path down oval with physical distancing sign on ground

Ohio State plans to conduct sample pool COVID-19 testing to increase testing capabilities and will limit class sizes to 50 students, the university announced Aug. 7. Credit: Max Garrison | Asst. Campus Editor

Ohio State will expand its COVID-19 testing capabilities using fewer resources and continue to find ways to promote physical distancing in classrooms and university spaces as it prepares for students to return to campus in the next few days.

In a universitywide email sent Friday evening, the university announced plans to develop a pool testing program to test multiple people in one test. Sample pooling groups individuals into one “batch” and tests the batch instead of testing all individual samples. A positive test result suggests at least one person in the pool is infected with COVID-19, and each sample in that pool will be tested individually, according to the email. 

“[Sample pooling] will enable the university to significantly expand surveillance testing while continuing to preserve adequate testing capacity for symptomatic individuals at the university and in the broader community,” the email reads.

It is unclear by how much the number of tests administered will increase with sample pooling.

In addition to increased testing, the university will modify its guidance for classroom sizes. According to the email, maximum class sizes have been lowered to 50 students, and courses with class sizes greater than 50 will be adjusted to hybrid or distance-enhanced models. The university originally announced June 17 that in-person classes would not exceed 100 people, including faculty, according to a press release.

The university extended its state of emergency through Aug. 15. The state of emergency allows the university to use Disaster Leave (Policy 6.28).