part of the state because our region, one of 11 healthcare regions established in Illinois, has had a COVID positivity rate of more than 8 percent for three consecutive days. 

The enhanced mitigations, effective today, include limiting social gatherings to no more than 25 people. Although the mandate states that the mitigations do not apply to schools, Knox College will voluntarily adhere to this limit, both indoors and outdoors. Supervised meetings of classes, athletic teams, etc. will continue to be governed by existing protocols. Please remember that our health and wellness policies apply both on and off campus.

It has been several months since the pandemic became an unwelcome part of our lives. A colleague recently mentioned his desire to see COVID-19 “in the rearview mirror,” and I certainly share that desire. I want to thank each and every one of you for observing our health protocols—wearing masks, remaining physically distant, washing hands frequently, and, above all, having respect for one another as we work to protect the health of our community. As a result of your efforts, our campus positivity rate remains very low. As the pandemic evolves, we will continue to follow state and local guidance to keep our campus community safe.

TERESA L. AMOTT
President

October 28

With only a few weeks left in Fall Term, I want to celebrate all of your efforts to adhere to the health and wellness policies regarding masks, physical distancing, and other public health measures. It has not been easy, but we are all learning and adapting together.  Your individual efforts have made a difference in our community. Thank you!

Some of you have asked for clarification about hosting and attending gatherings off campus at Knox student apartments/houses. I want to remind everyone that health and wellness policies apply both on and off campus. Here are a few specific reminders about life off campus:

  • As stated in the Knox Together Pledge, we are all expected to follow the College’s public health guidelines, including when we are off campus. This means you must wear a mask at all times unless you are in your private home or outside and able to maintain at least six feet of physical distance. This applies to restaurants, stores, other people’s homes, and just walking around Galesburg. 
     
  • You are also expected to maintain six feet of physical distance between yourself and others whenever possible. Please keep this in mind when you are deciding how many people to invite into your off campus home at once, or when you are deciding whether or not to visit someone off campus. Indoor gatherings that do not allow for six feet of distance are in violation of our health and wellness policies. 
     
  • Consider gathering outside. Remember, though, that even when we are outside we need to either wear masks or make sure we are maintaining six feet of physical distance at all times. To be as safe as possible, I highly encourage you to do both: wear a mask AND maintain physical distance. 
     
  • Finally, remember that large gatherings are simply not a good idea right now. I know you all have the best intentions, but significant amounts of people are difficult to control and can quickly get out of hand. If you do find yourself in a situation where you need help de-escalating, do not hesitate to call Campus Safety at (309) 341-7979. Campus Safety can connect you with appropriate assistance. We are all here to help. 

There are serious consequences which are outlined in the accountability rubric  for violations of these policies. Specifically, attending an unauthorized party or gathering on or off campus may result in loss of privilege to live/learn on campus, and hosting an unauthorized party or gathering on or off campus either as an individual or as part of a student organization may result in suspension. 

I share this information because I know you want to make good choices both on and off campus to help protect the students, faculty and staff you come into contact with.

Deb Southern
Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students

October 2

Dear Knox Community:

I write to share with you information on our plans for the remainder of the academic year. As you know, we launched our fall term on September 14 and made the transition to in-person and hybrid instruction on September 21. This was made possible by enormous care and discipline by our entire Knox community—students, faculty and staff—to sustain our educational mission at Knox under highly unusual circumstances. We applaud these efforts to embrace the new ways of working and living together on campus while staying connected with the members of our community learning and working remotely.

Because of the community response, we remain optimistic that we can complete the current academic term in ways that safeguard health while supporting rich in-person and hybrid educational opportunities. At the same time, we have all been hearing strong words of caution from leading public health experts regarding the future course of the pandemic as we approach the colder months and the typical flu season that accompanies our move indoors. To help to safeguard our community, and especially our most vulnerable members, we believe it is essential that we adapt our academic schedule in response to this guidance. Below we describe the various measures we will take to navigate this complex health landscape with ensuring the delivery of the Knox educational program.

Schedule for Winter and Spring Terms

Winter and spring terms will unfold largely according to our traditional academic calendar. winter term courses will begin on January 4, 2021, and Commencement is still slated for June 6, 2021. However, within those bookends, we will make changes to the dates students arrive back on campus after the long winter break.

We will begin all winter term classes in a remote environment for the first half of the term, and students will not begin returning to campus until the week of February 8, 2021. We will pause instruction during a one-week midterm break (February 8-12) to allow students to transition back to campus and undergo initial COVID testing. This transition will unfold much like the fall term, with one week of remote instruction starting February 15 as students complete their testing and quarantine protocols. We will move fully back to in-person and hybrid instruction beginning February 22 and complete winter term as we are the fall term. Room and board charges will be adjusted accordingly.

Student-athletes will arrive according to their team schedules. Additional details will be forthcoming on those schedules. In addition, the Midwest Conference is scheduled to make a decision on winter sports competition no later than mid-November, so please stay tuned.

