COVID-19 Social Distancing – Reminder

April 16, 2020

To Ohio State Students:

As you should be aware, the State of Ohio is currently under a State of Emergency with a Stay at Home directive ordered by Governor DeWine and Director Amy Acton of the Ohio Department of Health through at least May 1, 2020. The order states, "Any gathering of more than ten people is prohibited."

There have been reports of gatherings in the University District that violate this order. Yesterday, April 15, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein announced that he is taking action to stop house parties and requesting that Columbus Police issue citations to anyone defying the state's order prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people. Prior to this announcement, Columbus Police were generally only issuing warnings.

This order is enforceable under Ohio Law (O.R.C. §3701.352) as a second-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $750 and up to 90 days in jail.

Students who host parties can be cited for both having a prohibited gathering and for violating social distancing requirements. Those who attend can be cited for violating the ban on non-essential travel and for violating social distancing requirements.

"To address this community-wide health emergency, we need community-wide compliance," Klein wrote in a press release.

We encourage you to contact Student Legal Services with questions. Please note that, in addition to criminal charges, students found in violation of the order may also be found in violation of the Code of Student Conduct.

Your health and safety, and that of our entire community, is a top priority of The Ohio State University. Whether you are in Columbus or not, we ask that you do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing and honoring all the safety and well-being guidelines during this pandemic. We desire you all to be healthy and well.

Thank you for your partnership in responding to this critical health and safety issue. 

Melissa S. Shivers, PhD
Senior Vice President
Office of Student Life

Kimberly Spears-McNatt
Chief of Police
The Ohio State University Police Division