OSU students deal with confusing COVID-19 messages as school year begins


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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Moving on to campus looks a lot different for Buckeyes this year.

Some students said the process has been confusing as Ohio State University expands its COVID-19 surveillance testing program, saying they’re confused by some of the different emails and messages they’ve gotten about testing for the virus.

There has also been some confusion over what happens if they don’t show up for their testing time at the student health center.

“It’s been pretty stressful,” said student Jared Naughton. “But we got it done and it was good to get here a little early before classes started.”

A video shot by Naughton’s mother Friday afternoon when testing was happening showed students lined up all over the area.

According to a statement from an OSU spokesperson, 500 students were notified they were scheduled for testing between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Some said they didn’t get the email until after 3 p.m.

“Yesterday, when we saw the line, we were like, ‘Oh, gosh,'” said Lela Naughton.

But during testing Saturday, it was a much quieter scene, with the line being much smaller.

A message that went out to students said if they don’t complete the testing, they will lose access to their residence and be referred to student conduct.

A university spokesperson said OSU’s testing web page explains the process if students don’t show up for the test – the student will be contacted to reschedule.

If the student still doesn’t show up, they’ll be told to quarantine until testing, Buck-ID access to non-residential spaces will be turned off, and a report will be made to student conduct.

“I was a little confused at first, I think a lot of people were, especially when all the emails started coming,” said OSU sophomore Jamilex Claudio. “’Oh, you have to get tested.’ At first, it was like it’s not mandatory until the 25th and now it’s like you have to do it right when you get here, so it was like a lot of confusion going on, but after I got it, it wasn’t that bad.”

A statement from OSU stated there’s ample space outdoors to physically distance while waiting, and when a thunderstorm came through Friday afternoon, staff quickly reestablished physical distancing with students inside.

“One email will say something and then another email will say the exact opposite, just literally changes hour to hour,” said Jared Naughton.

“Stressful, just because it changes every day,” added Lela Naughton. “The rules and what’s open, what’s not open, I think going forward, I think OSU is doing the best they can.”

There was also some confusion about students thinking they had to quarantine until the test results came back. An email sent to students Saturday afternoon said that unless the student has been exposed, showed symptoms, or are under a travel quarantine, then the student can do things as normal, but must keep six feet apart and wear a mask.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

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