Furloughs, budget cuts and the summer transition are among the latest developments in Ohio State’s COVID-19 response announced Tuesday.
Ohio State is expected to make budget cuts and furloughs to counteract the expected $300 million loss in revenue for the 2020 fiscal year due to COVID-19, while also announcing their summer transition plan and extending the university state of emergency through June 6, University President Michael V. Drake announced in a university-wide email Tuesday.
“The current fiscal situation of course requires that we have the flexibility to respond and adjust in uncertain and evolving circumstances,” Drake said.
The university — pending Board of Trustees approval Wednesday — will be making the cuts by instituting hiring pauses with exceptions for essential service, key faculty and research positions, some capital projects and off-cycle salary increases. It will also restrict university-sponsored travel and enact a stricter policy on non-essential purchases and utilizing cash reserves and federal stimulus received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act if approved, according to the email.
The Office of Research has created a plan to return to campus in phases and the College of Dentistry has reopened limited operations with all of the necessary safety precautions. A centralized operations plan for the college’s fall semester will be announced soon, according to the email.
The university will present a two-month interim budget plan that needs to realize $58 million for the university and the $45 million for the Wexner Medical Center in cost savings to the Board for consideration Wednesday, according to the email. The Wexner Medical Center is engaging in separate and coordinated budgetary control and contingency planning initiatives.
“Overall, we anticipate that the upcoming fiscal year will present further budgetary challenges due to COVID-19,” Drake said. “We are planning for multiple scenarios while working to maintain and advance teaching, research and patient care.”
The Board will consider passing a rule that allows the creation of a furlough policy Wednesday, according to the email. The policy will allow the university to place employees on unpaid leaves of absences for specified amounts of time while still maintaining their benefits. Historically, the university has not had a furlough policy, and Drake said there are no plans to institute furloughs at the present time.
“Any furloughs in the future would be carefully and transparently considered and would be based on the budgetary circumstances and planning of individual units and the university as a whole,” Drake said.
According to the email, the university asked all colleges and support units to prepare ranges of budget reduction scenarios for the 2021 fiscal year which includes 5 to 20 percent spending reductions.
The Board will meet Wednesday from 11:00 a.m.-5:45 p.m. via video-conferencing software.