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Ohio State Move-In: 10 More Days, Thousands Fewer Students, And A Lot Of Sanitizer

Ohio State's campus was left mostly empty in April after the school sent students home during the pandemic.
David Holm
Ohio State's campus was left mostly empty in April after the school sent students home during the pandemic.

Ohio State move-in is happening right now, but the highways might not be as clogged as Central Ohioans remember from previous years. The school is spreading the event over 12 days instead of the usual weekend.

Dave Isaacs in the Office of Student Life says the university is ramping up other efforts to ensure a coronavirus-safe transition, too.

"We've set it up so that we have a maximum number of students who will be moving in at any given time," Isaacs says.

That maximum number varies dorm to dorm, but at its biggest still sits below 10 students per hour. That reflects a larger move on the university's part to create distance even as hundreds of students live under the same roof.

"We've turned all the rooms into singles or doubles and limited the number of students who have access to, or be using, restrooms," Isaacs says. "Our total population in the residence halls normally is about 14,000. This year, we will probably be significantly below 12,000."

Ohio State has also set aside a residence hall specifically for students coming from high-risk areas, so they can self-isolate for two weeks before joining the rest of the campus population.

"Students who are coming from those states that are listed on the state of Ohio list as needing quarantine will go there first, and we also have housing set aside for those who test positive," Isaacs says.

Earlier this week, incoming Ohio State president Kristina Johnson announced that the university would undertake weekly COVID-19 testing of students, and require daily health checks for all students, faculty and staff that come to campus. Face masks will be required not just in indoor spaces, but also outdoor areas, even when physical distancing can be observed.

Both reusable and disposable masks are being provided as part of the school's return-to-campus kit.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.