Ohio University to open in fall

By Jennifer Smola - The Columbus Dispatch

ATHENS, Ohio — Ohio University is planning to reopen its campus this fall, school leaders announced Thursday.

The Athens college joins a growing number of Ohio schools planning for a return to campus this fall, after unprecedented spring semesters in which colleges quickly pivoted to online learning and moved students out of dorms due to coronavirus concerns.

Otterbein University, Muskingum University, Ohio Wesleyan University and others have announced similar plans for the 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 M. Duane Nellis said in a news release Thursday. “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.”

The university has developed working groups to plan for the fall, focusing on public health, testing and quarantine needs; personal protective equipment; the return of employees; academic planning; student experiences; academic policy; and research and lab spaces.

Each working group will make recommendations to the president by the end of June, OU said in its news release.

The university will adjust as needed, as information about COVID-19 continues to evolve. If it is necessary 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.

Meanwhile, Urbana University will close and cease enrollments at the end of the 2020 Spring semester partly due to the coronavirus. Closing the university will affect 350 students and 111 full-time employees, school officials said.

By Jennifer Smola

The Columbus Dispatch

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