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Fall Campus Return 2020

We are thrilled to have our students, faculty and staff back in our campus community this fall. Our top priorities are the health and safety of everyone, and we must all make commitment to protect each other and ourselves.

This is unlike any other time in Keene State’s history – so life isn’t the same this fall. It will be new for all of us. We’re Owls United more than ever, and because we’re in this together our semester together is going to be great. Take care for yourself and everyone around you, and be on the lookout for more information from our #OwlsUnited education campaign, including our first video, below, as well as signs on campus and social media posts to share with people you know in our community.


Please download the poster or graphic below to print or use in email, documents and other electronic communications to spread the word that we are #OwlsUnited at Keene State.

OwlsUnited Poster PDF
OwlsUnited JPEG


What Our Plans Include – and What to Expect on Campus

We are using a science-based public health plan to keep our community safe. Here’s some of what you’ll experience:

  • Mandatory testing no more than seven days before arrival on campus with a negative COVID-19 test result for all students, faculty, and staff, as well as regular, recurring testing. We are coordinating closely with Quest Diagnostics to provide pre-arrival testing at no cost, as well as our local hospital, Cheshire Medical Center, to ensure testing is available, to respond to any outbreaks of the virus on campus immediately.
  • We are collaborating with Cheshire Medical Center on contact tracing to identify others who could also be at risk.
  • We will have reduced residence hall capacity to allow for greater protection against the virus spreading.
  • Classrooms and labs will be structured to ensure physical distancing and classes will be offered remotely and in person to provide hybrid delivery for learning. 50 classrooms will have new technology so that half of many classes can be offered remotely. This means that students who are sick or are in quarantine can still keep up on their classes, remotely.
  • We are stepping up cleaning further, to three times per day in common areas and in bathrooms – you can help too – keeping your living space clean, and disinfected will keep you and your roommate safe.
  • Our dining services will offer the same delicious food, but it will be packaged in take-out style containers for your safety. Seating will be limited and spaced appropriately in the Zorn Dining Commons, or opt to take your food to-go. Online ordering will be available for all dining locations, and menu items will be customizable to fit any dietary or allergen needs.
  • The academic calendar has been adjusted so that all classes start remotely on August 24, while in-person classes will begin August 31. Courses will continue as scheduled during Fall Break and Labor Day, rather than closing the College. You will complete your semester with remote classes and finals after Thanksgiving break, and students will not return to campus for the rest of the Fall term.
  • More information about accessing courses remotely can be found here.

Our Community-Wide Commitment is Needed to Stay on Campus

We each must make a commitment to ourselves, our roommates, our friends, colleagues and our whole community to make sure our plans to keep us on campus work. This means every hour of every day. Follow the guidelines that you’ll see and hear throughout KSC’s health education campaign, including physical distancing, wearing your mask in public spaces, and taking care of yourself, your roommates and friends. Remember, wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart and staying home when you’re not feeling well not only is good for you, but it keeps your friends, professors, students, and many other people around you safe.

No handshaking or hugs, but we’ll find some other way to show our care for each other that is safer – stay tuned.

As much as we understand that large gatherings and attending parties is something students want to do in college, in this environment it is seriously irresponsible, and will only put your friends, yourself and your neighbors at risk.

Remember that you can speak up if you see someone who is not being careful – each choice we make can either keep each other safe, or can put each other at risk. We are Owls United in this together. Trainings will be available to help us learn how to help each other.

Health and Safety Protocols

Faculty, staff and students will complete pre-arrival testing for COVID-19 no more than seven days before returning to campus, to ensure a negative test result. To ensure the safety of people who may have had contact with someone with coronavirus, contact tracing will be done to notify individuals who may be at risk.

Wearing a mask at all times on campus in public spaces, except when an individual is in their living space, or eating while seated, is required for faculty, staff and students. Keene State will provide masks to all faculty, staff and students – and they are encouraged to bring their own masks as well to ensure a plentiful supply.

To help with physical distancing on campus, directional markers and signage will be posted in public spaces to remind and assist people with ways to safely navigate various situations.

Student Activities, Clubs and Organizations

Though large-scale in-person social and co-curricular events won’t be taking place from either the Office of Student Involvement or from individual student organizations, we’ll have lots of fun opportunities to connect with other students. These include:

  • Smaller-scale events may be held in-person as conditions allow, while others may be streamed online or using other virtual platforms, and some will do both.
  • Hosting virtual events with the Night Owl Café as the backdrop, and we will hold in-person programs and events hosted by student organizations and the Office of Student Involvement that may still take place in large spaces such as the Mabel Brown Room and Mountain View Room with lower occupancy and different set up arrangements.
  • Weekly BINGO and Trivia will resume, with games happening both in-person and virtually.
  • The annual Fall Student Involvement Fair will have both in-person and virtual elements, so that new and returning students will be able to find out information about student organization opportunities early in the fall semester.

