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2020-21 COVID-19 Response


Since June 2020 when Kent State University, the University of Akron, and Hiram College announced plans to reopen their campuses in the fall, Hillel's staff and leadership have been working tirelessly to create protocols to ensure the health and well-being of all participants.


What precautions will be in place to ensure the health and safety of the Jewish community?

Over the course of the summer, Hillel's Reopening Task Force (members listed below), staff, and Board of Trustees created a thorough reopening plan centered around ensuring the health and safety of the Jewish community at Hillel's events. Kent State University's Flashes Safe Seven are the foundation to a healthy and safe campus experience for all. These principles are required to be followed at Hillel gatherings. 

Staff and student leaders will be utilizing Hillel's "COVID-19 Reopening Plan" and we ask that staff and students alike work to respectfully hold one another accountable to these guidelines.

Is the Cohn Jewish Student Center open?

As of August 19, 2020 Hillel's home, the Cohn Jewish Student Center will remain closed to programs and community usage. The outdoor spaces are open and available during Hillel sponsored events that follow Hillel's protocols and the Flashes Safe Seven. 

Hillel's Reopening Task Force has recommended that after the first few weeks of campus life we analyze the state of public health on campus and consider opening the facility as a physically distanced study space. Indoor events will not occur for some time.


What types of programs are offered through Hillel? 

Hillel will continue to provide numerous social, spiritual, and fun experiences developed by the Student Board, Jewish student groups, and micro-communities. The delivery of these opportunities may be different than past semesters, but nothing else has changed, Hillel is still here as the curator of deep friendships and Jewish community on campus.  Find us around campus, outside the Cohn Jewish Student Center, and at @hillelatksu.


Hillel staples like Shabbat, holiday celebrations, Israel programs, and more will still be occurring. Over the course of the fall semester, Hillel staff and student leaders will be conducting a critical listening tour to take in each student's story and their needs to be successful on campus. We hope you accept the conversation (and the coffee card that comes with it!).

Do I have to wear a mask at Hillel events? 

Yes, cloth or disposable facial coverings (face shields can only be worn in addition to a cloth or disposable face mask) are required during all Hillel events and engagements. And don't forget about the other six principles outlined in the Flashes Safe Seven!

I'm staying at home this semester. What will be offered for me?

An estimated 15% of Jewish students will be staying home, starting fall semester from their homes located across the country. This includes some of Hillel's student leaders who are notably STAYING in their leadership roles! Your connection to a campus community is extremely important to us. Long-distance learners are encouraged to participate in all virtual events and to push Hillel to meet their needs. 

What is the plan for Shabbat?
Shabbat is moving to a WEEKLY, to-go experience. Registration is required by Thursday at 2pm each week to secure your personal, homemade Shabbat meal. After picking up your meal on Friday the community will gather together on Zoom to bring in Shabbat together with community. Register Here.

What is Hillel doing for the High Holy Days?
Hillel will be offering a dynamic, virtual experiences for the Jewish High Holy Days. The Hillel team is hard at work developing the services and initiatives with resources from Hillel International, Temple Beth Shalom, and other partners. Kosher meals will be available for pick up and all experiences will remain free of charge.

What about Wednesday Lunch? 
The mid-week gathering has been a staple at Hillel for half a decade. We are exploring ways in which this Hillel tradition can translate to the reality of campus life during the pandemic.  

Will there be Birthright Israel or the Student Leaders' Trip this winter?

Hillel will not be holding Winter 2020 Birthright Israel or Student Leaders Israel Experience trips. Birthright Israel is still being offered nationally and the staff are happy to speak to you about your trip options. Hillel plans to take a group on a summer 2021 Birthright Israel trip.

Who is on the Reopening Task Force?

Hillel extends its deepest gratitude to the leaders who helped formulate the fall reopening plan. In addition to the members of the Task Force, Hillel consulted with stakeholders at Kent State University, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Hillel International, as well as Hillel's staff, and Board of Trustees.


Mike Guggenheim, Board of Trustees

Brad Helfman, Board Chair, Board of Trustees

Samie Winick, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees

Josh Linda, Student, Kent State University

Lauren Miller, Hillel Student Board President, Kent State University

Adam Hirsh, Executive Director

Ethan Krasnow, Assistant Director

Kim Montgomery, Operations and Finance Manager



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