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Presidential Health Directives for the Ohio University Issued Pursuant to Interim Policy 44.102

Effective: August 31, 2021


Interim Policy 44.102 provides Ohio University the ability to take appropriate action to address transmittable disease, epidemics, pandemics, and other threats to the health and safety of persons associated with Ohio University. Pursuant to the policy, the President, or their designee, in consultation with the Chief Medical Affairs Officer (“CMAO”) and Special Assistant to the President for Public Health Operations, has the authority to establish specific health requirements for community members appropriate to current community health risks. All community members at any Ohio University campus or location must comply with all specific health requirements promulgated under this Interim Policy 44.102.

The health requirements promulgated under this policy may be modified or rescinded by the President or his or her designee at any time for any reason. Any changes related to these health requirements will be communicated via electronic mail to Ohio University students, faculty, and staff.

What follows amends the prior Directives issued November 16, 2020.

Community Health Directives

Pursuant to, and in compliance with Interim Policy 44.102, and in consultation with the Ohio University CMAO, I hereby issue the following Community Health Directives to be effective on the date set forth above. 

1. Face Coverings

"Face covering” (or “mask”) as used herein shall mean a surgical or N95 mask or a cloth face covering that is made of two or more layers of washable fabric; completely covers the wearer’s mouth, nose, and chin; and that fits snugly against the side of the wearer’s face and doesn’t have gaps. A face covering may be commercially made or handmade. Face shields are not acceptable face coverings. Community members may wear both a face shield and a face covering, but not a face shield alone. 

  • Outdoors: Individuals are not required to wear masks outdoors, regardless of vaccination status, except for when entering, exiting, or waiting in line to enter any building on OHIO campuses. The University advises those who are unvaccinated to wear a mask if physical distancing of six feet cannot be maintained in crowded outdoor settings, or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people. Under certain circumstances outdoors where the likelihood of transmission is increased, including but not limited to large events or activities that include individuals in close proximity, the university may require masking.
  • Indoors: All individuals are required to wear masks in indoor public spaces on OHIO campuses, and on public transportation.

Masks must cover the nose, mouth and chin as follows: 

  1. When entering, exiting, or waiting in line to enter any building on any campus of the Ohio University. 
  2. While in any Ohio University building and in areas that are accessible to and are intended for the use of the public or by more than one person, including classrooms.
  3. In any public transportation, such as a bus or other public transit vehicle, a taxi or ride sharing vehicle, any other vehicle for hire, or at a transit stop or waiting area for any public transportation.

Face covering exceptions

  1. Children under 10 years old.
  2. Any person while actively eating or drinking.
  3. Childcare center individuals (including students, administrators, and teachers) to the extent that the regulations and guidelines promulgated by their regulating bodies are in variance to requirements of this interim policy. 
  4. In settings where it is not practicable or feasible to wear a face covering such as when receiving dental treatments or while swimming. 
  5. Where working with equipment or in a process where wearing face coverings is impractical or dangerous, as determined by instructors or supervisors. 
  6. In one’s own residence hall room or office, while maintaining appropriate physical distancing. 
  7. Individuals who, due to extraordinary circumstances, claim and receive a written exemption through the appropriate university process. 

Employees, students, and visitors who are unable to wear a face covering due to a disability may request reasonable accommodations through the Office for University Accessibility

2. Physical Distancing

  • Outdoors: Individuals do not need to practice physical distancing when outdoors on OHIO campuses, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status. Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to maintain at least six feet of physical distance while outside.
  • Indoors:
    • Classroom* users will adhere to posted seating arrangements as designated by the University. In most cases, seating will be arranged to allow three feet of physical distance between individuals or a maximum 75 percent of classroom capacity.
    • In all other indoor public spaces on OHIO campuses, unvaccinated individuals are required to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others who are not members of their household.
    • Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to maintain physical distance from others in non-classroom indoor public spaces on campus.
    • Some academic programs may require that all participants keep physical distance of at least six feet from others who are not members of their household.
    • Academic programs or University departments may approve physical distancing of less than three feet in certain environments where physical distancing of at least three feet is not possible. 

*For the purposes of physical distancing, classrooms are defined as any indoor campus spaces that are assigned for learning activities (lectures, labs, studios, etc.).

