About the Transition Task Force

At The Ohio State University, our strength has always been — and always will be — our people, and our potential to solve problems together.

COVID-19 is a unique challenge in our 150-year history, and the COVID-19 Transition Task Force is dedicated to facing it head on: with ingenuity, compassion and spirit.

The Ohio State University established a transition task force to direct the return to appropriate in-person operations. In addition to closely monitoring state and federal guidance, the task force used a data-informed approach to guide the transition back onto our campuses.

Together as Buckeyes, we are charting a path forward, creating a considerate community for all and finding ways to be stronger together — even while we stand 6 feet apart.

Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Group reporting

full report

Updated June 30, 2020

one-page summary

evidence reviews


Task force leaders and subgroups

Task Force Leaders

Chair: Gail Marsh, Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer

Vice Chair: Mike Hofherr, Vice President, Office of the Chief Information Officer and Office of Distance Education and eLearning 

Senior Adviser: Col. Michael Carrell, U.S. Air Force, retired


  • Amy Fairchild, PhD, MPH, Dean, College of Public Health
  • Bernadette Melnyk, RN, PhD, Dean, College of Nursing, Vice President for Health Promotion, Chief Wellness Officer
  • Katie Hall, Chief of Staff, Office of the President
  • Kay Wolf, PhD, Senior Vice Provost, Office of Academic Affairs
  • Jessica Eveland, Secretary, Board of Trustees  
  • Justin Fincher, PhD, Vice President, Advancement Strategy and Administration, Office of Advancement
  • Mike Papadakis, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Office of Business and Finance 
  • Chris Davey, Interim Vice President, University Communications 
  • Jay Kasey, Senior Vice President, Office of Administration and Planning
  • Gene Smith, Senior Vice President, Athletics Director, Department of Athletics 
  • Susan Basso, Senior Vice President, Talent, Culture & Human Resources, Office of Human Resources
  • Stacy Rastauskas, Vice President, Office of Government Affairs
  • Melissa Shivers, PhD, Vice President, Office of Student Life
  • Morley Stone, PhD, Senior Vice President, Office of Research
  • Adrienne Nazon, Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, University Marketing
  • Anne Schira, JD, Associate General Counsel, Office of Legal Affairs
  • Ryan Meadows, JD, Chief of Staff, Office of the Chancellor for Health Affairs
  • Amy Darragh, PhD, Faculty Member, University Senate
  • Roaya Higazi, Undergraduate Student Government
  • Jordan Vajda, Interprofessional Council
  • Stephen Post, Council of Graduate Students
  • Anand Shah, Undergraduate Student Trustee

Task Force Subgroups

Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory led by Dr. Amy Fairchild, Dean, College of Public Health: Using a data-informed approach for recommending when it is safe to begin transitioning back onto campus as well as robust safety protocols and other measures that will be in place for that return.

Chair: Amy Fairchild, PhD, MPH, Dean, College of Public Health

Vice Chair: Bernadette Melnyk, RN, PhD, Dean, College of Nursing, Vice President for Health Promotion, Chief Wellness Officer


  • Susan Koletar, MD, FACP, FIDSA, Director, Division of Infectious Diseases, Wexner Medical Center
  • Eileen Ryan, DO, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, College of Medicine and Wexner Medical Center
  • Gretchen Ritter, PhD, Executive Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
  • James Borchers, MD, Head Team Physician, Department of Athletics
  • Tina Bogac, Senior Director, Office of Environmental Health and Safety
  • Efthimi Parasidis, JD, Moritz College of Law
  • Gladys Gibbs, MD, Director, Student Health Services
  • Bill Miller, MD, PhD, MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Research, College of Public Health
  • Mike Oglesbee, PhD, Director, Infectious Diseases Institute 
  • Stephanie Schulte, Assistant Director for Research and Education, Health Sciences Library
  • Gail Marsh, Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer
  • Henry Zheng, PhD, Strategy Management Office
  • Gregory Rose, PhD, Executive Dean of the Regional Campus Cluster
  • Michael Bisesi, PhD, REHS, CIH, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Public Health
  • Kenya Moyers, Doctoral Student in Epidemiology, COVID-19 Literature Review Liaison, College of Public Health
  • Abagail Grieff, Student, Social Work/Public Health Dual Degree, Council of Graduate Students (CGS) Representative
  • Janice Bonsu, Student, College of Medicine, Inter-Professional Council (IPC) Representative

