11:19 AM

President-elect Johnson begins welcome week with a tour of campus

Ohio State begins in-person classes this week for the first time since March

Ohio State University President-elect Kristina M. Johnson helped welcome students across the Columbus campus on Sunday.

Johnson hopped on a Buckeye-branded golf cart for a tour of residence halls, the heart of the university’s Digital Flagship operation and public spaces across the campus. Johnson’s wife, Veronica Meinhard, Vice President for Student Life Melissa Shivers and members of university staff joined the president-elect for the tour.

In addition to greeting students and their families, Johnson posed for photos and helped reinforce Ohio State’s efforts to create a safe and healthy environment. As she is poised to begin her first year as the university’s 16th president, Ohio State is on the eve of resuming in-person classes for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the university to pivot to remote-only learning in March.

“Thank you for wearing your mask,” Johnson repeated as she welcomed students and introduced herself.

The university implemented several new procedures in the build-up to a return to campus. They include:

  • A mandatory face mask requirement with limited indoor and outdoor exceptions
  • Distributing more than 34,000 return-to-campus PPE safety kits
  • A university-wide testing and contact tracing strategy

The overwhelming number of students on campus Sunday wore masks in compliance with the guidelines.

Students and their families expressed their excitement for the new school year. At one stop in the North Residential District, Johnson and Meinhard joined second-year students Ha'Nyah Humbles and Caitlyn Milsap to form an O-H-I-O.

The tour included a visit to the Digital Flagship distribution hub in St. John Arena. Liv Gjestvang, associate vice president for learning technology, explained how students collected their iPad toolkits before the new academic year and demonstrated some of the software available at the touch of a button. The team has distributed more than 10,000 toolkits.

The tour ended with a happy bang on south campus as fourth-year student Sarah Wade recognized the president-elect, enthusiastically shouting out her name.

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