Current Students

Whether you have returned to a campus full time, are engaging in online learning or taking a blended approach, you play an important part in the community’s health and well-being — on and off campus. Read about the measures Ohio State is taking to keep you safe, learn how you can keep yourself and others safe, and find out more about changes on campus.

Information about…

Updates

  • August 24: To enhance the health and safety of the university community, Ohio State is requiring every student, faculty and staff member to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The deadline for all Ohio State students, faculty and staff to have at least a first dose is Friday, October 15, 2021. For people receiving a two-dose vaccine, the second dose must be received by November 15, 2021. For details and timeline for the Wexner Medical Center’s employee requirement, visit the Wexner Medical Center site. Read more on the COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement Page.
  • August 2: Effective immediately, students, faculty, staff and visitors to all Ohio State campuses and medical facilities are required to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. Masks continue to be required outdoors for unvaccinated individuals when they cannot maintain physical distancing. Vaccinated people are not required to mask outdoors. Read more on the Personal Safety Practices page.
  • July 27: To make informed decisions related to COVID-19 and further enable contact tracing, Ohio State is requiring students, faculty and staff to report whether or not they have been vaccinated by Thursday, August 5. Personal health information will not be shared publicly or directly with instructors, managers or leaders. Read more about how to report your vaccine information.
  • July 9: To further encourage the Ohio State community to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the university will be distributing $50,000 in prizes to students, faculty and staff who have received their shots and report it to the university. Throughout August, the university will conduct weekly drawings for prizes that include gift cards, football season tickets and annual parking permits.  Read more on the Ohio State vaccine incentives page.
  • June 30: Effective immediately, Ohio State students, faculty and staff are no longer required to complete the daily health check when they are well. All employees should stay home instead of coming to work if they are experiencing symptoms of illness. Please note that Wexner Medical Center faculty and staff, as well as students with clinical responsibilities in hospital facilities, are required to use the Ohio State app or compass.osu.edu to report if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms prior to their scheduled workday. 

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Frequently asked questions

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Academic Work

What are my options if I am uncomfortable taking in-person classes?

The university offers a variety of in-person, virtual and blended experiences. We encourage students to discuss any concerns with their academic advisor to evaluate options. Students with particular needs for accommodations should also contact Student Life Disability Services or the ADA Coordinator’s Office.    

Ohio State has published guidelines and requirements on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes site that detail the measures to be taken by the university and the requirements for all individuals to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of the community.

Accountability

What will happen if someone doesn’t comply with required health and safety guidelines?

Accountability measures are in place for those who choose not to abide by required health and safety guidelines. These accountability measures may range from additional training and informal coaching to formal disciplinary action based on existing structures for students, faculty and staff. 

Contact Tracing, Isolation and Quarantine

How long do isolation and quarantine last? And when does the clock start?

For those who test positive for COVID-19, the 10 days of isolation starts the day after the positive test sample was taken. The clock starts the day after the test. Then the isolation period lasts for 10 complete days. In most cases, the person can expect to leave isolation after that 10-day period is complete.

For those who were in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19, the 10-14 days of quarantine starts the day after the close contact occurred. The clock starts the day after the contact. The quarantine period lasts for 10-14 complete days. In most cases, the person can expect to leave quarantine after that 10-day period is complete.

In cases where a person is experiencing symptoms related to COVID at the end of isolation or quarantine, the time may be extended.

How will I receive information about being released from isolation or quarantine?

The Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team will email or call you shortly before your expected date of release to ask about any symptoms. Please reply to this email promptly. The day before your isolation or quarantine period ends, we will email you release documentation. If you are an on-campus resident in isolation or quarantine housing, you will be able to leave the isolation or quarantine housing at 7:30 a.m. on your day of release.

If the contact tracing team at Ohio State and your local health department instruct you on different isolation or quarantine periods, you must adhere to the longer time period to remain compliant with Ohio State’s protocols and directives, which are guided by public health science and designed to protect the campus and the community.

If I’m a student, will I be tested while in quarantine?

You will not be required to test while in quarantine, but it is recommended that all close contacts test 5 days after their exposure. Your contact tracer will go over testing options while in quarantine.

What happens if I have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

If you have close contact (as determined by your health care provider or a contact tracer) with an individual with COVID-19, you will need to work with the Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team to determine next steps, including potential quarantine, testing and other safety measures.

