OU spring break cutler hall college green

File photo of Ohio University’s College Green, which was quite empty during spring break 2020 after news broke of in-person classes being canceled due to concerns about the spread of COVID 19. Photo by Conor Morris.

As of today, Ohio University is moving forward with plans to reopen its campuses for the fall 2020 semester, after those campuses were closed for in-person classes due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) this spring and summer.

That’s according to a release issued by the university this morning (May 14), which noted that OU is developing “several scenarios” – with input from state and local health officials and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine – to safely reopen campus operations starting this fall.

“With the health and safety of our University community at the top of our minds, we are planning for our new normal,” OU President Duane Nellis said in the release. “It is our hope and intention that we will return to in-person instruction in the fall if it is safe for us to do so.”

OU said in the release that it will “adjust as necessary” as information about the coronavirus continues to evolve.

“Should it be necessary or required to start the fall semester remotely, we will be prepared with a full array of courses using innovative modalities,” OU Provost Elizabeth Sayrs said in the news release. “Our outstanding faculty are already working with the Office of Instructional Innovation and University Libraries to draw on the University’s longstanding strength in distance education.”

The university has developed working groups to help guide it in the reopening plans, according to the release, although it doesn’t note who exactly is part of those groups. Those groups include:

• A public health group focused on “testing and quarantine needs and coordinating with local public health officials.”

• A group focused on personal protective equipment supplies and procurement.

• A group focused on “bringing employees back safely.”

• An academic “scenario planning” group.

• A student experiences group.

• An academic policy group.

• And a group focused on research and lab spaces.

Plans from each group are being brought to a “coordinating council” to make recommendations to Nellis by the end of June, according to the release.

This news comes as OU is set to announce furloughs (temporary leave) tomorrow (Friday), and announced layoffs for 140 workers earlier this month. The NEWS will follow up when we learn more about the furloughs.

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