COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Tens of thousands of college students are back in central Ohio with spring semester beginning on Monday for Ohio State University.
Despite rising case numbers, the university is moving forward with in-person classes as they tweak their latest health and safety guidelines.
“I live in a sorority house, so we also have to get tested at our house with the take home tests, and here, which is what I’m here to do,” explains Miya Sivakumaran, a sophomore engineering student at Ohio State
With Ohio experiencing some of the highest case numbers seen during the pandemic, students who live on campus are required to test as soon as they arrive back in central Ohio.
“They’ve taken a lot of measures, so I feel pretty safe,” admits freshman Xander Hake.
In line with the new CDC guidance, students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for five days either at home, or at hotel.
The university does maintain an on-campus isolation residence hall, however the bed space is limited and prioritized for out-of-state students.
Students can return to class only if they’re symptom free, and they continue to mask up — both indoors and outdoors.
“The university is trying to protect us. If we follow the rules and wear masks all the time, it’s going to be good for us to stay away from COVID,” says Zixin Luo, a first-year student from China.
Luo, who traveled to Florida for more than two weeks during the holidays, says she wore a mask throughout her trip to protect from the virus.
But for some students, the increased caution isn’t just about them and their classmates.
“My dad is kind of immunocompromised, so I’ve always been pretty safe, and I wear a mask everywhere,” Hake adds.
For others, it’s about maximizing their time learning potential in the classroom.
“I hope that we can stay in-person. I’m glad that they are prioritizing that,” Sivakumaran says.
Ohio State does still have a vaccine requirement and any unvaccinated students or staff must take a weekly PCR test.
But university leaders continue to encourage vaccinations and boosters.
“Actually [I] was exposed to COVID over break. I wasn’t able to get my booster so I’m really glad it’s really easy to get it here because I’m hopefully going to do that in the next few days,” adds Sivakumaran.
And for the students, school leaders say prioritizing health and safety is the best way for campus life to continue.
“I personally have the booster so I’ve done everything I can do, so I just kind of hope everyone else has done what they can do as well,” Hake encourages.
The university’s booster clinic has available times slots Tuesdays through Fridays.
Students can schedule a time to receive their booster shot online through their MyChart account.