As the new academic year begins, there are a number of steps you can take to help keep yourself and your fellow Buckeyes healthy.
In addition to Ohio State’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement, we also encourage all campus community members to stay up-to-date by getting and reporting booster information as you become eligible. While boosters are currently voluntary, vaccination remains a top way to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19, and also helps minimize disruptions to your schedule if you happen to be a close contact of a positive case. Students may report booster information to Student Health Services through My BuckMD.
Currently, the university has a mask-optional policy on our academic campuses, including classroom buildings and the Ohio Union, although any campus community member or visitor is welcome to wear a mask whenever they would like.
Testing for asymptomatic individuals will continue to be available on the Columbus campus at the Biomedical Research Tower, 460 W 12th Ave. Antigen tests will be available for pick up while supplies last at various locations on the Columbus campus and regional campuses. Read more on the at-home testing page.
As we have throughout the pandemic, we continue to consult regularly with public health professionals, and will adjust our protocols as needed going forward.
Monkeypox is a viral disease that is circulating worldwide and in Ohio.
Monkeypox primarily spreads through direct contact between people, including sex and other activities that include skin-to-skin contact. It can also be spread through indirect contact (i.e., soiled linens) or, less commonly, through prolonged, face-to-face contact (i.e., respiratory secretions).
All members of the university community are encouraged to learn about symptoms, how to protect yourself and what to do if you are exposed to monkeypox from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health authorities. See the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website for additional information.
One in four college students gets the flu every year – but you can reduce your chances by getting a flu shot. There are a number of reasons to get your flu shot:
- It can reduce your chances of getting sick with the flu
- It can reduce the severity of illness if you do become sick
- It can reduce the risk of flu-related hospitalization
- It’s an important preventive measure for people with chronic health conditions
- Getting vaccinated helps protect the people around you
Through Student Life’s Student Health Services, you can obtain your flu shot in just a few minutes by scheduling an appointment with the Flu Vaccine Clinic or stopping by the Wilce Student Health Center Pharmacy Monday through Friday.
Vaccinations against disease can help keep you healthy, and Ohio State has vaccination requirements that you’ll find assigned in your “To Do” list in BuckeyeLink. If you don’t comply, you might have a hold placed on your student account which will keep you from scheduling classes and accessing your grades/transcripts.
General Tips to Stay Healthy
There are things you can do every day to help keep yourself healthy.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue if available, or your sleeve, when you cough or sneeze
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner
- Practice safe and healthy hygiene (stay home if you feel sick, cover your cough, regularly wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, avoid sharing items like eating/drinking utensils, etc.)
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of illness
- Have a plan for what to do if you get sick, including housing alternatives if you cannot stay in your residence hall or off-campus residence
- Stay up-to-date on your vaccinations
- Keep a first-aid kit and other health care essentials in your living space
Mental Health and Well-being
Being mindful of your mental health is a critical component to your overall state of well-being. Just as you would abide by the advice shown above to help protect your body from illness, we encourage you to think about your mental well-being early and often. Ohio State offers a wide range of education, prevention services and direct support, depending on your needs and interests. And remember, it’s okay to not be okay, so reach out for support when you need it, and offer it to others when you notice someone else in need.
Student Life Student Health Services (SLSHS), located at the Wilce Student Health Center on the Columbus campus, is available to provide health care services throughout the entire year. All currently enrolled students are eligible to use SLSHS. Available Student Health Services include, but are not limited to:
- Primary Care
- Gynecologic Services
- Physical Therapy/Sports Medicine
- Full-Service Pharmacy
- Dental Services
Visit shs.osu.edu/services/ for a full list of services.
In addition to Student Health Services, Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center operates a number of immediate care sites that provide same-day, walk-in care for orthopedic injuries and mild illnesses. These sites are a much less expensive and more convenient option compared to using the Emergency Department for acute issues or after-hours care.
Also, be sure to check and understand your health insurance coverage. You are required to have health insurance if you are enrolled at least half-time and in a degree program of study. You can find out more online.
No one wants to be sick and following these tips and using these resources will go a long way to helping keep you, and your fellow Buckeyes, healthy.
Gladys M. Gibbs, MD, MS
Director, Student Life Student Health Services
Andrew Thomas, MD, MBA
Interim Co-Leader and Chief Clinical Officer
Senior Associate Vice President for Health Sciences