COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus Updates

Updated March 9, 2020

The university has been monitoring closely the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and providing regular updates to you as the situation evolves. I have convened a task force of senior leadership and subject matter experts who are meeting around the clock and are focused on our university's preparations and response.

We continue to align our recommendations with and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and other city, state and federal agencies.

While there are no campus-associated cases of COVID-19, we know that there are at least three confirmed cases in the state of Ohio, and we expect that there will be more. We are being proactive in an effort to prevent illness and continue the important work of the university. I understand that our policy guidelines will cause measurable disruption, but the risk of not acting outweighs the inconvenience of these temporary measures. The safety of our campus community is always our top priority. Your cooperation and collaboration will help to ensure an appropriate response across our institution to this rapidly changing matter. Thank you for that.

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of viral illness is to minimize the circumstances in which individuals may interact and transmit disease.

Below are a number of updates related to classes, work arrangements, travel and campus events that will allow us to continue the education of our students while protecting our community.

Guidance for faculty and students regarding classroom teaching

  • We are suspending face-to-face instruction in lectures, discussion sections, seminars and other similar classroom settings and moving to virtual instruction, effective immediately and through at least Monday, March 30. We are evaluating classroom experiences such as laboratory and performance classes, and the university will provide specific guidance this week. We will reevaluate these guidelines on an ongoing basis and share updates or modifications as more information becomes available.

  • While completing classes virtually, students may choose to return to their permanent place of residence or return to campus, where appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures will be actively encouraged.

  • We urge all students to make the choice that is best for their own personal situations.

Telecommuting opportunities for faculty and staff

  • The university is also preparing plans for telecommuting opportunities, where appropriate, for faculty and staff during this time. Managers are expected to be flexible in allowing those employees who are able to do so to work from home. More information about telecommuting will be available from Human Resources in the coming days. The Wexner Medical Center will communicate with clinical faculty and employees regarding this option.

Human Resources guidance for managers and supervisors

  • Information about COVID-19 reporting, employee-leave management and associated workplace issues will be available from Human Resources in the coming days.

Travel

  • Effective immediately and until further notice, all university-sponsored international travel is suspended. This includes new travel as well as any currently booked trips between now and April 20. We will reevaluate these guidelines and share updates as more information becomes available.

  • The previously announced restrictions of university-sponsored travel to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea, which currently are under Level 3 warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, remain in effect through at least April 20. Personal travel to these countries should be reported to: travelreporting@osumc.edu. Additional information about how to report travel is available on the university's coronavirus website: https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/features/coronavirus.

  • University-sponsored domestic air travel will be limited to business essential travel and will be approved on an as-needed basis. A process for requesting and approval of domestic travel will be shared shortly. This includes new travel as well as any currently booked trips between now and April 20. We will reevaluate these guidelines and share updates as more information becomes available.

  • The university will work on an individual basis with students who are currently on university-sponsored international or domestic travel and need assistance with returning early. For international travel, contact the Office of International Affairs Risk Management at 614-292-6677. For domestic travel, email studentlife@osu.edu.

  • Travelers returning from Level 3 warning countries are required to observe a 14-day period of self-quarantine and monitoring. During this period, you are not permitted to come to work, attend class or participate in any other campus or community activities. The university does not have the capacity to provide self-quarantine locations on campus for students. Students needing to self-quarantine will be required to return to their permanent home residences or self-quarantine in their off-campus apartments. Students who reside in university housing and are unable to return to a home residence should contact University Housing in the Office of Student Life at housing@osu.edu.

Events

  • No new, non-essential events will be scheduled on campus through April 20.

  • We encourage event organizers for scheduled non-essential events occurring on campus between now and April 20 to immediately evaluate whether these events should continue in person.

  • We will continue to evaluate events and will share plans prior to April 20 to either end the restrictions early or, if needed, extend them.

As mentioned, the situation is evolving daily. All guidelines are subject to change as emerging events warrant. I appreciate your understanding and continued cooperation during these changing times. I also want to express my thanks to the individuals and teams who have worked many hours to implement plans that will help keep our community safe.

We will continue to monitor regularly and make adjustments as needed with the well-being of our university community top of mind. Please check our website for updates and other information. Questions can be addressed to coronavirus@osumc.edu.

Thank you for all of your efforts to promote a safe and healthy campus community at The Ohio State University.

Sincerely,

Michael V. Drake, MD
President

Updated 2/29/20

What's new in this update:

  • Travel restrictions and reporting requirements now apply to Italy and Iran — joining China and South Korea — through Monday, April 20, 2020. Restrictions apply to university-sponsored travel by students, faculty and staff.

