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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

UPDATED: Local Universities Finalizing Plans For The Fall

university of cincinnati
Courtesy University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati says it will announce details of the fall semester student experience by the end of June.

Updated Tuesday, May 26, 3:00 p.m.

Cincinnati State says its students will do remote learning this fall with the exception of required labs and skills learning. A Tuesday news release says those students will be able to socially distance.

For example, in Harrison - where Cincinnati State operates its aviation program - students will be required to have temperature checks, cloth face masks and face shields.

The University of Cincinnati now has a plan for administrators, researchers and faculty but will wait until late June to announce what the student experience will be like for the fall semester. Meanwhile, Xavier and Miami universities have announced students will come back to campus this fall for in-person instruction.

UC message says:

"At present, we cannot say with finality how the fall semester will be structured for our students in terms of their on-campus experience. Our hope is to have enough data points in hand to make this decision by no later than late June."

Guidance for UC employees is more definitive. Researchers will return June 1. Much of the employee base will come back to campus July 2. Other employees will return Aug. 3, working alternating schedules. Before researchers, faculty and administrators are allowed back they must complete an online information session on CDC and Ohio Department of Health guidelines and do a self-administered wellness check.

While on campus they will have to wear facial coverings, social distance, clean and sanitize their workplaces and follow travel restrictions.

President Neville Pinto goes on to say:

"I realize this plan will be received differently within our community. Some will want us to get started sooner on the transition. Others will want us to wait longer until we know more. Both views are valid and must be balanced. Yes, when it comes to planning for your safety, we will err on the side of caution. And, yes, we know it is critical for us to pursue our mission, vision and values the best way we know how—on campus and in person. Our leadership imperative is to build a safe and nimble framework to accomplish both. In sum, we believe this provisional, multi-phase plan—with your continuous input and support—has the ability to do just that."

Miami and Xavier

The return to campus plans for Miami and Xavier were sent to WVXU May 15.

According to Miami University Spokeswoman Carole Johnson, "We continue to work with local public health officials and follow the guidance and directives of the Centers for Disease Control, Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health to safeguard the health of students, faculty, staff and visitors to our campuses."

Xavier University is adopting a similar plan, following the lead of the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health.

"Xavier is already putting additional safety protocols in place and will continue to adapt as regulations dictate," spokesman Doug Ruschman says. "As part of the Xavier experience, we are blessed to have small class sizes and already have a reputation for our practical ability to care for each student and for our whole community. We are committed to maintaining a safe learning, living and working environment for all those engaged with Xavier."

On its website, Thomas More says it is also preparing for a return to in-person classes.

Other area colleges and universities are still working out the details. Northern Kentucky University told WVXU a decision will be made at the end of June.

Cincinnati State says it will make an announcement in about a week and it will likely be a hybrid of online and in-person classes.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.