The following message was sent to all Ohio State students, faculty and staff on Sunday, March 22, 2020.
Dear Ohio State Community:
As we start another extraordinary week, I write to update you on some of the important steps we are taking to respond to the effects of COVID-19 on university operations.
Monday begins virtual learning throughout our university. Thank you everyone for your hard work and flexibility in preparing for this. It is encouraging that in the midst of this worldwide slowdown we can still safely continue our educational mission.
The university is committed to supporting students, faculty and staff through this new way of teaching, learning and working — and to providing resources that support the mental health and wellness of our entire community. Thank you all for your cooperation.
In addition, like many governments and institutions, to formalize some of the adjustments we have been making in response to COVID-19, I have declared a university state of emergency. This is pursuant to Ohio State’s Disaster Preparedness and University State of Emergency Policy (Policy 6.17). A policy FAQ is available online. This declaration enables university leaders to utilize Disaster Leave (Policy 6.28) and is essential to give the university flexibility in making a variety of financial decisions over an extended period if necessary. The emergency declaration will be revisited on a weekly basis as circumstances evolve.
The university remains open but with a series of restrictions announced in the past weeks.
We are fighting a war against COVID-19. Some of you — those on the front lines, including health professionals, public safety employees, food service workers, facility operations and other support staff — are playing an essential role caring for patients, serving those in need and providing other essential services. We express our sincere and deep appreciation for all that you are doing to keep our communities safe. Others are playing another critical role that is no less important. You are actively fighting the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home, practicing stringent social distancing and always maintaining exemplary hygiene. That is the only way that COVID-19 will be defeated.
We are all in this together. Please continue to do your part in this collective effort. The Ohio State spirit is strong, and we remain dedicated to one another and the communities we serve.
Thank you, and stay safe.
Michael V. Drake, MD