  • Mandatory reporting is required for personal travel in these countries.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

We write to provide an update related to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). While there are currently no confirmed cases in Ohio, we continue to monitor the guidelines and recommendations from local, state and federal health officials to protect the safety and well-being of our community.

Continuing to be proactive about the safety of our university community, Ohio State is including Italy and Iran in the temporary restrictions for university-sponsored travel for all faculty, staff and students through at least Monday, April 20, 2020. Previously, we have announced restrictions on university-sponsored travel to China and South Korea. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an elevation of travel alert status and a recommendation to avoid all non-essential travel to Italy and Iran.

Those with personal travel to or from Italy, Iran, China and South Korea are required to report their travel to travelreporting@osumc.edu through at least April 20 so that we can offer proper resources and immediately assist any member of our community who may become ill. Details of this requirement are available on the university's coronavirus/COVID-19 webpage.

We will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC and U.S. Department of State (DOS), and will share plans prior to April 20 to either end the restrictions early or, if needed, extend them

All information gathered through this process will remain confidential.

For personal travel, we continue to strongly advise all students, faculty and staff to follow travel alerts from the CDC, DOS and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The situation in any particular travel destination can change quickly. We will continue to monitor closely and provide updates; however, travelers should also monitor federal travel alerts. The university may add travel restrictions in the future if countries are elevated to a Travel Warning Level 3 status.

We continue to take all precautions, but there is no need to change any routine campus activities or behaviors due to COVID-19. The best way to prevent the spread of any type of infection — including the flu, which is much more prevalent in the United States — is to practice routine hygiene etiquette:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you sneeze or cough.

  • Wash your hands or use alcohol hand rub after coughing or sneezing.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • If you are ill, keep a safe distance from others to reduce the risk of transmitting germs.

  • If you are seriously ill, seek medical advice from your health care provider or from an emergency department.

We will continue to send updates as university, local and federal guidelines change. The safety and well-being of our community is our top priority.

Thank you,

Bruce A. McPheron, PhD
Executive Vice President and Provost

Gladys M. Gibbs, MD, MS
Director, Student Life Student Health Services

Andrew Thomas, MD, MBA
Chief Clinical Officer
Senior Associate Vice President for Health Sciences

Updated 2/27/20

What's new in this update:

  • Restriction of university-sponsored travel by faculty, staff and students to South Korea through Monday, April 20, 2020.

  • Mandatory reporting of personal travel to South Korea through April 20.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

We write to provide an update related to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). While there are currently no confirmed cases in Ohio, we continue to monitor the guidelines and recommendations from local, state and federal health officials to protect the safety and well-being of our community.

Continuing to be proactive about the safety of our university community, Ohio State is including South Korea in the temporary restrictions for university-sponsored travel for all faculty, staff and students through at least Monday, April 20, 2020. This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an elevation of travel alert status and a recommendation to avoid all non-essential travel to the country.

Those with personal travel to or from South Korea will also be required to report their travel to travelreporting@osumc.edu through at least April 20 so that we can offer proper resources and immediately assist any member of our community who may become ill. Details of this requirement are available on the university's coronavirus/COVID-19 webpage.

The previously announced restrictions for university-sponsored travel and mandatory reporting of personal travel to China also remain in effect through at least April 20. We will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC and U.S. Department of State (DOS), and will share plans prior to April 20 to either end the restriction early or, if needed, extend it.

All information gathered through this process will remain confidential.

For personal travel, we continue to strongly advise all students, faculty and staff to follow travel alerts from the CDC, DOS and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The situation in any particular travel destination can change quickly. A number of other countries have been assigned a Travel Alert Level 2 status by the CDC. The university may add travel restrictions in the future if countries are elevated to a Travel Warning Level 3 status.

We continue to take all precautions, but please remember that unless you have recently returned from China or South Korea, there is no need to change any routine activities or behaviors due to COVID-19. The best way to prevent the spread of any type of infection — including the flu, which is much more prevalent in the United States — is to practice routine hygiene etiquette:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.

  • Wash your hands or use alcohol hand rub after coughing or sneezing.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • If you are ill, keep a safe distance from others to reduce the risk of transmitting germs.

  • If you are seriously ill, seek medical advice from your health care provider or from an emergency department.

We will continue to send updates as university, local and federal guidelines change. The safety and well-being of our community is our top priority.

