Astronomy Return to Campus Information


Astronomy Staged Return to Campus Information

Updated: 2020 November 19

New Guidance from the OSU President's Office

All in-person classes will move online effective 6pm Friday Nov 20.

Faculty and staff [includes graduate students] who can telework should start doing so immediately, in coordination with your supervisors.

State-wide Curfew

The governor of Ohio has issued a 21-day state-wide 10pm to 5am curfew that goes into effect on Thursday Nov 19.

Columbus/Franklin County Advisory

The city of Columbus and Franklin County have issued a 28-day stay-at-home advisory beginning on Friday Nov 20.

Please read the university's guidance on how this and the state-wide curfew and mask mandate affect OSU students and staff on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.

The department's guidance is that effective immediately, if you do not need to be physically present on campus to perform approved work in the labs, all faculty, staff, and students with offices in McPherson Lab must shift all of their work to home until further notice.  If you require an exception, please contact the department chair and clear it with him, and exceptions must be of limited scope.

We expect these procedures to remain in place for at least a month and possibly longer as the current state of emergency evolves.

Please read this page and the Safe & Healthy Buckeyes information for up-to-date information on official university procedures regarding safe return to campus activities.

Quick Links

Mandatory Daily Health Reporting (Ohio State mobile app or

Mandatory Department Visit Sign-up Sheet (Excel Spreadsheet on SharePoint)

OSU COVID-19 Dashboard (status of COVID-19 cases in Ohio and Columbus)

Safe & Healthy Buckeyes - official university policies and procedures for safe campus return.

If you haven't done so already, please get a flu shot.

Campus Visits

In response to the new guidance from the OSU President's office, we are suspending open sign-up for office visits effective 6pm on Friday November 20, and restricting all visits to between 6am and 9pm effective immediately, consistent with the state-wide curfew now in effect.

A limited number of individuals may make visits to campus to retrieve materials for working from home, but you may not go to work in your office unless your work requires physical presence on campus.  All requests for on-campus work must be made in writing to the department chair (Todd Thompson). 

Persons making limited visits must still file health check reports, sign up for a time on the office sign-up, and follow all safety protocols (mask wearing, distancing, etc.) to the letter.  Visits to retrieve materials to work from home must only take as long as needed to retrieve what you need.

If you are given permission to work limited time on campus, you must also complete a health check report, sign-up online, and follow all safety protocols (wear masks, distancing, etc.) to the letter.  You may be the only person in your office or lab, and you may not meet with anybody in-person during your visit.  If you need to work with someone face-to-face, please use Zoom or other teleconferencing system.

Daily Health Check Requirement

You must complete a mandatory health check report before going to campus or going out into the community on OSU business.

This check shall be performed through the Ohio State mobile app or   You can learn more about the health check policies on the Safe & Healthy Buckeyes website.  The check is required independent of the duration of your visit.

There are no exceptions to this policy. Failure to comply may result in accountability measures.

Face Mask Requirement

The university's mask policy is as follows:

Masks must be worn indoors at all times, including, but not limited to: classrooms, common areas, conference rooms, shared office spaces, labs, hallways, buses and shared vehicles on all Ohio State campuses.

Masks must also be worn outdoors on campus at all times, even when individuals can maintain appropriate physical distancing.

The only place you may take off your mask in McPherson Lab is if you are in an assigned single-person private office.

If you are in a shared (2+ person) office or lab, you must wear a mask even if you are the only person present.


Before your Visit: Mandatory Daily Health Check

Before each campus visit, no matter how brief, you must submit a mandatory Daily Health Check using the Ohio State mobile app or the online reporting form at

This health check must be completed before you leave home to travel to campus - no exceptions.

Ohio State mobile app - Health Reporting

The Ohio State mobile health check app for iOS and Android devices has been released for general use:



This app requires you to be logged into the Ohio State app with your name.# authentication.  The app must be used immediately prior to your visit.

If you cannot use the app, please use the health check website

Schedule your Visit

Before visiting campus you are required to sign-up on the department sign-up sheet.  The easiest way to access this sheet is using a web browser to go to the OSU SharePoint system:

Department Visit Sign-up Sheet on SharePoint

You may sign-up for a half-day shift on a particular day, following the guidelines below.  You are responsible for making sure that if you are in a shared office, your visit does not overlap with that of another person in the same office.  None of our shared offices is large enough to allow more than one person at a time for the semester (we will let everyone know if this changes).

During your Visit

  1. Visits may occur between 7am and 9pm, weekdays and weekends. We have divided each day into three shifts:
    Morning:     7am - 1pm
    Afternoon:  1pm - 6pm
    Evening:     6pm - 9 pm
  2. You must be the only person in your office during your visit.
  3. Masks must be worn at all times, indoors and outdoors (see Face Mask Requirements above).
  4. You may only occupy your regularly assigned desk in your assigned office. You may not use an unoccupied office or conference room if  you are sharing an office and there is already someone signed up for your room during that time.
  5. You may not have a visitor or family member with you on your visit except by prior permission (e.g., to help carry personal items to/from your office).
  6. No ad-hoc visits: you must plan ahead and sign-up in advance before each visit to ensure that we are in compliance with the occupancy density restriction.

Department Visit Guidelines

General Guidelines

The PDF below describes the guidelines for Astronomy department visits (it is based on an Arts & Sciences College template).  Please read and follow the guidelines in PDF format.

PPE supplies

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE: masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and sanitary wipes) are available the main conference room (MP4054). 

There are no public PPE supplies in the department office.

Please take only what you need to work in your campus office (you may not bring anything home for personal use).  If you see an item running low, contact Kristy Krehnovi or Rick Pogge right away so more can be ordered.  Sheets on the table with each item list the recommended quantities you should take.

Department Office

Note that except to access to your mailbox and the copier/supply room, please limit your visits to the main department office.  All delivered packages will be placed on the floor near the mailboxes - we ask that you not have personal items delivered to the department during the pandemic.

If you cannot find an office supply you need in the copier room supply cabinets, please contact Kristy with your request - do not go searching for items in the department office areas. This restriction is for the safety of office staff to keep the traffic in their work spaces strictly limited.

Reporting Concerns

If you observe unsafe practices that are serious enough to make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe working in McPherson Lab, you may confidentially report the problem to Kristy Krehnovi or Rick Pogge who will work with the relevant supervisor (Todd for faculty, faculty advisors for students and postdocs, supervisors for staff) to correct the problem.

While the most direct route for addressing a concern is to contact one of the people listed above, this may not always be feasible.  The Office of Research has setup a general tool for reporting concerns that you may elect to use at

The Future

The 50% occupancy density restrictions will remain in place during the whole of the Autumn Semester and will likely continue well into Spring Semester. A great deal depends on the continued evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio. Right now cases are on the rise in Ohio and elsewhere, so the state of emergency remains in place.

We thank everyone for their patience during these difficult times, and trust that everyone will work for the common goal of having a safe and return to campus during Autumn Semester.