This weekly newsletter for academic leaders is designed to share information of interest to the university community.
Updates to COVID-19 safety guidelines
Based on the changes to federal and state health guidance, Ohio State will be making the following adjustments to our Safe and Healthy requirements:
- Outdoor masking: Effective immediately, fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask outdoors on Ohio State campuses. The university continues to strongly recommend that unvaccinated people wear masks when they cannot maintain safe distancing. Note that individuals are fully vaccinated 14 days after their final dose of vaccine.
- Indoor masking: Masks are still required indoors, with an exception for cases where individuals are working alone in their own office (not a shared work space). We will continue to closely monitor conditions and hope to lift the indoor mask requirement in the fall if the vaccination rate among the university community is sufficiently high.
These changes are consistent with our approach throughout the pandemic to rely on science and the guidance of national, state, local and our own university public health and medical experts to determine safeguards for our community — given the residential nature of our university and the fact that many of our students live in congregate settings.
We continue to focus on achieving a high vaccination rate as we assess other opportunities to adjust protocols for fall, and the university is doing all we can to promote vaccination for all eligible students, faculty and staff.
On Wednesday, May 19, we are opening a vaccination location at the Jesse Owens North Recreation Center, which will also continue to serve as our student testing location. This vaccination location will be open to all Ohio State students, faculty and staff. More information will be shared in the coming days through the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website and other channels.
Data about our vaccination rates will be key to this effort, so we began asking students to voluntarily share their vaccination information last week. This will enable more fine-tuned modeling for the fall and allows us to reduce testing and quarantine requirements for vaccinated students.
Starting May 31, vaccinated students will test monthly or less while we retain weekly testing for unvaccinated students or those who have not reported their vaccination status. Vaccination reduces the risk of serious illness or death, so reduced testing is appropriate for vaccinated students.
Student testing protocols
We will continue to evaluate other protocols — including those for classroom settings — as we plan for fall. We will continue to strongly encourage everyone to be vaccinated while understanding that some members of our community will be unable to do so because of health conditions or other reasons.
Please respect the privacy of all members of our community. While general efforts to encourage vaccination are appropriate and helpful, we should not be asking individuals to publicly declare their health status.
We will continue to share details as our planning evolves. Please continue to use the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes reactivation page — including the FAQs — as your central source for our current guidance.
Board of Trustees meets
The May meeting of the university's Board of Trustees will take place this week. The full board meeting and committee sessions, including the Academic Affairs and Student Life at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, can be viewed online through the board website. Agenda and materials will be posted in advance of the meetings.
Nominations open for speaker series
Nominations are open for the Provost's Discovery Themes Lecturer Program and Patterson Land-Grant University Lecture series. These programs bring thought leaders to campus to engage students, faculty, staff and community members around topics related to the Discovery Themes (Provost's Discovery Themes Lecturer Program) and the challenges facing land-grant institutions in the 21st century and beyond (Patterson Land-Grant University Lecture).
- Starting at 9 a.m. today (May 17), a Carmen Common Sense Cohort will guide instructors through the best practices of using Carmen, with an eye toward enhancing student learning. This cohort is facilitated by Clinical Associate Professor Nicole Kraft from the School of Communication and will meet through May 20.
- At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday (May 19), Integrating Student iPads into Your Course will share examples of the ways in which iPads can bolster course components and support student learning, engagement and digital fluency. Participants do not need to own or use an iPad to attend this workshop.
- At noon Thursday (May 20), an Information Literacy workshop will explore strategies instructors can use to clarify student expectations and common misunderstandings around research and inquiry-based assignments.