Monday, December 20, 2021

20 December 2021

Dear OSU Community Members,

As we approach the New Year, I thank you for your continued commitment to OSU’s public health measures.

We are monitoring the spread of the Omicron variant carefully, specifically regarding the severity of the disease and hospitalization rates. We are learning from health authorities that while the Omicron variant may spread more quickly, current vaccines—especially when coupled with a booster shot—are expected to provide significant protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death. We are also observing other universities’ circumstances and responses around the U.S. and examining different scenarios to inform adjustments the university might make to reduce further the risk of outbreaks at OSU and the communities in which we operate and serve.

Currently, we plan to maintain OSU’s primarily in-person teaching, research and extension and engagement operations. However, we need your help with our ability to maintain this path.

The best way you can help is by becoming vaccinated and getting a booster shot. Please be aware that while presently not a requirement, it is likely OSU will require all employees, as well as students engaged in on-site learning, to obtain the booster, as an appropriate follow-up to the university’s vaccination requirement. For your own protection, and that of the community at large, I strongly encourage you to obtain a booster shot as soon as you are able. OSU will collaborate with local public health agencies and others in the distribution of boosters. 

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for information on booster eligibility and booster availability near you. If you are not vaccinated but are compliant with OSU’s Vaccination Program through an approved exception, please consider becoming vaccinated if you are medically able to do so. According to the CDC, “vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging.”

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions closely and update you promptly if OSU’s response changes. Thank you for your understanding, flexibility and support for one another as we navigate this new variant and the pandemic.

Wishing you a restful break,

Edward Feser

Provost & Executive Vice President