Astronomy Return to Campus Information


Astronomy Department Return to Campus Information

Updated: 2021 May 4

Summer Session

Effective Monday, May 10, and continuing into summer, the occupation density in the astronomy department will be 100%, with the continuing requirement that everyone must observe all university masking, distancing, and personal hygiene protocols, and submit health reports before visits.  Sign-up requirements are still in place for multi-person offices, but no longer required for single-person offices.  See Campus Visits below for details.

  1. All astronomy department offices on the 4th floor of McPherson lab are open for single-occupancy use starting Monday May 10, subject to a few restrictions.

  2. Masks must be worn at all times while on campus.  See below for details and exceptions.

  3. If you are assigned to a single-person office, you may work in your office without signing-up and with no time limits.

  4. If you are assigned to a multi-person office,  you must still sign-up for a part-day shift as only 1 person may occupy an office of any size at the present time.  See below for details.  Office mates are expected to work out among themselves how to go about sharing the space.

  5. Limited in-person meetings are possible if it can be done consistent with masking and distancing protocols and limited in time to no more than 1 hour.  If you cannot meet the requirements, please continue using virtual meetings.


The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for everyone in Ohio age 16 and older. If you haven't already, we encourage everyone to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.  This is our quickest past to getting back to some semblance of normal.

The new CDC interim recommendations for fully vaccinated people is a good summary of what you can do when fully vaccinated and sets out guiding principles we will follow when re-opening further.

In addition to the vaccination station at the Schottenstein Center, a new vaccination station has been opened at the Ohio Union.  This new station is open to all students, faculty, and staff, and is located in Performance Hall on the first floor.  The Ohio Union site will operate Monday through Friday 11am-4:45pm at least through Friday May 7.  Appointments can be scheduled through MyChart or by calling the Wexner Medical Center COVID-19 hotline at 614-688-VAXX (614-688-8299).


If you regularly come to campus to work and interact with others, please consider taking part in the voluntary weekly student, faculty, and staff asymptomatic COVID testing . You can schedule a weekly appointment via MyChart

Daily Health Check Reminder

A daily health check to report body temperature and health status is required for all students, faculty and staff each day they come to campus or work in the community on behalf of the university.  There are no exceptions to this policy.

Columbus/Franklin County Advisory

Franklin County was downgraded to Level 3 (red) from Level 4 (purple) on April 30 as a result of recent improvements, but Level 3 still means "very high exposure risk", so please stay safe!

Please read the university's guidance for OSU students, faculty, and staff on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website for the latest news.

Quick Links

Mandatory Daily Health Reporting (Ohio State mobile app or

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

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.

Campus Visits

Effective Monday, 2021 May 10

The requirements below apply even if you are fully vaccinated, as while the vaccines protect you against serious illness, they may not prevent you from spreading the disease to others.  We will be wearing masks and practicing social distancing for some time to come this year.

Single-Person Offices

If are assigned to a single-person office, you may use your office at any time without advanced sign-up. Sign-up sheets are no longer required for single-person offices. You do not need to wear a mask while you are in your personal office with the door closed, but must wear one at all times elsewhere. While in your office you may meet face-to-face with at most one other person, properly distanced and wearing masks even if both of you are fully vaccinated. In many cases this may mean one person standing in the door. It is recommended such visits be kept limited in time, no more than 1 hour.  Virtual meetings/events are recommended when physical distancing guidelines cannot be met.

Shared Multi-Person Offices

Shared offices are still designated as single occupancy. If are assigned to a shared multi-person office you must continue to sign up for a shift in advance as we cannot yet fully occupy shared offices. Each person may only work at their assigned desk (no space swapping).

You must wear a mask in shared offices at all times, even if you are the only occupant.

Shared office sign-up sheet on OSU SharePoint (requires login)

We expect those assigned to shared offices to coordinate with their office mates on equitable use. In the event of conflicts, please contact the department chair, Todd Thompson (thompson.1847) or Rick Pogge (pogge.1).

Unassigned Offices

You may not occupy an unassigned office if your office is occupied by another. Requests to use an unoccupied office must be made in writing to the department chair and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Priority will be given to students working to complete their dissertations.

Conference Rooms

The small conference room (MP4030) may be used for small in-person meetings of no more than 3 people, properly distanced and wearing masks, and no longer than 1 hour.  The small conference room may not be used as swing space if your shared office is unavailable.

The main conference room (MP4059) may be used for small in-person meetings of no more than 7 people maximum, properly distanced and all wearing masks.  Meetings should last no longer than 1 hour. The main conference room may not be used for meals or as a temporary work space if your shared office is already occupied by another person.

Virtual meetings/events are recommended when physical distancing guidelines cannot be met.


The 4th floor kitchen (MP4056) remains closed until further notice. Do not store food or beverages in the kitchen, prepare food or beverages, or use the coffee makers until we have clearance to resume making coffee and using the shared refrigerator.

Printers and Copiers

The highest demand shared resource are the department printers and copiers. Safe operations of this equipment requires special procedures:

  1. Make printouts or copies only if required for work to reduce contact with the printers and the printer room surfaces and to conserve printer supplies.
  2. Only one person at a time, wearing a mask, may be in a printer room. Wait in the hall away from the door if a printer room is occupied.
  3. If you need to use a copier or printer control panel, wipe down with sanitary wipes before and after use.
  4. If you need to refill a paper tray, rub hands with sanitizer, refill the tray, the wipe down trays and control panels with sanitary wipes before and after the paper swap.
  5. Report printer failures promptly to Josh Carroll and Ian Rieske ( reaches both) – do not attempt to fix printers yourself.
  6. If supplies are running low, contact Kristy Krehnovi (krehnovi.6).

Daily Health Check Requirement

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

This check shall be performed using the Ohio State mobile app or the website. 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.

Return from Travel

If you are planning to travel outside of Columbus to spend time with others outside of your immediate local household, consult CDC Travel Guidelines before you go so you follow good practices.  The State of Ohio is now deferring to CDC recommendations and has suspended their previous guidelines.

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.

Remember: nearly half of all confirmed person-to-person transmissions of COVID-19 involve asymptomatic carriers.  Please wear a mask at all times when on campus, except in private offices.


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

Department Office

Note that except to check your mailbox and retrieve office supplied from the copier/supply room, please limit the time you spend in the main department office.  We strongly urge you to not have personal deliveries addressed to the department during the pandemic as we cannot guarantee they can be retrieved and they may get returned or lost.

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