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Coronavirus

Ohio State Students Return For Another Pandemic School Year

 Imani Edwards (left) checks in at her dorm within Houston House during the start of Ohio State's move-in week on Monday, August 16, 2021.
Scott Good
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WOSU
Imani Edwards (left) checks in at her dorm within Houston House during the start of Ohio State's move-in week on Monday, August 16, 2021.

Ohio State students move back to campus this week, as the university faces another school year marked by COVID-19.

With umbrellas in hand and masks on faces, students at the Houston House dorm wheel their belongings in large red carts to their rooms.

The return to campus comes as the university takes numerous precautions against the spreading delta variant. Students must disclose their vaccination status to the university and are required to be tested twice -- once last week and again when they arrive on campus.

As Imani Edwards enters her second year studying early childhood education, she said her OSU experience isn’t what she expected, but she’s happy with how the university is handling its response to the pandemic.

“With the way the school has everything set up and the opportunities they’ve given us to get vaccinated on campus and get tested, everything’s going smoothly,” Edwards said.

The university also this month implemented a new mask mandate requiring all students, faculty, staff and visitors - regardless of vaccination status - to wear masks while indoors on campus. Additionally, under the revised policy announced on August 2, those who are unvaccinated are required to wear masks outdoors when they cannot distance themselves from others.

Katy Bailey's stepson is a freshman in computer science. While moving a large cart of items up to the student's room on north campus, Bailey said she was glad that the university changed their mask policy.

"So, at first they didn't have to wear masks, and now they have to wear them indoors,” Bailey said. “So it's, you know, a struggle for everyone, but it's the best -- it's what they need to do to be careful."

Imani Edwards said she’s looking forward to starting the school year with more of her classes being in person than last year.

“A lot of people are saying that they’re afraid that we’re going to go back completely online because of the delta variant,” Edwards said. “But I think if we all stick together -- more students are getting vaccinated; I myself am personally vaccinated -- so I feel a little bit safer being on campus.”

Classes for the fall semester begin August 24.