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Kent State University is Making Contingency Plans to Avoid a Complete Coronavirus Shutdown

Ohio's coronavirus advisory map
Ohio Department of Health
As of Wednesday afternoon, Portage County was at Level 3 (red) on the state's coronavirus advisory map.

There were 63 COVID-19 cases at Kent State University last week. And if the numbers continue to increase, university leaders say they have plans in place to avoid a campus shutdown.

More than 100 students have been asked to quarantine during each of the past two weeks because of possible exposure to the coronavirus. And Portage County is currently at a Level 3 public health alert with very high exposure and spread of the coronavirus.

Reopening committee chair Manfred van Dulmen says if the upward trajectory of cases continues, the university has plans to move some classes online.

“We have other courses that cannot be offered remotely: some of our hands-on science labs [and] courses in the arts [such as] glassblowing, is one example. Those classes we want to continue on campus for as long as possible and as long as it’s safe,” van Dulmen said.

He adds that if Portage County does go to Level 4, the university would move to “drastically” reduce campus capacity.

“We’re not only looking at the county level, but also other indicators at the university. The one that we continue to be concerned about is the number of cases," van Dulmen said. "But with regard to PPE [personal protective equipment], quarantine isolation space, [and] absenteeism among staff, we feel very comfortable.”

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.