Transition planning, Pelotonia and staff awards

Dear Ohio State Community:

This Memorial Day and every day, we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It is important, especially during these extraordinary times, to pause and reflect on our history and the many values that we share. We will continue to work #TogetherAsBuckeyes and as part of a larger community to advance and uplift lives.

Below are several updates. Brenda and I wish you a great rest of your weekend.

Transition planning and state of emergency

We continue to plan for a return to on-campus operations using a phased approach focused on safety. The university’s COVID-19 transition task force is working through several important considerations, including classroom readiness, physical distancing and safety signage, personal protective equipment and contact tracing. Updates are available on the task force webpage.

As part of this phased approach, we have resumed a limited number of essential academic and clinical operations, including elective procedures at the Wexner Medical Center that do not require an overnight stay. We are finalizing reopening plans for the university’s child-care facilities and, after this week’s NCAA decision on return-to-campus measures, we anticipate the return of some student-athletes to limited on-campus training activities in the coming weeks. As a reminder, the university’s goal is to announce a centralized operations plan for the autumn semester by mid-June.

In the meantime, the university state of emergency has been extended through Saturday, May 30, enabling us to utilize Disaster Leave (Policy 6.28). Summer classes continue to be virtual only, and all in-person university events are canceled through July 6.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has lifted the state’s stay-at-home order and, in its place, issued an urgent health advisory that strongly encourages Ohioans to stay home. While the new health advisory lifts travel restrictions, it continues to discourage unnecessary travel within or outside Ohio. The state’s restriction on most gatherings of 10 or more people remains in place. We will continue to coordinate with city, state and federal officials.

At this time, all non-essential university employees are to continue teleworking and remain off campus with the exception of those mentioned above. All university-sponsored international and non-essential domestic travel remains suspended. All travel that has been scheduled through June 30, 2020, must be canceled (see guidelines), and no new travel may be booked until further notice. The Office of Business and Finance will evaluate our current travel restrictions in light of the updated guidance from the state.

Summer camp cancellations and Pelotonia

This week, the Office of Student Life shared that all Camp Recky programs are canceled for the summer out of an abundance of caution. Similarly, the Department of Athletics announced that all summer Buckeye Sports Camps for the 2020 season have been canceled. All other summer camps affiliated with Ohio State are making individual decisions about whether to cancel for summer 2020, transition to a virtual model, or adjust plans based on the state’s requirements and the university’s phased approach to resuming on-campus operations.

Pelotonia announced a personalized participation platform, launching June 2, in lieu of the traditional three-day ride weekend. As always, funds raised support cancer research at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. To allow for greater participation, the registration fee and other requirements traditionally tied to ride distances have been waived. I will miss riding with many of you this year, but look forward to designing a personalized Pelotonia program that will continue to contribute to the fight against cancer.

Support services and recognitions

As we celebrate our sesquicentennial, we are grateful for the extraordinary efforts of all Buckeyes. Our faculty and students have continued to demonstrate their excellence in our virtual classrooms, and participation in our University Institute for Teaching and Learning has never been greater. More than 3,500 full- and part-time faculty have completed at least one component of the institute’s Teaching Support Program, making it one of the most comprehensive teaching excellence programs in higher education.

I am pleased to recognize the recipients of our 2020 Distinguished Staff Awards. Congratulations to President’s Award recipient Melissa Beers as well as Distinguished Staff Award winners Jennie Babcock, Carol Eskay, Robert Griffiths, Renee Johnston, Suzanne Knott, Jill Morris, Steven Mousetes, Andrew Mueller, Stephanne Musser, Patricia Strope, Brian Strzempkowski and Cory Tressler.

Stay well and be safe.


Michael V. Drake, MD