Today's Update: Monday, October 5

October 5, 2020

Dear Student Life Team, One of our most important partners in supporting students are their families. Although we, as a university, play a very key role in the development of our students, we know their loved ones can be even more influential in their lives.  

We share the same goal with them—the success of their student. Their support enhances our support, and, while not all families are intimately involved in their student’s education, we value the partnership of those who are.   

Keeping parents and family members up to date on what’s happening at Ohio State is crucial to their engagement. Student Life’s department of Parent and Family Relations, directed by Ryan Lovell with a strong assist from Beth Ullum, does a Scarlet and Great job of keeping families connected to the university.  

With so much going on right now, I used his regular newsletter today to update families and am sharing it with you in this update. 


Dear Buckeye Family:  

As you can imagine, the start to autumn semester has been unlike any other, and it’s understandable that you may have questions and concerns. I, and many colleagues across the university, have had conversations with some of you, and I want you to know that we appreciate all that you are doing to support your student and the community at this time. I talked with a dad the other day who apologized at the end of our call for what he thought seemed like “a conversation of complaints,” and I assured him that I don’t look at it that way at all. Family feedback is important, and we are learning from each conversation.   

The reality is, we’re learning a lot in general, every day. We spent months planning for the start of the semester, and we constantly reminded ourselves that we would need to be prepared to be nimble and adaptable as the semester progressed. We update our Frequently Asked Questions and Safe and Healthy website as new information is available, and we’ve also created a few informational videos. I thought it might be helpful to make sure you have these links and also provide a few other updates and ways we are continually making improvements.  

We are so pleased and appreciative of our students efforts that, even as we have expanded our testing strategy, our infection rate continues to improve, which you can track on our dashboard. For students who test positive and need to isolate or are identified as a close contact of a positive case and need to quarantine, Student Life has a process for regularly checking in with them. For those who live on campus we offer a space in our quarantine and isolation housing (students in quarantine room alone, but those in isolation usually are assigned a roommate). We now have completely separate buildings for each purpose. Even if a student in quarantine develops symptoms or has a subsequent positive test, public health experts believe our set-up works very well to limit spread because it allows each student to have their own bathroom, and food is delivered to each student’s door.  

Another example of learning from experience is our food delivery process in quarantine and isolation spaces. Early on we realized we needed to create efficiencies in the system, so when we make deliveries, we provide enough food for two days.  Fewer food drops help us have more time to respond to other student needs like dietary restrictions and allergies. Our dining team worked all summer to create a menu of chilled food items that are meant to be stored and reheated, so we are making the most out of this work.  

Other developments include the installation of three large tents that offer additional space for students to eat, study and, for small groups of fewer than ten, to hang out. We have also created a student ambassador team to encourage and educate students about safe and healthy guidelines and the addition of more tents in the residential areas for outdoor informal gatherings. These are just a few examples of how we are taking a learn-and-improve approach to the entire student experience and your feedback is so very helpful to us. 

Just before the start of the semester I sent a message to students in which I tried to honor their desire to be here on campus while highlighting everyone’s responsibility to do their part to promote a safe semester. I shared that just as you can’t do a round of ‘O-H!’ ‘I-O!’ alone, we simply must come Together As Buckeyes to fight COVID-19 on our campuses.  Our families also play an important role in that fight, so I thank you. Thank you for reaching out to us, and feel free to write to me anytime at sl-vicepresident@osu.edu. Thank you for supporting your students during this truly unprecedented time. And thank you for your belief in the extraordinary Ohio State experience. Together, As Buckeyes, we will get through this. 

 

Melissa