11:04 AM

Ohio State prepares thousands of kits for safe return to campus

Kits include masks, thermometer and hand sanitizer

As The Ohio State University continues to prepare for a return to campus later this month, one of the challenges is putting safety tools in the hands of students, faculty and staff. That challenge is being met with a mix of logistical muscle, creative planning and university-wide teamwork.

As part of the safe return to campus requirements, face masks must be worn on Ohio State’s campuses. Masks must be put on before entering indoor or enclosed spaces and in outdoor spaces where people cannot maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet between each person. 

Additionally, a daily health check to report body temperature and health status will be required for all faculty, staff and students each day they intend to be on Ohio State’s campuses. This daily check will be reported through the Ohio State mobile app or compass.osu.edu.

To help the university community meet these requirements, return-to-campus kits will be provided to students, faculty and staff before classes resume. The kits include one disposable mask, two reusable masks, a thermometer, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer.

“Whether it’s staff, faculty, students or, if you’re a parent of a student coming back on campus, what can we do to help ease that transition back?” said Nathan Andridge, senior director of procure-to-pay services for the Office of Business and Finance.

Andridge is one of the leaders of the effort to procure, package and deliver more than 100,000 of these kits to the university community. It’s a massive effort made more challenging by an international supply chain stretched by the weight of global demand for the same personal protective equipment.

So far, more than 35,000 return-to-campus kits have been built with more than 17,000 delivered to residence halls on campus. Andridge said university staff are building between 3,500 and 5,000 kits per day.

“We feel pretty comfortable with what we’ve got,” he said. “We can certainly meet the needs, at least initially, of our folks coming back to campus.”

In addition to the residents halls, the university’s regional campuses are receiving thousands of kits for students, faculty and staff. Andridge said they are also working with some of the larger apartment groups off campus to get kits into the hands of students and graduate students.

There are expected to be in-person distribution sites like the Ohio Union and Thompson Library when classes begin. Students with a valid Buck-ID will be able to walk up and get a kit.

For faculty and staff, return-to-campus kits will be available at no cost through the university’s e-store program. Faculty kits will include chalk, markers and supplies to clean the boards in their classrooms. Department managers or human resources staff can procure the kits for faculty and staff before they return to campus. The e-store is expected to have kits available on Aug. 17.

Andridge said the kits are just the beginning. The university procured about 3 million disposable masks, 3 million bottles of hand sanitizer, 300,000 cloth masks, 110,000 thermometers and about 500,000 packs of disposable wipes. The goal is to keep a 90-day supply available in the event of more disruptions to the international supply chain.

“It’s coming together, and again, there’s no way that we could do this without the collective help of others across campus,” Andridge said. “We’ve talked about how we’re Together as Buckeyes and I think everyone’s pulling together to make this happen.”

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