Today's Update: Wednesday, April 8

April 8, 2020

Dear Student Life Team: 

It looks to me as though most people are doing a good job complying with social distancing and the Stay at Home order. I don’t get out much, few of us do, but I think the vast majority are doing the best we can. 

We know it’s important. I’ve watched enough briefings by Gov. DeWine and Dr. Action to realize that our best hope of “flattening the curve” is to stay away from each other. Literally, lives are at stake. 

That’s why it’s so disheartening to hear that some people are disregarding the rules, and especially disappointing that some may be our students living in the University District.  

The Ohio State University Police Division and the Columbus Division of Police sent an email to students yesterday to “remind you that gatherings of any kind are likely in violation of the Stay at Home order that was recently extended through May 1, 2020, by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health.” 

I followed up with a message to landlords and leasing agents, as well as partners in the Sorority and Fraternity Life community, asking for their help in both getting the word out and preventing gatherings that put our community at risk.  Prior to that, emails went out the week of March 20 from leaders of Student Life Student Health Services, the Columbus Health Department and Ohio State’s College of Public Health to both students and property owners on the best ways to help stop the spread of Coronavirus, including social distancing.     

There is an article in today’s Columbus Dispatch that reports police received 10 complaints about large groups in the University District last weekend. The story quotes a Columbus Police Deputy Chief promising they will take action if there are repeat violations. 

There are consequences. The state order says, “Any gathering of more than ten people is prohibited,” and is enforceable under Ohio Law (R.C. 3701.352) punishable by a fine of up to $750 and up to 90 days in jail. 

Young people aren’t invincible in this pandemic. Columbus Health Commissioner told Columbus City Council that nearly 30% of the confirmed cases locally are people between the ages of 20-29. The CDC has even provided special guidance for intuitions of higher education. I encourage you to take a look to review the national guidance that will continue to help inform our local decision-making. 

I want all of us to do everything possible to stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s not only the law, but it’s also the right thing to do for our entire community. Everyone needs to be Scarlet and Great, and I appreciate anything you can do to help.