For those who are required to quarantine:

  • During this period, which lasts at least 10 days, you will be asked to stay home, not participate in on-campus activities, separate yourself from others and monitor your health. You will be excluded from on-site work, school or other on-campus activities.
  • A negative COVID test during quarantine does not “clear you” from the risk of becoming sick with COVID-19 based on the virus’s incubation period.
  • You should continue to monitor your symptoms for 14 days after the day of your exposure.

If you have close contact and have symptoms of COVID-19, please follow the guidance for What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed.

If you have close contact as determined by a contact tracer, whether or not you have symptoms, you complete a COVID-19 test, which you will arrange by calling The Ohio State University COVID Call Center (for faculty and staff) or Student Health Services (for students).

If you have questions or concerns about an interaction with a known COVID-19 positive individual and you are unsure if it was a close contact, please contact your health care provider to assess your risk.

What information will the contact tracing team be able to access?

Contact tracers are permitted to access information only for use in the university’s pandemic response. The contact tracing team will use individuals’ general location information to contact individuals to schedule testing, learn whether others may have been infected and monitor the spread of COVID-19.  

Some examples of general location information include:

  • Student and instructor class roster, residence hall address and office address
  • System logs, like door swipes with an individual's BuckID and OSU Wireless access

 
The Responsible Use of Computing and Network Resources Policy explains the collection, use and sharing of data from information systems. Members of the university community consent to this policy when setting up their name.# and when they use Ohio State information systems, like OSU Wireless or university laptops or PCs.

Visit the web privacy statement to learn more or email privacy@osu.edu with questions about privacy at Ohio State.

What is considered an exposure to COVID-19?

An exposure is when you have come in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. A contact tracer will advise you on whether you have been exposed and next steps. Close contact exposure with an individual with COVID-19 includes:

  • Contact for at least 15 minutes at a distance of less than 6 feet from a person with COVID-19
  • Providing care at home to a person with COVID-19 without personal protective gear
  • Direct physical/intimate contact with a person with COVID-19 (touching, hugging, kissing)
  • Sharing of eating or drinking cups and utensils with a person with COVID-19

 
To count as close contact, the exposure must occur in either the 48 hours prior to or the 10 days after the other person has developed COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19.

Types of contact NOT currently considered an “exposure” to an individual with COVID-19 include:

  • Standing in line to order coffee behind an individual with COVID-19 for three minutes
  • Having classes in the same building as someone who tests positive
  • Walking past a person with COVID-19 in the hallway of your residence hall or on the Oval

What kind of cleaning will take place if someone gets COVID-19?

The university’s approach to keeping shared spaces clean during the pandemic is based on scientific guidance to reduce the risks of exposure. Those measures will typically be adequate when someone tests positive. For example, classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected nightly. In some cases, such as those where an infected individual has an office with a door, it will make the most sense not to enter the space and suspend cleaning for an appropriate amount of time.

In residence halls where students share a room, a student who tests positive and their close contacts (as designated by contact tracing) are required to complete their isolation process in a designated residence hall or away from campus.    

Who should I tell if I learn that someone has contracted COVID-19?

  • If you have or suspect you have COVID-19 and are a member of the faculty or staff, you should tell your supervisor and follow appropriate protocol.
  • If you are a supervisor and an employee reports an infection to you, you should contact your Human Resources business partner. Do not notify any other employees, maintaining the individual’s medical privacy.
  • If you have or suspect you have COVID-19 and are a student, you should immediately contact Student Health Services at sl-covid19.shs@osu.edu.
  • Students are not required to report the specific reason for their illness, including COVID-19 infection, to their instructors.
  • Faculty, staff and students who are made aware of or suspect that someone else has COVID-19 should not share that information with others, with the exception of supervisors reporting to Human Resources.
  • If you have or suspect you have COVID-19 and are a member of the faculty or staff, you should tell your supervisor and follow appropriate protocol.
  • If you are a supervisor and an employee reports an infection to you, you should contact your Human Resources business partner. Do not notify any other employees, maintaining the individual’s medical privacy.
  • If you have or suspect you have COVID-19 and are a student, you should immediately contact Student Health Services at sl-covid19.shs@osu.edu.
  • Students are not required to report the specific reason for their illness, including COVID-19 infection, to their instructors.
  • Faculty, staff and students who are made aware of or suspect that someone else has COVID-19 should not share that information with others, with the exception of supervisors reporting to Human Resources.