Classroom readiness led by Mike Hofherr, Vice President and Chief Information Officer: Conducting inventory, assessment and optimization of classroom space for safe and quality instruction. Exploring options for additional instructional spaces.

Physical distancing and safety signage led by Jay Kasey, Senior Vice President, Office of Administration and Planning: Evaluating, planning and deploying a range of signage for safety and traffic-flow management around the campus. 

Personal protective equipment (PPE) led by Kristine Devine, Vice President of Operations and Deputy Chief Financial Officer: Developing a coordinated and university-wide process for acquisition, prioritization and allocation of PPE to ensure availability for safe return to campus operations. 

Contact tracing led by Mike Hofherr, Vice President and Chief Information Officer: Evaluating internal capabilities and external partnership opportunities to implement a system for contact tracing in individual cases of COVID-19 infection.


Phased approach to return to campus

The safety of the Ohio State community is the university’s top priority. In June, the university announced plans to resume in-person instruction for the autumn semester. Specific guidelines for a phased return were developed based on guidance from state and local health authorities and recommendations of the Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup of the university’s COVID-19 Transition Task Force.

The resumption of full operations on Ohio State campuses includes a combination of the use of appropriate face masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, limited density in indoor spaces, control of the flow of traffic into and around buildings, continued employee teleworking when possible, testing, symptoms tracking and contact tracing.

Every individual has a role in keeping the community safe, and the university expects faculty, staff and students to model healthy behaviors.


Messages from leadership

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3
February 25, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Together, we have worked as a university community throughout the pandemic to lift up one another. We have connected through masks and screens, fought the spread of COVID-19 and continued to innovate, create, research, teach and learn. We have demonstrated...

February 22, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

During my first six months as a member of our Buckeye family, I have been inspired and motivated by the connections I’ve made both on our campuses and in the communities we serve. Even when faced with the challenges of a global pandemic, unprecedented...

February 11, 2021
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff: Your efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus continue to pay off. I am proud to be part of such a caring and conscientious Buckeye community. As this challenge continues, you are succeeding every day in advancing our overall mission and building a...

Our principles

The task force aligns planning across the wide spectrum of functions and operations necessary to the university’s return to on-campus operations.

Within the task force are multiple subgroups focused on the central coordination of key planning areas. Task force members lead teams in their own areas with involvement from faculty, staff and students where appropriate.

Mission and values: We will embody the university’s mission and live our values — excellence; diversity in people and of ideas; inclusion; access and affordability; innovation; collaboration and multidisciplinary endeavor; and integrity, transparency and trust.

Safety: Our top priority is the health and safety of Ohio State students, faculty, staff, patients, visitors and the entire community. The Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup is using a data-informed approach to develop recommendations guiding how and when to resume operations and transition staff, faculty and students back to all campuses. Evidence-based measures will be taken to protect public health and will remain in place as long as needed.

Evidence and data: Task force recommendations are based on the best available scientific evidence and guidance from university experts and local, state and federal public health officials. (Read the Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup Summary here.)

Flexibility: The university will continue to monitor health and safety conditions and remain flexible to adjust action plans as needed.

Transformation: As necessary, Ohio State will adopt new practices and policies that foster organizational resilience and best position the university to effectively sustain the academic and research missions while protecting public health and safety.

Coordination: Decisions relating to the transition back to all university campuses will be made by the president under the authority of the Board of Trustees and in coordination with local, state and federal authorities and associations.