ADA — Ohio Northern University students moved onto campus this past week and are getting acclimated to campus life changed dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes begin Monday.
“I’m really proud of Ohio Northern for all of the steps that they’ve taken to protect students,” said Kennedy Cook, a junior political science-communications double major from Columbus, Indiana. “I think it’s really great giving out the polar packs and trying to arrange classes so that we can be socially distant. I’m just overall really impressed with the measures the school has taken.”
Likewise, Cece Speck, a junior pharmacy major from Akron, is ready to start face-to-face learning.
“I’m ready for it. I think that we’ve been prepared throughout the summer. We’ve had a lot of emails, communications from the university, like really explaining what they’re trying to do, letting us know how these measures are going to work and how they’re going to protect us. So I do feel safe, and I am proud with how they handled the whole situation. They really made a lot of changes, and they really have us in mind, the students, and they’re making this work for us because they know that we want to come back and they want to have us back,” Speck said.
On Sunday, ONU hosted Welcome Fest, a chance for new students to be introduced to the numerous campus organizations and activities. Representatives of around 120 student groups participated in the event.
According to the University’s website, “ONU has adopted an Early Start Early Finish academic calendar for the fall semester. This revised calendar is one way in which the University is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control regarding the coronavirus.”
“ONU will conclude all fall semester in-person instruction prior to Thanksgiving before the flu season ramps up. Additionally, this calendar eliminates breaks during the fall semester when students may incur additional risk of infection due to departing campus to many destinations and return to campus after a short time away.”
Other area colleges have worked out similar plans.
Bluffton University students move in between Thursday and Aug. 17 and return to class on Aug. 17.
Like ONU, Bluffton started classes earlier and plan to end the fall semester by Thanksgiving break. Students will not return until spring semester begins.
Bluffton University continues to be guided by not only the CDC Guidelines for Institutes of Higher Learning but also The Responsible RestartOhio: Higher Education Minimum Operating Standards and Recommended Best Practices, ACHAA Guidelines for Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education and guidance from Allen County Public Health.
Bluffton’s plans include symptom monitoring, social distancing, wearing of facial coverings, testing, contact tracing and isolation and quarantine — if necessary.
University of Northwestern Ohio
The University of Northwestern Ohio plans in-person classes beginning Sept. 14.
Since they’re starting later than other schools, their return to class plan is fluid, depending on the impact of COVID-19 to Allen County.
UNOH developed a three-phase plan designed to safely and deliberately return employees and students back to campus. The phases were developed based on the current guidance of the Ohio Department of Health, Allen County Public Health and other best practices to support the successful reopening of the Lima campus.
University of Findlay
The University of Findlay is promoting its Oiler Start Safe & Stay Safe Plan to keep students and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes begin Aug. 17.
The plan covers anything from promoting health and safety to managing off-campus experiences and travel.
As you might guess, they are calling for good hygiene, physical distancing and the use of face coverings.
Class sizes will be limited to allow for physical distancing.
Fall semester classes will pivot online after Thanksgiving break, with the last week of classes and final exams done remotely.
Ohio Northern University
As part of the university’s COVID-19 Return-to-Campus Implementation Plan, students will be required to practice safe hygiene including taking their temperature, wearing face coverings and social distancing.
Athletes and marching band members will undergo mandatory testing for COVID-19.
Classrooms and labs will be reconfigured to allow for more physical distancing.
Residence hall density will also be reduced and include spaces where students, who may be symptomatic, can safely quarantine.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.