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Ohio State to require students, staff report vaccine status; weekly testing for unvaccinated

The university is requiring everyone to report whether or not they have been vaccinated by Aug. 5.
Credit: WBNS-TV

The Ohio State University announced plans for bringing people back to campus this fall including new guidelines.

In an email Tuesday sent by President Kristina M. Johnson, she said more than 70% of returning students, faculty and staff have completed their COVID-19 vaccinations.

Johnson adds the university knows there are vaccinated people who are not counted because they have not reported their status.

As a result, Ohio State is requiring everyone to report whether or not they have been vaccinated by Aug. 5.

Johnson says no personal health information will be shared publicly or directly with instructors, managers or leaders.

Additionally, the university updated other safety protocols including weekly testing for unvaccinated students:

  • Pre-arrival testing: All students living in university-managed housing on the Columbus campus and regional campuses as well as sorority and fraternity members on the Columbus campus will need to complete an at-home COVID-19 test within seven days before they return to Ohio State. Additional details about this process will be shared directly from the Office of Student Life.
  • Move-in testing: All Columbus campus students who will be on campus for any reason and all residential students on the regional campuses will be required to test for COVID-19 when they arrive. Until students receive a negative test result, they should wear a mask.
  • Weekly surveillance testing: Currently, unvaccinated students — including all students on the Columbus campus and regional campus students who live in university housing — will be required to test weekly as the academic year begins. Students who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and reported their status to the university will not have to test. We will continue to monitor the impacts of variants of concern and may need to adjust the testing requirements for vaccinated students as new information is available. Once House Bill 244 goes into effect on October 14, we will test vaccinated and unvaccinated students with the same protocols.
  • Mask requirements: For people who are fully vaccinated, masks are not required on Ohio State’s campuses except for on public transportation, in Wexner Medical Center and Student Health facilities, and in colleges and units with public-facing clinical operations. Individuals who are not vaccinated are required to continue wearing masks indoors and to maintain physical distancing when possible. These measures are in place to protect you.
  • Quarantine and isolation housing: Given that broad access to vaccines is available, on-campus quarantine and isolation housing will be limited this year and cannot be guaranteed at any time. All students should have individual plans for isolation and quarantine housing in the event they are exposed or have a positive COVID-19 test.

The university says they will continue to adjust protocols as appropriate as they have throughout the pandemic.