Who will be informed about COVID-19 cases?

Contact tracers will quickly notify students, staff and faculty who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 based on scientific guidelines defining risk of exposure. However, the university will not send general notifications to colleges, classes or the general public about individual cases, and we will not release names of individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19. (The Wexner Medical Center does notify departments as part of its clinical operations.)

Will I be informed if my co-worker gets sick?

Not necessarily. Co-workers will be notified only if they have been identified as someone at risk based on scientific standards for determining potential exposure. Close, prolonged contact without proper public health precautions (physical distancing, wearing of face masks) increases the risk of infection. Working in the same building with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive does not, in and of itself, put an individual at risk.

Graduate Studies

What is Ohio State’s COVID-19 testing program?

Ohio State has implemented a comprehensive testing program that will continue to be an integral part of our safety protocols as students return to campus this fall. By identifying COVID-19 cases early, we can take action to limit the spread of the virus. Below are the plans for Autumn 2021:

  • Pre-arrival testing: All students living in university-managed housing on the Columbus campus and regional campuses as well as sorority and fraternity members on the Columbus campus will need to complete an at-home COVID-19 test within seven days before they return to Ohio State. Additional details about this process will be shared directly from the Office of Student Life.
  • Move-in testing: All Columbus campus students who will be on campus for any reason and all residential students on the regional campuses will be required to test for COVID-19 when they arrive. We recommend that students wear a mask until they receive results of a negative COVID-19 test.
  • Weekly surveillance testing: Currently, unvaccinated students — including all students on the Columbus campus or and regional campus students who live in university housing — will be required to test weekly as the academic year begins. Students who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and reported their status to the university will not have to test. We will continue to monitor the impacts of variants of concern and may need to adjust the testing requirements for vaccinated students as new information is available. Once House Bill 244 goes into effect on October 14, we will test vaccinated and unvaccinated students with the same protocols.

Ohio State has implemented a comprehensive testing program that will continue to be an integral part of our safety protocols as students return to campus this fall. By identifying COVID-19 cases early, we can take action to limit the spread of the virus. Below are the plans for Autumn 2021:

  • Pre-arrival testing: All students living in university-managed housing on the Columbus campus and regional campuses as well as sorority and fraternity members on the Columbus campus will need to complete an at-home COVID-19 test within seven days before they return to Ohio State. Additional details about this process will be shared directly from the Office of Student Life.
  • Move-in testing: All Columbus campus students who will be on campus for any reason and all residential students on the regional campuses will be required to test for COVID-19 when they arrive. We recommend that students wear a mask until they receive results of a negative COVID-19 test.
  • Weekly surveillance testing: Currently, unvaccinated students — including all students on the Columbus campus or and regional campus students who live in university housing — will be required to test weekly as the academic year begins. Students who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and reported their status to the university will not have to test. We will continue to monitor the impacts of variants of concern and may need to adjust the testing requirements for vaccinated students as new information is available. Once House Bill 244 goes into effect on October 14, we will test vaccinated and unvaccinated students with the same protocols.

What testing is required for students who live off campus?

Currently, unvaccinated students will be required to test weekly as the academic year begins. Students who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and reported their status to the university will not have to test. We will continue to monitor the impacts of variants of concern and may need to adjust the testing requirements for vaccinated students as new information is available. Once House Bill 244 goes into effect on October 14, we will test vaccinated and unvaccinated students with the same protocols.

Currently, unvaccinated students will be required to test weekly as the academic year begins. Students who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and reported their status to the university will not have to test. We will continue to monitor the impacts of variants of concern and may need to adjust the testing requirements for vaccinated students as new information is available. Once House Bill 244 goes into effect on October 14, we will test vaccinated and unvaccinated students with the same protocols.

Health and Safety

Are masks required?

Effective Aug. 2, students, faculty, staff and visitors to all Ohio State campuses and medical facilities are required to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. Masks continue to be required outdoors for unvaccinated individuals when they cannot maintain physical distancing. Vaccinated people are not required to mask outdoors.

