CoVID-19 Update: Ohio State Announces Community Testing Plans for Fall 2020 Semester

Brendan Gulick

The Ohio State University announced on Friday its plans for a comprehensive community testing program as they prepare for the fall semester.

Testing will begin before the fall semester officially starts with “a random sample of up to 6,500 undergraduate students.” Students who test positive will be required to quarantine – at their homes (if they have not yet moved onto campus) or in on-campus isolation housing. The university wants to establish a baseline of positive cases as students return to campus and they plan to “compare to results from ongoing student testing that will occur over the course of the semester."

Here is the entire announcement from the university.

Ohio State says it will cover the costs of asymptomatic testing, which will be conducted throughout the semester and will be available on a voluntary basis to faculty, staff, graduate and professional students. Undergraduate students will be required to test randomly.

As it relates to athletics, Ohio State football players returned to campus in early June and have been tested several times since coming to campus. The university is not releasing any data publicly regarding how many students-athletes have tested positive.

The general student population is also being asked to sign a document called the Together as Buckeyes Pledge. It includes much of the same language as the Buckeye Pledge that student-athletes signed when they returned to campus for voluntary workouts. All students, faculty and staff are required to complete a training course on community health and safety before the semester begins on August 25.

“As a member of the Buckeye community, I know that I must take steps to stay well in order to protect others and promote a safe return to campus for all Buckeyes. Taking steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 at Ohio State is a shared responsibility,” the Together as Buckeyes Pledge reads in part. “I know that by coming onto campus to engage in work or education-related activities that I may be exposed to COVID-19. I also understand that despite all reasonable efforts by the university, I can still contract COVID-19."

“I understand that COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus and it is possible to develop and contract the COVID-19 disease even if I follow all of the safety recommendations of the university and comply with the Pledge,” the pledge continues. “I understand that even though the university is following the guidelines issued by the CDC and other experts to reduce the spread of infection, a COVID-19 free environment can never be guaranteed. I also acknowledge that this Pledge is a condition of being on any of The Ohio State University campuses. I understand that if I do not honor my pledge, I would be failing to comply with a legitimate university directive and pursuant to university policies, students, faculty, and staff will be subject to the appropriate accountability measures and disciplinary actions.”

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