Astronomy Return to Campus Information


Astronomy Staged Return to Campus Information

Updated: 2020 September 20

This page will be updated weekly as the semester proceeds.

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

Quick Links

Mandatory Daily Health Reporting (Ohio State mobile app or

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.

Maximum Occupancy Requirement

The maximum occupancy density in buildings campus-wide remains limited to 50%, where "50% maximum occupancy density" means only 50% of offices may be occupied at any time, not that 50% of personnel may be present.

To accomplish this occupancy limit we will continue to divide days (weekdays and weekends) into three shifts:

Morning: 7am - 1pm
Afternoon: 1pm - 6pm
Evening: 6pm - 9pm

During each shift there can be no more than 20 persons occupying 20 offices in the non-ISL part of the building (the ISL is subject to similar restrictions, modified to account for use of shared labs), and those 20 people must be the only occupants of their offices during their visits.

To give everyone a chance to come to campus, the basic guidelines by type of office you have are as follows:

  • Single-person offices: 3-4 half-day visits per person per week + 1-2 weekend or evening
  • Two-person offices: 2-3 half-day visits per person per week + 1-2 weekend or evening
  • 3+ person offices: 1-3 half-day visits per person per week + 1 weekend or evening

the higher of the two numbers depends on availability of slots relative to demand for visits during a given week.  Weekends and evenings offer additional opportunities, but not everyone's personal circumstance permit working on evenings and weekends.

Highest priority for office time will be for faculty and GTAs who must be on-campus at particular times to teach and for office staff required to be on campus. Next in priority are those whose research requires physical access to equipment (including highly-interactive computation work impractical over VPN), or those facing deadlines for grants, observing proposals, etc., with higher priority given to graduate students in the final phases of dissertations and postdocs.  We expect these guidelines will evolve as the semester progresses.

Night-time visit windows are shorter, with the upper limit set by when campus security locks the buildings.  The building common areas are cleaned and sanitized during night-time hours a few days per week, so please try to avoid overlapping with building cleaning personnel: they have priority access to perform their essential jobs.

Daily Health Check Requirement

A mandatory health check report is required of all persons (students, faculty, and staff) before going to campus or going out into the community on OSU business. This check will 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 length of your visit.

This is health check must be done BEFORE each time you visit campus or go into the community on official OSU business.

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

Face Mask Requirement

The university has instituted an enhanced face mask policy effective immediately:

Masks must be worn in all indoor settings, 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 in all outdoor spaces on campus, 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 your single-person private office. If you are in a shared (2+ person) office, you must continue to wear your mask even if you are the only occupant.


Before your Visit: Mandatory Daily Health Check

Before each visit to campus, 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

Scheduling a Visit

Before visiting campus you need to sign-up on the department sign-up sheet.  We have moved this sheet to the OSU SharePoint system so you can access it via a web browser:

Department Visit Sign-up Excel Spreadsheet 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

We expect that the 50% occupancy density restrictions will remain in place during most of Autumn Semester. A great deal depends on the continued evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio. We will update this website and send out an update general email as circumstances change.

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.