Ohio State has suspended in-person classes through at least March 30 due to the coronavirus outbreak. The announcement was made Monday night via an email to students and faculty.
Classes will eventually continue via online sessions.
OSU is currently on spring break. Students have been told that they can either stay home or return to campus when classes start back up next week. If they choose to return to campus, they have been advised to utilize social distancing and proper public health and hygiene practices.
The news comes just hours after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced three people in Cuyahoga County were confirmed to have the virus.
“While there are no campus-associated cases of COVID-19, we know that there are at least three confirmed cases in the state of Ohio, and we expect that there will be more,” University President Michael Drake wrote in the university-wide email. “We are being proactive in an effort to prevent illness and continue the important work of the university. I understand that our policy guidelines will cause measurable disruption, but the risk of not acting outweighs the inconvenience of these temporary measures. The safety of our campus community is always our top priority.”
No changes regarding University athletics have been announced as of yet, but as Drake wrote in his email, “the situation is evolving daily. All guidelines are subject to change as emerging events warrant.”
University-sponsored travel internationally has been suspended immediately through at least April 20 and domestic travel will be approved on a case-by-case basic. Travel to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea was already restricted through that date as well.
Students are set to return from spring break March 16.
Here is the full letter from Drake.
New: Coronavirus update on classes, work arrangements, travel and events
University-wide communication related to the COVID-19 outbreak
The Ohio State University
The Ohio State University announced new information for students, faculty and staff in response to the international viral outbreak of 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19).
President Michael V. Drake issued a new university-wide letter on Monday that updates university guidelines. The details are as follows:
Dear Members of the Ohio State Community
The university has been monitoring closely the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and providing regular updates to you as the situation evolves. I have convened a task force of senior leadership and subject matter experts who are meeting around the clock and are focused on our university’s preparations and response.
We continue to align our recommendations with and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and other city, state and federal agencies.
While there are no campus-associated cases of COVID-19, we know that there are at least three confirmed cases in the state of Ohio, and we expect that there will be more. We are being proactive in an effort to prevent illness and continue the important work of the university. I understand that our policy guidelines will cause measurable disruption, but the risk of not acting outweighs the inconvenience of these temporary measures. The safety of our campus community is always our top priority. Your cooperation and collaboration will help to ensure an appropriate response across our institution to this rapidly changing matter. Thank you for that.
One of the best ways to prevent the spread of viral illness is to minimize the circumstances in which individuals may interact and transmit disease.
Below are a number of updates related to classes, work arrangements, travel and campus events that will allow us to continue the education of our students while protecting our community.
Guidance for faculty and students regarding classroom teaching
- We are suspending face-to-face instruction in lectures, discussion sections, seminars and other similar classroom settings and moving to virtual instruction, effective immediately and through at least Monday, March 30. We are evaluating classroom experiences such as laboratory and performance classes, and the university will provide specific guidance this week. We will reevaluate these guidelines on an ongoing basis and share updates or modifications as more information becomes available.
- While completing classes virtually, students may choose to return to their permanent place of residence or return to campus, where appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures will be actively encouraged.
- We urge all students to make the choice that is best for their own personal situations.
Telecommuting opportunities for faculty and staff
- The university is also preparing plans for telecommuting opportunities, where appropriate, for faculty and staff during this time. Managers are expected to be flexible in allowing those employees who are able to do so to work from home. More information about telecommuting will be available from Human Resources in the coming days. The Wexner Medical Center will communicate with clinical faculty and employees regarding this option.
Human Resources guidance for managers and supervisors
- Information about COVID-19 reporting, employee-leave management and associated workplace issues will be available from Human Resources in the coming days.
- Effective immediately and until further notice, all university-sponsored international travel is suspended. This includes new travel as well as any currently booked trips between now and April 20. We will reevaluate these guidelines and share updates as more information becomes available.
- The previously announced restrictions of university-sponsored travel to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea, which currently are under Level 3 warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, remain in effect through at least April 20. Personal travel to these countries should be reported to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information about how to report travel is available on the university’s coronavirus website: https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/features/coronavirus.
- University-sponsored domestic air travel will be limited to business essential travel and will be approved on an as-needed basis. A process for requesting and approval of domestic travel will be shared shortly. This includes new travel as well as any currently booked trips between now and April 20. We will reevaluate these guidelines and share updates as more information becomes available.
- The university will work on an individual basis with students who are currently on university-sponsored international or domestic travel and need assistance with returning early. For international travel, contact the Office of International Affairs Risk Management at 614-292-6677. For domestic travel, email email@example.com.
- Travelers returning from Level 3 warning countries are required to observe a 14-day period of self-quarantine and monitoring. During this period, you are not permitted to come to work, attend class or participate in any other campus or community activities. The university does not have the capacity to provide self-quarantine locations on campus for students. Students needing to self-quarantine will be required to return to their permanent home residences or self-quarantine in their off-campus apartments. Students who reside in university housing and are unable to return to a home residence should contact University Housing in the Office of Student Life at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- No new, non-essential events will be scheduled on campus through April 20.
- We encourage event organizers for scheduled non-essential events occurring on campus between now and April 20 to immediately evaluate whether these events should continue in person.
- We will continue to evaluate events and will share plans prior to April 20 to either end the restrictions early or, if needed, extend them.
As mentioned, the situation is evolving daily. All guidelines are subject to change as emerging events warrant. I appreciate your understanding and continued cooperation during these changing times. I also want to express my thanks to the individuals and teams who have worked many hours to implement plans that will help keep our community safe.
We will continue to monitor regularly and make adjustments as needed with the well-being of our university community top of mind. Please check our website for updates and other information. Questions can be addressed to email@example.com.
Thank you for all of your efforts to promote a safe and healthy campus community at The Ohio State University.
Michael V. Drake, MD