Ohio State University released data Wednesday showing that it logged thousands of COVID-19 policy violations and issued 446 formal reprimands during the fall 2020 semester.
The data set does not indicate the total number of student cases. Spokesman Ben Johnson explained that a student may have been observed violating COVID-19 policy in multiple ways, and so the same incident may be marked twice under two different categories – which include failure to comply with university or civil authority, violating school or other laws, endangering behavior, alcohol use, or violating residence life policy.
“The COVID-related tag is mostly an internal record-keeping metric,” Johnson said. “One way to think of it would be an observation of an individual or a group of people not conforming to the university’s health and safety requirements.”
The school may also not have been able to determine what happened in certain scenarios.
“Someone may have observed a gathering that was unsafe, but then for whatever reason the university was never able to collect additional information,” Johnson says. “So it’s a record-keeping of sort of the front door, the entry point to the student conduct system for cases that at least allegedly involve a COVID violation.”
Disciplinary action considered for students who violated COVID-19 policy included suspension, the termination of housing contracts, restrictions or probation. Over the semester, Ohio State logged 32 instances of suspension or suspension in abeyance, 37 instances of deferred housing contracts and 69 instances of disciplinary probation.
The data shared by Ohio State showed that COVID-related discipline decreased throughout the semester. says the university issued 362 formal reprimands related to COVID in the first half of the semester and only 84 in the second.
Students are prohibited from gathering in groups larger than 10 people, must maintain physical distance, and must wear masks on campus. Still, the school repeatedly had to crack down on parties on-campus and off.
“We provided masks and other PPE to students, faculty and staff," Johnson said. "We’ve engaged with students and their parents, with faculty and staff to help them remember how important these requirements are."
Ohio State began a new semester on Monday, with the first two weeks being held remotely. Students will receive an at-home COVID-19 test before returning to campus.
Since the beginning of August, Ohio State reports that over 5,700 students and 624 staff tested positive for COVID-19.