3. COVID-19 Positive, Symptomatic, or COVID-19 Exposed

All students, faculty and staff members should measure their body temperature and complete a Daily COVID Symptom Assessment daily before leaving their residence hall and/or leaving home to come to campus. Any student, faculty, or staff member who lives on or off campus and experiences any of the following should isolate and must follow ALL the steps in the relevant section of the OHIO COVID-19 Protocol: Positive, Symptomatic, or Exposed:

  • Is in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is not vaccinated (exposed). 
  • Develops symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status (symptomatic).
  • Tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status (positive).

4. Adherence to Quarantine and Isolation Orders

All Ohio University students, faculty, and staff are required to fully comply with all health directives and guidelines issued by the local health department, Ohio University, their medical provider, and University-sanctioned health resources, as applicable, related to quarantine and/or isolation. If these directives are in conflict, Ohio University students, faculty, and staff are expected to adhere to orders from their local health department as the final authority. Any individual under isolation or quarantine orders will not participate in on-campus activities or enter campus buildings, other than an individual’s assigned residential housing.

5. Participation in Contact Tracing Efforts

All Ohio University students, faculty, and staff are required to fully participate in contact tracing efforts by Ohio University and by the local health department regardless of vaccination status. Fully participating includes answering phone calls and emails from COVID Operations.

6. COVID-19 Testing and Testing Pathway Program

  • All OHIO students, faculty, and staff are required to choose a pathway as part of the COVID-19 Testing Pathway Program
    • Those individuals who are fully vaccinated are not required to participate in weekly asymptomatic testing if they select the Vaccination Pathway and provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, unless testing is warranted due to changing public health conditions.  
    • Those individuals who select the Weekly Testing Pathway or who have not yet selected a Pathway must test weekly unless a different testing cadence is determined based on campus epidemiology or guidance from the local health department, Ohio Department of Health, or the CDC. 
  • Any individual, vaccinated or unvaccinated, may be required to participate in COVID-19 testing in the event of a potential outbreak or when participating in internships, clinicals, field experiences, or other experiential learning activities. 
  • Individuals who fail to schedule or take a test when notified may be prohibited from attending face-to-face classes, accessing in-person campus services, or entering campus buildings until a COVID-19 test is completed. Students living in residence halls who fail to comply with required testing shall be subject to the terms of their University Housing and Culinary Services Contract. Ohio University COVID Operations will share important information regarding testing requirements from the following addresses: COVIDoperations@ohio.edu and notifications@maxient.com, and via phone call. All students, faculty, and staff are expected to read these emails and answer phone calls. Nonreceipt of emails due to opting out or messages being delivered to junk folders will not be accepted as an excuse for not being aware of asymptomatic testing requirements. Those who have opted out of receiving emails from COVID Operations in the past are expected to opt back in by following these instructions.
  • When taken in accordance with University instructions, tests will be provided at no cost to students, faculty, and staff. 

7. COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

Ohio University requires all students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 15, 2021. For vaccines that require two doses, both doses must be complete by November 15.  This applies to all employees, including those working remotely, and all students except those enrolled exclusively in fully online programs and coursework who will not access University facilities on any campus in person. Students, faculty and staff can apply for an exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical reasons or for reasons of conscience, including ethical and moral belief or sincerely held religious beliefs. Any exemption request must be approved and confirmed in writing prior to November 1, 2021. 

Further Guidance and Resources

  • Face Covering Exemption Request form:  https://ohio.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bKp5cUdGznqLzut.
  • Vaccine Requirement Exemption Request form: https://ohio.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3wIDkFZg1POvQlE 
  • Student violations of Interim Policy 44.102 will be adjudicated through the Student Code of Conduct, thereby incurring disciplinary action up to and including suspension or expulsion. 
  • Student organizations will be held to the same standards as individual students, faculty, and staff. Student organizations may be found in violation of Interim Policy 44.102 if there is a preponderance of the evidence that suggests that an organization, formally or informally, facilitated violations of the health directives issued by the State of Ohio, the local health department, or Ohio University. If found in violation of Interim Policy 44.102 the organization will face discipline up to and including suspension or expulsion from Ohio University. 

Failure to comply with Interim Policy 44.102 by faculty or staff will be addressed through the appropriate University disciplinary processes based on an employee's classification. Disciplinary action may vary, up to and including termination of employment.

President Sherman Signature

Hugh Sherman
President, Ohio University