COVID-19 - Human Resources at Ohio State


As faculty and staff are impacted during the COVID-19 crisis, the Office of Human Resources offers resources and information for working through this unprecedented time. Ohio State is under a state of emergency following President Drake’s invocation of the university’s Disaster Preparedness and University State of Emergency Policy 6.17. Importantly, this does not mean that the university is closing. Classes are continuing with virtual instruction for the remainder of spring semester 2020 and faculty and staff must telework, where possible.

This page will be updated as additional information becomes available.


On this page…

State of Emergency and Disaster Leave for COVID-19

On March 22, 2020, President Drake declared a university state of emergency that allows flexibility for employees to continue to telework and maintains only critical services and research. This designation applies to Columbus campus, regional campuses and Wexner Medical Center. For most of us, the best way to be helpful for our communities and health systems is to stay at home to stop the spread of the disease.

During the state of emergency for COVID-19, only these critical services are maintained physically on site:

  • Law enforcement and public safety
  • Hospitals and health services
  • Child care for children of parents performing essential services to the university and medical center
  • Limited meal preparation and service
  • Facility operations
  • Residential support
  • Others determined to be essential by the university

Senior leadership and the deans make determinations of who may work on campus to maintain these critical services. Read more about Disaster Preparedness and University State of Emergency Policy 6.17

Declaring a university state of emergency per Policy 6.17 benefits the health, safety and continued work of the university because it:

  • Reinforces the serious nature of the pandemic by having employees remain away from campus.
  • Allows the university to reassign employees as needed.
  • Prevents layoffs that would add to growing demand for unemployment.
  • Provides a short-term solution until additional assistance may be secured.
  • Enables the university to maintain workforce for the short term by providing pay when teleworking tasks run out in combination with Disaster Leave Policy, 6.28.

A state of emergency permits critical research activities to continue, which includes:

  • COVID-19 research.
  • Medical research that, if discontinued, will endanger the lives of the research participants.
  • Maintenance procedures that require regular attention for critical laboratory infrastructure.

The Office of Research has additional information about conducting research during COVID-19 disruptions.

[top of page]

Paid Disaster Leave

If the university cannot provide work or telework, faculty, staff and graduate assistants are eligible for disaster leave pay under Disaster Leave Policy, 6.28. Eligible employees and graduate associates will be paid 100% of their base compensation for the first week.

Disaster leave pay is intended to provide a balance between protecting faculty and staff income and protecting the university’s financial viability and investment in talent. President Drake will determine on a week-by-week basis whether this leave will continue. This weekly review, in consultation with other senior university leaders, allows the president to ensure that it does not place the university in an unmanageable long-term situation or set expectations that it cannot fulfill.

Who is eligible for paid disaster leave?
Paid disaster leave applies to faculty, staff and graduate associates for whom the university cannot provide work or telework. Exceptions:

  • Those who can continue to work or telework will receive their regular pay and are not eligible for disaster leave.
  • Employees and graduate associates funded by grants and contracts may not be eligible for paid disaster leave given the requirements of the grant or contract.
  • Employees and graduate associates who refuse a work assignment are not eligible for disaster leave unless a bona fide reason for the refusal exists.
  • Student employees are not eligible for paid disaster leave under Policy 6.28, but the university is evaluating this option.

[top of page]

Hiring Pause

Ohio State has implemented a temporary hiring pause to assess impacts due to the COVID-19 state of emergency. The temporary pause applies to most faculty, staff and student positions with exceptions noted below. The hiring pause aligns with recent actions taken by the state of Ohio and follows the state of emergency declared by the university Sunday, March 22.

No positions that were vacant as of noon on March 20, 2020, were to be filled unless an offer had already been extended. Those positions were filled if a candidate accepted by Friday, March 27, 2020, and had an identified start date.

No new positions should be created during the Hiring Pause. Any hiring through December 31, 2020, should focus on maintaining adequate staffing levels in these essential service areas:

  • Law enforcement and public safety
  • Hospitals and health services
  • Child care for children of parents performing essential services to the university and medical center
  • Limited meal preparation and service
  • Facility utilities
  • Residential support
  • Others determined to be essential by the university

HR Business Partners will work with supervisors who have new employees already scheduled to start. Best practices on how to onboard employees who are teleworking on their first day will be available.

Employees of Ohio State Wexner Medical Center: The medical center is implementing a process to replace the in-person new employee orientation.

This hiring pause applies to all executive departments and units regardless of the sources of their operational and programmatic funding.

The hiring pause does not overrule collective bargaining agreements.

Exceptions to the hiring pause

In addition to the list above, exceptions to the hiring pause include, but are not limited to:

  • Key faculty positions (including those of graduate teaching assistants) starting in summer and fall 2020
  • Key research positions (including graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and research technicians) starting in fall 2020

Deans and members of President’s Cabinet may also exempt any positions that are deemed necessary to meet medical center, public safety and critical operating functions of the university to maintain levels of service for our students and patients.

In addition, the Office of Human Resources in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer may grant limited exceptions from this pause where the circumstances warrant it.

New Hire Services

For the exceptions described above, the Office of Human Resources is managing the in-person aspects of new-hire paperwork, background checks and Form I-9’s through a centralized process and by appointment only. Other services include the following:

  • Technology services for employees who will telework upon starting:
    • If the college or unit is a MITS Customer, continue to utilize ServiceNow and instead of a face to face set-up of a new employee’s computer, the hiring manager will call IT Service Desk at 614-688-4357 to schedule curb-side pickup of the computer. A remote meeting will then be scheduled to help the new employee get started.
    • If college or unit is not MITS Customer:  please contact your local IT department.
  • To schedule a BCI/FBI fingerprint background check at the Office of Human Resources (located at the Gateway C Building at 1590 N. High Street), please contact the Background Check Team at HR‐ or 614‐292‐3595.
  • BuckID is operating by appointment only in a temporary location out of Lincoln Tower to meet the needs of essential personnel / new hires. Those needing to receive their first ID or a replacement ID can email or call 614-292-0400 to schedule an appointment. BuckID will provide them with information on how to get to its temporary office when the appointment is scheduled. The first appointments are available between 1 and 5 p.m. on Mondays and between 9 a.m. and noon on Wednesdays. BuckID will continue to adjust hours to meet needs / demand.

[top of page]