Effective Aug. 2, students, faculty, staff and visitors to all Ohio State campuses and medical facilities are required to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. Masks continue to be required outdoors for unvaccinated individuals when they cannot maintain physical distancing. Vaccinated people are not required to mask outdoors.

Effective Aug. 2, students, faculty, staff and visitors to all Ohio State campuses and medical facilities are required to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. Masks continue to be required outdoors for unvaccinated individuals when they cannot maintain physical distancing. Vaccinated people are not required to mask outdoors.

I am a student with an accommodation for a disability – how will my accommodation be supported?

Students with particular needs for accommodations should also contact Student Life Disability Services or the ADA Coordinator’s Office.

What will happen if someone doesn’t comply with required health and safety guidelines?

Accountability measures are in place for those who choose not to abide by required health and safety guidelines. These accountability measures may range from additional training and informal coaching to formal disciplinary action based on existing structures for students, faculty and staff. They are available here.

Mental Health and Wellness

I am worried about a student, what can I do?

If the concern is life threatening, please contact 911, the Ohio State Police Department, at 614-292-2121, or the Wexner Medical Center, at 614-293-8333. If the situation is not life threatening, being supportive and encouraging the student to contact Student Life's Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) is often the best first step. CCS does not contact students who do not contact us first out of respect for their privacy and independence. You can also recommend some of the available mental health support options available on campus.

If the concern is life threatening, please contact 911, the Ohio State Police Department, at 614-292-2121, or the Wexner Medical Center, at 614-293-8333. If the situation is not life threatening, being supportive and encouraging the student to contact Student Life's Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) is often the best first step. CCS does not contact students who do not contact us first out of respect for their privacy and independence. You can also recommend some of the available mental health support options available on campus.

What do I need to know as a parent or family member if I have a student in need of mental health support?

If you have concerns and would like to discuss helpful options with your student, please visit Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service website to review service options. Contact Student Life's Counseling and Consultation Service to request a call back from a counselor at 614-292-5766.

What mental health and wellness resources are available on campus?

The safety of the Ohio State community is and always will be the university’s first priority. There are a variety of resources available for students, faculty and staff. The university has also compiled a wide range of research-based intervention strategies and information that can help build resiliency and enhance mental, emotional and physical health and well-being. Key resources are listed below.

If you or someone you know is an imminent danger to themselves or someone else, go to the nearest ER or call 911. If you are thinking of harming yourself or if you are worried about someone else and need advice about what to do, call the suicide prevention lifeline at 614-221-5445 or 800-273-8255 (TALK) or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting 4HOPE to 741741.

The safety of the Ohio State community is and always will be the university’s first priority. There are a variety of resources available for students, faculty and staff. The university has also compiled a wide range of research-based intervention strategies and information that can help build resiliency and enhance mental, emotional and physical health and well-being. Key resources are listed below.

If you or someone you know is an imminent danger to themselves or someone else, go to the nearest ER or call 911. If you are thinking of harming yourself or if you are worried about someone else and need advice about what to do, call the suicide prevention lifeline at 614-221-5445 or 800-273-8255 (TALK) or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting 4HOPE to 741741.

Research

How do I report concerns if safety protocols are not being followed in a research lab?

The Office of Research has developed a web-based tool (http://go.osu.edu/report-a-concern) to report research-related concerns around non-compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols. While the most direct route for addressing concerns is to contact a supervisor, department chair or college office, we recognize that is not always feasible. Any concerns reported through this tool will be sent directly to the Office of Research for review.

Testing

If I previously had COVID-19 and have a positive test would I have to go into isolation?

Yes. If your previous positive test was more than 90 days ago, you would have to go into isolation if you had a new positive test. After 90 days, a positive test is likely to mean that you have a new infection.

Why would I need to be tested after having COVID-19? I thought I was immune.

Currently, no one knows how long immunity lasts. People who have had COVID-19 can be infected again. It doesn’t seem to be common, but it happens. It’s important to remember that someone with an infection and no symptoms can make others sick, which means a new infection you don’t even recognize presents a risk to others. Testing allows us to identify those people who might transmit to others and isolate them to reduce that possibility.


Please reference this website for the most up-to-date guidelines. The university’s COVID-19 Transition Task Force’s Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup will continue monitoring changing conditions and consult with local and state health authorities. Recommendations and requirements will be refined as needed.