Students will still have the option of learning remotely for the entirety of winter and/or spring terms if they so choose. Please note that students must remain enrolled continuously in order to take advantage of the "Fifth Year for Free" Guarantee. Additionally, students will be able to petition to remain on campus for winter break and the beginning of winter term if returning home presents significant challenges. More information regarding this process will be forthcoming.

One of the most significant changes to our academic schedule is that spring break will be quite short and intentionally so. Having completed the work of transitioning students back to campus once, we wish to avoid typical spring break travel and instead move directly into a fully in-person spring term in order to safeguard our campus against any potential outbreaks. Spring term instruction will mostly follow our conventional schedule. We know that this modified schedule will ask more of every member of the community, so we will make some adjustments to the schedule to provide students, faculty, and staff breathing space during the term. We believe this approach offers the best prospects for students to pursue their educational goals, for seniors to complete their work and graduate on time, and for the academic program to be disrupted as little as possible.

Teaching & Learning

Many of the changes and adaptations to our new teaching and learning environment will carry over from the fall. All winter term courses will begin in a remote delivery mode and then transition to a combination of in-person and hybrid components. Classroom, studio, lab, and other academic space use will follow the physical distancing and cleaning protocols currently in use on campus. Winter and spring courses, however, will benefit from the full range of technology improvements, classroom modifications, and experimentation, adaptation, and innovation at the core of faculty work since last spring. Faculty have begun the work of making minor modifications to winter and spring course schedules in response to these new guidelines and Winter term pre-enrollment will begin in late October.

Return to Campus

In order to facilitate safe and efficient COVID testing, students returning to campus for the second part of winter term will be assigned an arrival date between February 8-11. Students may arrive between 9:00 a.m.–Noon or 2:00p.m.–7:00 p.m. on their assigned date. Campus Life will communicate students’ assigned arrival dates via email in early November.

As in fall term, all students will receive a COVID test immediately upon their arrival on campus, and then again approximately seven days later. Students will initially quarantine in their room until they have a negative test result. Once a student receives a negative test result, they will participate in modified quarantine until February 22, at which point in-person classes and activities will resume.

Health and Wellness Policies

Given current public health guidance, we anticipate that current campus health and wellness policies regarding masks, physical distancing, and other public health measures will continue into the winter and spring terms. We will continue to monitor the Knox community’s wellness, watching state and local infection rates, and make adjustments to policies as appropriate. Our hope is that improvements in infection rates, therapies, and the possibility of a vaccine will allow us to relax these policies in the terms to come.

In closing, I would like to recognize the many achievements of faculty, staff, students, and their families in bringing us to this point in the academic year. Back in July, as I presented our plans for the fall, I knew we would succeed by rising together to face the challenge of this extraordinary moment. We still have much to accomplish this term, but surveying our return to campus and the start of fall classes, I see the results of these efforts, our collective sense of responsibility for the well-being of others, and our shared commitment to Knox’s educational mission. This experience fills me with confidence in our capacity to meet the challenges ahead.

Take care,

TERESA L. AMOTT
President

September 23

Effective immediately, students living in on-campus housing are permitted to have overnight guests/visitors (one at a time), as long as those guests/visitors are students currently taking classes on campus. (This is a change to the policy that previously indicated that guests/visitors needed to leave by midnight.)

Overnight guests/visitors are limited to students taking on campus classes because those people are participating in our campus testing protocol and symptom monitoring program. 

Non-Knox family members/significant others are permitted to visit with prior approval from Campus Life, but may not spend the night. 

If you have any questions, please let me or Campus Life know. 

Anne Ehrlich, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Development

September 20

Monday, September 21 marks the end of our campus-wide initial and modified quarantine period. We know this was an extraordinarily challenging start to the school year, and deeply appreciate everyone’s cooperation in the interest of community health. Your commitment to the Knox Together Pledge has saved lives. 

As we move into the next phase of our lives as a Knox community we have carefully considered how best to help safeguard everyone on campus. Here is what you need to know about living and learning on campus moving forward. (We realize this is long, so suggest you save it for future reference. It will also be posted on the Knox Together website.)

Masks

Masks are required everywhere except: 

  • In your own residence hall room (masks are required in common areas), or
  • When you are outside and certain that you can stay at least 6 feet away from others. (The exception to this is classes--masks are required during all classes, even those held outside.)

Classrooms (including classes held in tents/outdoors)

Masks and 6 feet of physical distancing are required during all classes, both indoors and outdoors. In other words, if you’re in class, even outside, you must wear a mask and you must keep 6 feet between yourself and others to help protect your classmates and your professor..


Tent use other than formal class time

Tents can be reserved for classes and co-curricular activities. If a tent is not in use, you can feel free to use it for group work or just to hang out. If you are outside, not in a class, and at least 6 feet away from others, you do not need to wear a mask.


Libraries

Seymour Library Hours

Monday through Friday: Noon until 10 p.m.
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: 1 - 7 p.m. 

Amott Science Commons Hours

Monday through Thursday:10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: 1 - 7 p.m.  

