Ohio State University suspends more than 200 students for violating pandemic precautions before classes even begin

Nation/world
A lone person makes their way through the 'Oval' at Ohio State University, a part of campus which, during the school year, is popular with students and faculty of the university, on August 13, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio. (Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

A lone person makes their way through the ‘Oval’ at Ohio State University, a part of campus which, during the school year, is popular with students and faculty of the university, on August 13, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio. (Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

Even before classes began Tuesday, The Ohio State University temporarily suspended 228 students who officials said broke guidelines around social gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

The suspension comes as K-12 schools, colleges and universities across the country contend with how to start and safely continue the academic year during a worldwide pandemic.

Ohio State, located in Columbus, is one of the largest in the country, with nearly 70,000 students.

Students moved back to campus starting August 12. At the time, the university sent out a note telling students they must wear a mask, practice social distancing, and that gatherings could not include more than 10 people.

In the note, Vice President of Student Life Melissa Shivers warned the university’s student conduct team was in the process of opening dozens of cases that would likely result in interim suspensions.

Shivers also made clear that student organizations involved in unsafe gatherings could lose their university recognition and funding.

“Perhaps knowing about the action we are taking will influence your decisions and prompt you to encourage others to take this situation seriously” Shivers wrote in her Friday letter. “And remember that this is all about more than the individual. We have one shot at this — responding to what so many of you asked for: an on campus semester at Ohio State.”

The Office of Student Life is monitoring off-campus neighborhoods and is reporting students who might have broken rules, school spokesman Benjamin Johnson told CNN.

Correction: A previous version of this CNN story provided the wrong date for when students moved back to campus. This story has been updated.

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