UF continues ongoing adjustments and considerations
By Leah Alsept
Governor Mike DeWine addressed Ohioans Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. which was a break from his traditional 2 p.m. news conferences. The address was from his home in Cedarville and was reminiscent of a Roosevelt-era fireside chat. But his message was simple: Wear your masks and stay socially distanced.
Ohio’s new Retail Compliance Unit began today, Nov. 16, inspecting to ensure compliance with the mask order according to DeWine. Ohio’s mask mandate for retailers have been updated to reinforce previous orders that have been issued. DeWine’s Twitter account posted Saturday key points from the mandate, including “All retailers should place hand-sanitizer in high-contact areas,” “All retailers must post and enforce a sign indicating that masks are required at all times,” and “Each business should designate an on-site compliance officer for each business location and each shift during all business hours to enforce these requirements.” The full order can be read here.
These requirements do not apply to “restaurants, bars, banquet/catering centers, hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barbershops, tattoo/body piercing locations, tanning facilities, gyms, dance studios, or fitness venues” because the businesses fall under previously issued orders, he said through his Twitter account.
These businesses are not exempt from closing, though, as DeWine said on Wednesday during his address, that “bars, restaurants, and fitness centers” could be shut down next week from if the current rise in cases continue. There was a spike in coronavirus cases reported to the CDC on Nov. 9, with 6,607 cases being reported. Hancock County reported only 22 cases that Monday.
Despite focusing on the mask mandate for retailers, DeWine also mentioned the education system, thanking colleges and universities for agreeing to go fully online once Thanksgiving break begins.
Higher education is not exempt from staying distanced either, as the Governor noted on Wednesday that “unless we dramatically slow the community spread of the virus, our higher education institutions may have to remain virtual when school opens in January.”
The University of Findlay is one school that saw a rise in cases a few weeks ago, although Dave Emsweller, Vice President of Student Affairs, says his office is trying to come up with a plan for students, staff, and faculty next semester. His strategy includes talking directly to students and working with them to see what they should do to help Oilers at the University of Findlay.
“We’re gonna look at the testing, we’re gonna look at the quarantining protocol and isolation, and we’re gonna try and see what things we can do to streamline some things and clear up some confusion that some people may have,” he said about his plans for the Spring semester.
Another plan Emsweller has that’s already in action is rapid testing of asymptomatic people on campus. The school has received rapid tests from the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities but can only use them for testing of asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus.
“Our goal is to try to get more of those rapid tests and be permitted to use them anyway that we would like. That way we could do things like for instance, a student wants to get tested to find out if they have it, we would have access to those tests and say sure,” Emsweller said.
The group of students Emsweller is working with involve Student Government Association, including the current President, Olunife Akinomolayan, who Emsweller says is going to help coordinate the announcements and clear planning of protocol for the Spring semester.
“It’s critical that students help us with this. That, to me, is the missing piece right now,” Emsweller said. “We can talk about wearing face coverings, we can talk about physical distancing, we can talk about all of it—we need students to help us do it though. And that’s what we really need—people to understand that it does make a difference.”
To read more about Ohio’s plans to contain coronavirus and updated information on cases statewide, please visit coronavirus.ohio.gov. To learn more about COVID-19 at the University of Findlay, please visit the COVID-19 information webpage.