Columbus, OH

President Johnson announces reactivation updates for the fall

The Lantern
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University President Kristina M. Johnson announced university reactivation updates 一 including plans for quarantine and isolation, testing and masking 一 in a universitywide email Tuesday. Credit: Lantern file photo

University President Kristina M. Johnson announced some of the university’s fall reopening plans in a universitywide email Tuesday, although the plans are subject to change due to conditions around COVID-19.

In the email, Johnson shared information on required vaccination reporting, pre-arrival, move-in and weekly surveillance testing for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students, masking requirements and details on quarantine and isolation housing.

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we will adjust our testing, masking and other health protocols as appropriate and will share updates with you as we have them,” Johnson said. “We will also monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of Ohio and local health authorities as well as the impacts of the Delta variant to inform our decisions.”

Ohio State will not require students, faculty or staff to be vaccinated. However, Johnson said everyone in the Ohio State community is required to report their vaccination status , which will remain confidential, by Aug. 5 . Prizes up to $50,000 in gift cards , football tickets and parking passes will be awarded to vaccinated students, faculty and staff beginning Aug. 8.

There will be four drawings, and individuals must fill out the contest entry form, after reporting their status, to win. Information about the prizes can be found on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website .

Students living in university-managed housing on all campuses and in sorority or fraternity houses on the Columbus campus must complete an at-home COVID-19 test within seven days before returning to Ohio State, Johnson said.

All students planning to be in-person on the Columbus campus and residential students on regional campuses will be required to test for COVID-19 when they arrive, Johnson said. Students should wear a mask until receiving a negative test result.

Johnson said unvaccinated students on all campuses who live in university housing will be required to test weekly once the fall semester begins. Vaccinated students will not have to get tested if they have reported their status to the university.

Testing requirements for COVID-19 may be adjusted depending on the different COVID-19 variants, Johnson said. Unvaccinated and vaccinated students will be tested with the same protocols once House Bill 244 , a bill that prevents discrimination against unvaccinated individuals, goes into effect Oct. 14.

Masks are not required for fully vaccinated individuals on all campuses except on public transportation, in the Wexner Medical Center and Student Health facilities and in colleges and units with public-facing clinical operations, Johnson said. Unvaccinated individuals are required to wear masks indoors and maintain physical distancing when possible.

Students should have individual plans for isolation and quarantine housing if they are exposed to COVID-19 or have a positive test due to limited on-campus quarantine and isolation housing spaces this year, according to the universitywide email.

According to the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website , physical distancing is no longer required in classrooms. Instructors must follow universitywide guidelines and are not allowed to set their own requirements for their classrooms, according to the website. However, instructors may choose to provide either in-person or virtual office hours.

Instructors and managers are not allowed to ask individuals if they have been vaccinated because it is considered personal health information, according to the website.

According to the website, the mode of instruction for each class is determined by the university, but may change based on CDC, Ohio Department of Health and local authority guidance. All classes must be taught via the listed mode of instruction, and instructors are not expected to provide multiple teaching modes unless authorized by the university.

According to the website, students who are uncomfortable with taking an in-person course should consult with their advisor about distance learning options.

This article has been updated Thursday at 5:47 p.m. to include information about classroom guidelines from the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.

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