First week of classes, data dashboard enhancements, contact tracing responsibilities, innovating together

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Our first week of classes is complete. What a whirlwind beginning to the journey we are all taking together!

Almost 12,400 Buckeyes finished a student move-in like no other, as we welcomed our new class of first-year students. And our faculty and staff worked with extraordinary skill and diligence to prepare our classrooms and campuses for a safe and healthy autumn semester. Veronica and I are so amazed by all that you have done to get to this point.

One example: I was delighted to see, on the first day of classes, more than 500 “O”s painted on the Oval designed to encourage us to stay at least 6 feet apart while enjoying one of the most iconic spaces on our beautiful campus.

Our goal remains unwavering: support a safe and healthy environment in which everyone can learn, teach, live and work together on our campuses.

We have one shot at this, and we have to get it right. Each of us has a responsibility to do their part by wearing our face masks, practicing good hygiene, limiting gatherings to 10 people or fewer and maintaining physical distancing — whether indoors, outdoors, on campus or off.

Following are some important updates. As a reminder, the university remains in a state of emergency, which is being extended through Saturday, Sept. 5.

Data dashboard enhanced

The university today expanded its COVID-19 data dashboard, available on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website. The expanded dashboard will be updated daily and include the total number of tests, student positive results and student positivity rate over the most recent available 24 hour-period, as well as a seven-day rolling average. This is part of our continuous evaluation and improvement of the university’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Off-campus testing

Next week, we will enter a new phase in which we will test students who live off campus in addition to the students we have already been testing on campus. Testing will take place at Jesse Owens North, and students will be notified by Student Life if they have been randomly selected. I am grateful for your continued participation in this vital program.

Contact tracing responsibilities

Contact tracing is a critically important part of our efforts, and it requires our active participation. Should a contact tracing team member call you, please know that the confidential information you provide contributes greatly to the public health of our community, and that it’s important to offer accurate and complete details. Information provided will not jeopardize your privacy or be used in a student disciplinary process. Thank you for your support.

Additional information about contact tracing, quarantine and isolation is now available on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.

Student innovation challenge

If you haven’t checked out the Safe and Healthy Campus Innovation Challenge, please do so. The Office of the Chief Wellness Officer, the Office of Student Life and the College of Nursing’s new Center for Healthcare Innovation and Wellness are hosting the challenge, which asks students to submit new and exciting ideas in three key areas:

  • Physical distancing (student housing both on and off campus, bars/restaurants, etc.)
  • Wearing of face masks/coverings
  • Mental health and well-being

Cross-disciplinary teams are encouraged, and every team that submits an innovative idea will receive some level of support. The deadline for submissions is Monday, Sept. 7. I look forward to seeing your ideas — and putting the winning proposals into action.

Finally, I want to reiterate that we are all responsible for fighting COVID-19. Let’s continue to embody the Buckeye spirit by caring for and keeping each other safe. We are all counting on each other. We are all in this Together As Buckeyes. We will get the job done.

Sincerely yours,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD