Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

Student Life FAQs: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated on 6/5/2020

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.

Autumn Semester

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.

Housing

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 housing.osu.edu.     

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.    

Why can’t you guarantee second-year students their original housing? 
In order to maintain physical distancing, the university will need to reduce population density in the residence halls, which means the configurations of a portion of our rooms will change to account for fewer occupants.

Will this include a reduction in costs for housing and meal plans since there will be less time on campus? 
The university is working through these important questions and will share information as we have it. We appreciate everyone’s patience during this time. The latest information about our plans is updated regularly on the task force’s website.

Will I get to keep my roommate and room?
We are unable to guarantee that you will receive your original room, roommate(s) and/or building assignment, but we intend to keep students as close to their original request as possible.

Do we have to go through the housing selection process again? 
No. We intend to keep second-year students as close to their original request as possible to avoid a re-selection process.  

I am a student with a medical accommodation – will my medical accommodation continue to be supported?
If you are a returning student who has already contracted with University Housing and has a medical accommodation, we will still accommodate your needs, but we cannot guarantee your original room, roommate(s) and/or building assignment.

Do I need to do anything to remain on campus?
No. The exemption form is for second-year students seeking to live off-campus for a variety of criteria, including potential changes in room type/configuration.

Facilities and Operations

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.

What Student Life buildings are closed?
The university has closed the following facilities until further notice:

  • All recreational sports indoor facilities 
  • The Ohio Union 
  • The Younkin Success Center 
  • University bookstores (Gateway, Ohio Union and Tuttle)

What dining locations are open?
In response to significantly reduced traffic on campus, Student Life’s Dining Services team will be providing limited offerings. You can visit the University Dining Services website for updates on dining locations and hours.

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.

What are the Student Health Center hours of operation? 
SHS hours of operation are Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. If you are experiencing Coronavirus symptoms (new cough, fever and have traveled internationally, New York, Washington (state), California or have been on a cruise within the last 14 days or have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus infection) call the main SLSHS phone line, 614-292-4321.

Will the Student Wellness Center be open? 
Tthe Student Wellness Center is providing virtual support but not taking in-person appointments to practice safe physical distancing. For more information, please reach out to wellness@osu.edu or visit the Student Wellness Center website.

Student Support

I'm struggling with mental health. Where can I go to get help?
Student Life's Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) will be providing their offerings, including sessions and Drop-In Workshops, virtually. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit the CCS website. If you are in distress, please know we are here to help. Students may contact CCS at any time by calling 614-292-5766. If calling after hours, press 2 to be connected to a counselor.

I'm dealing with financial issues, where can I get help?
The Student Advocacy Center staff members are continuing to serve students during normal business hours and are accepting online appointments. 

The Student Emergency Fund is available to students who may otherwise be at risk of dropping out of college due to an unexpected financial emergency. If you, or a student you know, are experiencing an unplanned expense, the Student Emergency Fund may be an option. Their office is accepting applications and may be able to award up to $1,000 to eligible students. Learn more and apply.

The Together As Buckeyes emergency grants program, funded primarily by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is available to all students — undergraduate, graduate and professional — through the Student Financial Aid office. To apply for a grant, students need to complete a one-page Emergency Request form and provide any supporting documentation. The Office of Student Financial Aid will process applications after determining eligibility based on each student’s circumstances and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education.

Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services has amended its Prevention, Retention and Contingency Program to provide targeted relief for families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Franklin County COVID-19 Response PRC Program provides eligible families with $500 in one-time cash assistance to help address emergent needs and expenses brought about by the public health emergency. Families can apply online today.

Where can I get help with transitioning to virtual modes of instruction?
The Office of Distance Education and eLearning has compiled tools and tips for students as they transition to virtual modes of instruction for the rest of spring semester. The Keep Learning site provides students with details and instructions on the educational tools that will be used in their courses and shares tips and resources about how to be successful while learning remotely. For more information, visit the Keep Learning website.

What career services are available during this time?
While the Younkin Success Center is closed, you can schedule a phone or Carmen Zoom appointment with Student Life Career Counseling and Support Services (CCSS) by calling (614) 688-3898 or email questions to sl-ccss@osu.edu.

Digital career resources such as Handshake, Buckeye OnPACE, and others are available 24/7 to all currently-enrolled students. Please email careerquestions@osu.edu with any questions regarding these online resources. Your college’s career services office may also have additional career preparation resources and information.

Where can I get assistance with legal issues? 
Eligible Columbus campus students who need legal assistance should schedule an appointment with Student Legal Services. Legal issues covered include off-campus housing, debt and credit, employment, criminal misdemeanors and traffic offenses and more. For questions about eligibility or coverage, please email studentlegal@osu.edu. Regional campus students can review SLS’s Regional Campus Referrals.

For a updated list of student support services, please visit the We Are Here For You webpage.

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