Students raise concerns over in-person instruction, isolation housing

The Lantern
Students seen back on campus for spring semester after the university’s decision to continue with in-person instruction. Credit: Hosna Sadaqat | Lantern Reporter

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Ohio , some students are concerned and frustrated with the university’s continuance of in-person classes.

On Jan. 4, Ohio State announced it would continue with in-person instruction as there was a surge in cases of the omicron variant across the nation.

Aaron Reilman, a third-year in computer and information science, said he is upset with the university’s decision to return in person this semester.

“I wish the university did a better job with the hybrid classes and allowing an option for students to be online,” Reilman said. “I have two classes that were required in person and did not have a zoom option.”

Reilman said he feels unsafe and wishes the university would enforce stricter physical distancing rules. The Ohio State chapter of the American Association of University Professors also called for faculty input into pandemic-related policies .

The university’s guidelines for the spring semester also requires that students be tested weekly for COVID-19.

University spokesperson Chris Booker said in an email Ohio State continues to monitor the pandemic and will adjust its policies based on the latest public health guidance.

“Students have access to free masks at several locations on campus, access to COVID vaccines and booster shots and free testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals,” Booker said.

Booker said the No. 1 priority for the university is the health and safety of students, faculty and staff.

If students test positive, there is no guarantee they will be placed in the school’s isolation housing. The university’s Jan. 4 announcement stated Ohio State has limited on-campus spaces for isolation, so students may have to pay for a hotel room to isolate.

Ryan DeMilt, a first-year in computer science and engineering, said he wishes the university would provide more housing for those who are sick.

“Personally, I think that leaving isolation housing up to students is just not a tenable way of doing things,” DeMilt said.

DeMilt and Reilman, both members of Students for a Democratic Society on campus, said their organization is calling for Ohio State to improve its COVID-19 policies.

“Our student org has actually held a protest recently demanding that the university has a better COVID response,” Reilman said. “We did specify better options for isolation housing and more support for students who are feeling unsafe.”

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