Ohio State University (OSU) is “preparing for a variety of situations” after violations of the school’s COVID-19 guidelines lead to a wave of suspensions.
Two hundred twenty-eight students received interim suspensions due to breaches of the school’s “Together As Buckeyes Pledge,” The Ohio Star previously reported. The suspensions came after a weekend of partying that violated the new guidelines against large social gatherings of more than 10 people.
In a statement to The Star, OSU spokesman Ben Johnson said:
Students who host or attend a party – or any gathering – with more than 10 people will be immediately referred to Student Conduct and will face an interim suspension… We cannot have a successful semester if we fail to follow these simple requirements.”
Eighty OSU students and 12 faculty have tested positive for the coronavirus after just the first week of testing, according to the university’s new COVID-19 Dashboard. The number is roughly 1% of all people tested so far. Of the positives, there are currently 34 students in isolation and 29 in quarantine in on-campus living facilities.
With the suspensions and the new COVID cases, it is unclear if on-campus learning will continue at OSU.
In a joint message the University Provost and Executive Vice President Bruce A. Mcpherson and Dr. Hal Paz, the chancellor for health affairs and CEO of Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, said, “We want to be clear: Our return to on-campus operations in the autumn is fully dependent on each member of the university community following all requirements and guidance. If we fail to collectively maintain this culture of caring for ourselves and each other, we will not be able to be together on our campuses.”
Johnson said OSU was preparing for a variety of situations
“We will continue to closely monitor a number of different indicators, follow guidance from local, state and federal authorities and continue to consult with our own experts to make decisions in this fluid environment,” he said.
Johnson pointed to the school’s “strong capacity for online operations” as a substitute should in-person learning close.
In response to a question about what would be done with student fees should the school close, and for those who received interim suspensions barring them from campus Johnson said, “Ohio State may provide partial refunds of housing and dining costs in the event the university requires students to move out of the residence halls earlier than the official move-out date for the semester.”
“Any decision about adjusting our plans will be made on the totality of the facts, in consultation with public health authorities, and based on the latest science and data. The health and safety of our community continues to be our top priority,” Johnson concluded.