Ohio University

Ohio University Housing Advisory System

In response to increasing numbers of positive cases reported in residence hall on the Athens campus during Fall Semester 2020, Ohio University implemented a Housing Advisory System for residence halls.

This plan was developed in consultation with Ohio’s other public universities, and in particular with advice from our colleagues at Miami University, where a similar plan was implemented earlier in 2020.  

This Housing Advisory System runs concurrently with the Isolation Housing provided for students living on-campus who have (1) tested positive for COVID-19 or (2) are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are awaiting test results; and with Quarantine Housing provided for students living on-campus who have (1) traveled to campus from travel advisory risk areas, or (2) been classified as high-risk through direct exposure to COVID-19 by a contact tracer.

Find information regarding current alert levels for individual residence halls, as well as other housing-related data, on OHIO's COVID-19 dashboard.

OHIO COVID-19 Dashboard

Residence Hall Risk Levels

Students in residence halls will be tested weekly for COVID-19. 

Similar to the State of Ohio, OHIO uses a color-coded alert system to identify the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in residence halls. Our color-coded system was developed in consultation with local public health officials.

Students will receive email notification if their residence hall is placed on the color-coded alert list.

Level 1: Yellow – There are no known positive cases in your residence hall in the last 7 days. Please exercise caution to avoid bringing the infection back to your hall. Practice physical distancing, wash your hands often, and wear a face covering at all times when outside your room, whether indoors or out. 

Level 2: Orange – 0-4.9 percent of the residents in your residence hall have tested positive in the last 7 days. Follow public health guidelines to avoid becoming infected or unknowingly infecting others. Practice physical distancing, wash your hands often, and wear a face covering at all times when outside your room, whether indoors or out. 

Level 3: Red – 5-9.9 percent of the residents in your residence hall have tested positive in the last 7 days, but there is not yet statistical evidence of a cluster. You are at a significant risk of becoming infected in the hall and must take aggressive action in limiting visitors and time spent with others outside of your roommate. Practice physical distancing, wash hands often, and wear a face covering at all times, indoors and out.

Level 4: Purple – 10 percent or more of building residents have tested positive in the last seven days. There is a significant number of COVID-19 cases in your residence hall and those living there are at an elevated risk for becoming infected. OHIO will implement a Remain-in-Room (RIR) plan designed to stop the spread of the infection on each residential floor. 

Students living in a residence hall with a Level 4: Purple designation will be advised via email and floor section meeting with their Housing and Residence Life Hall professional staff, and placed on a Remain-in-Room plan until it is determined through our testing protocol that spread has been contained. We will update you when the RIR plan has been lifted, but you can expect this to be in place for up to 14 days.

When a residence hall is placed under the Remain-in-Room plan, students should not leave their residence hall room except for essential matters (e.g. bathroom, medical appointments, COVID testing as required, emergencies, contactless food delivery, and dining hall visits). When leaving the their room for any of these purposes, residents must wear a mask and maintain physical distance of at least six feet. Additionally: 

  • No visitors will be allowed. Do not visit anyone else's room.
  • Residents should not leave the building to attend classes in person or participate in other face-to-face activities, such as going to work. 
  • Do not use residence hall lounges/common rooms, study rooms, or common kitchens. 
  • Wear your face covering at all times when you are not in your room, except as needed to use the restroom facilities. 
  • Spend as little time in restroom facilities as possible.
  • Communicate regularly with your COVID Campus Liaison and your OhioHealth clinical case manager, if you have one.
  • This chart describes allowances for isolation, quarantine, and remain-in-room scenarios.

QUARANTINE – If the Remain-in-Room Plan is not effective in controlling COVID-19 transmission, the Athens City-County Health Department may order a mandatory quarantine for all residents. Whereas quarantine occurs under the order of the county health commissioner, the Remain-in-Room plan is a precaution the University will take to control spread in the case of an outbreak in a residence hall or on a residential floor.

The above steps are essential in containing and halting the transmission of COVID-19. 

The plan is best able to contain spread when 100 percent of the affected population participates fully. We hope the housing advisory system will allow students to return to daily activities more quickly than a mandatory quarantine.