First official day, Labor Day weekend activities and testing, vaccine clinical trial

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Happy Labor Day weekend! Thank you for your incredible work to advance and support learning, teaching, research, patient care, outreach and more at this great university.

Tuesday was my first official day as president, and I spent part of the morning at Jesse Owens North to observe our COVID-19 student testing site. The level of innovation, professionalism and careful focus on safety was truly outstanding. I also visited with students, faculty and staff at our Wexner Medical Center COVID-19 call center — where individuals and families throughout the community turn for answers and support — the Spine Research Institute (pictured above), our Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design, and more.

Everywhere I look, I see the enthusiasm, optimism and partnership that define our Buckeye spirit. At the same time, I see you masking up, keeping 6 feet apart and protecting each other. Thank you.

Our most recent testing numbers both speak to our progress and remind us that more work needs to be done. We all need to keep following the guidelines and requirements explained on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website. The university remains in a state of emergency, which is being extended through Saturday, Sept. 12.

Labor Day weekend activities and testing

We ask that students with travel plans this weekend be tested before leaving campus. As a reminder, you can get tested on site without an appointment at Jesse Owens North today until 5:30 p.m. or on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Your results will be provided to you as soon as possible so that you can reduce the risk of exposing friends and family at home, if your test comes back positive for COVID-19. In the meantime, you should also act as though you are positive and wear your mask, practice physical distancing and take all other safety precautions.

This is an unusual set of challenges we are facing, but we can all still take advantage of many safe and fun ways to experience being a Buckeye this autumn. Earlier this week, our Office of Student Life shared a number of great ideas at

National vaccine clinical trial

This week, the Wexner Medical Center shared the exciting news that it will be a site for a multicenter clinical trial testing an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. You can read more on Ohio State News. We continue to be at the forefront of the fight against the virus. Let’s continue to express our appreciation and gratitude to all of our health care personnel and support staff who work each day to make new discoveries, provide excellent care and advance our health and wellness. If you haven’t done so lately, visit the medical center website to say thank you.


Finally, a fun option for the weekend and beyond: “TBDBITL 141,” a documentary produced by the university that follows students in our marching band through the 2018 season. You can find it on Vimeo, and proceeds from rentals and purchases go to the band’s scholarship program.

I know we all miss the traditions of fall, including watching the band dot the “i” in the ’Shoe. We are working hard to return our student-athletes to competition. We want our faculty and students back to full classrooms, research labs and performance venues. We look forward to the day when all of our staff can return to their departments and offices, where in-person collaboration can thrive in an environment free from the virus.

Our work to remain on campus today is driving this vision of tomorrow. Together As Buckeyes, we can do this.

Sincerely yours,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD

P.S. I launched my Ohio State Twitter account this week: @PresKMJohnson. Follow me for news and updates.