  • The main entrance to Seymour Library will be entrance only. We ask that you exit (but not enter) through the ADA door by the circulation desk. All traffic in and out of the Amott Science Commons will use the double doors in the SMC atrium. 
  • To ensure physical distancing in Seymour Library, half of the seating has been removed, and the basement and third floor of the library are closed. We no longer have tables for group study, though some tables will accommodate two students at a distance. The number of seats in the Amott Science Commons has also been reduced by half. 
  • We are asking everyone to request books that they want to borrow from our library through our new catalog, Knox Primo. We will retrieve them from the stacks and have them waiting for you at the circulation desk. If you haven't used Knox Primo yet, learn more about it here
  • Librarians will be available in Seymour Library in the afternoon and via our chat service in the evening to provide research and reference services, but our reference desk is no longer staffed. 


Athletic Facilities

Fitness Center

The indoor fitness center will open to students taking on-campus classes, faculty, and staff at limited capacity to comply with physical distancing requirements:

Monday through Friday

7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.; 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; 3:00 p.m. to 8 :00 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday

11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Entry to the Fitness Center will be through the main glass entrance on the Fitness Level. A check-in, screening, and temperature check will be required. Masking and physical distancing are required at all times. Additional protocols are posted throughout the facility.

Memorial Gym, Fieldhouse, and Pool

These spaces will remain closed until further notice. 

Outdoor Athletic Facilities

The outdoor soccer, basketball, track, and tennis facilities are available for use by students taking on-campus classes, faculty, and staff. 

  • No guests are allowed
  • You must wear a mask unless you are certain you will be at least 6 feet away from others at all times.
  • "Contact play" or "competitive play" (one-on-one, five-on-five, pick up games) is not allowed. For example, you can kick a soccer ball back and forth, but you cannot play a soccer game that results in you being in close proximity to others. 

Dining

Gizmo Full-Service Hours

Open Daily: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Gizmo Grab n Go Hours

Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Hard Knox Cafe Hours

Monday through Saturday

Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.; Lunch: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Dinner: 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Sunday

Brunch: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Dinner: 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Outpost

Monday – Friday 8:30a.m. to 11:00p.m.

Saturday – Sunday 12:00p.m. to 10:00p.m.

Please note the grab and go meals will not be available from the Outpost until further notice. Grocery items, ice cream, snacks, beverages, and personal care items are available.

Mailroom

The mailroom will begin the transition back to its usual location next week. Please continue to collect your mail and packages in Taylor Lounge until Thursday, September 24.  

Monday - Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

All other academic and administrative buildings

  • Academic and administrative buildings are open to students who are taking on-campus classes, faculty, and staff. Please keep in mind: 
  • Some offices may have modified hours or different ways of accessing resources (e.g., appointment only vs. walk-in). Please contact each office directly if you have specific questions. 
  • Please remember to wear your mask at all times and to maintain physical distance.
  • Please pay special attention to additional signage about how to move within buildings. For example, Old Main and GDH each have one up and one down staircase. 
  • Music practice rooms and other special-use facilities have their own reservation procedures. Please contact the appropriate department for further information. 

Housing

Access to on-campus housing is limited to residents of those buildings and one guest/visitor per resident at a time. 

Questions regarding campus facilities can be directed to knoxtogether@knox.edu


Stay well, 

Anne Ehrlich, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Development

September 9

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff, 

Please find updated guidelines for planning meetings and events in our current environment. 

Many thanks to the group of students, faculty and staff that spent a significant amount of time thoughtfully developing these guidelines. 

A note to student organizations: Campus Life is currently updating the event registration form. They will let you know when it is ready early next week. 

Also, please remember that, until September 21, students are in quarantine and cannot participate in in-person events unless an exception has been made by a senior staff member. 

As always, stay well.

Anne, on behalf of the Health and Wellness Advisory Committee

Anne Ehrlich, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Development

September 6

Dear Campus Community,

As you know, we are committed to a thorough COVID-19 testing protocol in order to ensure early identification, notification, and isolation of students who test positive. We have received initial test results for 330 students so far, with two students who were asymptomatic but who tested positive for COVID-19 immediately upon arrival to campus. Those students are being isolated and their close contacts quarantined per our protocols. This early identification is essential to limit the spread of illness as we return to campus.

Aggregate test results will continue to be updated on the Knox Together webpage.

We appreciate the many precautions that you are taking to keep yourselves and others healthy. Thanks for your commitment to good health practices.

Anne Ehrlich, Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Development

September 3

There will be a significant time change for our usual Opening Convocation on September 14. This event will be virtual, but it will occur at  7:00 PM, not the usual 11:00 AM.

Therefore, all class meetings on  Monday, September 14 will follow the  regular class meeting schedule. We will  not use the shortened convocation class schedule this year.

Michael A. Schneider
Provost and Dean of the College

September 1

If you are a student or family member who missed our recent Q&A session, you can view an archived broadcast. As always, if you have questions that weren't covered in these sessions, please email  together@knox.edu.

August 27

Dear Students,

At the beginning of every academic year, I send a message with a link to the  Knox College Student Handbook, which includes information about important campus resources and policies.

