Office of Student Life

Student Activities

COVID-19 Information

Below is general information and frequently asked questions for our student organization community related to operations in autumn semester 2020 and beyond. This content will continue to be updated as new information is available. Please refer to the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website and the Student Org Guidance document for additional details.

Please contact csls@osu.edu with any additional questions or for more detailed information. Our staff is available to consult with your student organization about specific questions and needs.

The following information was last updated October 15, 2020.

Can my student org hold in-person gatherings and events?

From an email message to student organization community on October 14, 2020, Ohio State is allowing in-person student organization gatherings and events of 10 or fewer people. Tabling activities, to distribute items and information, are also approved to resume. Requests for on-campus space - outdoors and indoors - will be accepted beginning Monday, October 19 at 8 a.m.

As part of the space request process, student organizations must confirm a risk mitigation plan for the in-person event. Here are considerations for creating a plan for events and gatherings: 

  • Remind attendees if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, including any respiratory symptoms or are feeling unwell in any way, they should not attend. Attendees will be required to use the university’s Daily Health Reporting app.
  • Masks are required – indoors and outdoors.
  • Attendees should practice appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette (e.g., easy access to restroom facilities with sinks and/or alcohol-based sanitizer, etc.).
  • Remind attendees during the meeting of the environment-specific preventative safety measures related to the event and facility (e.g., where the hand washing stations are located, proper social distancing guidelines, etc.).
  • All attendees should adhere to face covering guidance. Event planners should prepare to provide face coverings for those who do not bring their own.
  • Event planners should maintain a roster of the meeting or event that includes names and contact information for at least one month after the event occurs.
  • Event planners should design all event activities to include proper social distancing and maintaining 6 feet of separation between attendees.
  • Facility equipment (tables and chairs) should NOT be moved by the client as it will be spaced in adherence with distancing guidelines.
  • Position venue room doors open and limit high-contact points among attendees. Manage traffic flow in and out of the facility.
  • If meeting in an indoor space with a door, close the door when meeting is complete and notify facility staff so that sanitizing can take place.
  • Consider modifying or postponing high-touch, hands-on activities.
  • When food must be provided, use individually wrapped items like bag lunches, individual water bottles, etc. Do not serve food where multiple hands will touch the food or serving utensils (e.g., buffet style, fruit platters, etc.).

Is meeting/ programming space available on campus?

Beginning October 19, student organizations may submit requests for outdoor and indoor spaces for in-person events of 10 or fewer. Requests for outdoor space, including the three tents maintained by the Office of Student Life, may be made through the Buckeye Event Network website. A limited number of spaces in the Ohio Union and other Student Life facilities may be reserved using the online space request tool. At this time, classroom spaces are not available for events and gatherings.

Requests will be accepted only for autumn 2020, not yet for spring semester 2021.

What resources are available to hold virtual meetings and programs?

Student organizations may use university resources - CarmenZoom and Microsoft Teams - or may choose to use non-university resources to hold virtual meetings and programs. 

Check out the Student Org Essentials recorded workshops for additional guidance on virtual operations and meetings including socially distant service, meaningful virtual meetings and virtual member recruitment.

Do student orgs have to provide live-captioning for virtual events?

Accessibility, including live-captioning, should be a key consideration for all virtual events. According to the Digital Accessibility Center (FAQ #7), student organizations do not need to provide live-captioning and may use automated captioning. Events held without live-captioning must publish an accommodation statement at least two weeks in advance of the event.

If an attendee requests an accommodation, student organizations may work directly with the ADA Coordinator's Office (ada-osu@osu.edu) to make those arrangements. The staff will help organize and fund those services.

How can we distribute materials to our members or program participants?

The university does not have specific guidance for distribution of materials or tabling. Please follow all existing guidance about limiting in-person events and gatherings to fewer than 10 people, wearing masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene. 

Tabling or distribution of materials/ information may only take place in reservable spaces on campus. It may not take place in spaces like open lounges, dining seating areas or library study spaces.

Can we purchase PPE as give-aways?

Student organizations are able to purchase PPE items from university approved vendors. They must follow university branding and purchasing guidelines and seek art approval from University Marketing and Trademark and Licensing. If a group is specifically interested in purchasing masks, the two approved vendors are The Flag Lady (300 minimum, 2 color logo) and Mask Essential (100 minimum, 2 color logo). Organizations are welcome to work with Student Life Marketing to help design and procure the items. 

What resources are available for student org leaders who are feeling stressed?

It is normal for student organization leaders to be feeling higher levels of stress right now. Here are some resources that are available immediately and by appointment:

How do we manage gatherings with strenuous exercise?

According to the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes webpage on Recreation, there is an exception for mask wearing when engaging in strenuous exercise. In these cases, continue to practice physical distancing and hand hygiene, limiting in-person events and gatherings to 10 or fewer. Participants should also have their masks available to wear after the strenuous exercise is finished.

How will annual registration work?

The requirements and timeline for annual registration - for renewing and for brand new organizations - will be the same as in past years. Visit the Registration webpage for full details.

Student organizations who have significantly adapted operations for any portion of the upcoming year may request a registration extension of one semester or one year. This might include choosing not to recruit new members, postponing officer elections or suspending regular meetings. The extension is intended to provide a more flexible timeline for operations and support the needs of leaders and members. Contact csls@osu.edu to request an extension.

Can we apply for Operating and Programming Funds?

Yes, all student orgs can apply for Operating and Programming Funds on the regular application deadlines. Visit the Funding webpage for full details. You may apply with any status, but only Active organizations will receive funding.

Additional guidance is available for virtual and in-person programs. Please refer to the Student Org Guidance document for additional considerations.

Can we still use the Resource Room?

Yes, the Resource Room is open for service. Visit the Resource Room webpage for the current hours of operation.

Student organizations may use the Online Order Form to request copying, poster printing and buttons. Payment for online orders must be made using your line-of-credit. For other items, or for non-student org clients, orders may be placed by calling 614-292-8763 during our regular hours.

Until further notice, shared items including popcorn machines, snocone machine and board games are not available for use.

Can we travel for a conference or competition?

In alignment with university restrictions on travel, university funds (Operating and Programming Funds) cannot be used for travel of any kind through at least December 31, 2020. Similarly, travel will not be permitted or reimbursed through Recreational Sports for Sport Clubs.

Student organizations are strongly encouraged not to travel until further notice.

What are the potential consequences if we don't follow university guidance for safety protocols?

Health orders, directives and advisories apply to all student organization activities and gatherings, whether on- or off-campus. Failure to abide by those directives, orders and advisories can - just like failing to follow all applicable local, state and federal laws - subject students and student organizations to disciplinary action under the Code of Student Conduct.

Although each situation is approached on a case-by-case basis, possible consequences could include the loss of access to university resources (e.g., funding, Resource Room line-of-credit, discounted space reservations) or loss of Active status. Individual student consequences could include suspension.