Thank you,

Bruce A. McPheron, PhD
Executive Vice President and Provost

Gladys M. Gibbs, MD, MS
Director, Student Life Student Health Services

Andrew Thomas, MD, MBA
Chief Clinical Officer
Senior Associate Vice President for Health Sciences

Updated 2/20/20

We write to provide an update related to the coronavirus outbreak, which is now officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization. Among other information, this update extends the previously announced travel restrictions and reporting requirements through at least April 20, 2020.

While the spread of COVID-19 is still considered to be low risk within the United States and there are currently no confirmed cases in Ohio, we continue to monitor the guidelines and recommendations from health officials to protect the safety and well-being of our community. Updates are as follows:

Temporary travel restrictions extended

Ohio State is extending the temporary restrictions for university-sponsored travel to mainland China for all faculty, staff and students through at least Monday, April 20. We will continue to monitor guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of State (DOS), and will share plans prior to April 20 to either end the restriction early or, if needed, extend it.

Personal travel and reporting requirements

For personal travel, we continue to strongly advise all students, faculty and staff to follow travel alerts from the CDC, DOS and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Those with personal travel to or from China will continue to be required to report their travel to travelreporting@osumc.edu through at least April 20 so that we can offer proper resources and immediately assist any member of our community who may become ill. Details of this requirement are available on the university's coronavirus/COVID-19 webpage.

All information gathered through this process will remain confidential.

For students living in a residence hall that closes over spring break and whose personal travel may be impacted by the DHS restrictions, please contact housing@osu.edu no later than Friday, February 28, if you are unable to make other housing arrangements.

Self-quarantine and monitoring for recent travelers

Previously announced self-quarantine and self-monitoring guidelines consistent with federal public health recommendations remain in place. Any Ohio State student, faculty or staff member who returned to the United States from China after Sunday, February 2, at 5 p.m. EST is not permitted to come to work, attend class or participate in any campus or community activity for 14 days after leaving China.

Since our last update, the Ohio Department of Health has established a process for local departments of health to manage self-quarantine and self-monitoring requirements. These agencies will reach out directly to, and manage the monitoring of, anyone returning to the United States from China.

Ohio State remains available to support our students, faculty and staff. Those who need assistance can contact travelreporting@osumc.edu.

We continue to take all precautions, but please remember that unless you have recently returned from China, there is no need to change any routine activities or behaviors due to COVID-19. The best way to prevent the spread of any type of infection — including the flu, which is much more prevalent in the United States — is to practice routine hygiene etiquette:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.

  • Wash your hands or use alcohol hand rub after coughing or sneezing.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • If you are ill, keep a safe distance from others to reduce the risk of transmitting germs.

  • If you are seriously ill, seek medical advice from your health care provider or from an emergency department.

We will continue to send updates as university, local and federal guidelines change. The safety and well-being of our community is our top priority.

Thank you,

Bruce A. McPheron, PhD
Executive Vice President and Provost

Gladys M. Gibbs, MD, MS
Director, Student Life Student Health Services

Andrew Thomas, MD, MBA
Chief Clinical Officer
Senior Associate Vice President for Health Sciences

Updated 2/3/2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of State (DOS) have significantly updated their guidance on travel and guidelines for monitoring the health of those who have recently entered the U.S. from China.

The university has also continued to stay in close contact with local and state public health officials about this outbreak. While there are currently no confirmed cases of the virus in Ohio, for the safety of the university community, Ohio State is implementing additional guidelines consistent with federal public health recommendations.

Self-quarantine for recent travelers

Any Ohio State student, faculty or staff member who returns to the U.S. from China after Sunday, February 2, at 5 p.m. EST will not be permitted to come to work, attend class or participate in any campus or community activity for 14 days after leaving China.

  • The reason for more strict restrictions is because the increase in coronavirus cases in China in recent days has increased the infection risk for more recent travelers.

  • At this time, please note that travel to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau does not apply to this restriction.

  • Students, faculty or staff who need assistance with these restrictions can contact travelreporting@osumc.edu.

  • The university will work with anyone impacted by the restrictions to identify the appropriate accommodations for completing academic work or attendance for employment.

Self-monitoring for other travelers

  • For individuals who returned from China before Sunday, February 2, at 5 p.m. EST, public health officials recommend self-monitoring for fever and respiratory symptoms but no other changes in activities at this time.

  • If you have these symptoms, please see your physician or visit the emergency department. Based on our communication with travelers who returned prior to February 2, many of them are already limiting their public activity and voluntarily working from home/not going to class.

