LIMA — Area higher educational institutions are taking action in light of the new coronavirus pandemic that’s hit Ohio and beyond.
Ohio State University
On Monday, Ohio State University made public what it is doing to reduce exposure to students, staff and faculty.
A university-wide letter from President Michael V. Drake stated officials are monitoring the outbreak and convened a task force.
“We continue to align our recommendations with and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and other city, state and federal agencies,” Drake said.
As a result, Ohio State and its regional campuses — including Lima — are “suspending face-to-face instruction in lectures, discussion sections, seminars and other similar classroom settings and moving to virtual instruction, effectively immediately and through at least Monday, March 30,” Drake stated.
The university is also preparing plans for telecommuting opportunities for faculty and staff and has banned all university-sponsored international travel.
Rhodes State College
Rhodes State College decided to cancel classes beginning Wednesday, March 11.
According to a news release, “Rhodes State College will no longer have face-to-face classes or labs in response to the Governor’s recommendation about mitigating the spread of the coronavirus — COVID-19. Classes will resume in a remote learning format on Monday, March 16, 2020. There will be no face-to-face classes or labs. All clinical and off-campus activities (including clinicals, internships, field experience and Bradfield Center) and all online classes will continue as scheduled. Remote learning will continue until April 3, 2020. However, this date could be extended.”
Bluffton University is following the recommendations of Gov. Mike DeWine and have established a plan to protect its students, staff and visitors.
“I recognize that this is a deeply disruptive time in our world,” said Jane Wood, Bluffton University president. “As a residential campus, Bluffton University recognizes that some students do not have the ability to return home and therefore the university will remain open, including student support services, the Learning Resource Center, academic resources, residence and dining facilities, athletic and recreation facilities.”
Bluffton University is implementing measures to transition to remote learning.
Face-to-face classes will be in session March 12. All classes are canceled for Friday, March 13 while faculty prepares for remote teaching and learning. Beginning Monday March 16 through April 13, academic coursework will take place in an online format. Clinical and off-campus learning placements will continue at this time.
University of Findlay
The University of Findlay is halting traditional in-person classes beginning Monday, March 16. Those courses will be “delivered remotely and continue until at least Tuesday, April 14.” The U of F has also canceled all academic classes Friday, March 13, and the all-campus meeting that was scheduled on Friday is postponed. Also beginning Monday they are canceling all events, either university-sponsored or on university property until at least April 14.
The university is still planning on holding outdoor athletic events but all indoor sporting competitions will not be permitted.
University-sponsored domestic travel must be approved on an as-needed basis.
University of Northwestern Ohio
The University of Northwestern Ohio is joining other universities in suspending face-to-face instruction after Thursday, March 19. Classes will continue on campus until that time. This will allow the students to complete their current coursework prior to spring break.
UNOH is also closely monitoring the situation and is taking “proactive measures to protect the health and safety of all students, staff and faculty while working to maintain university operations and responsibilities. Hand sanitizers have been placed in all UNOH buildings. UNOH has also “prohibited all university-supported travel to countries under a CDC Level 3 travel restriction and all student group trips to CDC Level 2 or 3 countries.”
Activities at Racers Station have been suspended. The Indoor Athletic Complex will be closed to student use and food services will continue as a grab-and-go service only.
Outdoor athletic competitions will continue at this time, but indoor athletic events have been suspended.
Ohio Northern University
Ohio Northern University in Ada is transitioning to virtual instruction. All academic classes are closed as of Friday, March 13. On Monday, March 16, ONU is suspending all face-to-face instruction with the exception of laboratory sessions for the remainder of the spring semester.
They have also canceled all large gatherings and indoor public events until April 17.
The university is also distributing information for students and faculty, should they become ill and prevention practices like “avoiding close contact with people who are sick, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and of course, washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.”
ONU has formed a task force to address issues surrounding COVID-19 that could impact the on-going operations at the university. The task force consists of several members of the president’s cabinet and leaders of operational units across campus.
ONU is urging students, staff and faculty “to remain at home if symptoms present.”
The university is also advising students, faculty and staff to follow travel alerts from the CDC, DOS and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.