The policies within the Student Handbook are based on Knox’s values—integrity, respect, and a commitment to community. As we begin a year like no other, we look to these values to help guide us through uncertainty. They will serve as the foundation for our individual behavior and for our interactions with others.

This year’s Handbook includes a set of  health and wellness policies outlined in the  Knox Together Pledge. Taking these policies seriously is imperative to keeping ourselves and each other as safe as possible. The choices you make will impact not only your own health and safety, but also the health and safety of your friends, of your professors, of the custodians that clean your suites and classrooms. Please remember this.

Because it is so important that we take minimizing the spread of COVID-19 seriously, the consequences for violating our community’s health and wellness policies are serious. Students who willfully disregard community standards regarding masks, physical distancing, gatherings, and other critical public health efforts will lose the privilege of living on campus and taking on-campus classes. Student organizations will lose College recognition and funding opportunities. Details about potential sanctions can be found  here. All members of the campus community are empowered to remind each other about and request adherence to our COVID-19 health and wellness policies, and may report alleged violations  here.

As you have likely heard, several colleges and universities across the country were forced to cancel in-person classes and move to remote-only delivery within just days or weeks of starting their terms. This happened because of surges of COVID-19 cases that were traced back to crowded gatherings where attendees did not wear masks and did not physically distance. I am sure the decision to abandon a residential term and send students home was a heartbreaking decision for all involved, and truly one that we want to avoid at all costs here at Knox. But we must all do our part to ensure a successful year.

As we look forward to the start of the 2020-21 year, I encourage you to spend some time reviewing the Handbook’s contents. Information in the Handbook may be updated throughout the year. You are responsible for monitoring updates and familiarizing yourself with our resources and policies. Questions regarding the Student Handbook and its contents should be directed to the Dean of Students. I am happy to provide whatever information I can and to speak with you to learn your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Deb Southern
Dean of Students

August 20

Dear Knox parents and families,

Yesterday, I walked across the quiet campus and imagined your return, masked, physically distanced, but starting a school year together, at Knox. I can’t wait for that day to come. I am writing today to share with you additional important announcements for students enrolled at Knox this fall.

Modification to Quarantine Plan

Due to a growing demand for testing across the country, the lab with which we have contracted recently informed us that the turnaround time for COVID-19 test results has extended from two days to, on average, four days. Testing delays are happening across the country, so we anticipate that time may continue to extend as demand increases over time.

You can transmit the disease to others even if you are exhibiting no symptoms, so for the health of our community it is important that you quarantine in your room until you have received a negative test result. While we hope it will take less time, you should anticipate that your  initial quarantine could last for at least four days. Initial quarantine means that you are required to remain in your assigned room, except to use the restroom and pick up meals three times a day from a designated outdoor location. You must wear a mask and maintain at least six feet of physical distance whenever you are outside of your own room (both indoors and outdoors).

We will begin in-person classes and group activities once all students have received their first test results and we know that the risk of community transmission has been lowered. To ensure we have test results for all students, classes and activities will be held remotely through September 20. In-person classes and activities will begin on Monday, September 21.  This does not change your scheduled arrival date, nor does it change the term’s academic calendar. You will participate remotely from your on- or off-campus residence until September 21.

If you receive a negative test result prior to September 21, you will participate in  modified quarantine until September 21. Modified quarantine means that you can hang out in your own suite/house’s common area as long as you wear a mask and maintain at least six feet of physical distance. You can also get fresh air, walk around campus, engage in recreational activities, and visit with friends outdoors. Until September 21 we ask that you both wear a mask and maintain six feet of physical distance even when gathering outside.

Here are answers to some questions we expect you might have:

How does this impact the previously announced 14-day quarantine for those arriving from abroad?
Students arriving from abroad do not need to quarantine for 14 days, but instead will follow the same quarantine plan as those arriving from within the US. If a student shows any COVID-related symptoms, their quarantine period may be extended.

Does this quarantine plan apply to students who have lived on campus all summer? 
Students who lived on campus this summer will have a COVID-19 test, but do not need to quarantine in their rooms while awaiting test results. However, they must participate in modified quarantine until September 21.

When can I access on-campus storage?
Campus Life is working on a plan for students to access storage shortly after their arrival to campus. They will share more details in the next few days.

What if my roommate and I have different arrival dates, so our initial quarantines end on different days?
If Roommate A’s initial quarantine ends before Roommate B’s, Roommate A may move into the modified quarantine phase, moving about campus while adhering to mask and physical distance policies. However, no in-person classes or student activities will be allowed until all students have received their first test results.

What kind of meals will be available during quarantine?
During both initial and modified quarantine, students will pick up their meals three times a day from a designated outdoor location. Vegan and meat-based options will be available.

How will I get my mail/packages/textbooks during quarantine?
We are working on the details of how this will happen, but will make sure you can access essential textbooks and mail during the quarantine period.

Can I work in my on-campus job during quarantine?
You can work in your on-campus job during initial quarantine if you can do so remotely. You can work during modified quarantine if you can do so remotely or outdoors while masked and maintaining physical distance. Exceptions may be made for students who lived on campus during the summer.

Can I go off campus during quarantine?
Not during initial quarantine. You can travel within Knox County during modified quarantine, as long as you wear a mask and practice appropriate physical distancing.

We know this is asking a lot of you, and encourage you and your family to regard this as a short-term sacrifice—a collective community effort that will give us the very best chance at continuing in-person instruction for the duration of the term.  We will be hosting a virtual Q&A session about the quarantine process and any other questions you may have on Wednesday, August 26 at 7:00 p.m. (CDT). Please see email for login information. 

Please remember that adherence to the quarantine protocol is a core expectation of the  Knox Together Pledge. I hope you will take a moment to review and sign the Pledge if you have not already done so. You will need to be logged in to your Google account with your Knox email address and password to access the Pledge.

Your Plans for Fall Term

We recognize that some of you may decide not to return to campus in the fall and will be learning from an off-campus location. You recently had the opportunity to meet with your faculty advisor to finalize your plans for fall, choosing courses that will be provided on campus and/or remotely. Based on those decisions, we now need to know your plans so that we make appropriate preparations and any necessary adjustments to your charges and financial aid. We remain committed to making Knox as affordable as possible for every student and will review financial aid awards on an individual basis if family financial circumstances have changed significantly due to COVID-19. Please  confirm your plans for fall term by Monday, August 24. (Even if you’ve talked with someone at Knox about your plans already, we ask that you complete this form).

Fifth Year for Free Guarantee

As students prepare to resume classes in person as well as online, our goal is to preserve what is special about living and learning together and to find new ways to continue the close collaboration between faculty and students that is a hallmark of a Knox education even in this unprecedented time. We want to make sure that all students have the chance to fully experience a human-powered Knox education.

We understand there are aspects of your Knox experience right now—athletics, student leadership opportunities, and theatre, dance, and musical performances, among others—that may be affected by the current pandemic. So, as you consider your plans for the fall, we want to let you know about our new “Fifth Year for Free Guarantee.” If you are enrolled at Knox full-time for the entire 2020-21 academic year, you can return to campus for up to one additional year of study, tuition-free—and take part in more of the opportunities you’ve been looking forward to. If you’re interested in pursuing this option, you’ll need to work with your academic advisor to determine appropriate course selections. Student-athletes should also consult with the athletics department about eligibility requirements.

The health and wellness of our campus community continues to be our top priority. Faculty and staff are working hard to prepare to deliver the quality education you both want and deserve. They do so while acknowledging that there are many aspects of our environment that we cannot control, so we need to be flexible, nimble, and resourceful while reacting to changes in the behavior of the virus. Our goal is what it has always been: to provide a transformative educational experience that is truly and uniquely Knox. I so look forward to your return!

Take care,

Teresa L. Amott
President

August 10

The Student and Employee Wellness Advisory Group has updated its policies concerning campus visitors during the fall 2020 term. Only essential visitors—including vendors, contractors, and essential partners; Admission visitors (including Athletics); and family members and/or significant others of students living on campus—will be allowed on campus at this time. All essential visitors must check in upon arrival and follow Knox's health and wellness protocols, including wearing a mask, maintain physical distance from others, and washing their hands frequently. Read the full policy on campus visitors.

August 6

Today, Knox introduced the Knox Together Pledge, outlining our individual responsibilities to each other as we prepare to come together on campus this fall. All students, faculty, and staff should review the Pledge and acknowledge they have read its contents by August 24. 

August 3

If you are a student or family member who missed our recent Q&A sessions with Knox administrators, you can view an archived broadcast. As always, if you have questions that weren't covered in these sessions, please email  together@knox.edu.

July 30

Dear Knox Community,

By now we are all keenly aware that this fall term will look very different from any other time in our history. Still, we are grateful that we will be able to come together in a way that preserves educational opportunities while maintaining the health of the Knox community to the greatest extent possible.

The most significant adjustment for all of us will be in the daily public health regimens that we must commit to following. It will be the biggest change, and yet it will also be our biggest opportunity to care for ourselves and one another. We write today to share more details about the policies and protocols we have put in place in support of the health of our community. We have developed these in the context of federal, state, and local guidance, and following extensive consultation with medical experts, county health officials, and peer institutions. We ask you to remember that as guidelines and conditions change, so must our own internal plans, and we appreciate your adaptability and understanding as we continue to respond to this global pandemic. 

Masks and other personal protective equipment
We know that wearing face coverings, in combination with physical distancing and frequent handwashing, is an effective way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. All members of our campus community, including visitors, must wear masks at all times except: (1) in their individual residence hall rooms, (2) in their private offices, or (3) when out of doors and able to maintain at least six feet of physical distance. Students who are unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a documented health issue should contact  Disability Support Services for guidance. Employees who are unable to wear a mask due to a documented health issue should complete a  Face Covering Accommodation Form (PDF). 

We will provide each student and employee two reusable Knox masks, one plastic face shield, and one small reusable bottle of hand sanitizer. 

