State of emergency, capital projects, post-pandemic task force

Dear Ohio State Community:

I hope you are all well and staying safe. Our gratitude goes to those on the front lines fighting the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and to everyone helping to stop the spread of the virus by staying at home, practicing social distancing and maintaining good hygiene. This is a disruptive and stressful time for us all, but your collective efforts are making a real difference, flattening the curve and saving lives. Thank you.

Our health care professionals continue to serve the community with great courage and skill. They are innovating in large-scale ways that benefit patients here and across the country — from expanding and accelerating testing to launching a COVID-19 plasma donation program, and much more. For example, many members of the spring 2020 class of our College of Medicine have graduated early to help fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As a reminder, we can all help support our colleagues and their work, and offer words of encouragement, through the Ways to Help webpage.

Below is a summary of recent university updates.

University state of emergency

I am extending the university state of emergency through Friday, April 24. This declaration enables us to utilize Disaster Leave (Policy 6.28) and is essential to providing the university with flexibility in making a variety of financial decisions over an extended period if necessary.

Capital projects

As the university continues to navigate this pandemic, we have undertaken an assessment of our capital projects. While most construction will continue as planned, projects that can be slowed or modified have been identified in accordance with the need for financial prudence during these uncertain times.

We have communicated this assessment with leaders overseeing colleges and units. All of our planned projects remain important to the support of our patient care, research and teaching missions. We are taking a measured approach now in order to position these projects well for the future. For information about projects, visit the Facilities Operations and Development webpage.

Resources for our university community

We are dedicated to providing COVID-19 and wellness resources for our students, faculty and staff. Please see the lists at the bottom of this email. Additionally, the Office of Human Resources is introducing LeaderConnection, a five-week series of 30-minute Zoom webinars starting April 23. Each webinar, open to faculty and staff, focuses on leading with agility and grace during uncertain times. More information is available on the LeaderConnection webpage.

Virtual commencement

The university will recognize the achievements of the Class of 2020 with a virtual ceremony on Sunday, May 3, at noon. You can view the livestreamed ceremony here. The event will last approximately one hour and will feature a commencement address by Apple CEO Tim Cook. As a reminder, this virtual event does not replace a future in-person commencement ceremony, which we will schedule at a time when it is safe to be together.

Read a message we sent to the Class of 2020 this week with additional updates.

Post-pandemic task force

While we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we do have encouraging signs that our collective efforts are helping to flatten the curve. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to practice social distancing and maintain good hygiene. At the same time, it is important to plan for the future. We have launched a post-pandemic operations task force in order to be strategic and proactive. We will continue to communicate details.

The state of Ohio and The Ohio State University have been leaders in confronting the virus. We will be leaders moving forward into a bright and safer future for us all.


Michael V. Drake, MD