Ohio University

III. Campus life – Creating safe and engaging campus communities

Principle 10: As a means of maintaining a balance of safety and an interactive campus experience, students will use physical and virtual environments to connect with faculty, staff, and their community. 

  • Offering more remote or blended modality courses allows students who seek a reduced-exposure semester the opportunity to remain enrolled at Ohio University. 
  • Encourages balanced space use for coursework as well as other space needs to offer co-curricular activities, professional major/minor related organizations, clubs and social groups, guest speakers, and career-development activities.  

Principle 11: All students, whether living in residence halls, in off-campus housing, or commuting to a family or personal residence, are integral to maintaining safety and reducing spread of COVID-19 infection on our campuses. 

Recommendation 11.A. Create and disseminate educational materials about the personal responsibility for prevention of spread of COVID-19 including required us of face coverings and physical distancing strategies. Materials should be suited to the campus, building, and/or space. 

  • Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors to ensure that individuals remain at least 6 feet apart in lines and at other times. (CDC) 
  • Post signage to promote social distancing and public health behaviors. 

Recommendation 11.B. Evaluate and reconfigure non-classroom learning spaces, such as study spaces, libraries and group work rooms to meet relevant public health safety protocols. 

  • Obtain occupancy max for designated study spaces and plan to reduce density to appropriate levels. 
  • Utilize existing building use data (e.g., library gate counts) to inform number of spaces needed at peak times. 
  • Ensure study spaces have proper air handling/venting. 
  • Provide accommodations for those students who require face-to-face and/or virtual tutoring. 

Commuter Students and Regional Campus students  

Recommendation 11.C. Identify locations on campus and configure appropriately for commuter students on all campuses to work individually or in work groups between classes and at appropriate-spaced physical distances. 

Recommendation 11.D. Work in collaboration with Allen Student Advising Center to offer both academic and community support for commuter students on all campuses with their individual needs.  

Recommendation 11.E. Seek out and support those students who have limited or no access to adequate computer equipment or internet connectivity through the university’s laptop loaner program and by ensuring availability of safely distanced computer labs and lounges/workspaces with internet access. 

Recommendation 11.F. Consistent with course delivery needs outlined above, ensure some allocation of space to ensure activities such as cultural events, guest speakers, and career/professional development activities on regional campuses, to be determined by a follow-up work group dedicated to prioritization of events and activities (July 2020). 

Athens Campus Residential Students 

Recommendation 11.G. Reduce density in most areas of residence halls on the Athens campus. 

  • Maintain doubles as double occupancy.   
  • De-densify triples by moving mutually matched groups of three students into quads and mutually matched roommate groups of four currently in quads into adjacent doubles to maintain matched roommate groups.    
  • For triples/quads in which students are not mutually matched, work with students to reassign a student from each room type. 
  • Reconfigure residence hall lobbies and study spaces by moving furniture to allow for physical distancing.    

Recommendation 11.H. Create an application process for low-density housing and reassign students into singles giving priority to students who are immunosuppressed, followed by upper-class students and then first-year students. 

Recommendation 11.I. Reinforce personal responsibility and prevention strategies for students to reduce exposure and infection. 

  • Install hand-sanitizing units at the main entrance door and program all exteriors doors for egress only except for main entrance area. 
  • Create educational campaign and strategically place signage in common areas (lobbies, bathrooms, study rooms and laundry rooms) Create educational materials surrounding personal responsibility for prevention of spread of COVID-19 including required use of face coverings and physical distancing strategies. 
  • Install Plexiglas at staff offices and at the LLC. 
  • Consider providing free laundry to ensure that students are washing face coverings and clothing on a regular basis. 

Recommendation 11.J. Modify student policies/expectations (e.g. room changes, guest policy) to minimize exposure.  

  • Redesign the move-in schedule to allow additional days for physical distancing strategies and create a centralized check in on each green to minimize exposure during check-in. 
  • Modify student staff duty schedule and expectations to minimize exposure. 
  • Prohibit guest or visitor access to student rooms. 

