Ohio University announced Tuesday a list of revisions to the university’s COVID-19 health protocols following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, and statewide guidelines.
In a university-wide email from Gillian Ice, special assistant to the president for public health operations, and Ken Johnson, chief medical affairs officer, OU revealed changes to its policies regarding face coverings, physical distancing and university events.
Face coverings are no longer required for individuals outdoors regardless of vaccination status. Despite this change, OU still encourages unvaccinated individuals to wear facial coverings and distance themselves from other unvaccinated individuals, according to the email.
When indoors, face coverings are still required regardless of vaccination status, except when students are in their own residence halls and are practicing physical distancing. Students are also not required to wear face coverings when dining or when working alone in closed spaces.
In regards to physical distancing, it is no longer required for individuals when outdoors. As with face coverings, unvaccinated individuals are encouraged — but not required — to maintain distance while outside.
In classrooms, individuals are expected to maintain at least 3 feet distance from others, according to the email. At other indoor locations on campus, a 6-foot physical distance is expected.
OU also made changes to university events, including a removal of all COVID-19 capacity limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings as long as distancing protocols are exercised. Additionally, events being held in campus buildings are subject to mandatory approval by OU.
“As always, our decisions are informed by national and state science-based guidance, paired with local data on actual disease spread on our campuses and in surrounding communities,” Ice and Johnson said in the email.
Moving forward, OU plans to continue to amend and relax university guidelines with hopes to remove all COVID-19 health provisions when vaccination goals are met. University officials have said OU’s vaccination goal for the campus community is to reach a threshold of at least 70%.
“It is because we all have worked so hard to follow safety protocols during this challenging year that we are now able to enjoy the results of our success. As we return to doing so many of the things we enjoy, please remember that every individual is managing their own risk factors,” Ice and Johnson said in the email. “Let’s all support each other in being healthy and safe while welcoming a more relaxed campus environment.”