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University of Cincinnati announces tentative plan for return to campus

University of Cincinnati
Posted at 11:13 AM, May 20, 2020

CINCINNATI — University of Cincinnati workers will begin a four-phase return to campus on June 1, university president Neville Pinto announced Wednesday morning. Campus leaders don’t yet know when students — who are scheduled to begin their fall semester Aug. 24 — will be able to do the same.

In a letter to the UC community, Pinto wrote that later stages of the plan remained under development and that new instructions from health officials could change it at any time.

“If the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issues new directives, we will comply,” he wrote. “If our medical experts identify new or different ways to safeguard our community, we will follow the science. If something is not working as well as originally intended, we will correct our course. If your ongoing feedback enables us to upgrade this plan, we will integrate the input. In short, we will learn every step of the way and adjust our efforts accordingly with your safety and health top of mind.”

In the meantime, the plan is as follows:

  • Researchers begin their return to campus on June 1. Tasks that can be completed off-campus will still be performed remotely, but those that cannot will be allowed to resume in a strictly sanitized and socially distant environment.
  • University workers will return starting July 1. UC leaders will select the employees who come back “based on institutional needs,” Pinto wrote.
  • More workers will come back starting Aug. 1, with different groups working alternating schedules to limit their exposure to one another.

All researchers and employees who return to campus will be required to wear facial coverings, adhere to social distancing requirements and complete a self-administered wellness check before work each day.

“I realize this plan will be received differently within our community,” he wrote. “Some will want us to get started sooner on the transition. Others will want us to wait longer until we know more.”

A fourth phase affecting students will begin Aug. 24, but Pinto admitted its details remained unclear Wednesday. University leaders plan to provide more information in late June after gathering more data about the safest way to move forward.