As Fall and Winter Holidays Approach

To Our Faculty and Staff:

This weekend, Ohio posted its highest-ever one-day count of new COVID-19 cases, while national news outlets emphasized that the fall surge so many had predicted has begun to arrive. Here on campus, the university had to close four spaces for cleaning between Wednesday and Friday (Oct. 14-16), and conduct additional testing Saturday for those concerned that they may have been exposed.

We share this information not to instill fear, but rather to emphasize the importance of continuing to follow prevention protocols—even as mask-wearing, physical distancing and completing the daily health assessment can feel increasingly tiresome. We also recognize that the cooler weather signals the approach of the holiday season, when travel and gatherings are typically more common.

In that context, we want to provide some reminders and resources and reminders as you contemplate your own plans for the coming weeks. For additional information, you also can visit the Year-End Health and Travel page on the Human Resources website.

Halloween

Both Ohio and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offer recommendations regarding gatherings and trick-or-treating. The themes essentially boil down to sticking with existing practices to reduce risk, but each has suggestions for ways children can have fun and stay safe.

Thanksgiving

The CDC also has guidance for this holiday, and, recently, infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci offered his own thoughts on the subject.

For those who must travel, a few points to keep in mind:

  • Ohio keeps a running list of those states for which they recommend 14-day quarantines for visitors upon their return to our state. It is updated every Wednesday. The CDC also keeps a daily list of states’ case counts, as well as extensive guidance regarding factors to consider as you plan.
  • Other states also have quarantine policies for people arriving from places they consider high risk. Right now, Ohio is on lists for New YorkConnecticut and Massachusetts, but not Kentucky or Pennsylvania. To check the status of a state you may be visiting, start with this CDC list of health departments.
  • Finally, please do not forget to take advantage of the free flu shots offered regularly in the Veale Athletic, Recreation and Convocation Center and Samson Pavilion.

Again, you can find additional university guidance regarding travel and gatherings on the HR website.

Thank you. We wish everyone a safe and healthy fall and holiday season.

Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President

Carolyn Gregory
Vice President for Human Resources