Here's a guide to what's happening at schools across the region, including links to websites they've launched to provide updated information to their students, employees and surrounding community.
Online-only classes. Vacated dorm rooms. Postponed graduations. Remote work forces. That’s the new normal for colleges and universities across Central Ohio as the spread of the novel coronavirus continues.
Here’s a guide to what’s happening at schools across the region, including links to websites they’ve launched to provide updated information to their students, employees and surrounding community.
Ohio State University
The state’s largest university has made instruction virtual for the remainder of the spring semester. Other policies implemented in early March included ordering most housing to be vacated (with the exception of facilities serving students who are not able to return home), extending spring break through March 22 and requiring students traveling from certain European countries to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The university later updated its policies to require all employees who can work from home to do so. Critical services such as law enforcement and health care have been maintained. Ohio State also closed several facilities through at least the end of March, including the Ohio Union, sports facilities and bookstores.
Spring commencement also has been postponed to a date yet to be announced. In a letter to students, President Michael Drake said, “commencement is one of our most cherished traditions, and we remain fully committed to celebrating our graduates at an appropriate time.”
Ohio State’s coronavirus updates are available here. The Wexner Medical Center has a Coronavirus resources site here.Information is critical. Read our latest reporting on the coronavirus response here.
The Westerville school also has mandated classes be held online through the end of the current semester. Other moves include requiring students to vacate university-owned campus housing by March 24 (though alternate housing will be available for those who cannot return home), postponing graduation to a future date and developing plans so faculty and staff can telecommute.
“All of us have needed to implement drastic lifestyle changes, and unfortunately as a University community, we have not been spared from such changes,” President John Comerford wrote recently. “We recognize that this is a stressful time for many, and through it all, the safety and wellness of our students, faculty and staff remains our utmost priority."
Otterbein’s coronavirus updates can be found here.
Columbus State Community College
The commuter college canceled classes through March 22 and, upon reopening on March 23, they will be delivered online or through alternative delivery channels. Other changes include remote work arrangements for employees and drop-in IT assistance for those workers on Tuesdays through Thursdays.
Events at the college scheduled through April have been postponed or canceled. May commencement has not yet been canceled.
“The health and safety of the college community are our primary concerns, President David Harrison recently wrote to students, faculty and employees. “If we err when making decisions, it will be on the side of caution. We are determined to display the greatest possible compassion and flexibility during this challenging time. That applies to both student and employee circumstances. We will not penalize people for circumstances beyond their control.”
Columbus State’s coronavirus updates can be found here.
Columbus College of Art & Design
At the Columbus College of Art & Design, classes are being conducted remotely through the end of the semester, and students have been encouraged to move out of dorms and back to their permanent residences. They are eligible for partial refunds.
The Spring Art Fair April 10, the annual Chroma: Best of CCAD student art show scheduled for May 7 and the CCAD Fashion Show scheduled for May 8 will be held online and not in-person.
Commencement also has been canceled. It will instead become an online celebration May 9.
In a March 13 letter to students, President Melanie Corn praised their resilience. "Amidst all of this, I just want to take a moment to stop for a quick personal message to say I’m sad and I’m sure you are as well," she wrote. "It’s hard to have your lives disrupted so dramatically and all of this might feel very scary. ... It may not feel like it, but you are on the front lines of saving the lives of our most vulnerable people by following requests to maintain social distance and conduct your classwork and practice remotely. Your actions are meaningful and will have repercussions that reverberate well beyond our physical campus."
CCAD’s coronavirus updates can be found here.Stay up to date with the region’s business scene. Subscribe to Columbus CEO’s weekly newsletter.
Another commuter college, Franklin was an early adopter of online learning. Spokeswoman Sherry Mercurio said the university was able to smoothly transition the small number of face-to face students to online delivery recently. That online format will continue until the end of the academic term on May 9 with continued monitoring thereafter. Franklin employees also are working remotely.
The spring 2020 commencement that was scheduled for May 15 has been postponed.
Franklin’s coronavirus updates can be found here.
Ohio Wesleyan University
The Delaware school also will move to online learning once spring break is over on March 23 and all in-person events such as athletics have been cancelled. Students face a March 20 deadline for moving out of residence halls unless they have been approved to stay longer.
Ohio Wesleyan also has scheduled a series of free shuttles to John Glenn Columbus International Airport. A decision about graduation is pending.
“As we navigate these issues, I want to take a moment to make sure we’re taking time to support each other – to ensure everyone is OK as we transition to remote learning and as we separate our on-campus family for the semester to help keep everyone safe,” President Rock Jones wrote on March 13. “Fortunately, we are able to FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangout, GroupMe, Tweet, Zoom, Snap, and even make an old-fashioned telephone call to check in on those we care about.”
Ohio Wesleyan’s coronavirus updates can be found here.
Ohio Dominican University
The university also has moved classes to an online-only format through the end of the spring semester, vacated residence halls and required all non-essential employees to work remotely. All campus events including graduation have been canceled or postponed.
“I recognize the disruption that this outbreak has caused, and I thank you for your patience over the past couple of weeks,” President Robert Gervasi wrote in a recent email. “We are most certainly all in this together, and I ask for your continued patience and understanding as we respond to this situation in accordance with the latest recommendations made by state officials to help ensure the health of our community.”
Ohio Dominican’s coronavirus updates can be found here.
Laura Newpoff is a freelance writer.