On June 24, 2020, the ONU Board of Trustees endorsed the University’s COVID-19 safety plan for resuming in-person education for fall semester 2020. The plan was developed by incorporating the informed efforts of several work groups and special teams, leadership reviews undertaken over several weeks, and helpful suggestions during a campus comment period. The plan was reviewed and fine-tuned throughout the summer to ensure continued compliance with guidance from federal and state governments and the local health department. This fall, ONU executed its implementation plan derived from the work done over the summer. Students, faculty and staff have worked tirelessly over the past seven months to ensure that the health, safety and well-being of every member of the ONU community remains our top priority. These are their stories.
The fall semester was always going to be an adjustment period for everyone at Ohio Northern University, especially the largest population among the campus community – students. So much of the ONU safety plan centered around changes to student life. While faculty and staff got to go home every night, students lived the safety plan 24/7. Their daily existence, from housing to dining, classes to extracurricular activities, to just hanging out with friends – was affected by the ONU safety plan. Fortunately, they had Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Adriane Thompson Bradshaw looking out for them.
In non-pandemic times, Thompson Bradshaw’s responsibilities boil down to meeting student needs. In her 30-plus years at ONU, she has worked tirelessly to maintain a high-quality residential experience for all students. Her day-to-day duties over the past three decades prepared her for the challenges of this fall semester. She became the “boots on the ground” administrator overseeing the impact of the safety plan on campus.
“One of our biggest challenges was handling the sheer volume of students involved in testing and the need for follow up,” says Thompson Bradshaw. “There were times that one positive test could result in 10 or more direct contacts, and getting all of the calls, arrangements for relocation, and food made in a timely manner was difficult. It required some late evenings and weekends, but we took care of everyone.”
Thompson Bradshaw was personally in contact with every single ONU student who either tested positive or was alerted via contact tracing that they were in close contact with an infected person. It was her responsibility to work with each student to make sure the plans for where and how they spent their quarantine or isolation time were aligned with the guidance from the Ohio Department of Health. She oversaw the relocation process for students who needed to be moved into the designated quarantine/isolation spaces. She worked with Dining Services and the Office of Residence Life staff to provide meal deliveries to these students, going so far as to create an entirely new student employment opportunity, Polar Bear “door dashers” if you will, to keep up with the meal delivery demand.
ONU’s robust extracurricular tradition falls under Thompson Bradshaw’s purview as well. Student groups and organizations had limitations on meetings and gatherings per the safety plan, so Thompson Bradshaw helped devise an approval system for campus events. Any student group seeking to meet was required to fill out an online event request form that helped organizations plan in accordance with campus policies and protocols, and kept administrators aware of the amount of extracurricular activity on campus. Thompson Bradshaw’s team either approved the event directly or worked with organizations to adapt their proposed event to adhere to the safety plan.
As we have all learned about the University’s COVID response, everything is a team effort. For Thompson Bradshaw, who was also part of the ONU COVID task force, that meant daily communication with Karen Schroeder in the ONU Health Center, Jedda Decker in the Office of Residence Life, Noah Ristau in Dining Services, and the Offices of Public Safety and the Physical Plant. David Dellifield, director of McIntosh Center, and Jennifer Lambdin, director of student involvement, were instrumental in the student event approval process, and Chad Shepherd, director of student conduct, and his assistant, Teresa Roberts, worked diligently at helping hold students accountable in their efforts to adhere to the safety plan.