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OUS updates fall opening plans

Ohio University Southern is moving to face-to-face services to assist students in preparing for the Fall 2020 semester.

This phased reopening, announced by Ohio Regional Higher Education, are designed to assist new and returning students advance their academic plans while striving to ensure safety. Beginning July 20, Ohio Southern will provide in-person Student Services appointments.

Prospective and returning students will be able to receive one-on-one assistance with admissions, advising, registration and financial aid.

“We are extending in-person services for those students who prefer non-virtual settings as they complete preparations for fall classes,” said Nicole Pennington, executive dean for Ohio Regional Higher Education and Lifelong Learning, and dean of Campus and Community Relations, Southern Campus.

The campus will also continue to provide student support services remotely. In-person services will be expanded to include limited staffing in IT, testing, and library beginning Aug. 3, Pennington continued.

Southern students who wish to schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor may contact the campus at 740-533-4600.

These student services enhancements will also take place at three of the university’s other regional campuses: Chillicothe, Zanesville and Eastern.

Planning continues for a phased opening at Ohio Lancaster, with face-to-face services delayed until further notice due to the current Level 3 public emergency designation for Fairfield County.

Remote student support services continue to be provided remotely at the five regional campuses.

Throughout July, regional campus leadership will be working with faculty to determine the safest approach to delivering courses.

For in-person classes, the campuses will use guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health to identify and reconfigure spaces to meet student and instructional needs while minimizing risk. Webcams and boundary microphones are being installed in classrooms, which will provide greater flexibility to faculty and students. Regardless of the course delivery mode (in-person, online, OULN, hybrid, etc.), faculty and staff are working to ensure an engaging learning environment for students this fall.

A full complement of health and safety measures will be implemented for the fall semester:
• Masks will be provided to all students and will be required to be worn for students, faculty, and staff when on campus.
• Custodial professionals will clean and disinfect all classrooms and administrative spaces daily.

All classrooms will be stocked with cleaning supplies (disinfecting wipes or spray bottles and paper towels) so that students and employees can disinfect the spaces and equipment they have been used.
• All high-contact service areas, like entrances and lobbies, will be routinely cleaned and disinfected.
• The use of shared objects (e.g., lab equipment, computer equipment, etc.) will be limited, or disinfected between use.
• 6-foot distancing between individuals will be enforced.
• Floor markings and signage will be installed to indicate entry/exit and directional walkways.

Common areas will be rearranged, and spaces marked to reduce density in common areas across each campus.
• Where appropriate, screens or other physical barriers will be installed to allow the campus to meet with students in-person while still maintaining appropriate physical distance.
• Systems will be adjusted to maximize intake and use of outside air; heating ventilation and air conditioning filters will be upgraded to limit the number of particles that can pass through a filter.
• Hand sanitizer will be available throughout all buildings.
• Standard water fountains will be disabled; however, at least one fountain per floor in each building will be equipped with a water bottle filling device.
• Intercollegiate athletics will no longer be offered on the regional campuses through the Ohio Regional Campus Conference; plans call for athletic programming to resume at Chillicothe, Eastern, and Lancaster through club or intramural opportunities once it is safe to do so.
Students and community members are encouraged to check the OHIO Southern Coronavirus webpage at https://www.ohio.edu/Southern/coronavirus for more details.