Testing
All students will undergo a series of two tests for COVID-19—the first upon their initial arrival to campus, and the second approximately eight days later. This includes students living off campus who will be taking courses on campus. Faculty and staff will also be tested prior to the beginning of the term. These are nasal swab PCR molecular tests that will be conducted by trained clinical personnel and processed at specialized laboratories at no cost to the student or employee. 

Additionally, any student who is experiencing one or more of the  symptoms of COVID-19 or has been determined to have had close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual will be tested again in our health services clinic. Employees who are experiencing symptoms are asked to contact their health care provider or reach out to Human Resources for assistance. 

Quarantine upon arrival
All students will quarantine in their rooms upon arrival to campus. During this time, students must stay in their own rooms except to use the restroom and to pick up meals from a designated outdoor location. 

Per current CDC guidance, students arriving in the U.S. from abroad will quarantine for 14 days. Students arriving from within the U.S. will quarantine for approximately 48 hours (until their COVID test results come back negative). After that, students will be permitted to move about campus, following all physical distancing and safety protocols in place at the time. 

We are closely monitoring federal, state and local guidance, and will put in place extended quarantine for students arriving from certain locations within the U.S. if necessary. This will not change students’ assigned arrival date. 

Isolation, contact tracing, and quarantine throughout the term
Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be temporarily relocated to isolation housing that has been set aside for this purpose. Health Services staff are undergoing contact tracing certification, and will be prepared to evaluate anyone who has had close contact with a member of our community who tests positive. Individuals who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive will need to quarantine for a period of time. Students needing to quarantine will be temporarily relocated to separate quarantine housing. 

Students in isolation or quarantine will have a designated staff member to support them, will receive meals in their residence, take their classes online, and have their health and well-being actively monitored by a member of our professional Health Services staff. Employees will be asked to isolate or quarantine at home. 

Symptom monitoring
Being aware of how we are feeling each day is an important part of caring for ourselves and others. We have partnered with  HealthCheck360 to implement an online symptom monitoring program. Prior to leaving their residence hall rooms or homes each day, all students, faculty, and staff will be asked to self-report their temperature and any potential COVID-19 symptoms. If anything you report is concerning, you will automatically be prompted to remain at home and wait for Health Services (for students) or Human Resources (for employees) to reach out to you. 

We will be hosting online demonstrations and opportunities to ask questions about our symptom monitoring program on the following days/times:

  • For students and families: Tuesday, August 18 at 3:00 p.m. CDT
  • For employees: Thursday, August 20 at 12:00 p.m. CDT

Login info will be sent closer to the event dates. These demos will be recorded for those who can’t attend. 

In the meantime, faculty and staff concerned about potential COVID-19 symptoms or potential exposure to a COVID-positive individual should contact their healthcare provider and notify Human Resources. Students currently on campus should contact Health Services. 

Physical distancing
Life in and out of the classroom will look different in the fall, but we are committed to finding ways to come together. Many classes will be hybrid, with elements of both in-person and remote learning. Classroom spaces will be configured so that students are spaced apart by at least six feet. Similarly, we look forward to working with Union Board, Student Senate, and many other important student organizations to develop small group, outdoor, and virtual programs. A group of students, faculty, and staff will be working to update event and meeting guidelines for current times. You can expect to hear more about that in a few weeks. 

Flu vaccine
All students, faculty, and staff are highly encouraged to get the flu vaccine for the 2020-21 flu season. This should be done prior to arriving on campus if possible. Health Services will also be offering free flu vaccines to all members of the campus community during the fall term. 

Travel and visitors
We are fortunate to have a low presence of COVID-19 in the local area at this time. For this reason, students taking on-campus classes are asked to limit their travel to within Knox County. Essential travel outside of the area should be planned in advance in consultation with Health Services staff. Similarly, visitors to campus are being significantly limited for the time being. For students living on campus, only family members/significant others are permitted in the residence halls, and we ask that those visits be pre-approved by Campus Life. Visitors will be asked to check in upon arrival to campus, at which time they will complete a brief symptom and temperature check.

The Knox Together Pledge
A successful fall opening and a healthy campus will depend on the shared commitment of our entire community. As a sign of that commitment, all community members will be asked to sign the Knox Together Pledge—a document developed by a group of students, faculty, and staff that outlines how we will each say yes to this new way of living and learning together. You will receive more information about the Knox Together Pledge next week. 

Thank you for taking on this shared responsibility, and for taking seriously the policies and protocols outlined here. Please continue to refer to the Knox Together website for updated information and direct questions to  together@knox.edu

Stay well,

Anne Ehrlich, Vice President for Student Development
Abby Putnam, Director of Health Services
Co-chairs, Student and Employee Wellness Advisory Group

July 29

The Department of Athletics has announced revised move-in dates for fall student-athletes following the suspension of Midwest Conference competition earlier this week. Members of the mens' soccer and cross-country teams are asked to arrive on August 25. Women's soccer and volleyball players should arrive on September 1. Members of the football team should arrive on September 3.

