Astronomy Staged Return to Campus Information


Astronomy Staged Return to Campus Information

Updated: 2020 August 10

Our Return to Campus plan for the Astronomy Department has been approved by the Arts & Sciences College and Office of Research, and will start on Monday, August 10 and continue until further notice.  This is the final part of the staged return to campus in preparation for the start of the Autumn Semester on Tuesday, August 25.

Please read this page, the separate guidelines, and the Safe & Healthy Buckeyes information.  In particular, please complete the required training and pledge described under Prerequisites below. These must be completed before you can sign up to visit campus. Note that the attestation letter needed during the staged research restart during the summer is no longer required.

Instructions on how to signup for a spot will be emailed to you AFTER you complete the prerequisites and send your forms to the proper people.


Due to the continuing COVID-19 case surge in Ohio, particularly here in Franklin County, the maximum initial occupancy density in the department will be still be limited to approximately 25% at the present time.  "25% maximum occupancy density" means only 25% of offices may be occupied at any time, not that 25% of personnel may be present. This is less than what was originally planned for the initial phases of return to campus for start of the Autumn semester, and reflects the severity of the ongoing pandemic.  We expect this fraction will increase as we get closer to the start of the semester.

In practice, this means that we are limited to having no more than 10 people at a time in the non-ISL astronomy department offices on the 4th floor of McPherson, and those 10 people must be the only occupants of their offices during their visit.  Strict social distancing requirements do not permit two or more people per office at one time.

We will therefore be dividing days (weekdays and weekends) into two shifts, morning and afternoon, during which there can be a maximum of 10 visit slots per shift.  You can expect to be able to come to campus for 2 or 3 half-day visits per week during the current restrictions.

We will start phasing in night-time visits during the initial stages of the campus return as we obtain guidance on after-hours access to buildings.  If you have a special need for night-time access, please contact Rick and Kristy to make a request that must be approved by the department chair.



Before you are permitted to sign-up for a time to return to campus for the first time, you are required to complete the following activities:

You must complete the training exercise and sign the pledge before you may sign up for a visit to campus the first time.  No exceptions.  Note that the attestation letter from the staged research re-opening phases is not required for return to campus operations starting August 10.

Please email Rick Pogge when you've completed the training and signed the pledge, and he'll send you the link to the visit sign-up sheet (currently a GoogleDoc until a more official method is released to us).

The sign-up sheet is required for scheduling visits, no exceptions.


Before your Visit: Required Health Tracking Reporting

Before each visit to campus, please fill out the Health Monitoring and Tracking information using Astronomy's interim Health Reporting Form

Astronomy Health Reporting Form

This information is reported to Kristy who keeps track of reporting compliance.  We expect a more formal reporting method will be implemented by the time classes begin.

OSU App - Health Reporting

You are also encouraged to use the Health Reporting app which is still in pilot deployment. It is part of an update of Ohio State app for iOS and Android devices:



Android phone users report that it appears on an update, but some iPhone users report that if you don’t see the new Heath Reporting feature after updating it, deleting and reinstalling the Ohio State app fixes the problem.  In both cases you are required to login to the Ohio State app with your name.# authentication.  The app must be used immediately prior to your visit.

If you cannot use the app, there is a reporting website at

This will require your usual OSU name.# authentication.  It is the web version of the same questionnaire as the app.

Again, we expect that some version of this app/report form will be formally implemented by the time classes begin.

Scheduling a Visit

Once you complete all of the prerequisites you will be given access to a sign-up spreadsheet. You will need to sign up for a specific date and time and make sure no one else from your office (if it is shared) is also signed up for the same time.

During your Visit

  1. Visits may occur between 7am and 7pm, weekdays and weekends. We have divided each day into morning and afternoon shifts of 6 hours each:
    Morning:             7am - 1pm
    Afternoon:          1pm - 7pm
  2. Night-time visits are not yet permitted without special permission.
  3. You must be the only person in your office during your visit.
  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:

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 (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, the main department office (MP4055) is closed.  All delivered packages will be placed on the floor near the mailboxes.  If you can't find a 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 ares.  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 25% occupancy density restrictions will remain in place up until the start of classes for Autumn Semester in late August.  A great deal depends on the continued evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio. We will let you know when 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 return to campus as we approach the coming school year.