Travel restrictions

  • As announced last week, university-sponsored travel to China remains prohibited for all students, faculty and staff members until at least March 6, 2020.

  • Any personal travel to China through at least March 6, 2020, must be reported to the university at travelreporting@osumc.edu.

  • All information gathered through this process will remain confidential. All reports should include an Ohio State name.# and a cell phone contact number.

  • The CDC and DOS have listed China at their highest level of travel alerts, and all U.S. airlines have announced temporary cancellation of service to and from China.

  • The U.S. federal government has also placed new restrictions on some non-U.S. citizens/permanent residents coming to the U.S. who have recently been in China. Non-U.S. nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, with prior travel to China in the past 14 days will be denied entry to the U.S.

While we want to take all precautions to advance the safety of our community, please remember that unless you have recently returned from China, there is no need to change any routine activities or behaviors related to coronavirus. The best way to prevent the spread of any type of infection — including the flu, which is much more prevalent in the U.S. — is to practice routine hygiene etiquette:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.

  • Wash your hands or use alcohol hand rub after coughing or sneezing.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Anyone who is ill should keep a safe distance from others to reduce the risk of transmitting germs.

  • Anyone who is seriously ill should seek medical advice from their doctor or from an emergency department.

We will continue to send updates as university, local and federal guidelines change. The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors is our top priority.

For additional information about coronavirus, including symptoms, treatment or a list of university precautions and requirements, please visit the university's coronavirus webpage.

Thank you,

Bruce A. McPheron, PhD
Executive Vice President and Provost

Gladys M. Gibbs, MD, MS
Director, Student Life Student Health Services

Andrew Thomas, MD, MBA
Chief Clinical Officer
Senior Associate Vice President for Health Sciences

Updated 1/30/2020

While the spread of the virus within the United States is still considered to be low risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) have recently issued new travel guidance regarding China. Out of an abundance of caution, Ohio State is sharing new restrictions on travel in alignment with this guidance and reporting requirements to proactively protect the health and well-being of our community.

Details are as follows:

Temporary travel restrictions

In accordance with guidance from the CDC and other federal agencies, Ohio State will temporarily restrict university-sponsored travel to the country of China for all faculty, staff and students — effective immediately and in place through at least March 6. An appeals process will be shared soon.

We will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC and DOS, and will share plans prior to March 6 to either end the restriction on that date or, if needed, extend it.

For personal travel, we strongly advise all students, faculty and staff to follow travel alerts from the CDC and DOS. Currently, the CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. The DOS recommends reconsidering travel to China.

Reporting requirements

For those with personal travel to China, reporting will be required so that we can offer proper resources and immediately assist any member of our community who may become ill. Geographical areas, regions or cities affected by the reporting requirement may be modified depending on the future course of the outbreak.

All information gathered through this process will remain confidential.

Students, faculty and staff are required to report to travelreporting@osumc.edu under the following circumstances:

  • If you have returned from China within the past 14 days, whether on university business or otherwise, you must report within 24 hours of this email.

  • If you are currently in China, whether on university business or otherwise, you must report within 24 hours of your return.

  • If you have personal travel to China planned between now and March 6, you must report within 24 hours of your return.

  • If you are being actively monitored or observed by any local, county, state or federal public health agency due to risk of coronavirus, you must report within 24 hours of being notified.

All reports should include an Ohio State name.# and a cell phone contact number. Questions about the reporting process can be directed to travelreporting@osumc.edu.

To reiterate, no changes are needed for day-to-day behaviors on our campuses at this time. While two students from Miami University who recently traveled to China are being tested, there are currently no confirmed cases within the state of Ohio. Also at this time, state and federal health officials are not restricting activities for travelers returning from China without symptoms — nor are they recommending testing for those without symptoms.

We continue to monitor closely the guidelines and recommendations from local, state and federal agencies. Both the Wexner Medical Center and the Office of Student Life's Student Health Services have proactive measures in place to screen symptoms and follow all public health protocols should anyone with potential coronavirus need care.

As always, the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors is our top priority. We will continue to keep our community informed — and we encourage everyone to practice routine hygiene etiquette as this is the best way to prevent the spread of infection.

Thank you,

Bruce A. McPheron, PhD
Executive Vice President and Provost

Gladys M. Gibbs, MD, MS
Director, Student Life Student Health Services

Andrew Thomas, MD, MBA
Chief Clinical Officer
Senior Associate Vice President for Health Sciences