I am honored to represent a college community of dedicated employees who have committed themselves to opening our campus this fall as safely as possible, not only for Keene State, but for the benefit of the greater Keene community. As Keene State navigates this pandemic, we are committed to providing our robust educational offerings while maintaining safety and health for all.

The relationship between Keene State and city of Keene depends on close collaboration and transparency. We worked in partnership to create our campus plan for risk mitigation and management, and have made a shared commitment to vigilance and responsiveness as we move forward through the fall semester and beyond. I will do all that I can to protect those I serve as president of Keene State College, and to hold the public trust of our broader Keene community. Keene is my home as well, and my family is blessed to be a part of this amazing place.

The college and the city hold a shared responsibility for the health of the entire community. Our college community enjoys all that Keene has to offer, and residents of the city are always welcome to enjoy our campus. This remains true despite the pandemic, though we all must take steps to safeguard against SARS-CoV2.

We continue to welcome residents to stroll on campus, and enjoy seeing you walk your dog or go for a run along our walkways. In an effort to keep everyone safe, we are taking some precautions, and this is where we need your help.

The interiors of our campus buildings are only open to Keene State faculty, staff, students, and expected guests and visitors who have taken our health screening. This is a continuation of a policy we began in March. While you are on our campus, please wear a mask at all times and maintain physical distance from others of 6 feet or more. This way we protect each other even as we remain in community, and we model the behavior that we are requiring of our students.

If you haven’t yet seen our science-based plan for opening, visit keene.edu/fall2020 where you can view it in detail. The plan explains how the college will address anticipated positive cases of COVID-19, our preparedness for rapid response and contact tracing, and our commitment to reporting cases to the public. You will also find a link to our dashboard with testing data and other vital information on the fall 2020 page.

As we test asymptomatic individuals, we will identify positive cases. This was expected and will continue. The measure of our plan’s success is rapid identification, isolation and support for those individuals, and their close contacts, to prevent spread of SARS-CoV2. When we completed our required pre-arrival testing for all faculty, staff and students, seven positive cases were identified out of 4,750 tests. Two individuals with positive results were in Keene, and all others were identified during our pre-screening and were not permitted to come to the Keene State campus until recovered.

Thank you for complying with our mask and physical-distancing protocols when you are on Keene State’s beautiful campus. We hold our faculty, staff and students to the same standards when they are in the greater community. Town and gown need each other to get through this challenge as safely as possible.

Melinda Treadwell is president of Keene State College.