Peden stadium

The distinctive marker for Ohio University on Peden Stadium in the background of the blooming cherry trees.

Ohio University shared on Monday a list of the academic and athletics programs that will permit students to return to campus for in-person instruction this month as part of its plan to bring select groups of students back to town in phases.

The university plans to bring back 276 student athletes as part of phase 1 — Aug. 24 through Sept. 27 — from the following teams: football, volleyball, soccer, field hockey, cross-country (men’s and women’s), golf (men’s and women’s), and basketball (men’s and women’s).

Of those students, 107 will live in residence halls and the rest off-campus, a spokesperson said.

A limited number of resident assistants will also return to campus in phase 1.

Some select juniors and seniors in the Honors Tutorial College, The Russ College of Engineering, The College of Fine Arts and The College of Arts and Sciences will return to the university to access on-campus resources or specialized spaces to conduct research or to assist them in completing their theses.

All students enrolled in the Russ College’s aviation program and all third-year nursing students will also return to campus, as will some “upper-level on-campus interns” in The Patton College of Education.

Additionally, all juniors and seniors enrolled in the Reserve Office Training Corps (ROTC) will return.

No students, however, in either The Scripps College of Communication or The College of Business are permitted to return in phase 1.

It’s unclear exactly how many undergraduate students will return in phase 1, but it’s likely that many will live in off-campus residencies given that most who are eligible for return are juniors or seniors.

At the graduate level, students who need labs or specialized equipment to complete their graduate or teaching assistantships will return.

Medical students in The Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine began a hybrid program in July, which will continue through fall semester.

In The College of Arts and Sciences some biology, chemistry, geology, and environmental and plant biology master’s and doctoral program students will return.

And in The College of Health Sciences and Professions master’s program students in the speech language pathology, physician assistant, MSDI FNS programs will come back. Doctoral students in audiology and physical therapy are included as well.

Through a phased return to campus, OU plans to eventually allow more students to participate in some face-to-face classes, depending on public health recommendations and the state of the pandemic at large.

Phase 2 is set to begin Sept. 28 and will increase face-to-face classes “as much as possible,” though there is no guarantee it will ever see the light of day.

Students not included in phase 1 who require on-campus housing for an extenuating circumstance have the ability to submit a request for approval to live in a dorm, similar to what was done during this past spring semester when students were abruptly sent home following their spring break. Those who wish to apply can do so; the deadline for requests is Aug. 5.

Housing assignments for those whose requests are approved will be completed by Aug. 10 with a move-in date and time, a university spokesperson said.

While the semester is still set to begin at the end of August, most students enrolled at the Athens campus will start their fall classes remotely on Aug. 24 and continue remotely at least through Sept. 27, according to a statement from the university.

OU President Duane Nellis in a letter acknowledged last Friday that the university formulated much of its reopening plan during May and June when COVID-19 cases were largely down in both Ohio and across the county, but that the current realities of the pandemic have led them to amend their approach to operating an institution that would have rapidly re-introduced thousands of students into the community.

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