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The Ohio State University suspends face-to-face instruction through March in response to confirmed coronavirus cases in Ohio

Posted at 6:40 AM, Mar 10, 2020

COLUMBUS — The Ohio State University has suspended face-to-face instruction in lectures, discussion sections, seminars and other similar classroom settings in response to three confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Ohio, according to a release from the university.

The university will replace in-person lectures with virtual instructions, effectively immediately and through at least Monday, March 30. There will also be no new, non-essential events occurring on campus between now and April 20.

School officials have launched a website with information about the coronavirus as well as an email account where general questions about the virus can be directed: coronavirus@osumc.edu.

“We are being proactive in an effort to prevent illness and continue the important work of the university,” said Michael V. Drake, president of OSU, in a statement. 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.”

The university issued further guidelines and coronavirus preparedness:

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.

Travel

  • 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: travelreporting@osumc.edu. 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 studentlife@osu.edu.
  • 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 housing@osu.edu.

Events

  • 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.
  • No new, non-essential events will be scheduled on campus through April 20
  • 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.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

COVID-19/2019 Novel Coronavirus Overview from the CDC:

“2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV/COVID-19) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).”

“When person-to-person spread has occurred with MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Spread of MERS and SARS between people has generally occurred between close contacts.”

From News 5 and affiliated news outlets:

News 5's Coronavirus continuing coverage page

How to prepare your family and pets for COVID-19

EPA releases list of approved disinfectants to use against COVID-19

How to protect yourself from coronavirus when flying

Symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus are fever and lower respiratory tract issues, such as cough and shortness of breath, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

Travel

Anyone traveling internationally should review plans in advance of their trip, and check the CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Information Page for daily updates and travel alerts.

Click here for the CDC COVID-19 Travel Information Page

Practice Good Hygiene

The CCBH recommends the following good hygiene practices to prevent coronavirus, as well as the flu, colds and other illnesses:

  • Sneeze or cough into the bend of your elbow to keep germs from spreading
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water/use alcohol-based hand sanitizer in between
  • Don’t share cups, spoons, forks, etc. with anyone
  • Don’t make food for anyone if you are sick
  • Don’t go to work or school if you are sick
  • Visit a doctor, urgent care or emergency department if you are sick – don’t take chances

Please contact your medical provider with any questions.

Guidance for those with compromised immune systems

Click here for specific guidance from the CCBH for anyone at higher risk for becoming ill.

Additional Resources

Cuyahoga County: See the CCBH page on coronavirus here.

Ohio Department of Health:

Click here for the Ohio Department of Health’s Coronavirus information page.

It is updated daily at 2 p.m. with the current number of confirmed cases, persons under investigation and persons under investigation who tested negative for the disease.

As of Tuesday morning, there are 3 confirmed cases in Ohio, five persons under investigation in Ohio, 11 persons who have tested negative for COVID-19, and a total of 255 people who were or are under health supervision since the novel coronavirus was first reported.

More resources from ODH:

Fact sheet
Prevention infographic
Resources and information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CCBH has created this list of coronavirus-related resources from the CDC:

Homepage for COVID-19 materials and information

Fact sheet – Chinese
Fact sheet – English
Fact sheet – Spanish

Guidance for businesses
Guidance for colleges and universities
Guidance for communities and mass gatherings
Guidance for healthcare facilities
Guidance for healthcare professionals
Guidance for people with elevated risk for illness
Guidance for pregnant women
Guidance for risk assessment
Guidance for schools
Guidance for travelers

What you can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 – Chinese
What you can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 – English
What you can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 – Spanish

If you are sick with COVID-19 – Chinese
If you are sick with COVID-19 – English
If you are sick with COVID-19 – Spanish

Preventing spread of COVID-19 at election/polling/voting locations
Prevention and treatment
Symptoms – overview

World Health Organization

Coronavirus information
Mythbusters – the truth about food, packages, pets and other things related to COVID-19

Video – What is COVID-19?
Video – What is my risk of getting COVID-19?
Video – How can I protect myself from COVID-19?