Ohio State has adjusted its health and safety protocols for the spring semester in response to widespread transmission of the omicron variant.
University President Kristina M. Johnson announced in a universitywide email Tuesday the university will open a COVID-19 booster clinic Jan. 10 at Jesse Owens North Recreation Center, maintain the indoor mask mandate and require all students living on-campus to test weekly regardless of vaccination status.
The university will also host a virtual town hall at 12:15 p.m. Thursday for more information on the new guidelines, Johnson said. The university will update guidelines as needed as conditions around the pandemic change.
“The university will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves and will update protocols as information becomes available,” Johnson said.
Required testing upon returning to campus
Ohio State is requiring students living in all university-managed housing across all campuses and sorority and fraternity members on the Columbus campus to be tested by Jan. 14.
Johnson said students living in residence halls on the Columbus campus will be required to take a rapid COVID-19 antigen test at the French Field House when they first arrive on campus. Students will receive their results in 15 minutes and those who test negative will be able to return to their residence halls during their scheduled time.
Johnson said students living in off-campus fraternity and sorority chapter houses will have rapid COVID-19 antigen tests delivered early the week of Jan. 10 to their chapter houses for residents to take on site.
Students living on regional campuses will receive information on their testing locations soon, Johnson said.
Johnson said students who test positive will need to isolate for five days at home or in a local hotel. Limited beds in the on-campus isolation residence hall will be prioritized for out-of-state students on a first-come, first-served basis.
Required weekly testing for spring semester
Johnson said all students living in university housing and all student members of social sororities and fraternities must complete weekly PCR testing, regardless of vaccination status. Those who have received a vaccine exemption or have taken no action on the university vaccine requirement must also complete weekly tests.
The first test must be completed by Jan. 14, Johnson said.
Those who test positive can report their result to the university here.
Booster clinic and reporting status
Johnson said booster shots will be available to students, faculty and staff at Jesse Owens North Recreation Center by appointment. More information is available at the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes Get Vaccinated website.
Boosters are voluntary, and not required by the university. However, Ohio State requests those who have received the booster to report their status to the university through MyBuckMD, Johnson said.
Johnson said employees will be able to report their booster information in the coming weeks, as the employee vaccination reporting system expands.
Dining halls will operate at 40 percent seating capacity to allow for more physical distancing, and grab-and-go options through mobile ordering will be expanded, Johnson said.
Johnson said the university is working hard to maintain an in-person experience, with staff working together to determine operational needs that work best for them.
“We have achieved a 92.5 percent vaccination rate and have stayed together throughout the fall by taking care of our community,” Johnson said. “We will continue to support each other as Buckeyes and look forward to a great spring semester.”