Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

Employee FAQs: Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Updated on 7/8/2020

The Ohio State University is doing everything possible to keep our Buckeye community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are answers to the questions we are receiving from our community. This situation is evolving rapidly. We will provide updates as more information is available.

Student Life Return to Campus Game Plan

The Office of Student Life shared the Return to Campus Game Plan, which is a planning document that will guide Student Life’s return strategy, reinforcing and complementing the university’s overall operational decisions. Student Life’s strategy will align with university decisions and follow federal, state and local guidance. This document is intended to be organic and evolving; it will be updated as additional decisions or guidance is provided, with dates and version numbers on the front cover.

The content will be categorized as shown below, with general guidance and templates provided for implementation at the departmental level:

  • Facilities
  • Staff
  • Residential experience
  • Dining
  • Recreation
  • Student programming
  • Student support

Autumn Semester

When will employees return to campus?
At this time, all non-essential university employees who are not part of an exempted operation or function are to continue teleworking and remain off campus.  

Will autumn classes be in person or virtual?
Ohio State will welcome students back to our campuses this fall utilizing new health and wellness protocols to protect the university community. To enhance physical distancing, courses will be offered in a variety of formats. Some will be in person, some will be online, and some will offer a blend of in-person, online and other activities. The university’s approach to teaching is designed to offer rich, immersive educational experiences through in-person discussion, labs, studio, clinical and other hands-on experiences as well as effective online lessons that enhance student success. Individual colleges at Ohio State are currently in the process of evaluating their course offerings for autumn semester, and students will receive additional information about their courses in July.

How is the academic calendar changing?
Autumn semester will start Aug. 25, and the last day of finals will be Dec. 11. There are several changes to the calendar:

  • In-person, on-campus instruction will end before Thanksgiving, on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

  • The final week of classes (Nov. 30 to Dec. 4) and final exams (Dec. 7-11) will take place through distance methods.   

  • Fall break (Oct. 15-16) will be canceled, and classes will also take place the day before Thanksgiving (Nov. 25). The university will still observe Veterans Day (Nov. 11) and Labor Day (Sept. 7).  

The autumn commencement date and format will be announced at a later date. The university is continuing to review the calendar for spring semester.

What kind of safety measures is the university taking?  
The resumption of full operations on Ohio State campuses will include a combination of the use of appropriate face coverings, physical distancing, hand hygiene, limited density in indoor spaces, control of the flow of traffic into and around buildings, continued employee teleworking when possible, testing, symptoms tracking and contact tracing. 

Ohio State will publish a Safe and Healthy Playbook that will detail for students, faculty, staff and visitors the measures to be taken and the requirements being put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of the community. The university will issue personal protective equipment (PPE) packages to all returning students, faculty and staff. 

The university will also launch a sustained public information initiative using social media, signage, instructional videos and other means. The effort will include a pledge for members of the campus community, including students, faculty, staff and visitors, to affirm their understanding of what is needed to fight the spread of the virus and their intention to do their part.   

These efforts will be based on guidance from state and local health authorities and recommendations of the safe campus and scientific advisory subgroup of the university’s COVID-19 transition task force.

Who will live in the residence halls?
In order to maintain physical distancing when students are welcomed back to campus in the fall, the university will reduce population density in residence halls. No later than June 19, availability updates will be provided to first-year students and returning students who have expressed interest in living on campus. Living on campus contributes to student success and persistence, and the university will continue to house students of all ranks.     

Ohio State will temporarily expand the housing exemption criteria for returning second-year students for the 2020-21 academic year. Second-year students who want to exercise the special exemption must notify University Housing by June 10; they will receive an email with details. Housing options will be provided to second-year students who still choose to live in university housing. Information will also be posted on     

Also, by June 19, the university will outline the details of the plan to promote physical distancing in on-campus housing and dining locations. For example, move-in will occur in a staggered approach over the course of up to two weeks, and dining options will feature mobile ordering and grab-and-go options.     

In accordance with guidance from the safe campus and scientific advisory subgroup, the university will provide isolation and quarantine housing for on-campus residents. The residential experience is a core part of the Ohio State student experience, and university leaders are committed to promoting a safe and healthy on-campus experience in partnership with students.

How will university dining plans be affected?  
By June 19, we will outline the details of our plan to promote physical distancing in on-campus housing and dining locations. For example, we will work to maintain variety in our offerings while featuring mobile ordering and grab-and-go options.

When will Rec Sports locations open? 
We do not have a date to share at this time. The university has a COVID-19 transition task force which is developing a phased approach to on-campus operations in coordination with city, state and federal guidance. Further announcements about university operations will be shared as planning progresses. Until opening our in-person locations, Rec Sports will be offering virtual group fitness classes as well as other online and virtual resources.

University State of Emergency

What does the university state of emergency mean for the Office of Student Life?
There are several other steps that go along with the university state of emergency declared by President Drake. The decisions are being implemented university-wide, including in Student Life. As you review updates and information, think about questions you have and share them with your director, supervisor or your unit’s AVP so we can help provide answers as we go along.

Policies and documents:

Disaster Preparedness and University State of Emergency Policy (Policy 6.17)
Disaster Preparedness and University State of Emergency Policy - FAQs
Disaster Leave (Policy 6.28)

Human Resources

Are we able to continue hiring employees?
Ohio State has implemented a temporary hiring pause. Other than essential services and defined exceptions such as key teaching and research positions for upcoming terms, the hiring pause applies to most faculty, staff and student positions. Details of the pause are posted on the Office of Human Resources website.

What leave options are available?
The Office of Human Resources offers information about leave programs available to faculty and staff during the COVID-19 state of emergency. Ohio State offers several leave options, including regular accrued time and university disaster leave. In addition, information is available on how to use the expanded leave options through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. 

For more information and other Human Resources FAQs, please visit the Office of Human Resources website.

Fiscal Operations 

How are fiscal operations impacted by COVID-19?
The university has implemented new controls on cash reserves and restrictions on procurement spending. Any spending or planned spending of current cash reserves now must be approved by either the provost (for all academic units) or the university's chief financial officer (for all support units), which is Dave Wiseley in Student Life. Each senior fiscal officer will also become the level two approver for procurement activity in their college or unit. All units are being asked to carefully review expenditures and make prudent decisions about what they are requesting. For more information, visit the Business and Finance website.


How is university-sponsored travel impacted?
The university has suspended all university-sponsored international and non-essential domestic travel until further notice. All travel that has been scheduled through June 30, 2020, must be cancelled and no new travel may be booked until further notice. For more information, visit the Business and Finance website.

Employee Health and Wellbeing

Where can I get wellbeing support?
If you are experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety and fear, you are not alone, and there are resources and help available if you want someone to talk to or need support. The Office of Human Resources’ Keep Well website has resources for you or your family to receive individual, personalized support – either via text, telephone or online counselling. All Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services are confidential, complimentary and provided by experienced, licensed mental health professionals. EAP is available to benefits-eligible faculty and staff and their family members.

What do I do about potential coronavirus cases?
Individuals: Contact your primary care physician if you are personally experiencing signs or symptoms of respiratory illness consistent with coronavirus, have been exposed to an individual with coronavirus or have been diagnosed with the virus. If you are unable to reach your primary care physician, call the Wexner Medical Center's COVID-19 call center at 614-293-4000.

Managers: If you receive a report, confirmed or unconfirmed, that a member of your team has been exposed to or has contracted coronavirus, connect with your HR Business Partner and call the Wexner Medical Center's COVID-19 call center at 614-293-4000 for guidance on what you should do.

Please remember: If you learn of a possible case, do NOT share this person's health information with colleagues. This is a violation of their privacy, and this information is protected by HIPAA and other laws. Please trust health officials to investigate cases and trace potential contacts.

Keep Working

As we work to remain operational during this evolving coronavirus response, the Office of the Chief Information Officer created the Keep Working website, with key strategies and resources to help you make the shift to working remotely. Visit HR's telecommuting page for more information about policies and procedures.


How will the Enterprise Project be impacted?
Ohio State is extending the timeline for the initial Workday releases by six months. The project's senior leadership team is now developing a plan to accommodate new deployment dates in December 2020 and January 2021. The Workday Student implementation timeline remains unchanged.

How will the Career Roadmapping project be impacted?
The university remains committed to the implementation of the Career Roadmap as an initiative to standardize job classification and compensation structures to help attract and retain top talent. At this time and in alignment withextending the initial Enterprise Project implementation dates by six months, we are extending the Career Roadmap implementation dates by six months. More information is available on the Career Roadmap website.

Can I get a refund for my parking pass?
Annual permits can be returned to CampusParc for a refund. You are not required to visit to the Customer Care Center to cancel annual permits during this time. To return an annual permit remotely, please contact Customer Care at and include the current mailing address where you would like a refund check mailed. Because of the high volume of refund requests they are expecting, please anticipate a delay in receiving your refund.

How are we helping out our community?
Organizations across Ohio and the nation are stepping forward to provide resources to aid in the fight against COVID-19. Ohio State has been approached by community partners about the possibility that some facilities currently not in use, such as some residence halls and other facilities, could be made available to the community for a variety of potential uses during this time. We will share information about these partnerships when arrangements are finalized.

For the most up-to-date information, please visit the university's coronvirus website.