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President Nellis shares Fall Plan updates

Published: April 15, 2021 Author: Staff reports

The following message was shared with the Ohio University community April 15, 2021.

To our Ohio University students, faculty and staff,

This time a year ago, we were in the midst of adjusting to a new reality in the wake of the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day brought constant change. Fast forward to today and we find ourselves once again adjusting daily to changing realities, this time with great hope and optimism about the year ahead. In the last few weeks alone, we’ve seen massive expansion of vaccination availability, and our state leaders have begun to relax guidelines and signal the potential to lift all restrictions when certain public health measures are met.

With all this progress in mind, we are confidently moving toward a largely normal Fall 2021 semester that delivers on the highly experiential student environment for which Ohio University is known. We have worked with public health officials to further increase capacity of our classrooms and are updating Course Offerings in the coming week as we shift even more classes to in-person instruction. We expect to continue to increase in-person offerings in the weeks to come. Our academic buildings, research laboratories, creative spaces and student support services will be open, and student life activities will resume as much as possible within any state guidelines that might continue. We also will return to a more typical academic calendar and increase the number of faculty, support staff and researchers returning to campus to ensure a robust student experience while continuing to support new demands for virtual engagement as well.

As we have throughout the pandemic, we are making these changes with guidance and support from Chief Medical Affairs Officer Dr. Ken Johnson and Dr. Gillian Ice, special assistant to the president for public health operations. Dr. Johnson and Dr. Ice have done incredible work over the past year to help us build an infrastructure that makes these positive changes possible.

Each of you – our students, faculty, and staff – also have played a significant role in helping us keep our campuses and communities safe. As members of this community, we each have the opportunity — and the obligation — to be a part of the solution moving forward. While we are not requiring vaccination for members of our University community, I join our public health leaders in strongly encouraging you to get vaccinated.

Protocols such as facial coverings, modifications to or limits on large events and meetings, and asymptomatic testing to control community spread will remain in place until we reach the thresholds announced by our University public health leadership this week – 70 percent of students vaccinated or a ratio below 50 cases per 100,000 people.

With the exponential speed of change in mind, we have updated our Be Safe Bobcats website and added information about our Fall Plan. Here you will find more details about what to expect this fall, and we will continue to add regular updates in the days, weeks and months to come as the landscape continues to shift.

The world has changed over the last year, Bobcats, but I believe we have done far more than change with it. We have learned from this moment, responded with impactful research and service, and resolved not just to endure but to excel in the midst of great challenge. While this moment is far from over, I am confident in our readiness to emerge from it stronger as individuals and as a community, and I thank each of you for being a part of moving us forever forward toward a great 2021-2022 academic year.

With gratitude and hope,

M. Duane NellisPresident