A return to on-campus operations could be imminent for Ohio State.
University president Michael Drake told The Lantern on Thursday that the school could begin transitioning faculty and staff back on campus in the next few weeks, and will reach a decision regarding the fall semester by the end of June.
“Given the current models, and a favorable month of May and a good and safe and smooth return in later May and June to July, by the end of June, we would be able to say, ‘Gee, here’s what our fall looks like,’ and that can be good or not so good depending on what those things look like,” Drake told The Lantern.
Once students do return to campus for fall semester, Drake said safety modifications will likely include more online and hybrid classes, students wearing masks on campus, and other social distancing strategies.
Ohio State has not had in-person classes since March 6 and has already announced the cancellation of events through July 6 and that all summer courses will be online.
A return to on-campus operations is a crucial step towards the return of collegiate athletics with the consensus belief that college sports will not return without students returning to campus.
Drake said last week that he does expect the COVID-19 pandemic to affect the college football season, saying “whatever it is next year, it won’t be the same as it was last year.”
Adding to those statements, Drake told The Lantern that those changes could include extra hand washing and sanitizing stations or a different length of the season.
“We’d want to have a decision as soon as possible because if we are going to plan for a different fall, we want to plan for a different fall when everybody can do that,” Drake said.