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COVID-19 updates: Virtual summer commencement, transition planning

University also extends state of emergency

The Ohio State University has announced that summer commencement will be a virtual ceremony and standardized tests will be optional for the 2021-22 academic year. President Michael V. Drake addressed the Ohio State community in a final COVID-19 update before he transitions away from the university presidency.

Ohio State continues to update a website with information about the pandemic. The university will also respond to an email account where general questions about COVID-19 can be directed: coronavirus@osumc.edu

Drake sent the following message on June 27:

Dear Ohio State Community:

Below are several updates on our COVID-19 pandemic response and phased return to autumn operations on our campuses.

Test scores optional for 2021 application year

Due to the uncertainty of future test dates and availability of standardized tests caused by COVID-19, the university has made the submission of ACT or SAT test scores optional for most current high school students and transfer students applying to the Columbus campus for the 2021 application year. All applicants are encouraged to take the ACT or SAT if possible and submit test scores if they are available, as standardized test scores provide useful information about a student’s success as a Buckeye. Students, regardless of whether they submit test scores, will receive full consideration in the admissions process and in reviews for scholarships, direct enrollment to a college or school, Honors and Scholars programs, and the Morrill Scholarship Program. Additional information is available on Ohio State News.

Virtual summer commencement

This week, we shared with graduating students that the university will celebrate the summer Class of 2020 at a virtual commencement on Aug. 9. We will celebrate at an in-person ceremony on a future date when it is safe to do so. Similar to spring’s virtual commencement, the pre-ceremony program on Aug. 9 will feature messages from graduates, deans and other leaders from across our campuses. It will begin at 1:30 p.m. — with commencement starting at 2 p.m. — and will be livestreamed. We will share further details, including an announcement of our speaker, in the coming weeks.

Transition planning

Guided by the university’s COVID-19 Transition Task Force, we continue to pursue a phased approach for a return to on-campus operations for the autumn semester.

Soon, we will launch the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website, which will include information related to facilities, transportation, hygiene and personal protection, housing, dining and much more. As a reminder, plans are provisional, and we will continue to re-evaluate based on evolving conditions, reports about the status of the pandemic, and recommendations and guidance from public health authorities and the scientific community.

At this time, all non-essential university employees who are not part of an exempted operation or function are to continue teleworking and remain off campus. Summer-term classes will continue to be virtual only, and the university state of emergency is extended through July 4, enabling Ohio State to continue to utilize Disaster Leave (Policy 6.2 8).

You will continue to receive regular updates on our COVID-19 response and transition planning efforts from Bruce A. McPheron, executive vice president and provost, and Harold L. Paz, executive vice president and chancellor for health affairs and CEO of the Wexner Medical Center.

As always, thank you for your flexibility and resilience.


Michael V. Drake, MD

COVID-19 Resources

Information about coronavirus and the university’s response

Guidance for students, faculty and staff

Resources for faculty

Resources for COVID-19 research

Resources for students

Resources for staff

Wellness Resources

Faculty and staff can use the Human Resources Keep Well website, the Chief Wellness Officer Health and Wellness page and Your Plan For Health.

Students can use the Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) and the Buckeye Peer Access Line (PAL), which operates Monday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to midnight, and Friday from 2 to 6 p.m.

CCS also provides guidance for ways for faculty and staff to support students.

The Ohio State: Wellness app is designed for students but offers tips and guidance useful for all members of our community. It is available for Android and iOS devices.

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