Ohio State Announces Plan To Resume In-Person Classes This Fall
The Ohio State University will be returning to in-person classes for part of the fall semester, under a plan announced by university president Michael Drake on Wednesday.
Ohio State will hold the first day of autumn classes on Tuesday, Aug. 25, and on-campus instruction will run through Wednesday, Nov. 25. After Thanksgiving break, both classes and final exams will be held through "distance methods."
To promote social distancing, the university is also reducing the number of students living in dormitories, altering dining options, and staggering move-in times. Those plans will be provided by June 19.
In a press release, the school ran down a number of other health precautions that will be taken.
"The resumption of full operations on Ohio State campuses will include a combination of the use of appropriate face coverings, physical distancing, hand hygiene, limited density in indoor spaces, control of the flow of traffic into and around buildings, continued employee teleworking when possible, testing, symptoms tracking and contact tracing," a university press release read. "A teaching and learning approach that combines in-person and distance methods is also being developed."
The altered schedule will also eliminate fall break in October, although Labor Day (September 7) and Veterans Day (November 11) will still be observed.
The future of athletic programs remains up in the air. Ohio State leaders are still working on a plan to resume practices and games, but say they're dependent on decisions made by the Big Ten Conference, NCAA and state authorities.
“Regarding football, our hope and intention is to safely have a football season, with an audience spaced out in our stadium, but we haven’t made any final decisions,” Drake said in a statement.
Ohio continues to ban mass gatherings, and sports and entertainment venues remain shut down by the Department of Health.
Ohio State suspended all in-person classes on March 9, the same day Gov. Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency and confirmed the state's first cases of COVID-19. The next week, the university sent students home and moved classes online for the rest of the semester.
A university task force on returning to campus was led by the deans of the Colleges of Public Health and Nursing.
Gov. Mike DeWine said this week that the state "fully intends" for K-12 schools to reopen in the fall, and the Ohio Department of Education will provide broad health guidelines to districts.
Earlier in the day, the Board of Trustees named Kristina Johnson, former chancellor of the SUNY system in New York, as the next president of Ohio State.