Recommendation 11.K. Develop safety protocols, public service messaging, and/or alternative activities to replace traditional fall semester public gatherings and celebrations that are impractical or impermissible due to public health recommendations. 

Recommendation 11.L. Work in collaboration with Athens City Mayor, Athens Police Department, other city officials, local landlords, and Dean of Students to determine expectations and strategies to minimize risk and develop a plan to support students impacted by COVID-19. 

  • Create a task force to discuss the objectives for educating students and strategies for ensuring health and safety during social gatherings.  Partners should include Mayor, APD, City of Athens, local landlords, DOS, Health Promotions, and Student Senate to create a new set of social norms that will govern student behavior. 
  • Create educational campaigns and different methods of delivery, in partnership with SACM and UCM. 
  • Community Ambassador outreach to distribute educational/resource documents in areas of dense population and of historical social gatherings. 

Dining, water, and other food/cafe service

Recommendation 11.M. Dining halls will offer carryout and to-go options initially with strategic introduction of dine-in options, as determined to be safe and appropriate.  

  • Culinary and retail venues transitioning cashless to expedite transactions and reduce contact. 
  • Removal of self-serve menu options.   
  • Inventory of touch-free water bottle filling stations on each campus, identify and install required number of touch -free stations to meet standard.  Install signage to encourage proper water bottle sanitation. 

Principle 12: All students will be afforded safe opportunities for engagement with peers, faculty, and staff and to access services that are critical to academic success and mental/physical wellness.  

Recommendation 12.A. Develop cleaning protocols for user-cleaned spaces and communicate cleaning schedules by Custodial Services for all residential spaces. 

  • Ensure cleaning schedules of study spaces are heightened and within appropriate guidelines. 
  •  Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily or between use as much as possible. Use of shared objects (e.g., lab equipment, computer equipment, desks) should be limited when possible, or cleaned between use. (CDC) 
  • Make cleaning supplies available for student use (e.g., wipes, spray bottles, hand sanitizer) in all study areas. 

Recommendation 12.B. University Libraries will remain open to students, faculty, and staff with reduced in-person access and hours but with ongoing digital and online support. 

  • Alden Library will begin a phased-in physical reopening in mid-June. Regional campus libraries will phase in physical reopening in July or August. 
  • Limit non-staff occupancy to a few lower floors (Alden Library only). 
  • Provide swipe-card access only for university ID holders to limit occupancy. 
  • Install of Plexiglas shields at essential service points only, with an increased focus on self-service and user assistance via email, chat, Teams, telephone, and online information resources.  
  • Reduce occupancy in reservable study rooms and provide sanitizing products. 
  • Reduce number and adjacency of public computers to promote social distancing. 
  • Temporarily discontinue 24-hour service (Alden Library only). 

Recommendation 12.C. Centers for Student Inclusion (e.g. OMSAR, Student Accessibility Services, Veteran Services, TRIO Student Support Services, International Student Services) and centers for specialty advising (e.g. Career Services) will continue to provide services to students, faculty, and staff using remote services to the fullest extent possible. 

  • Assure reception/customer service points and waiting areas meet University recommendations for safety. 
  • Reduce number of events to only the most essential (i.e. Majors Fair, Career Fair). 
  • Plan events in accordance with University established protocols regarding social distance, traffic flow, and capacity. 
  • Establish capacity and cleaning protocols for social gathering areas in line with University recommended standards. 

Recommendation 12.D. Counseling and Psychological Services will continue a blended delivery of services including remote and face-to-face interactions, as appropriate on a case-by-case basis.  

  • Recommendation based on guidance provided by Association for University and College Counseling Directors (AUCCD). 
  • Use of Everfi mental health platform for self-use and training modules for students. 
  • Continue use of telehealth for scheduled appointments. 
  • Face-to-face for specific clients (i.e., crisis, specific diagnosis). 
  • Create therapy rooms on campuses for spaces where students can find privacy for telehealth services and/or who do not have privacy in their own residence. 

For additional recommendations, regarding living and learning spaces, fitness, recreation, and personal time, including next steps and timelines, please see full report in [Appendix C—Student Experience-Student Life]