OSU: Impact of Covid 19 on instruction, dorms and student wellfare in 2020-2021

What is the latest news about classes, dorms, dining halls, and protecting student welfare at OSU? How will this change, and what will the impact be on students?

The link to the school’s website is below, but this forum can also provide a means for students and parents to raise questions, share news and discuss concerns about the upcoming academic year.

From the information disbursed so far (and given Ohio’s rising case numbers, this could change quickly), here are some items and concerns we’ve been discussing:

  • Some classes will be virtual and some will be in-person. No specifics are available. Will labs take place? Will students attend live classes once or twice a week only? Will underclassmen be treated differently than upperclassmen?
  • In the next week or so, OSU is supposed to be informing incoming students about dorm assignments, and provide sign-up opportunities for move-in dates/times.
  • Dining halls will restrict eat-in dining, with pre-ordering of boxed mails being the norm.
  • Masks are to be worn virtually everywhere except inside dorm rooms. Really? As one professor remarked, "I can't get to put down their cell phones; how can I make them wear masks?"
  • How will students get to and from their dorm rooms in an 11 story dorm while maintaining distance in elevators?
  • While deferrments are being liberally granted, what are the details of this (one semester or two, can engineering students and others with defined course pathways begin in the spring semester)? Will there be an impact on scholarships?

This uncertainty is pretty unnerving for our student, and for us.


Thanks for staring this thread. I have an Pre-engineering freshman. I don’t see OSU’s plans being all that different than other major public universities.

Was scratching my head for a while trying to see how they could ‘de-densify’ unless a LOT of sophomores moved off campus. Our community sends about 50 kids to OSU each year and through my asking around it seems most of them did indeed find a place off campus.

My son has not picked his classes yet (he will on Monday) so no clue on his online/f2f ratio. One of his best friends has picked his classes and all of them but one is currently f2f; he is honors engineering though, and my son is not. Two of my son’s required courses (because of Engineering) have labs. And one of his required courses is not a popular one so I expect it to be on the smaller side. At the moment, I suspect he will have at least 2 f2f classes.

His roommate is not engineering, but his academic building is also in the north campus. No clue if they’ll even be roommates anymore?

My S has zero interest in a deferment of any length. He may cash in on one of the AP credits he has (calculus, physics or chemistry) and hold off on taking the next in the series until the spring and knock off a Gen Ed course this Fall instead, if they will let him. He seems unbothered by having a large # of online classes, but he was looking forward to the labs. And football.

I guess we will all know more after this coming week.

Here’s a more recent update from OSU:


The dorm plan is still murky, with de-densifying in some manner possible. Students who have been exposed to someone with the virus will be moved to a quarentine dorm, and those actually diagnosed with the virus will be moved to an isolation dorm.

Reporting in on S20’s discussion with advisor during his orientation. . First, the call was extremely useful to my son and answered a ton of questions he had, not only about this year, but the following years. Advisor was a prof in his intended engineering major and he was fantastic. S20 hasn’t been as excited about OSU since he visited almost a year ago. Well-done, OSU Engineering!

Course selection went well. S20 was concerned about basically repeating his senior HS year because the HS courses were exactly the first year Pre-engineering courses. But he didn’t want to leap frog courses which covered significantly more content at OSU compared to his HS. After much discussion, they settled on his moving to the second level for two of the foundational courses and sticking with the first level for one, which is a specially designed course for kids In that situation.

Maybe because he’s an early riser and preferred morning sections, he ended up with only one online course. This may change, but he does have one mongo lab which is really foundational for him, so that one should stick as-is (if students are on campus).

The whole thing turned out perfectly, actually. He’s super excited and is anxiously awaiting his dorm assignment email.

Onward. Hopefully.

DS20 signed up for all in person classes (except the survey) which were subsequently all changed to online. With limited dining hall seating, where is everyone going to eat? In their rooms? Not sure about carrying meals from the dining hall to your dorm every day during the winter in Columbus. Anyone who wants to compare OSU’s plans to other major public universities should take a look at Michigan and Wisconsin.

Cypresspat - Thank you for the update. My daughter (not an 8:00 am person) is pre-engineering (Mechanical) and is slowly freaking out as her course list continuously moves to on-line, and the advisor she spoke with merely shrugged. (Can you share with me the professor’s name that your son spoke with - my daughter could use a morale boost.)

Meanwhile, the Washington Post’s recent story on weaknesses in many school’s student health services (OSU was not mentioned, though Ohio University was highly critisized) raises the question about the quality of medical care that seriously ill students will receive while in isolation.

During our older daughter’s tenure at OSU, we were continuously impressed by the efficiency of the school’s administrative procedures, especially for such a huge population, and that gives us some optimism about its handling of this new challenge. Still, we will not be at all surprised if OSU sends everyone home in October.

@Thinking101 I’ll have to ask my son for the prof’s name and I’ll PM it to you if he remembers it (not optimistic about that!). And I expect some of his classes to move to online, too. He’s only taking four classes (one is a 6 hour class, including a lab). He’s in the chemical engineering track, too, which is WAY smaller than the mechanical engineering track. I expect, for sure, his engineering survey class will move online. I suspect the chemistry and math class will stick, though. They are both 2000 level courses and probably on the smaller size by their very nature of being unpopular. He’s totally fine with some (even a majority) of classes being online. He isn’t exactly Mr. Socializing and he’s taken a lot of online courses on his own.

I’m not really worried about OSU’s health services. OSU has a major medical center on campus, and it is a R1 university. Plus, my son is not one to suffer in silence. If he’s sick, he’ll tell me and I’ll be there within 2 hours to bring him home to isolate or quarantine.

