Campus departure plans for the winter break

Dear Ohio State Community:

As we approach the end of the semester, I would like to thank our students, faculty and staff for coming together to keep our campuses open this fall. It hasn’t been easy to follow all of the guidelines such as wearing a mask, staying physically distant and forgoing many of the activities and events that are part of the experience of being a Buckeye. 

I am writing to you this Sunday to express both my appreciation for your efforts and support, and to share our campus-departure guidelines for the winter break. We provide these plans to help you return home safely and not spread the virus to your home communities, family and friends. Our approach is based in part on the knowledge we have gained in our testing and monitoring program where the data tell us household transmission is the main driver of the spread of the virus in addition to large gatherings.    

With the health and safety of Buckeye Nation at top of mind, we are asking students to follow the checklist below for returning home for the winter break:

  • Get tested for COVID-19 early this week. Once you receive a negative test and your classes are available by virtual or hybrid instruction mode, we strongly urge you to leave campus for winter break. For students living off campus and taking virtual-only or hybrid instruction, we also ask you to return to your permanent residences after testing negative for COVID-19, should you determine that is the safest environment for you to continue learning. We are asking for your help to de-densify our campuses in order to slow the spread of the virus. However, we understand that some students would like to leave as soon as possible, so we are asking faculty members to accommodate such requests. Students can contact with questions about the move-out process.
  • Update your move-out time on the housing portal. If you are able to depart our campuses by Friday, November 20, you will receive a five-day credit on room and board. Please contact if you have questions related to the credit.
  • If you need to stay on or off campus, plan to get tested again the week of November 23 and self-quarantine until you get your test results. Residence halls will remain open until November 25 for students who have in-person laboratories, studio classes or cannot change their plans to return home.

Student testing

Students living on and off campus can schedule a test through the MyChart website today. Testing should be completed at least 24 hours before departing campus to ensure results are back prior to your departure. A limited number of walk-up tests will be available for students living off campus. 

Student football raffle

For students who follow the departure checklist, you will be eligible to participate in a raffle to win a season ticket for the 2021-22 football season. To be eligible, you must either: (1) receive a negative test and depart campus by Friday, November 20 at 8 p.m.; or (2) receive two negative tests before you depart campus if you are staying to complete in-person labs or studio instruction the week of November 23; and 3) do not have a conduct record for violating our safe and healthy requirements. Approximately 250 season tickets will be given away.

Faculty and staff

We will continue our class-delivery approach as scheduled through Wednesday, November 25. Our data continue to show that the greatest risk of transmission is in the household, not in our classes, laboratories and clinics. Many employees are already working from home, and we encourage others who can do so to coordinate with their supervisors and work remotely to enhance safety for those who must be on our campuses. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to take advantage of the university’s voluntary testing program.

Spring semester and beyond

We have determined that we will offer the first two weeks of spring semester classes (January 11-15 and 18-22) via virtual delivery. Depending on how COVID-19 cases are trending in December and early January, and with the guidance of Governor DeWine and state and local health experts, we will evaluate and act upon any need to extend the virtual start to the semester. Student move-in for spring semester is currently scheduled for January 18. We will continue to update you with details.

You have worked tirelessly this semester to keep us Together As Buckeyes, following our safety requirements and utilizing both in-person and hybrid course models to reduce the density of our on-campus population. This is a deeply challenging time for us all, and we send our support to those battling this illness or grieving the loss of a loved one.

We also recognize and are grateful for the hard work and dedication of our essential frontline employees and the doctors, nurses and health care professionals at the Wexner Medical Center and around the world. 

Once again, my sincere gratitude goes to all of you for your extraordinary efforts over the past nine months. I take comfort each day in this outstanding and generous community of scholars, teachers, artists, scientists, supporters and friends.

Together As Buckeyes, we will prevail.

Sincerely yours,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD