Today's Update: Monday, November 23

November 23, 2020

Dear Student Life Team, We’ve used the term “Together As Buckeyes” over the past several months and it has come to mean so many things to so many people. On Friday, a group of student leaders demonstrated the concept by sending an open letter to their peers about how everyone really must do all they can to stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout these last days of the semester, and also while they are home over break. I’ve copied that letter for you to see below.  

If you know any of these students who signed the letter, it might be a nice time to reach out to thank them for their inspiring leadership. It takes a lot of courage and passion to take such a strong stance on a topic that can be divisive in some ways. To me, they are Scarlet and Great…as are you. Have a good (short!) week. 

Dear Fellow Buckeyes: 

We are a group of students from across the university urgently reaching out to you. Over the past months, we have all received countless emails from administrators warning us about the dangers of COVID-19 and what requirements we need to follow.  

You've heard from them. But now, we're reaching out to you, students to students, with an urgent ask for you to consider your role in the spread of COVID-19.  

Here’s what we know: Franklin County, home to the Columbus campus of Ohio State, is now a level 4 COVID-19 hotspot, the only county in all of Ohio with this level of severity. We know this is a major concern to many of you, and we appreciate those of you who are taking this seriously. We also know that others simply aren’t afraid of getting COVID-19, so this major increase in cases is likely not a sufficient reason to change your ways.  

It is our responsibility to do everything we can to protect those around us. This is serious. We’re all tired of hearing it, but it’s true.   

We all know the university has requirements and resources available. We know how to get tested, and we know we should be tested before we leave to go home for the winter break. We know we’re supposed to wear our masks, wash our hands and follow the rules.  

But at this point in the school year – the last one as Ohio State students for many of us – knowing isn’t enough. We need to do more. We need to do better. And we need to do it now because even though many of us are heading home soon, these last few days are crucial to the safety of Franklin County and to the loved ones we will be seeing soon.  

As students, we understand the desire to have fun with friends before heading home. Hosting a Friendsgiving and going to a party or bar is something we all want back, but these are all things that can impact many more than those you directly come in contact with. One person leads to two, which can lead to five, and it only keeps growing.   

Not only do you risk exposing yourself (Side note: One of us signing this letter lost sense of smell for three months and continues to battle stomach issues), you can bring the virus back to your friends and roommates, your professors and their families and, in the coming days, your own families and friends. We know you don’t want to have your last conversation with a loved one through a partition or over the phone. If that sounds dramatic, it’s not. It’s reality: As of yesterday, there had been more than 48,250 COVID-19 cases and 682 deaths within Franklin County – a majority of those within Columbus. These aren’t just statistics. These are people.  

So, what do we want you to know? Here are the main things, and we need to act on this knowledge: 

  • If you’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered, you can get it again and pass it along.  

  • Whether you’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered or you’ve had all negative test results, you still need to wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart and wash your hands. 

  • Even if you receive a negative test, the incubation period is 14 days. You need to quarantine for that entire time. (Fun fact: One of us signing this letter received a positive test on the 14th day after contact. It happens.) 

Even if you receive a negative test, the incubation period is 14 days. You need to quarantine for that entire time. (Fun fact: One of us signing this letter received a positive test on the 14th day after contact. It happens.) 

These are the stakes: lost lives, lost jobs, lost memories, interrupted friendships, more virtual commencements, more virtual events, closed bars, restaurants and stores, and maybe even an entirely virtual spring semester.  

Our privileges to hang out with our friends, do things with our student orgs and have a normal semester have been taken away. If we want them back, we have no choice but to prove we can do this.   

We all have to make smart decisions, on and off campus and once we’re home. If you already have been, thank you. If you haven’t been, now is the time to start. At the end of the day, we need to be in this together.   

Molly Bloor 
Together As Buckeyes Ambassador 
Claire Burton 
President, Student-Alumni Council  
Jacob Chang 
Senior Director of Operations, Undergraduate Student Government 
Chair, International Student Council 
Madison Conley 
President, Public Health Student Leadership Council 
Bailey Conrad 
President, Ohio Staters, Inc. 
Kenzie Fennig 
President, The Panhellenic Association 
Jesse Fernandez 
Alpha Psi Lambda National Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Chapter 
Vice President of Community Development for the Multicultural Greek Council  
Drew Fitch 
President, Interfraternity Council  
Lily Goldberg 
Director of Health and Safety, Undergraduate Student Government 
DaVonti’ D. Haynes 
Vice President, Council of Graduate Students  
Samina Hejeebu 
President, Ohio Union Activities Board 
Roaya Higazi 
President, Undergraduate Student Government 
Teya LeBlanc-Hill 
Director of Student Advocacy, Residence Halls Advisory Council 
Joanne Munshower 
Vice President, Ohio Union Activities Board 
Ishan Patel 
President, BuckeyeThon 
Ohio State Homecoming Royal 
Shivani Patel 
Vice President, Inter-Professional Council 
Stephen Post 
President, Council of Graduate Students 
Anand Shah 
Undergraduate Student Trustee  
Carly Sobol 
Graduate Student Trustee 
Kirsten Taras 
Together As Buckeyes Ambassador  
Jordan Vajda 
President, Inter-Professional Council 
Maddy Vesoulis 
Vice President of Membership, Student-Alumni Council 
Keith L. Watson, Jr 
53rd Ohio State Senator, College of Dentistry 
Together As Buckeyes Ambassador  
Liz Webb 
Chief of Staff, Undergraduate Student Government