Student organizations will continue to be active, and groups will be able to plan meetings, events, and programs using new guidance and campus and facility requirements. Different plans are in development for alternative breaks, and we are working with local partners to find opportunities for virtual and small-scale in-person community service.

How Move In Will Work This Year

Move In will be different this year in order to keep everyone safe. It will be a phased over three days, and students may bring up to two additional people to help with moving. Masks will be provided to students when they arrive during check-in, and masks are required to be worn by all people at all times during the move-in process to ensure safety. Students will be assigned a two-hour time frame in which to move, to maintain physical distancing and provide enough time for thorough cleaning between students. Roommates will move in at different times, and only some students on a given floor will move in at the same time.

Students will have a report of a negative pre-arrival COVID-19 test at the time of Move In. There will be no charge to students for this test. Students who live off campus are also required to be tested prior to in-person classes on August 31. Testing will be available for these students on campus on August 17 and 18.

First-year students will participate in activities with their Orientation groups before classes start. All student meal plans will begin upon their arrival to campus and there will be no additional cost, regardless of the day they are scheduled to move in.

Student with Mask on Appian Way

Important Dates

August 2 Links Staff and Students move in. Location: Owl’s Nest
Week of August 3 COVID-19 testing for staff members begins.
August 14 Resident Assistants and Orientation Leaders move in.
Week of August 17 COVID-19 testing for faculty begins.
August 18 Move In for student employees who have supervisor approval.
August 24 First week of classes (asynchronous remote).
August 24 Residents of Holloway Hall, Fiske Hall, The Commons, Owl’s Nest 5 (first year students only) move in.
August 25 Residents of Carle Hall, Huntress Hall and One Butler Court move in.
August 26 Residents of Pondside 1, 2, 3 and Owls Nests move in.

Please contact reslifeadmin@keene.edu for questions about Move In dates.


Frequently Asked Questions


Classes and Coursework

Q. How will Keene State ensure physical distancing in classrooms?

A. Classrooms and labs are structured to ensure physical distancing and classes will be offered remotely and in person to provide hybrid delivery for learning. 50 classrooms will have new technology so that half of many classes can be offered remotely. This means that students who are sick or are in quarantine can still keep up on their classes, remotely. In residence halls, occupancy has been reduced without using triples and quads.

Q. How will students who are majoring in programs that require certification, such as teaching and nursing, meet their requirements in the fall?

Adjustments may need to be made for the fall, and faculty in these programs are working to ensure that students will have access to the experience they need to meet requirements, and to be prepared to start their careers. For specific questions, students should contact their professors.

Q. If a medical condition prohibits a student from being on campus for classes, can courses be taken remotely?

A. Yes, for students who have medical reasons for not returning to campus, courses will be provided remotely to accommodate their needs. We want to be sure all students have access to the quality education that Keene State provides.

Q. Will commuters have access to classes? Will commuters be tested for COVID-19 more frequently?

A. Yes, students who commute are welcome on campus! And there will likely be more frequent testing for these students. Monitoring for symptoms and staying home when not feeling well are important too.

Q. How will it work with students moving in the week of August 24 while also taking classes?

A. Classwork during the week of August 24 will not be tied to a class schedule – rather, faculty will begin instruction remotely and students can fit the coursework into their schedules that week.

Q. If there is a positive test, what will happen with the first case? In addition, if a professor tests positive, does the class then move online? Would that then result in a tuition discount?

A. The individual would be quarantined immediately, and contact tracing would begin right away to notify any others who may be at risk. If a professor becomes ill, the same would happen, and either another faculty member would pick up the course, or it would move online – either way, the class continues.

Q. How will costs be adjusted if a student takes their classes fully online in the fall?

A. Students will not have to pay room or board, and they will have a discount in student activity fees. They will be billed for the total fee amount of $1,442 and then receive a Remote Learning Adjustment of $930.90, to pay $511.10.

Q. If a student in a class tests positive, will the entire class be required to quarantine?

A. Keene State is holding strict physical spacing at 6 feet or more in classroom spaces to avoid the need for entire classes to quarantine.

