OHIO announces new public health measures

The following message was shared with the OHIO community on June 16, 2021.

Dear Colleagues,

Today we have important news to share about public health policies at our locations. From now on, fully vaccinated people do not have to wear masks indoors, unless otherwise required in the healthcare sector, in the clinic or on public transport. Unvaccinated individuals must wear masks indoors, and we recommend doing so outdoors if the physical distance of six feet cannot be maintained.

Fully vaccinated people no longer need to maintain physical distance on campus, even in indoor public spaces outside of the classroom. In the classrooms, everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must keep a distance of one meter. In all other public indoor spaces, unvaccinated persons must keep a physical distance of two meters. As previously announced, nobody is required to keep their distance outdoors, although we strongly encourage unvaccinated people to keep their distance outside.

The relaxation of these public health measures for the fully vaccinated is in line with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Universities. Combined with relatively low case numbers in our campus communities and our success in treating disease on campus over the past year through other public health interventions, including asymptomatic testing and our dormitory counseling system, we are confident that we will continue to receive disease the campus can handle.

As we announced last week, even fully vaccinated people do not need to take asymptomatic tests. Unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff must take a weekly test COVID-19 test path program. Vaccinated or not, if you have not yet chosen your route, please do so immediately. Those who choose the vaccination pathway will have the option to upload their vaccination card to be exempt from testing.

If we know how many choose to take the vaccination path, we can calculate vaccination rates on campus. Although Ohio University does not mandate a vaccination against COVID-19, we strongly recommend it.

It’s important to point out why this welcome policy change is possible: the COVID-19 vaccines are working. Vaccinations are the leading prevention strategy to protect people from disease and end the pandemic. However, for those of us who are not vaccinated, there is still a real risk.

If you haven’t been vaccinated, you can book an appointment anywhere in Ohio via the country’s website. The vaccines are incredibly effective at preventing disease, and there is growing evidence to suggest they protect others around us who are at increased risk of serious illness.

On the OHIO campus, where we support a mixed population of vaccinated and unvaccinated people, we all have to make sure that not everyone with these changes has the same level of comfort. While this will be welcome news to many, some vaccinated individuals may continue to wear masks when we venture into new territory due to additional health risks or as a preference. We encourage everyone to wear and wear a mask when interacting closely with those who choose to wear face covering. Please be respectful and compassionate with one another as we make this transition.

We would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard for the safety of our campus for over a year. Your actions help us get back to the Bobcat experiences we all know and love.

Dr. Hugh Sherman

Dr. Gillian Ice

Kenneth Johnson, DO

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