Ohio State students to return to campus in fall, football plans to be determined

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– The Ohio State University announced plans for students to return to campus in the fall.

Those decisions were announced by the university Board of Trustees Wednesday.

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Return to campus

The university announced the first day of classes will be Tuesday, August 25.

Specific guidelines will be announced in the coming weeks, according to the university.

According to OSU, the resumption of full operations on Ohio State campuses will include a combination of the use of appropriate face coverings, physical distancing, hand hygiene, limited density in indoor spaces, control of the flow of traffic into and around buildings, continued employee teleworking when possible, testing, symptoms tracking and contact tracing. 

A teaching and learning approach that combines in-person and distance methods is also being developed.

“We are dedicated to continuing our core mission, including providing the best possible college experience for our students while operating under a set of circumstances that no one has experienced before,” President Michael V. Drake said.

In mid-March Ohio State announced it would be finishing the spring semesters through online classes, requiring students to move out of residence halls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to university housing, Ohio State has 42 residence halls on main campus, and freshmen and sophomore students are required, with some exceptions, to live in university housing.

The university will temporarily exempt second-year students from that requirement. Second-year students who want to exercise the special exemption must notify University Housing by June 10

Housing options will be provided to second-year students who still choose to live in university housing.

OSU says that by June 19, it will outline details of a plan to promote physical distancing in on-campus housing and dining locations.

Football

The university has also hopes to play the 2020 football season. The Buckeyes have seven home games scheduled this season, starting with the Sept. 5 home opener against Bowling Green.

There will be a phased reopening of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and the Schumaker Complex. Final plans for all sports will be subject to decisions made by the Big Ten Conference and NCAA, and directives of state and local health authorities.

“Regarding football, our hope and intention is to safely have a football season, with an audience spaced out in our stadium, but we haven’t made any final decisions,” President Drake said.

However, the season will likely be impacted. NBC4 Sports Director Jerod Smally reports the highly-anticipated Ohio State at Oregon game in September will likely not be played in Eugene, due to order of the Governor in Oregon. The state has banned all mass gatherings through September. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith says he has talked to Oregon’s athletic director about possible schedule changes, but no new plans have emerged.

Ohio Stadium has a capacity of more than 102,000 people.

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