Q. What is the difference between “blended” and “remote-blended” classes?

A. Details about the different types of classes can be found here.


Dining on Campus

Q. What are my options for dining during the fall semester?

A. The Zorn Dining Commons and Lloyd’s will continue to serve its delicious food. More options will be available in individual, to-go packaging, and seating will be limited.


Health and Safety Precautions

Q. When will students be tested for COVID-19?

A. Keene State will provide mail-in tests to students who are arriving on campus between August 24-26 to ensure results are ready before arrival on campus – turnaround for results is within 72 hours. Specific instructions will be provided with the test, and the test should be administered no more than 7 days prior to arrival on campus. There is no cost to the student. Students should not go to a Quest site that is not identified by Keene State College as an approved site, because costs may not be covered, and results may not be returned in time.

Q. Can students still have off-campus jobs?

A. Yes, and we ask students working in jobs off campus to carefully follow mask wearing and physical distancing and hygiene protocols also while away from campus.

Q. Can students go home for weekend visits during the fall semester?

A. We want to make sure our students stay well connected with their families, and we do need to consider potential risks of exposure associated with leaving Keene. Students will be able to return home for visits, appointments, etc. but follow up COVID-19 testing will be necessary. Our travel policy will be updated and shared soon, on this page.

Q. When will off-campus students be tested for COVID-19 at Keene State? Where do they go?

A. COVID-19 testing for off-campus students will take place on August 17 and 18. The location is being determined, and details will be shared soon.

Q. Will testing be free for students?

A. Yes, the college is paying for all costs associated with COVID-19 testing.

Q. Will faculty and students be wearing masks during in-person classes?

A. Yes, this is necessary to keep faculty and students safe.

Q. Do family members need to quarantine for 14 days before arriving on campus?

A. No, this is not part of the health directive for the state of New Hampshire. We do ask that family members monitor for any symptoms that could be COVID-related before arriving, and family members must wear a mask while on campus.

Q. Will a parent be notified if their student has a positive COVID-19 test result?

A. This must be considered under the federal guidelines through FERPA. The college is looking into this further – once a decision is final, it will be shared here.

Q. Where will a student living off campus who is ill with COVID-19 quarantine?

A. If possible, the student will have private transportation to their permanent home. If this is not possible, the student may remain in their off-campus housing or alternatively, an on-campus location may be secured.

Q. What if a student refuses to wear a mask?

A. The student code of conduct has been updated to make it possible to issue repercussions for not following health requirements. The risk and potential outcome of not following these requirements are that serious – we must all do our part.

Q. Do I need to wear a mask even when I’m off campus?

A. Yes, the same requirements exist off campus in order to protect you and our Keene neighbors.

Q. How will Quest ensure that results will be returned in time?

A. Keene State has an agreement with Quest, which includes the kind of test that will be administered and the turnaround time of results, to ensure that our community has results in time for scheduled campus return.

Q. Will on-campus students be able to go shopping and dine at businesses outside of campus?

A. Yes, absolutely. You will need to continue to observe safety precautions by wearing a mask, practicing careful hygiene and physical distancing.

Q. If I test positive for COVID-19 or if I have symptoms prior to receiving test results, what should I do?

A. If you test positive for COVID-19, you should immediately call the Wellness Center at 603-358-2200 to report your positive result and inform your Residential Life staff, if applicable. Or, you may hear from the Wellness Center staff first, as they will have students’ test results. If you are feeling ill, we urge you to remain in your living space, and to call the Wellness Center for instructions what to do next. If it is after normal business hours, you should contact Campus Safety and your Residential Life staff for instructions on next steps.

Q. If I test positive, will I get an email or phone call and need to react immediately? What is next?

A. You will be immediately contacted by our contracted testing company, Quest Diagnostics, and get a phone call from the Wellness Center if your test comes back positive. Staff will provide instructions to you about what to do in that moment. We suggest that students have a sick plan and bag prepared in advance, so that they don’t need to be concerned about packing at the last minute and having to make any last-minute arrangements for their needs. If you are not in your room at the time you learn you have a positive test, arrangements will be made with you by campus staff to assist you in safely returning to your room for any needed belongings.

Q. What happens if my roommate is positive with COVID-19?

A. If your roommate tests positive, you will be contacted by our Keene State Rapid Response Team for assessment and assistance. If a quarantine is determined to be needed, you will quarantine at home, or on campus if unable to return home. While you are in quarantine you will be contacted regularly for continued assessment, support, and guidance by College staff, the room and bathroom in the living space will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized and your roommate will be moved out of the living space until healthy to return.

