Keuka College students to return this week

Staff reports
The Chronicle-Express

KEUKA PARK — With more stringent policies and health practices in place, and expanded quarantining space at the ready, Keuka College will resume face-to-face instruction next month.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming our students, faculty, and staff back to campus,” said college President Amy Storey. “Our students have done exceptionally well under our remote-learning model, but we’ve been hearing from them over the holiday break that they’re ready to be back on campus.”

The campus reopened to faculty and essential workers Thursday, Jan. 21, though it will remain closed to the general public. The majority of students will return to campus over the weekend of Jan. 29-31, with in-class instruction beginning Monday, Feb. 1, and continuing through early May.

The campus and dormitories of Keuka College will fill once again when the college reopens this weekend, with classes beginning Feb. 1. The administration assures the public the college is taking measure to reduce the potential for another superspreader event like the one that occurred off campus last fall, leading to the closure of the college in October.

“In light of the challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic,” said Storey, “we’ve instituted a number of new procedures to ensure the safety of our students, College community, and the community at large.”

Among the college’s new policies and requirements:

• Students will need to quarantine for seven days prior to arriving on campus and provide proof of a negative COVID test within three days before their return.

• Students and employees will participate in regular random COVID-19 surveillance testing, as well as completing daily health screenings.

• The college has designated and outfitted an entire residence hall – Davis Hall – for use exclusively to house quarantining and isolating students. The 117-bed residence hall will house quarantining students on the first two floors, and isolating students on the third floor, separate from the general college population.

Keuka College has outfitted Davis Hall (right), the dormitory farthest from the campus center, to house quarantined and isolated students exclusively. The first two floors of the 117-bed dorm will house quarantined students, and the third floor will house isolating students.

Keuka has also taken steps to more closely monitor off-campus housing with an eye toward redressing and discouraging unsanctioned student gatherings. After experiencing just a single COVID-19 case during the first six weeks of the fall 2020 semester, a mass student gathering led to an outbreak that forced college officials to transition to remote instruction for the remainder of the year.

“The outbreak we experienced last fall was disappointing but instructive,” said Storey. “With testing more available and with vaccinations beginning to become more widely available, we’re hopeful that our stronger policies and procedures will help to ensure our students enjoy a safe and successful semester.”