The University takes proactive stance on COVID-19

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recommends all Ohio universities move to online instruction

By Madelynn Greenslade and Pulse Staff

The World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11. One day after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine made recommendations to Ohio universities and colleges on how to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The University of Findlay heeded the advice of DeWine and announced all educational instruction is moving to an online format starting Monday, March 16. UF President Dr. Katherine Fell made the announcement via email Tuesday, March 10.

Some college campuses had already opted for precaution and moved classes online instead of traditional face-to-face instruction. The Ohio State University lead the way in Ohio announcing on Monday, March 9 that all classes were moving to an online format.

The switch brings up a lot of questions for students including travel and study abroad programs.

Lyndsey Howell is a junior education major at the University of Findlay. She planned on studying abroad in Japan this May. Howell worried about what might happen to her trip now.

“There is potential that my trip could be canceled after I invested money into it,” said Howell.

The University’s announcement to the UF community says “effective immediately and until further notice, all university-sponsored international travel is suspended. This includes new travel as well as any currently booked trips.”

In a news conference Tuesday, March 10, DeWine said he personally had discussions with two-year college presidents and four-year college presidents in the public arena in Ohio as well as a conference call with private colleges in Ohio.

“This is the guidance from the experts,” DeWine said. “The goal is to avoid gatherings of large numbers of people.”

He offered four recommendations for universities, though he noted each institution is in a different position in regards to students coming back from spring break.

“As students come back (from a foreign country) the strong recommendation is…each one should be screened by that clinic, campus clinic,” DeWine said. “This includes any students coming off a cruise ship.”

Fell’s email to the UF Community clarified this: “Travelers returning from Level 3 warning countries are required to report their exposure to the Cosiano Health Center and to observe a 14-day period of self-quarantine and monitoring.”

The second recommendation by the governor is that universities should eliminate any international travel for students or faculty.

The third thing to do is to minimize the gathering of groups together.

“And the fourth is that colleges and universities in Ohio go to remote learning,” DeWine said. “Don’t have any classes where there are students there and professors there. This is recommendations from experts.”

The United States Department of Health and Human Services report total cases of COVID-19 at 983 and 29 deaths.

More than 340,000 Americans studied abroad during the 2017-2018 academic year, according to a CNN article published on March 9.

“This is a rare opportunity that I will not have again and the coronavirus could be the reason I do not get to go abroad during my college years,” Howell said.

On March 9 DeWine signed Executive Order 2020-01D, “declaring a state of emergency in Ohio to protect the well-being of Ohioans from the dangerous effects of COVID-19. The state of emergency allows state departments and agencies to better coordinate in their response,” according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Resources for those looking for more information about COVID-19 in Ohio and how to prepare can log on to https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/.

 

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