Q. What happens if I have been identified through contract tracing?

A. If you are identified through contact tracing, you will quarantine at home, or if unable to return home, you will quarantine on campus. While you are in quarantine you will be contacted regularly for continued assessment, support, and guidance by College staff.


Residential Life

Q. What should I do if I don’t feel comfortable with my housing situation?

A. Be sure to contact the Residential Life Office at 603-358-2339 or reslifeadmin@keene.edu.

Q. What advice do you have for students who need to sign leases for off-campus housing?

A. While the college has control over housing availability and operations on campus, agreements with off-campus landlords are private between students and the property owners. The college does wish to help by coordinating with landlords to help with flexibility and understanding around these uncertain times.

Q. Who can students contact with questions about how the housing process works?

A. For students who have questions about how to select housing and/or roommate, the Residential Life Office is available to help you. Visit https://www.keene.edu/office/reslife/ for contact information and details.

Q. Who is permitted to visit students in residence halls?

A. Members of the Keene State community who are participating our safety protocols – testing, physical distancing, hygiene – can visit the inside a residence hall. Family members, and people who aren’t Keene State students cannot go inside the building, in order to maintain safety for everyone.

Q. How will housing in residence halls be affected?

A. A limit of two people housed in one residence hall bedroom is established – no doubles or triples.

Q. Who will clean common bathrooms in suites?

A. Students will keep these spaces clean as they use them. If there any specific questions about this or if they need assistance, students can talk with their Resident Assistant.

Q. Do I need to wear a mask even if a neighbor in my residence hall comes to my room? What about if I’m in a shared bathroom?

A. Yes, wearing a mask around people other than your roommate will reduce risk of exposure to the virus.

Q. Will I be able to stay on campus after Thanksgiving Break begins?

A. Any student who has local commitments related to their academic program will be permitted to stay in on-campus housing to complete their academic requirements. This applies to student teachers and internships connected to accruing college credit. It does not apply to student employment, non-credit bearing internships and other local commitments not connected to coursework. Students remaining in housing may be consolidated to other campus accommodations in order to ensure safety and security and appropriate support.


Student Clubs and Activities

Q. Will fall sports be happening? What about club sports?

A.The LEC has canceled competition for the fall semester. We are, however, finding different ways for student athletes to safely continue practice and some competitive play. Details about this will be provided on August 7 on the fall opening webpage. Club sport participation will be available – plans are being finalized.

Q. Are student clubs still operating?

A. Yes! We will ask student clubs that meet to carefully adhere to using a mask, practice physical distancing, and to limit gatherings to 10 or less people.

Q. Will student athletes be moving in early, now that the LEC has canceled competition?

A. Student athletes will move in on their own schedule, rather than as a group as early arrivals.


Student Support and Services

Q. What medical support will be available on campus to help students when the college opens in the fall?

A. Keene State will provide a satellite Upper Respiratory Infection clinic outside of Elliot Center that is available by phone and appointment to treat students with respiratory-related symptoms that may be due to the common cold, sinusitis, flu, strep, and could be Coronavirus-related. Students will also continue to have access to the Wellness Center in the Elliot Center for ongoing health and wellness needs such as counseling, injuries, and other common needs. A separate COVID-19 testing facility will also be located on campus, providing testing services only.

Q. How will the college support students with limited access to technology or internet?

A. The college is making plans to provide additional technology to students who need it to ensure that they can access their education remotely. This is part of the planning for the fall, and details on how to access these resources will be communicated later this summer.

Q. If a COVID-19 vaccine is available in the future, how could this change requirements on campus?

A. At this point in time, a vaccine appears to be some months away. When a vaccine is made available, the college will make efforts to prioritize the college community in receiving the vaccine in an effort to return operations as close to normal as possible, while ensuring no further risk to the community.

Q. Are out-of-state students able to come to campus if it opens in the fall?

A. Yes, absolutely! All students are welcome back on campus in the fall after opening.

Q. When will campus services, including the Bookstore, open in the fall?

A. At this time, we anticipate the Bookstore will open in the fall when the rest of the campus opens. This is part of the fall planning that is underway, which will be shared when complete.


Events, Visitors, and Performances

Q. Can I still enter buildings on campus?

A. All buildings on the Keene State College campus are currently closed to the public in order to ensure health and safety for our community members.

Q. When is the Commencement ceremony for 2020 graduates going to be held?

A. This year’s Commencement ceremony has been postponed to October 3, 2020.