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Kent State Tuscarawas sees enrollment increase despite pandemic

Jon Baker
The Times-Reporter
With the beginning of the fall semester, students at Kent State University at Tuscarawas are required to wear masks when on campus.

NEW PHILADELPHIA Enrollment numbers are holding steady at Kent State University at Tuscarawas this fall despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, the campus is up about 125 students over this time last year, according to Dean Brad Bielski. Total enrollment is at 2,214 students.

Numbers are also strong at other Kent regional campuses.

“We’re generally very happy with enrollment performance of the campuses,” he said. “Not too long ago, we didnt know what the impact of the pandemic would be, but we look very solid here.”

He noted that students didn’t enroll for the fall semester as soon as they have in other years.

But Bielski said, “People still value higher education and value what we do here at Kent State Tuscarawas.”

Students have adapted well to the safety protocols on campus, including wearing masks at all times and the need for cleaning to slow the spread of the virus. Staff members also are required to wear masks.

“Masks are required on campus when you’re walking down the hall or having a meeting,” he said. “There are some situations where it is OK to take your mask off, if you’re in your office by yourself, or eating in the student union.”

Sanitizing is something that everyone is required to do.

Every staff member has their own spray bottle and wipes on their desk. When a class is finished, the staff member will clean off his or her desk and students will wipe off their desks.

The motto on campus is, “If you use it, you have to clean it.”

The dean said he is generally getting positive feedback from students about the restrictions.

“They understand why things are the way they are,” he said. “They don’t love it but they understand it and are willing to adapt.”

He’s hoping things will improve.

“I’m very hopeful that we will be in a better place in the spring, but we’re not in a bad space now,” he said.

With the beginning of the fall semester, students at Kent State University at Tuscarawas are required to wear masks when on campus.