Who the heck knows if any college will make it through the semester with kids on campus. As my oldest said the other day (he’s an OSU alum), “if they’re actually considering NOT playing football, they are NOT fooling around with this one bit.”

My son is an incoming freshman in Fisher. At this point he only has one F2F class, which is kind of a bummer, but he just wants to GO. He got his housing assignment yesterday, which was reassuring. Fingers crossed things move along.

@rbc2018 My S20 (freshman engineering) got his room assignment yesterday also. That felt like a step forward, but now we wait until he can pick a move in day on August 1. Our HS sends about 40-50 kids a year to OSU and we’ve checked around to see what the plans are for most. We know of only one gap year taker; even the kids with 100% online are a ‘go.’ But we are in-state and the tuition cost is low so no one is griping about that (OOS, different story). The kids just want the heck out of their parent’s home.

Since my s20 finally read an email from OSU in its entirety, the reality of the restrictions have just hit him. We need to spend a lot of time setting expectations. So many unknowns… regardless of the institution. He’s not a go-with-the-flow kind of guy but he is a very serious student. Hopefully he can get his head in the right place for this.

@rbc2018 - in fisher also, and same boat, and going…1/5 in person.

The Governor of Ohio yesterday mandated that all residents wear masks while not in their residence. There was no change to guidelines for schools.


The Governor also issued a directive that travelers coming into Ohio from several states remain quarentined for 14 days. How will this affect students arriving at OSU from those states:

"Those traveling from one of the following states should self-quarantine for 14 days at home or in a hotel.

South Carolina

For Columbus students make sure you are getting student legal services. There is a very nominal fee for this service, but if you decline you can not opt in later.




Email sent to students, below, requiring completion of survey and quarentining on campus.

NOTE: students must file a survey response by 5pm today (7/29) or face consequences (i.e., if they are from a quarentine state, they may need to pay for their quarentine expenses at OSU).

NOTE: if the student is from a quarentine state, they should arrive at OSU around August 8-9, to allow time before classes begin.

As of 7/22, the list of states at 15% or higher was the following, but this could change:

AZ 24.0%

NV 20.5%

FL 18.9%

ID 18.6%

AL 18.4%

MS 17.7%

SC 15.9%

GA 15.2%

TX 15.0%

Here’s a link to a Johns Hopkins website listing current positive testing rates:


Hello [NAME],

Following guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and a recent travel advisory from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, The Ohio State University will ask students traveling to Ohio from impacted locations to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to campus. This includes students traveling to campus from an international departure and those entering Ohio after travel to states reporting positive testing rates of 15% or higher for COVID-19.

This list of locations is updated regularly, and guidance may change over time, depending upon the prevalence of the virus in specific states or international locations.

Based on current projections, the university plans to provide temporary on-campus quarantine housing, including meals, at no additional expense for students with University Housing contracts. Students will be asked to remain in quarantine housing until the completion of the 14 days at which time they can move to their permanent assignment for the autumn 2020 semester. Students may be housed with another student during the quarantine period. No visitors will be allowed to quarantine housing.

To assist in our planning process and understanding of the locations from which students are traveling to Ohio State, we are requiring all students with University Housing contracts to complete a survey (also linked below) by Wednesday, July 29 at 5 p.m. If you do not complete this survey, you may need to complete your quarantine at an off-campus location at your own expense.

Students traveling from states meeting the positive testing rate criteria or returning from international travel are asked to arrive on campus, if possible, on August 8 or 9 to allow for completion of the 14-day quarantine prior to the beginning of classes. If you have already made travel plans which cannot be altered, the survey will allow you to provide this information so we can make alternate arrangements for on-campus housing.

Should this guidance change, we will provide additional information on next steps. Thank you again for your flexibility and best wishes as you make final preparations for autumn semester.

Survey link à http://go.osu.edu/fallmove

There is a lot of Covid related activity going on at OSU. Unfortunately, not a lot of information is being distributed by the administration. Below is what I’ve been able to gather from my daughter, whose weekly test came back “positive” on Friday night, and also from Reddit’s OSU blog, in which staff members and RA’s post their versions of staff briefings.

Dorm students were tested randomly before arriving, then everyone was tested upon arrival, and then again on a weekly basis. The positivity rate (percent of persons tested who are positive for the virus) has increased from roughly 3.5 to almost 6. Two dorms set up for covid positive dorm students are now full (Lawrence and Barnett) and the last (Houck) is now being filled. From the staff members’ postings, if/when Houck fills, there is a hotel that can house another 100 students, and then the system is maxed out.

My daughter’s test results were emailed to her around 9:00 Friday evening (a bit more than 48 hours from the test), and she and her roommate were told to continue rooming together that night. The roommate refused, and was transferred somewhere else that evening. My daughter was moved the next day. She, and the other quarantined students around her have only minor symptoms if any, and my daughter will be released after 10 days from the date the test was taken. She says that High Street is packed, with many/most people not wearing masks. Students in the dorms rarely wear masks while on their own floor.

It would be helpful if OSU published case numbers, like many other schools do. Without objective data, this anecdotal information does not present much room for optimism.



Wow am I reading the dashboard correctly that on Aug 27 they had 91 new positives for that day? @Thinking101 I hope that your daughter has a mild case and a comfortable quarantine. I hope OSU can pull it together quickly somehow.

Thanks for the link, BuckeyeMWDSG. Very useful information, but 4 days old. Hopefully, OSU will update it frequently.

Thanks for your thoughts, TS0104, she has a runny nose, and that’s all. She feels lonely (describing it variously as “hell” and “prison” (cinder block walls, bad food) but she can handle it for a week.