Today's Update: Thursday, March 4
March 4, 2021
Dear Student Life Team, I want to make sure you’ve seen President Johnson’s message this afternoon, in which she announced that starting Monday, March 8, students who live in university housing or university-managed facilities on the Columbus campus will be required to schedule and complete two COVID-19 tests each week until further notice.
Following up on her email, I have sent the following message to those students this afternoon, and I would be Scarlet and Grateful if you would support – and join – students in doing all we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community:
Dear students, It seems impossible, but we are only 57 days away from the last day of spring semester finals. When you look back over this simply inexplicable year, what’s the one thing you wish was “normal” again?
If you’re a graduating senior, you’re probably keeping your fingers crossed for an in-person commencement ceremony (I know, because many of you provided that very response on a recent survey!).
If you’re a first-year student, you may wish you were able to attend an in-person event where you can kick back, have fun and meet some new people (I’ve always heard about the Big Spring Concert, but haven’t had a chance to attend one, either).
If you’ve always been involved in intramural sports, you may want to hit the court, field or gym again. Or maybe you’ve missed sitting down with a big group of friends at Sloopy’s or K-Comm.
And I know you wish to never get another message like this from me.
The truth is: I wish all of this for you (and me), too.
While we’ve done really well this year, as President Johnson shared this afternoon, in the past few days our infection and reproduction rates for on-campus students have quickly gone in the wrong direction. The infection rate among these students has doubled in just one week. This has led us to increase testing to twice weekly for residential students on the Columbus campus. Increased testing allows the university to identify cases more quickly, isolate those cases and quarantine their at-risk close contacts.
The university is taking this step because we have increased capacity in our Applied Microbiology Services Laboratory (AMSL) and acting now will help ensure the successful completion of the semester and no interruptions to student organizations’ ability to come together in small groups.
If we don’t do all we can, it’s not just all those wishes that won’t come true…we risk the health and safety of our entire community and your loved ones you might be returning to at the end of the semester.
And I really believe we are working our way there…and that requires finishing strong by doing all the things you’ve heard a million times this year:
- Wearing masks
- Being diligent about physical distancing
- This is particularly important when eating with others. Pay close attention to the density of the spaces where you eat, and if it seems too crowded, find another spot.
- Not hosting or attending events or gatherings of more than 10. And frankly, if an event or gathering doesn’t have to happen in person, I’d suggest you transition it to virtual.
- Scheduling and completing your required, weekly COVID-19 test (which is now twice weekly for students who live in university housing).
I know you’re tired of hearing it. And I know you’re tired of COVID-19. We all are.
So let’s not stop wishing for that bright, safe and healthy future…and let’s come Together As Buckeyes to do all we can to make it all come true.