Reflections of a first-year Buckeye

The following message was sent to all Ohio State students, faculty and staff on Thursday, February 11, 2021.

 

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Your efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus continue to pay off. I am proud to be part of such a caring and conscientious Buckeye community. As this challenge continues, you are succeeding every day in advancing our overall mission and building a better world. 

Our student seven-day average positivity rate has continued to trend at 0.5% both on and off campus. When I think of the sacrifices all of you are making to help keep one another, your families and our broader Buckeye community safe, I am inspired. The Buckeye spirit shines even brighter. Let’s continue to be safe around each other and for each other, Together As Buckeyes.

Please continue to check out our top-rated COVID-19 dashboard for testing updates. It was recently enhanced to include significantly more data going back to this past fall.

I am further delighted to report that our Wexner Medical Center has now held 17 vaccine sessions for the general public since January 19. Under the most-up-to-date state guidelines, we have surpassed 12,000 first doses and have delivered a total of more than 40,000 total doses of vaccine since mid-December. Based on data published by the Ohio Department of Health for the nearly 900 vaccine locations in the state, our medical center has provided nearly 3% of all first doses of vaccine administered in Ohio – another example of the hard work and dedication of our frontline employees in this critical fight. You care for us, and you inspire us. Thank you, and Go Buckeyes!

COVID-19: events update and myocarditis precautions

Due to a decrease in case numbers, Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health last week lifted the Stay at Home Advisory. With the advisory lifted, the university will begin allowing limited in-person gatherings for students at the Columbus campus.

Student organizations may resume in-person events of 10 or fewer people on and off campus beginning Friday, February 12. Following all safe and healthy protocols is required, and student organization leaders must submit space reservation requests that include details of planned safety measures.

Despite this positive development, student organizations are encouraged to continue holding virtual and hybrid activities to ensure broad access to activities. The university will monitor positivity rates to determine if additional changes are necessary. To be clear, the student organization exception is limited. All other in-person events and gatherings including those of 10 people or fewer are prohibited for the safety of our community. Public events will resume using a phased-in approach as conditions allow.

We also provided updated information on myocarditis precautions related to high-intensity exercise for those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

While the recent decrease in cases in Ohio is encouraging, we must all continue to wear masks, physically distance, practice good hand hygiene and avoid crowds.

Education for Citizenship Discussion Series

Thank you to everyone who has made this series on our democracy such a success. Your participation and insights have contributed significantly to make the four virtual conversations held thus far both engaging and thought-provoking. Links to view previous events are available on the Education for Citizenship Initiative website.

A fifth webinar in the series, “Restoring Faith in American Democracy,” will take place tonight from 6 to 7 p.m. The panel includes Dr. Ramona Denby-Brinson, associate dean of academic affairs and professor, College of Social Work; Dr. Margaret Ellen Newell, professor of history, College of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Jos C.N. Raadschelders, associate dean for faculty development and professor, John Glenn College of Public Affairs. The discussion will be moderated by Destiny Brown and Eyako Heh both fourth-year undergraduate students studying political science and Stacy Rastauskas, vice president for government affairs at Ohio State. Attendance will be open to all through Zoom.

University Task Force on Community Safety and Well-Being

We continue to implement the safety recommendations made by our task force of students, faculty, staff and community members. The recommendations include improving communication, engagement and support of residents on the Columbus campus and in the near-campus neighborhoods. I encourage you to take a moment to watch the latest in the university’s Safety Spotlight series. Videos on ride sharing tips and self-defense techniques are available on the recently launched comprehensive Safety Resources webpage.

Read more about steps taken this spring by the university onOhio State News.

Discovery, learning and impact

Another week brings more news of the university’s influence and impact throughout the many communities we serve here in Ohio, across the nation and around the world.

Three faculty members in our College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE) were named among the most influential education scholars in the United States by Education Week. Congratulations to EHE Distinguished Professor Dr. Donna Ford, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Dr. James L. Moore III, and Chair of the Department of Educational Studies Dr. Lori Patton Davis. Only 200 scholars were included nationwide.

More than 580 Ohio State scientists appear in a study by a Stanford University professor and his colleagues that ranks the world’s top scientists based on citation metrics and other data, measuring the international impact of research and scholarship. Dr. Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, is the highest-ranked Buckeye at No. 110 in the world.

An international team of physicists, including Dr. Louis DiMauro and Dr. Yu Hang Lai, an Ohio State alumnus, devised a new technique that drastically enhances the achievable resolution of ultrafast lasers, providing insight on how some of the fastest processes in nature occur at minuscule timescales. You can read more about this exciting research here.

A study by lead author Dr. Michalea King of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, which was covered by Ohio State News, received the sixth most media attention in 2020 worldwide among climate-related studies, according to Carbon Brief. It was featured in 274 news stories from 201 outlets, 48 posts from 37 blogs and more than 1,500 tweets.

Forbes has ranked the Wexner Medical Center No. 14 overall on its list of America’s Best Large Employers, and No. 2 among hospitals. Congratulations to all on this well-deserved, national recognition!

Campus and community engagement

The Ohio State Marion community offered me a warm and virtual welcome last week. I enjoyed learning about the many great things taking place there. Our regional campuses play an important role in fulfilling our land-grant mission to provide individuals with the tools they need to achieve success, collaborate with businesses and communities to create prosperity, and provide access to an Ohio State education.

I was pleased to join a discussion about the university’s priorities and critical community partnerships at the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s weekly forum. The recent livestream event is part of the Joseph and Carol Newcomb-Alutto Legacy Forum, and you can read more about it here. Registration is also open for my first State of the University address on February 18. It will begin at 4 p.m. I hope that you are able to join us virtually.

#BuckeyeLove

Buckeyes are defined by our gratitude, compassion and connection with each other and the communities around us. Every year, through the university-wide #BuckeyeLove campaign, we collectively amplify this special aspect of who we are by sharing inspiring moments of affinity, pride and connectedness. These special moments bring us together and compel us to care for one another, and I encourage you to be part of this effort, which is running through February 19.

Please join me in sharing some kindness in the coming weeks.

Sincerely yours,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD
President


COVID-19 Resources

Wellness Resources