Friday, May 27, 2022

Play

High gas prices are not slowing down Memorial Day travel, early voting starts tomorrow in Nevada, and Oregon activists seek accountability for dioxin contamination in low-income Eugene.

Play

Education Secretary Cardona calls for action after the Texas massacre, Republicans block a domestic terrorism vote, and Secretary of State Blinken calls China the greatest challenger to U.S. and its allies.

Play

High-speed internet is being used to entice remote workers to rural communities, Georgia is offering Black women participation in a guaranteed income initiative, and under-resourced students in Montana get a boost toward graduation.

Ohio Public Universities Approach Another COVID-19 Fall Semester

Play

Tuesday, August 24, 2021   

By Kennedi Combs
Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration.


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As the Delta variant sweeps across the state, Ohio's public universities are taking a range of protective measures for the upcoming fall semester, from requiring students to report their vaccination status to implementing incentive programs to motivate students to get vaccinated.

All 14 state universities are requiring masks indoors for the fall semester, according to an examination of COVID prevention procedures as explained on schools' websites.

Universities - including Kent State University, Bowling Green State University, Miami University, and The Ohio State University - have implemented incentive programs for all students who are vaccinated and report their vaccination to their university. Vaccinated students are entered into raffles for the chance to win prizes on a weekly basis.

Some including Shawnee State University, University of Cincinnati, Wright State University, Miami University, and Youngstown State University - are offering all three vaccines for students, staff, and faculty on their campus.

Kent State University is requiring face masks to be worn regardless of vaccination status during all indoor activities. Along with this rule, KSU has also put an incentives program into effect for vaccinated students. All Kent State students who are vaccinated and register their vaccination on the University Health Services website are eligible to win prizes in twice-weekly drawings. The drawings take place through Oct. 12; prizes include free tuition for a semester, free room and board for a semester, a kayaking trip, Homecoming concert tickets, Beats headphones, and Apple Watches.

However, sophomore journalism major Jayla Forest thinks vaccinations aren't enough. "There are people who are vaccinated who are still contracting COVID," said Forest, who received the Moderna vaccine last May. "And honestly, even though they have rules and restrictions, not everyone is going to follow those rules and restrictions. So, I don't really know if being vaccinated is enough to go back on campus and become normal again."

Cleveland State University also requires students, faculty and staff to wear face coverings for the upcoming semester, and encourages students to get vaccinated. On its website, the school expresses a commitment to following CDC guidelines. It also lists exceptions and accommodations to the mask mandate for certain situations, such as when eating in the dining hall, when a student is alone in their residence hall room with a roommate, or when a person has been granted a university-approved medical or religious accommodation to not wear a mask.

"On a scale of one to 10, I feel like a 'six'as far as how safe I am on campus," said Jordan Hill, a sophomore engineering major at CSU."When they open up campus completely, I would give it within a month before there's a spike in cases, and we all have to go remote again."

Unlike all the other public universities in Ohio that just encourage students to register their vaccination status, the University of Akron is requiring students to report it.

"In order for the University to make informed decisions about COVID-19 and to further facilitate contact tracing, we are requiring all members of the campus community (faculty, contract professionals, staff and students) to report their vaccination status by August 20," said spokesperson Cristine Boyd in an email. "All members of the campus community who are unvaccinated or do not confirm their vaccination status will be subject to up-to-weekly testing, beginning the week of August 16 (employees) and August 30 (students)."

Boyd added the university will provide remote classes to accommodate students. "We currently have a variety of options available for classes, including in-person, hybrid and fully online as we try to meet the needs of all students," she wrote. "Not all courses are guaranteed to be available online."

Incoming University of Akron freshman Romeo Pitts-Medley appreciates the university's commitment to keeping students safe. "I think it's a really good idea that they are keeping track of who is unvaccinated and making them get tested," he said. "It's the only way to keep everyone as safe as possible with the delta variant on the loose."

Ohio has seen 1,180,986 total coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic. With 64,215 hospitalizations and 20,689 deaths, more and more Ohioans are making the decision to get vaccinated. Half the state's population, 51.22%, has received a vaccination. Of Ohioans ages 12-18, 59.87 % are vaccinated, while the vaccination rate is 62.15% for adults 18 and older.

This collaboration is produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.


get more stories like this via email

Early voting locations will be open across Nevada for several weeks, from May 28 through June 10. (Jlmcanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …


Social Issues

Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …

Environment

This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …


There's been a roughly 38% drop in drowning deaths over the past two decades. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …

Environment

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …

A 2019 report from the Economic Policy Institute found teacher shortages were especially acute in higher-poverty schools. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …

Social Issues

The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…

Health and Wellness

One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021