July 28

Knox will host a virtual Q&A for returning students and their families on Thursday, July 30, at 7 p.m. Central Daylight Time. Check your inbox for information about how to participate, and submit any questions you have to together@knox.edu. If you are unable to attend, an archive of the webcast will be posted online after the event.

July 27

MWC Suspends Conference Competition in Athletics through Dec. 31, 2020

July 24

Dear Knox Community:

With the first students arriving back on campus in just a few weeks, I know that you have a lot of questions about our plans to protect the Knox community against COVID-19. 

Today, Knox has launched a new website,  Knox Together, to provide a single location for detailed and updated information on our public health and wellness practices; changes to residence halls and dining facilities; our approach to delivering the educational program this fall; and what we are asking students, faculty, and staff to do to protect themselves and the people around them.

As we have all learned in the last five months, it is almost impossible to predict the course of the pandemic. We are focusing our efforts on resuming in-person instruction in September. However, our fall term  advisory groups, made up of faculty, staff, and students, have developed a range of alternate plans that are ready to implement should more aggressive safeguards be needed. Please continue to monitor  Knox Together and check your inbox daily for the latest updates.

In the meantime, I want to express my appreciation again for the tireless efforts of our faculty and staff, the generosity of our alumni and friends, and especially for the patience of our students and their families as we have worked to create a responsible and effective environment for teaching and learning. 

While this will be a fall term unlike any other at Knox, I am confident it will be just as transformative a learning experience as you’ve come to expect—for our students and for the College.

Thank you and take care,

Teresa L. Amott
President, Knox College

P.S. If you have additional questions that aren't addressed on the website, email together@knox.edu and we'll do our best to provide the answers. 

July 15

Dear Knox Community,

We write to share with you additional information on our plans to bring students back to Knox in the fall. While the news accounts show rising COVID-19 infections in many states, our local situation here in Knox County and throughout Illinois does meet the conditions set forth by public health agencies for starting the school year together on campus in a responsible manner. Those conditions require that we learn some very new ways of being Knox: new ways of teaching and learning, new schedules for arrival on campus, new protocols to help address health risks, and new rules for how we live together, participate in intercollegiate athletics and student activities, and take on the shared responsibility of protecting every member of our community. We especially recognize that some of us are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and embrace the opportunity to help safeguard them. 

Teaching & Learning

Preparations for the return to in-person instruction in the fall are well underway. All students who wish to return to campus for in-person learning may do so, though students may also continue their Knox education remotely. Our fall academic calendar will remain the same, but we will see changes and adaptation to the challenges of our new environment. In pursuit of our health priorities, classroom use will be constrained. Courses that rely heavily on classroom, lab, and studio spaces will need to be reinvisioned so that physical distancing and cleaning protocols can be observed. These and other courses will likely operate in hybrid modes, with a combination of in-person and remote components to serve students both on campus and those working from home. Physical distancing will require that classes meet in smaller subgroups, interactions with faculty and peers occur both in virtual and in-person settings, and daily and weekly schedules be flexible to support engagement of all students. Our updated fall course schedule will be shared by the end of July. New students will meet with their academic advisors and we will reopen the course registration process for continuing students in early August.

To assist us with our course planning, and recognizing that some of you may choose to remain at home and learn remotely, we need to hear from all students, both new and returning, about your current thoughts about your plans for fall no later than Wednesday July 22. Please communicate with us via the form that was sent to your email on July 15. What you share on this form is not a commitment in any way, as we realize your plans may change.

Shared Responsibility for Public Health

Knox’s culture of shared responsibility and care for our community will be more important than ever this fall. We have an obligation to protect one another to the very best of our ability, and we must take that responsibility seriously. For that reason, the Student and Employee Wellness Advisory Group is working with constituents to translate public health guidance into a “social contract” that we will all sign to affirm our commitment to keeping our community safe. Adhering to public health guidance and the college’s heightened safety standards is the most important individual action we can take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Policies expected to be outlined in the contract include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • All members of our campus community must wear masks in classrooms, in public shared indoor spaces, or when at least six feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained. The number of people permitted at events or social gatherings will be restricted to comply with public health guidelines. 
  • We all must practice good hygiene, including handwashing and the use of hand sanitizer.
  • We all must take care to monitor whether we are exhibiting symptoms of the virus. All students and employees will be asked to record any potential symptoms via a private online platform. More details about this process will be shared in the coming weeks. 

Additional measures to mitigate health risks will include:

Testing: Our current plans call for all students to undergo a series of two tests for COVID-19 upon their initial return to campus, which together will minimize false negative results. Testing will continue throughout the term as symptoms and contact tracing require. Employees will be provided with information regarding how to obtain a test locally and will also have the option of being tested on campus. We have contracted with both Tempus Laboratories and OSF St. Mary Medical Center to facilitate testing, which will be conducted at no cost to the student or employee. These are PCR molecular tests that will be conducted by trained clinical personnel and processed at specialized laboratories. 

Quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing: Even with the best public health practices, we know we cannot completely stop the spread of COVID-19, so we must plan for the eventuality that the virus will appear on campus. We are prepared for this to happen. In the event that a member of our campus community tests positive for COVID-19, we have arranged for Knox Health Services staff to be certified to carry out tracing for close contacts both on and off campus. Affected students will follow quarantine and isolation protocols within campus residences that have been reserved for this purpose. Students in quarantine or isolation will have a designated staff member to support them, will receive meals in their residence, take their classes online, and have their health and wellbeing actively monitored by a member of our professional Health Services staff. Affected faculty and staff will follow quarantine and isolation protocols at home.

Cleaning and Sanitation Protocols: Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing practices are already in place at Knox and will be expanded as students, faculty, and staff return to campus. Common spaces in academic, administrative and residential buildings will continue to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at least once per day. Additionally, classroom use will be scheduled in such a way that will avoid student overlaps in hallways and entryways, and outdoor or other alternative learning spaces will be used where possible. Campus offices will be supplied with proper supplies and instruction on how to keep shared office spaces clean and disinfected. Additional attention has been focused on dining services and enhanced measures have been developed by the Bon Appetit Coronavirus Response Team. 

Returning to Campus

To provide the safest process possible, move-in dates have been adjusted for some student populations. These dates will allow physically distanced move-ins, testing upon arrival, and quarantine if necessary. 

Fall athletes
Fall athletes will be assigned an arrival date of Tuesday, August 11, Wednesday, August 12, Tuesday, August 18 or Monday, August 24, based on your sport. Fall athletes should expect communication from the athletic department by the end of this week. 

International students and other students coming from abroad
New international students and other new students coming from abroad should plan to arrive on campus on Tuesday, August 25. This date allows for a 14-day on-campus quarantine prior to international student orientation should public health guidance require it. Returning international students and other returning students coming from abroad should plan to arrive on campus on Saturday, August 29. 

Students participating in SPARK or TRIO Bridge
Students participating in the SPARK program should plan on arriving on Tuesday, September 1. Students participating in the TRIO Bridge program should arrive on Saturday, September 5.

Remaining first-year students
All remaining first-year and transfer students will be assigned an arrival date of either Wednesday, September 9 or Thursday, September 10. Your date will be communicated to you, along with your housing assignment, by the end of July. 

Student leaders
Student leaders such as resident assistants, orientation leaders, peer mentors and others will arrive on campus in time to begin their work that is critical to a successful start to the fall term. Student leaders should expect to hear directly from their supervisors by the end of this week. 

Remaining returning students
Returning students will be assigned an arrival date of Friday, September 11, Saturday, September 12, or Sunday, September 13. Your date will be communicated to you via your Knox email by the end of July. 

More details regarding move-in protocols will also be shared at the end of July.  

Living on Campus

As a residential college, we want all students who wish to live on campus to be able to do so. Current public health guidance for higher education does not require students to be assigned to single rooms. Nonetheless, we recognize that some students may prefer single accommodations. We will accommodate as many students in single rooms as possible. This means that housing assignments may need to be adjusted slightly. Campus Life is working diligently to manage this important process, and will be communicating new student room assignments and any necessary changes to returning student assignments by the end of July. 

Athletics

The Midwest Conference and the NCAA have developed strict protocols for fall sports, including frequent testing and mask wearing for all participants who are not actively on the field of play, and will update those protocols as new information becomes available. The schools in the Conference have committed to observing these protocols. In addition, the Conference will play divisionally, minimizing the number of overnight trips except in championships. We are fully prepared to cancel competitions if circumstances warrant but are hoping to have robust opportunities for student athletes to train for their personal bests, compete for and win conference championships, and enjoy the student athlete team experience. Fall student athletes will be hearing more about their season in the coming days and weeks.

Contingency Plans 

None of us can predict the future, but over the past few months, a number of standardized public health metrics have been developed that we will utilize to determine when a change in course is necessary. We will be monitoring the Knox community’s wellness day by day, watching state and local infection rates, symptoms, signs of mental health distress and other metrics. Each of the four Reopening Advisory Groups is working on backup plans that can be activated to help support the wellness of our community. Fortunately, we do have greater insights now than we did last March, and we believe that any needed adjustments will be smoother and less disruptive.

Additional Information

A website with current information on Knox’s plans is under development and will be published later this week. At that time I will send a message with the web address. In addition, if you have questions, please send them to  reopen@knox.edu and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

Closing / Final Thoughts

In my welcoming remarks at admission events, I tell prospective students and their families that a Knox education is designed to prepare our graduates for a life of leadership and purpose in a time of enormous changes produced by technology, climate change, globalization, demographic shifts, and cultural conflict. Up until now, I never mentioned a pandemic, but I truly believe that our mission is even more important today. We are committed to giving our students powerful experiences, hands-on opportunities to practice what they learn, and we provide mentors, guides and companions along the way. That’s why we call it a human powered education. And together, we will rise to the challenge posed by this pandemic and graduate generations of students even better prepared to make a better world.

TERESA L. AMOTT
President

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Printed on Tuesday, January 19, 2021