New year, return to campus reminders, vaccine information, Buckeye generosity

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I hope you and your families had a safe and joyous holiday break. As we look ahead to 2021, our gratitude goes to those who led and persevered in the past challenging year. Buckeyes everywhere came together to protect and care for each other and their communities while living our values. Here’s to doing great things and building a better world in the year to come.

What a fabulous Sugar Bowl game! Our outstanding, talented and resilient squad of Buckeyes crushed an excellent Clemson team. It is truly extraordinary what our student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff have accomplished this season in the face of so many unprecedented challenges. Only one more to go! I can’t wait to join all of the Buckeye supporters around the world in cheering on this very special team in the national championship on January 11.

Following are some updates as we head into the new year.

COVID-19: return to campus

We continue to plan for the start of spring semester, where the first two weeks of classes – January 11-22 – will be conducted virtually. Student move-in for university housing on the Columbus campus is scheduled to begin January 18. Students should self-sequester at home 10 days prior to returning to their campus residences and/or to in-person, on-campus engagements.

All students, whether living on or off campus, must follow spring testing protocols, which include two negative test results before resuming on-campus activities and weekly testing throughout the semester. Details are available here. We will continue to keep you informed of any changes or modifications to the plan of record.

For the latest Ohio State testing data, view the COVID-19 dashboard.

COVID-19: vaccination

Based on guidance from the Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccine administration continues to prioritize Wexner Medical Center front-line clinical staff as well as those most vulnerable to the virus. As of December 30, more than 7,200 medical center front-line health care workers have either been vaccinated or are scheduled to receive the vaccine. We hope to complete vaccinations for more than 16,000 of our health care workers by mid-January.

The university is actively planning for expanded vaccine distribution as allowed by the State of Ohio and will work in coordination with Governor Mike DeWine as well as state and local health experts. Details will be shared when they are available. Additional information about vaccine distribution is available on the Ohio Department of Health website.  

While this progress is promising, it remains critically important to keep following public health protocols – even if you receive the vaccine. That means continuing to wear masks, practicing physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings and consistently cleaning your hands until the majority of the U.S. population is vaccinated and herd immunity is achieved.

Discovery, learning and impact

A free mindfulness program created by researchers in the College of Medicine significantly reduced burnout and perceived stress for health care faculty and staff, while increasing resilience and work engagement at the Wexner Medical Center, according to a new study. The findings are published online in the journal Global Advances in Health and Medicine.

Dr. Thomas Wood, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, will investigate how fact-checking can effectively counteract misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. The project will support the Google News Initiative’s creation of a COVID-19 Vaccine Media Hub.

Voting continues for the “Coolest Science Story of the Year,” a fun and interactive way to spread news of the university’s research and scholarship. Last year’s contest resulted in more than 12,000 votes. Our offices of Research and Corporate Engagement are also planning for the 2021 Research and Innovation Showcase. The annual recognition of Ohio State’s research and creative expression community, tentatively scheduled for mid-April, highlights and promotes the importance of connecting research and entrepreneurship.

Buckeye generosity

I am delighted that our annual Buckeyes for Charity campaign exceeded expectations with $1.35 million raised among Ohio State faculty, staff and retirees. The funds support Ohio nonprofit organizations, many of which have been affected by the pandemic. Even during challenging times, Buckeye generosity continues to help communities throughout the state. 

Once again, happy New Year – and I look forward to sharing more with you soon.


Sincerely yours,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD