FOR OUR COMMUNITY
To ensure the health and safety of the Ohio Christian community, our Emergency Response Team is actively monitoring the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) around the globe and here at home. We have created this center to keep our students, staff, faculty, and friends up to date on Ohio Christian University's response and safety measures.
Beyond public health considerations, we are concerned about the well-being of students affected by the impact of the outbreak. As part of our on-going Emergency Preparedness planning, we continue to monitor multiple communications from various sources to make sure we are up to date on the virus and its possible impact here in Ohio.
COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS FAQsOHIO CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY – AUGUST 2020
WHAT THE COMMUNITY SHOULD KNOW
Is campus open?
Campus is only open to the public for a specific event or meeting. Athletic events will be allowed to have spectators so long as they abide by the restrictions listed below in the athletic questions section.
Can I go to the cafeteria or to a chapel service?
To best keep our student population safe our campus cafeteria is NOT open to the general public, nor are our chapel services.
STUDENT ILLNESS OR POTENTIAL CONTACT
If a student is showing any signs of an illness (whether they believe it to be COVID-19, or not) they should:
Contact their RD if they live on campus or reach out the Student Development office at 740-477-7702 if they will be commuting to campus that day.
They will be asked several questions, and if there is a concern, they will be asked to get tested for COVID-19. Symptoms like fever warrant a self-quarantine to see if the symptom persists. If the fever remains the following day, they will be asked to get tested.
What is a residential student supposed to do if they come in contact with someone that has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has been placed in isolation for COVID-19?
If the residential student is able to go home to self-quarantine, they will be asked to do so. If they are unable to self-quarantine at home, reach out to student development. Class instruction will be made available online as to ensure no students fall behind in their education.
How are we taking precautions in classrooms?
- Faculty have taken on the responsibility of sanitizing and cleaning student areas in classrooms after each class.
- Students will be social distancing at seats in classrooms that will be clearly marked.
- Class sizes that are too large to accommodate in our large classrooms will have hybrid accommodations.
- All students will be required to leave classroom before the next class enters
What are we asking student to do?
Students are to abide by the TRAILBLAZER SAFE SIX and encourage them to stay on campus as much as possible. However, should they choose to leave, we also ask that they recognize it is their responsibility to keep themselves and the Ohio Christian community safe.
What does wearing a mask look like on campus?
Students, faculty, and staff will be expected to wear masks while on campus. During the semester, once students are seated, they may remove their masks and as long as faculty maintain a 6-foot distance, they may remove their masks to aid in lecturing, leading discussion, and answering questions.
What are the precautions taken for other public areas?
- Social distancing in all common areas and lines are marked for the cafeteria, coffee shop, etc…
- Over 42 hand sanitizing stations have been installed campus wide, including dorm common areas
- There are new designated entrances and exits for all buildings and classrooms
- Staff, faculty, and students will check their temperature daily before entering any Ohio Christian University building. If your temperature is 100.0 degrees or higher please reach out to your appropriate contact.
What will Chapel look like with COVID-19 precautions?
- Social distancing measures will be implemented and there will be overflow areas available
- All doors to the auditorium prior to chapel will function as entrances, and after the service all doors will be exits as to limit crowding
- We are asking that all audience members not sing out loud as to not increase the spread of germs
- Faculty, staff, and community members are asked not to attend chapel. Staff and Faculty will be able to watch online at myocu.com/live
How is the cafeteria taking precautions?
- Just like the rest of campus, masks are to be worn until seated at a safe social distance.
- The seating capacity of the cafeteria has been reduced to ensure social distancing compliance.
- We are also asking that no community members dine in the cafeteria to best protect our students.
What does the university semester schedule look like?
- Onsite class activities for the Circleville campus will cease starting at 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 24, and all courses will finish the final two weeks of the semester online after Thanksgiving break
- Students will return to the Circleville campus for the start of the Spring 2021 semester
- Pumpkin Show days are still awarded
HOW ARE ATHLETES STAYING SAFE?
How are athletes taking precautions?
- The temperatures will be taken of all student-athletes before they get on a bus to travel for any game/match.
- There are student-athlete temperature parameters specific to the RSC and NAIA that will be adhered.
- Once the bus has arrived on location, all student-athletes will, again, be subject to a fever check administered by a healthcare professional
- In addition, all fall sports will be completed before Thanksgiving
Will athletes be required to take the COVID-19 test?
Ohio Christian University seeks to comply with the most up-to-date information regarding the issue of COVID-19 testing for our fall student-athletes. At this time testing is not mandatory to play as it is not a requirement of our governing bodies. As things change, Ohio Christian University will respond accordingly.
What should spectators and parents know before coming on campus?
- All spectators attending games must wear a mask at all times and six-feet social distancing must be maintained between household groups
- Inside seating capacity is limited to 15% of normal capacity
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS A SPIKE IN POSITIVE COVID-19 CASES?
Last year we were all thrown into a situation, thankfully, we were ready and adjusted with a smooth transition into online learning. Moving forward, we have made certain that all faculty will be prepared to move to online instruction, should the university need to go fully remote to best focus on the safety of all students, staff, and faculty.
Please reach out to the specific department that you have a question for:
On March 11, Ohio Christian University announced to students, faculty, and staff the moving of all on-campus, face-to-face instruction to an online modality in response to the international viral outbreak of 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19). Thankfully, Ohio Christian is uniquely adept to adjust and continue on educating all students through online courses. On March 12, all athletic-related activities were suspended. On March 18, students were notified that classes will remain in an online format for the remainder of the semester. The Tree of Life bookstore has provided a solution to all traditional students to receive up to seven online books, free of charge. We cannot wait for our students to join us back on campus this fall!
May 6, 2020 - Campus Updates
May 6, 2020
Last week Governor DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton issued the new Stay-Safe Ohio Public Health Order.
They said that this indicates we have entered a new stage in the COVID-19 crisis. No longer a Stay-At-Home order, now it’s a Stay-Safe Order. The expiration date for this new order is May 29, 2020. Although I am sure much will be added and changed in the next four weeks.
When asked about August, he indicated that he had no idea what August would look like – too hard to predict – and did not want to even venture to suggest ideas of what he foresees.
The most important items for Ohio Christian University revolve around our employees returning to campus in the coming weeks.
Important Stay Safe Ohio dates: May 4, 2020 – General offices are allowed to re-open; this includes higher education. May 12, 2020 – General retail is allowed to re-open.
The Governor announced several “working groups” to establish guidelines for the next wave of re-opening. Currently, those groups include the following industries: restaurant, hair/salon, library, fitness/gym, travel/tourism, and sports and are all meeting to come up with basic “best practices” so that these areas can re-open safely and quickly throughout the next month. So, we continue to live in a fluid situation across the state.
Important OCU Dates: I have already indicated that the first group of employees to return to campus will begin May 18, 2020 – after we have completed the STUDENT MOVE OUT on May 7-9, 2020.
Next week more details will be provided as to which employees will be included in the May 18, 2020 return. We anticipate another wave of employees to return to work on campus on May 25, 2020 and will indicate next week who that group will include. At this point, we anticipate having all employees working from their physical offices no later than June 1, 2020 – when the last group returns and begins working from campus.
Fall 2020 – We will be OPEN At this point, we are full steam ahead and planning a “new normal” fall student move-in and new student orientation. We plan to have residential traditional campus students back on campus according to the calendar that was approved last year. No dates for move-in or class ‘start-up’ have been changed or delayed at this time. As we have been since the inception of this COVID-19 crisis, we will continue to follow and comply with all required safety standards regarding social distancing, masks, cleaning, etc. as they become available for institutions of higher education. The campus has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized throughout the stay-at-home order timeframe. This will be completed again following our student move out time this week, and throughout the summer.
Thank you for all you continue to do for our students – current and prospective. And we look forward to being together again – on campus – soon.
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
April 23, 2020 - Campus Updates
April 23, 2020 Dear All,
I want to share a few updates as we move closer to the current end date of the Public Health Stay-At Home-Order, which is set to expire May 1, 2020.
First, I trust and hope this letter finds you and your family safe and well.
Secondly, as we lean in toward the May 1, 2020 deadline – signaling many Ohioans can return to their physical places of employment – I want to share some specific decisions for our students and employees at Ohio Christian University.
Since March 15, we have lost about 1 million jobs in Ohio and 25 million jobs across the United States. Unemployment could rise to almost 20% nationally. In 2009, the highest unemployment rate reached 10.9%. So, it is essential that America gets back to work – but we need to do so safely.
Graduation Commencement was to occur on May 2, 2020. We are working with the appropriate offices to make sure that our students who are qualified to graduate – will receive their degrees after that date, as well as their diplomas. Degrees will be “conferred” at the normal time. We need more time to see how the re-opening strategy occurs and at what pace – before we can determine a time that would be safe for a mass gathering like a Commencement. At this time, I do not foresee any mass gatherings on our campus during the Summer.
Spring Board Meeting Our Spring 2020 Meeting of the Board of Trustees will occur at the scheduled time – May 4-5, 2020. This meeting will be a virtual meeting with members joining via WebEx. Your prayers for this important meeting are greatly appreciated.
Residential Student Move-Out We will be announcing and implementing the Resident Hall Move Out during May 7-10, 2020. The Office of Student Development will be sending out the schedule to all our residential students. Students will be assigned a specific day to return to move out of their residence hall room to spread out the number of people returning to each hall/each day while maximizing social distancing for all involved and allow for a safe, efficient process.
Return to Work The Work-from-Home arrangement we have been living under has always been a “temporary” and “emergency” adjustment. We have always known that a time would come in which we would physically return to our offices. The first day for that at Ohio Christian University will be May 18, 2020. A plan is being developed that will stage that process for buildings and offices – but we do anticipate that we will be fully back-to-work physically occupying our offices sometime in June 2020. More on this will follow in the days ahead.
Please keep yourself abreast of Coronavirus Resources for yourself and your family.
coronavirus.ohio.govCoronavirus Hotline 1-833-427-5634
COVID CARELine (Mental Health) 1-800-720-9616 To talk with a trained mental health expert, conduct screening, and refer individuals to resources in the person’s residential area.
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
April 1, 2020 - President Update
April 1, 2020
I want to extend my greetings and prayers to all our students who continue to work hard on their classes from home in these most exceptional days. No doubt, this will be a milestone experience in the history of our country that you will be talking about for decades once we come out on the other side.
On Sunday, March 29, 2020, President Trump extended the social distancing order to April 30, 2020. Today, at their daily press conference, Governor DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, Director of Ohio Public Health, reiterated we have still not reached the peak of the COVID-19 surge, which will come sometime between April 15 through May 7, 2020.
I am writing to let you know how these two items will impact our institution in the days ahead.
COVID-19 in Ohio As of today, April 1, 2020, there are 2,547 who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in Ohio, with 679 in hospital beds, and 65 deaths. The numbers are evening out, with approximately half of those testing positive being men (49%) and half being women (51%). The median age is 53 years. So far, we have only 12 cases of the COVID-19 virus reported in Pickaway County and 0 deaths.https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/cba959255bf249a09d692585932ef7f6
OCU Working with Office of Emergency Management Ohio Christian University is in contact with the Pickaway County Office of Emergency Management as it prepares for the potential surge in our county. Should OCU be needed as a site for medical distribution or drive through testing – we will work with the county OEM and the EMA Director, Darrin Flick (an OCU alum). OCU has always been a great community partner – and will continue to do so during this time of crisis in our community.
Residence Hall Move Out We are postponing arrangements for students to collect their belongings from residence halls until after April 2020. There may be additional delays depending on whether or not the Public Health Department’s Stay At Home order is further extended. More information will be coming as we see how the COVID-19 surge transpires over the next 30 days.
Commencement No decision has been made regarding a Commencement. Mass gathering events are still canceled across the state, well into the summer. We are told that after the COVID-19 virus surge – it will be a slow build back to normal. So, we will continue to monitor the situation and see what decisions are best as not to cancel and reschedule... again. Degrees will be conferred as they normally would have been in May - so that graduates can begin their job searches and move forward.
Security There will be security on campus throughout this Stay At Home order to serve our few students still residing on campus, ensure the safety of our facilities, and to deal with any deliveries or visitors who may come to campus.
COVID-19 COPING ResourcesDr. Thad Hicks, OCU Professor of Emergency Management, suggested that several areas on campus could be writing, authoring, or at least editing some quality articles for our students on how to cope with the inevitable stress associated with the COVID -19 situation. These articles will cover the spectrum from how to get outdoors and do some healthy exercise, to dealing with depression, to music and its health benefits during a quarantine situation, to suggested Reading Lists and benefits of reading/writing during a Stay At Home order. We are working with several “point people” on these resources, and our marketing team, to have them uploaded to our website in the days ahead.
Go to our CORONAVIRUS RESOURCE page on the main webpage and look for the section labeled – SUCCESS STRATEGIES.
We continue to pray for all our students, current and future, and are here for you should need assistance during this time.
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President Ohio Christian University
March 23, 2020 - President Update
March 23, 2020
The Department of Public Health (and the Governor) have signed a Stay At Home Order, effective 11:59p – TONIGHT.
This will impact our institution in the following ways:
Stay At Home Order
The order from the Department of Public Health to Stay At Home was issued on March 22, 2020 and goes into effect tonight at 11:59. The order runs through April 6, 2020 until 8:00a. The full order can be found here.
This means that our WORK FROM HOME arrangements, previously extended to include this full week – will now be extended until 8:00a, April 6, 2020. No employee, unless specifically given permission by their Vice President should be on campus for any reason, beginning after midnight tonight – through 8:00a, April 6, 2020.
Residence Hall Move Out
The announcement and schedule for our resident students to come to campus and move out of the residence halls has been POSTPONED – until after April 6, 2020. This may be further delayed depending on whether or not the Public Health Stay At Home order is extended. We will not be initiating any move out process until this order is lifted.
There will be security on campus throughout this Stay At Home order to serve our few students still residing on campus, ensure the security of our facilities and to deal with any deliveries or visitors who may come to campus.
The Church Being the Church
One of the places I like to read and learn from is The Acton Institute. I found this article to be of interest and challenging.
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D.
Please REVIEW THIS FAQ regarding the Stay At Home order for the state of Ohio.
March 20, 2020 - President Update
March 20, 2020
As you continue to hear every day, the virus COVID-19 situation confronting our state and nation is very fluid with new developments almost hourly. We continue to monitor all news conferences by our Governor and President, as well as read the most recent Situation Reports from our county and state. I want to thank the Cabinet and the President’s Council, and the entire Emergency Response Team led by OCU faculty member Dr. Thad Hicks, for their assistance to me during this unprecedented time. I also want to thank the Custodial Team for all the extra and deep cleaning/disinfecting they have been doing these past several days, to ensure our campus is clean, safe and virus free when everyone returns.
At the time of our last communication we had approximately 22 students living and working on campus – many to assist with our ONLINE transition that was to last until March 29, 2020. As a result of the decision to remain online through the entire Spring Semester – many of these students have been required to move home. By this weekend, we will have only 5-6 students living on campus for the remainder of this semester, primarily our international students. Those students will be moved to one of the townhouses where they will have access to their own kitchens.
Resident Student Move Out
Residence Life will send out an announcement to all campus students with a required MOVE OUT SCHEDULE. This scheduled move out is intentionally designed to allow people to return to campus in a way that does not violate the Governor’s Public Health orders on social distancing. Check out will be fast, with an “express” form and key-drop off, to allow students and their parents to limit their time on campus.
Because the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff are of utmost importance, I am extending the Work From Home (WFH) through next week. This means that the first day to work back on campus will be March 30, 2020. There are only a few employees who are to report to campus to work as they cannot do their essential work from home. This includes some maintenance, custodial, security. No faculty or staff should be working in their offices.
Please join with me, each day, as:
We pray for our national, state and local leaders.
We pray for all those infected and suffering from the virus COVID-19.
We pray for all those whose jobs, income and families are impacted by shutdown decisions.
We pray for all our nation’s healthcare workers, first responders, and military personnel.
We pray for all those working with the homeless, shelters and soup kitchens.
We pray for families who are trying to manage all this situation for their children.
We pray for many elderly populations impacted by this disease.
We pray for all Christians and churches everywhere – that they would be the hands and feet of Jesus to a watching (and hurting) world during this time.
We pray for all who are connected with Ohio Christian University – students, faculty, staff, administration, and alumni.
This prayer list is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all those being impacted by our national crisis. But it serves as a reminder – that we need to be in prayer.
We serve a God who hears, who cares and who answers the prayers of His people.
Thank you for all you do to keep OCU moving forward.
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D.
March 18, 2020 - Traditional Student Updates
Dear Traditional Students,
In light of the ongoing disruption to on-campus learning, the Campus Store has partnered with VitalSource and leading publishers to launch VitalSource Helps, a program offering free access to eBooks for students who may have lost access to course materials with the rapid move to distance learning.
If you left your books on campus or prefer digital course material during this time, visit bookshelf.vitalsource.com to access up to seven free eBooks through May 25. VitalSource Helps provides access to tens of thousands of eBooks. Some content may not be available so please check availability before returning your rental materials to the Campus Store.
To access free materials, you must use your @ohiochristian.edu email address to log in or create an account. Before you get started, we encourage you to review the below PDF that offers additional details and frequently asked questions.
The Campus Store
March 18, 2020 - President Update
March 18, 2020
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
These are unprecedented times. Ohio Christian University continues to make critical decisions to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in the best interests of our community based upon state and federal guidelines. As you know, this is a rapidly evolving situation, and I am writing to share an update.
Students While we initially hoped to allow our students to return to campus – and the residence halls – over the weekend of March 29th, in light of the unfolding nature and spread of the COVID-19 situation across our state and nation, we have decided that the online/virtual alternative will remain the format of learning for the remainder of the semester.
As a result, students will need to return to campus to retrieve their personal belongings. However, because of public health concerns, we will be having students return on a scheduled basis. Those students who were living on campus and do not need their personal belongings immediately are encouraged to wait until after the semester ends. We will ensure that all residence halls and rooms remain locked and security will continue to monitor each hall.
Students who were living on campus that find it essential to have access to their room to move out, the Office of Residence Life will send out an email early next week concerning a schedule to move out. Each student will be assigned a block of time to ensure social distancing.
I recognize this is an inconvenience, and we will work with our students and be as flexible as possible if the assigned time block does not work.
Spring 2020 Commencement Spring 2020 Commencement currently scheduled for May 2, 2020, will not occur. At this time, no alternative date is scheduled.
We continue to finalize an appropriate refund model that is financially fair and equitable for each student and their specific situation, regardless of when they retrieve their personal belongings. Please know that I understand this is a pressing concern for our students and families, and we are working diligently on a timely solution.
As previously communicated, we will conduct virtual and online teaching and learning until the end of the spring semester. Students are responsible to engage with their professor, complete the assignments and finish the coursework for each class as directed by their instructor. Any course, homework and/or assignment questions should be directed to the appropriate faculty member. We are committed to supporting our students to complete their degrees on time. As a result, the Academic Support Office is available to assist students at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (740) 497-4841.
Check back to this site regularly for more updates.
I want to thank our students, faculty, and staff for their flexibility and adaptability. I know these changes have affected your OCU experience in ways we could never imagine.
Faculty and Staff Staff supervisors will be in contact with their teams to manage workflow so we can continue operations of the University. They are also assessing each office area to ensure appropriate “social distancing” and to make necessary changes as needed.
Students, Faculty and Staff Our guiding principles throughout this pandemic remain intact. We are committed to:
- prioritizing the health and safety of all our students, faculty and staff
- providing our students the opportunity to continue their education
- assisting our faculty as they transition to online learning
- offering services to our students to support their online academic experience
- maintaining the operations of our physical and technological infrastructure
In the midst of these very challenging times, please know I am grateful for how our community has come together to overcome this difficult situation, and especially thankful for your adaptability and willingness to continue this important work. We will be successful as long as we work together.
Your health and safety remain the University's top priority. I will communicate with you more as we make decisions in response to the COVID-19 situation.
COVID-19 resources We encourage members to follow guidelines established by state and federal health agencies that are designed to help prevent the spread of disease and can help our communities recover as soon as possible.
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President Ohio Christian University
March 13, 2020 - Campus Updates
In an effort to continue to make strides to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and faculty through a variety of measures, all events on campus have been canceled or postponed for the remainder of the month. The health and safety of our OCU family is our utmost concern and we’re committed to doing all that we can to ensure that we follow the guidelines set out by our state and national leaders in response to this developing situation.
Please see the below list of events that have been postponed or canceled and their status:
- Shadow Days - all March - canceled
- Songwriter's Workshop - March 17, 19, & 26 - postponed until fall
- Bethel Concert - March 18 - canceled
- Preview Day - March 27 - canceled
- LEAD Conference - March 28 - canceled
- ENGAGE 2020 Conference - March 31 - postponed until fall
- Little Women - April 3 & 4 - postponed
- Jazz Ambassadors Concert - April 4 - canceled
All athletic games, tournaments, and practices have been suspended. All student-athletes are encouraged to stay home and not return to campus after spring break. Teams that are currently in season and traveling are heading back to Circleville, OH today and tomorrow and will be heading home directly following their arrival on campus. Please see the below Athletic Conference announcement.
March 11, 2020 - President Update
Dear Ohio Christian University Community,
As the COVID-19 situation facing our state, and nation, continues to unfold, I want to inform the Ohio Christian University Community of what the university is implementing in response to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s recommendations to Ohio colleges and universities at his 2 p.m. press conference today:
- All on-campus, face-to-face instruction courses are being moved to online, remote teaching modalities, beginning Tuesday, March 17 through March 29, 2020.
- An in-service day for all traditional faculty will be on Monday, March 16, to go over any questions they may have regarding the technology and process for moving their courses to a distance learning format during this time.
- Chapel services are canceled beginning Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27, 2020.
- Students must maintain communications with their faculty members during the distance learning period. Attendance, class interaction and course assignments are still in effect.
- Professors will be in contact on March 16, 2020 with their students, providing additional instructions on how their course content will be delivered.
- Students gone from campus for Spring Break this week are encouraged to stay home and not return to campus. However, we know that due to spring sports, off-campus employment and other obligations, not all students can remain away. Therefore, our residence halls and dining service will remain open.
- STUDENTS WHO REMAIN ON CAMPUS – should prepare for limited on-campus activities and interactions, including reduced cafeteria hours of operation.
- Unless otherwise noted, most public gatherings/events are canceled through March 29.
- The campus library will remain open for those students needing technology to participate in the distance learning alternative.
- Outdoor athletic competitions will continue as scheduled.
- Any indoor event, if held, will only be held in front of the athletes, immediate family, and sporting officials. In other words, no fans.
- This may change even further, if the Governor’s Office, the CDC, the NAIA or the Rivers States Conference suggests or mandates additional actions.
- Effective immediately and until further notice, all university-sponsored international travel is suspended. This includes new travel as well as any currently booked trips for the next thirty days.
- Staff will continue to report to campus. Employees should work with their direct supervisor to determine if remote working is available or necessary.
As of Wednesday, March 11, 2020, there are no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in Pickaway County, Ohio.
These decisions will remain in effect until March 29, 2020. These decisions may be extended, given the circumstances, as we approach the March 29, 2020 timeline.
University officials and the Emergency Response Team will continue to assess this rapidly-evolving situation and provide updates through our main web page at https://www.ohiochristian.edu/emergency/coronavirus.
Ohio Christian University continues to work closely with all Public Health agencies to stay abreast of the latest developments for our county and state.
Student Life Questions
For students and parents with inquiries regarding resident hall arrangements or other student life concerns should contact the Office of Student Life, at (740) 477-7702.
For all media inquiries contact Jessie Roark, Director of Communications, at (740) 497-4836.
Course Specific Questions
Questions regarding classes/assignments/course content should be directed to the specific professor of the class and/or the department chair.
Again, for continuing updates, please check our Center for Coronavirus Updates webpage: https://www.ohiochristian.edu/emergency/coronavirus
While there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D.
Ohio Christian University
March 10, 2020 - President Update
Dear Concerned Student, Parent, and Community Member,
As many of you are aware, the COVID-19, or coronavirus, situation is a highly fluid and fast-evolving situation. We monitor this situation daily – and continue to send regular updates to our campus constituents as information changes and becomes available. I want to update you with current information on COVID-19 and its impact on Ohio Christian University students, faculty and staff - and provide you with what is reasonable to anticipate in the coming days.
First and foremost, the situation remains fluid. We anticipate that there will be several announcements and changes in the coming days on the issues noted below, similar to what has been announced by Ohio State University and Harvard University.
We are now aware of three (3) cases in Ohio. We are not aware of any current threat to Ohio Christian University campus community. Many of the campuses closing down face-to-face instruction and/or sending home their residence students are doing so because of the significant population of international students and/or the significant amount of international travel made by their students/faculty/staff from which many will be returning over the next several days. By taking these actions, they are in effect, complying with the 14-day “quarantine” policy of the CDC.
These two major scenarios do not impact the student population attending Ohio Christian University. Our risk of exposure remains low.
However, we are ready, should the time arrive and it becomes necessary, to move the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester to online/virtual learning for our students on the main campus receiving face-to-face instruction.
Again, that decision has not yet been made. As you look around you will still see people shopping, attending athletic events, concerts, church, etc. We do need to remain vigilant and use common sense precautions as posted on the Center for Disease Control website.
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D.
Ohio Christian University
The Vaccine You Don't Want
June 5, 2020
I am writing this sixty-seven years, to the day, from when Jonas Salk first announced an effective polio vaccine. However, the actual practice of immunization dates back hundreds of years. Buddhist monks would drink snake venom to hopefully gain immunity to snake bites as far back as the 17th century in China. Edward Jenner is considered the founder of vaccinology in the West when in 1796. He inoculated a 13 year-old-boy with the cowpox virus and demonstrated immunity to smallpox. The name of Louis Pasteur (1897) and his development of the cholera vaccine is equally famous. The work of these researchers, and others, have led to mass immunization and the subsequent eradication of many diseases worldwide.
My understanding is that a vaccine works by training the immune system to recognize the “disease” and fight the pathogens found in either the virus or bacteria. To do this, specific molecules from the “disease” (pathogen) must be introduced into the body to trigger an immune response. By injecting these molecules (antigens) into the body, the immune system can safely learn to recognize them as hostile invaders, produce antibodies, and remember them for the future. If the bacteria or virus reappears, the immune system will recognize the disease invader – and immediately attack it, before the pathogen can spread.
Now, unless you are deliberately choosing to ignore the news regarding the COVID-19 situation, you know that all the talk regarding successfully “re-opening the economy” and “staying-safe” ultimately rests on the discovery of a vaccine. Certainly, much can be done to eliminate the spread of the virus with handwashing, hand-sanitizing, and wearing masks, but in the end, we need a vaccine. Each new trial that has any positive results makes the news and influences the stock market. Reporters, politicians, and public health officials are all closely monitoring developments on drugs like Remdesivir, and, why the United States recently invested one billion dollars in a promising potential immunization solution with Oxford University.
But there is a vaccine we want to avoid.
Chad Walsh, in his work Early Christians of the 21st Century, wrote prophetically:
“Millions of Christians live in a sentimental haze of vague piety with soft organ music trembling in the light of stained-glass windows. Their religion is a pleasant thing, demanding little more than lip service to a few harmless platitudes; it is much safer from Satan’s point of view to vaccinate a person with a mild case of Christianity so as to protect him from the real disease.”
Part of Satan’s strategy is not so much to try to get the believer to discard the Bible but, rather, to disregard it.
It’s okay to hear the gospel, just as long as you don’t heed it.
There’s no problem if you want to learn the Word, just don’t try to live it.
Don’t be hot, don’t be cold – just be warm.
Currently, in development, there are:
- 108 vaccines for cancer,
- 125 vaccines for infectious diseases,
- 14 vaccines for allergies,
- 2 vaccines for Alzheimer’s disease, and, as of this writing
- There are more than 70 vaccines for COVID-19 in the global research pipeline.
We rejoice in this!
But when it comes to our faith, we want to avoid being vaccinated with a mild case of Christianity to protect us from the real disease. We want to catch the real thing until it “infects” every part of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. And then... we need to give it to our neighbor.
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves (James 1:22).
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
Permanent Grace Amnesia
June 1, 2020
Recently, in the middle of the COVID crisis sweeping our country, my older brother had a frightening event occur at work. Suddenly, he no longer knew what day or month it was. He was dizzy and was not speaking in totally coherent terms. He was rushed to a hospital in Denver, where doctors thought he was experiencing a stroke. The odd thing is that throughout the whole episode, he knew who he was, recognized his wife and son, and was able to converse fairly accurately with the health workers. However, as they tested him with questions, he had never heard of the COVID virus and did not recall that our mom and dad have passed away the past two years. The diagnosis eventually reached by the doctors was Transient Global Amnesia (TGA).
The Mayo Clinic describes Transient Global Amnesia (TGA) as a sudden, temporary episode of memory loss that can't be attributed to a more common neurological condition, such as epilepsy or stroke. During an episode of Transient Global Amnesia, your recall of recent events simply vanishes, so you can't remember where you are or how you got there. In addition, you may not remember anything about what's happening in the here and now. Consequently, you may keep repeating the same questions because you don't remember the answers you've just been given. You may also draw a blank when asked to remember things that happened a day, a month, or even a year ago.
Since that episode, I have been thinking about what it may be like in Heaven. Maybe when we are "promoted to glory" (as our Salvation Army friends say), we all get a form of Transient Global Amnesia. Except perhaps it will be more like Permanent Grace Amnesia (PGA), where we forget all the slights and slurs; all the insults and insinuations; all the wounds and wrongs that have come our way. All the damage to our pride, our reputation, our dignity, and self-esteem. As well as all the truly evil things that some have had to endure. When we see people, we will recognize who they are, because the "log" has been taken out of our eyes, as well as the thorns from our heart. Any pain or hurt or embarrassment that we associate with that person – is gone. We only see the real them. Of course, we must remember that the opposite is also happening to them. All the pain or hurt or embarrassment we have caused them; they do not remember as well. They only see the real us.
As scary as an episode of TGA is to experience, thankfully, the person usually recovers within 24 hours with no harmful effects. My brother was released 24 hours later, with the only side effect being exhaustion.
But in Heaven, we never recover from Permanent Grace Amnesia. Nor could we. Otherwise, how could the Scriptures be true that he will wipe away every tear? If Heaven is a real place with real people, there is no more pain and no more crying – we all have a lot of forgiving and forgetting to do.
But if God is big enough to choose to forget my sins – sins that caused the very death of His only Son – and to cast them as far as the East is from the West – then I am sure he can help me forget the things I need to in order to enjoy Heaven forever. With all of you (and you with me). With no insecurity, embarrassment, hidden hurt, or unspoken issue needling under my skin, burrowing into my soul. That will be, well, Heavenly!
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
Coke or Pepsi or Christ
It's Not Supposed To Be This Way
May 20, 2020
Lately, life isn’t looking like what I had hoped for or expected. The COVID-19 crisis was another of those events that simply caught us off guard, and for many, may have shattered them completely. As a result, we feel disappointed and disillusioned, and we are tempted to start to, privately, wonder about the reality of God’s goodness. Soon we begin to enter what 16th-century Catholic priest and mystic St. John of the Cross referred to as the “Dark Night of the Soul,” where we become disillusioned with how God has worked (or not) in our lives. We struggle as we wrestle with our faith and feelings in the aftermath of that disappointment.
St. Teresa of Ávila is said to have commented in a prayer: “If this is how you treat your friends, it is no wonder you have so few.” Philip Yancey wrote an entire book titled Disappointment with God, to deal with the questions of; Is God unfair? Is He silent? Is He hidden? More recently, author Lisa Turnquest wrote It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way to address similar experiences with faith and the realities of real life. And, of course, we know that even Jesus’ disciples experienced disappointment with him.
So why do Christians experience circumstances where God doesn’t seem to be hearing, let alone answering, prayer? And when He does answer, why does it seem to be more often with a “No” or “Not yet”? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does suffering seem to be a part of the journey for those who have chosen to follow Jesus?
Part of the answer may be found in what C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, about why Christians should not expect an easy life:
“Because God is forcing us on, or up, to a higher level: putting us into situations where we will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than we ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecessary: but that is because we have yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us.”
In the end, Lewis writes, Christians will become “dazzling, radiant, immortal creatures, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine.”
Yet, for some reason, we have either been taught or come to expect that genuine faith is supposed to spare us from these difficult circumstances. Or at the very least, if encountered, provide a quicker and smoother exit out of them. It’s as if faith were intended to make life more comfortable. More convenient.
But two thousand years of church history, and the stories of thousands of martyrs, do not tell of a faith that is all crown, no cross; all promise, no demand; all success, and no suffering. And yet, for many American Christians, I think it is difficult to get our minds wrapped around a faith that might push us into difficulties and keep us there so that God can make us a little more like Christ, both in impact and character. Hasn’t the author of Hebrews reminded us that “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered” (Heb 5:8)?
At the end of Peter Kreeft’s book, Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing, he closes with these words, “Galaxies revolve and dinosaurs breed and rain falls and people fall in love ... and lose their jobs and we all die – all for our good, the finished product, God’s work of art, the Kingdom of Heaven. There’s nothing outside of heaven, except hell. Earth is not outside of heaven; it is heaven’s workshop, heaven’s womb.”
If Earth is heaven’s workshop, then how we respond to those uninvited circumstances that come along carry deep significance. All the stuff of life, the daily stuff, are tools in God’s hand to use to shape and mold us into the image of Christ. The Christian faith is not a self-help religion because mature Christians are not self-made people. True maturity in the life of the Christian is God’s doing.
And our lives will bear witness and testimony to His work.
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
Do You Know Him?
May 15, 2020
At the end of the age, we are told that when all is said and done, our entry into the Kingdom of Heaven will come down to whether not Jesus can say he knows us.
"On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'" Matthew 7:22-23 (ESV)
But we don't have to wait to know the answer to the question, "Does Jesus know me?" if we can answer the question, "Do I know him?"
My King was born King. He's the King of righteousness. He's the King of the ages. He's the King of Heaven. He's the King of glory. He's the King of kings, and He is the Lord of lords. Now that's my King.
Do you know Him?
David said the Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. My King is the only one of whom there is no means of measure that can define His limitless love. No far-seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of the shore of His supplies. No barriers can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing.
He's the miracle of the age. He's the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him. He's the only one able to supply all our needs simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak. He's available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He's the Almighty God who guides and keeps all his people. He heals the sick. He cleanses the lepers. He forgives sinners. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent and He beautifies the meek. That's my King.
Do you know Him?
Well, my King is a King of knowledge. He's the wellspring of wisdom. He's the doorway of deliverance. He's the pathway of peace. He's the roadway of righteousness. He's the highway of holiness. He's the gateway of glory. He's the master of the mighty. He's the head of the heroes. He's the leader of the legislatures. He's the overseer of the overcomers. He's the governor of governors. He's the prince of princes. He's the King of kings, and He's the Lord of lords. That's my King.
His promises are sure. His light is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you . . . but He's indescribable. That's my King. He's incomprehensible, He's invincible, and He is irresistible.
The heavens can't contain Him, let alone some man explain Him. You can't get Him out of your mind. You can't get Him off of your hands. You can't outlive Him, and you can't live without Him. The Pharisees couldn't stand Him, but they found out they couldn't stop Him. Pilate couldn't find any fault in Him. Herod couldn't kill Him. Death couldn't handle Him, and the grave couldn't hold Him. That's my King.
Do you know Him?
He always has been, and He always will be. I'm talking about the fact that He had no predecessor, and He'll have no successor. There's nobody before Him, and there'll be nobody after Him. You can't impeach Him and He's not going to resign. That's my King! That's my King!
Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory. Well, all the power belongs to my King. We're around here talking about black power and white power and green power, but in the end, all that matters is God's power. Thine is the power. And the glory. Yes. Thine is the Kingdom and the power and glory, forever and ever and ever and ever. How long is that? Forever and ever and ever and ever...
And when you get through with all of the ever's, then . . .Amen!*
Praying with, and for, you all, Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
*Excerpted from "That's My King" - The late Dr. S. M. Lockeridge (1976)
The Pandemic That Saved The World
May 10, 2020
As of today, the impact of the COVID-19 virus stands at 4.1 million confirmed cases worldwide, with approximately 283,000 deaths. This global pandemic has impacted virtually every country in the world. The spread of the virus moves invisibly from person to person through close personal contact. Slowly, it is moving from community to community, state to state, and country to country. Although certain populations are more vulnerable than others, the virus is blind to race, gender, socio-economic status, and age. And the result is sickness, sorrow, pain, and death.
This has reminded me of another pandemic that spread throughout the world centuries ago, that actually saved the world. The history of Christianity teaches us that the movement of Jesus followers moved throughout the then known world as ordinary people took interest in the needs and concerns of their neighbor. The early church lacked all the material resources that the Western church enjoys today, and yet, in a relatively short period of time, it spread throughout the entire Roman empire. The gospel was blind to race, gender, socio-economic status, and age, as it infiltrated every level of Roman society.
Writing in the second century AD, Christian theologian Tertullian wrote, “We have the same kind of life as you... without taking ourselves out of the forum and the marketplace, without renouncing the baths and the shops and the boutiques and the inns and all the other places of commerce, we live in this world with you.”
Although new to society, the “contagion” of Christianity was already spreading quickly. Again, Tertullian writes, “We arrived only yesterday, and already we fill the earth as well as all that is yours; cities, islands, towns, municipalities... camps, tribes, the councils, the palace and the senate. We have left you only your temples.”
The Christian movement proved difficult, even impossible, to suppress, because it was not something that was spreading by government edict or popularity among society’s elites. It was spreading, almost invisibly from person to person, through close personal contact. Attacks were made on the movement’s high-profile leaders in attempts to quarantine the spread, hoping the movement would fail. But it didn’t. Instead, it became impossible to monitor and control, and as it spread, it became more flexible, adaptable, and effective.
Tertullian noted that Christianity was like an “epidemic” that spread from one person to the next. And while Rome wanted to control the “disease” (because it was causing “dis” – “ease”), the carriers went from community to community and country to country, until it had spread throughout the whole world.
And the result?
Well, instead of sickness, sorrow, pain, and death, this pandemic has brought health, joy, freedom, and life to all who believe! The gospel of Jesus Christ turned out to be the pandemic that saved the world!
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
Do You Have An Anchor
May 6, 2020
Last summer Lena and I took a much-needed short vacation, and we went to the Niagara-on-the-Lake area of Canada. While there, we made the obligatory trip to the legendary and overly commercialized, Niagara Falls. Despite man’s incredible attempts to ruin the area with just about every conceivable tourist trap imaginable, the falls are still amazing to behold up close. If one is inclined, you can tour the Niagara Daredevil Exhibit at the Niagara IMAX Theatre, where you can “hear the stories, feel the fear, and touch the actual daredevil barrels.” You can see and touch the actual “chambers of death” that carried those who dared to take the plunge over the falls.
But some folks take the plunge unintentionally. Not that there aren’t warnings, but it still happens. I have read that about a mile north of the falls, just where the Welland River empties into the Niagara River, there is a sign on a pylon in the Welland River that says – “Do you have an anchor? Do you know how to use it?”
While I don’t plan to navigate the rapids of the Niagara River anytime soon, those two questions are important for anyone attempting to navigate the rapids and waves that life throws at us.
Do you have an anchor? Do you know how to use it?
To the first question, the writer of Hebrews gives an emphatic “YES!”“We have this (faith) as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain” (Heb 6:19).
Our faith in Christ gives us hope and serves as an anchor – preventing us from being “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph 4:14). But riding with Jesus isn’t a guarantee that the sea will be calm, and the wind will be still. He doesn’t guarantee good weather. If we sail with Jesus, then we must be prepared to face what Jesus faces. If the waves were rough for Him, then they will be rough for us.
But Scripture tells us that when the storms blow and the waves begin to swell, we have an anchor.
But do you know how to use it? It’s one thing to have an anchor in the boat, it’s another thing to know how to use it. I suppose the key to using any anchor, is making sure that it is attached to the boat by a strong rope or cable. Just tossing an anchor overboard will do precious little, if the anchor is not connected back to the boat.
Earlier in Hebrews, the author states that “we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it” (Heb 2:1). So, what fastens our anchor of faith (and hope) back to the boat of our lives is the strong cable of TRUTH. We must listen, pay more careful attention to, and obey the TRUTH. Without that, our anchor is disconnected, and we will continue to flounder at sea. Will your anchor hold in the storms of life, When the clouds unfold their wings of strife? When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain, Will your anchor drift or firm remain?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul Steadfast and sure while the billows roll, Fastened to the Rock which cannot move, Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
Get Your Eyes Fixed
April 28, 2020
After graduating from college, I moved out to Kansas for my first job. It was there in the middle of America that I met my wife, and as a result, spent many days at her parent’s farm north of her hometown of McPherson. For those familiar with Kansas farms, a large area around the house is “fenced” in with cedar trees, called a shelterbelt. Because of the almost constant prevailing wind in Kansas, the top third of those cedar trees bend toward the east and north. Even on the rare still day, the tops of the cedars remain bent.
Just like those Kansas cedars, we are bent toward heaven.
C. S. Lewis writes that, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for these desires exists. A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim; well, there is such a thing as water... If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” (Mere Christianity, 1952)
What I think he means by that is that we are out of shape in this world, and we realize we are missing heaven. And by missing it, I mean we long for it and wander away from it. Heaven is both a yearning for that which is not yet and a standard that our best efforts fail to reach.
This is why the author of Hebrews tells us to “fix our eyes” on Jesus. (Heb 12:2)
Author and pastor, Mark Buchanan, has observed that our English word fix has several meanings. One definition means “to mend,” like fixing a broken doorknob. Another means “to fasten,” like to fix a flagpole bracket to a porch pillar. It can also mean to “tamper with,” when a game has been “fixed.” The Greek word used for fix in the verse above means to gaze intensely. But I think all of the meanings that our English language has given us for “fix” apply to our human condition.
We need to mend our eyes – as we tend to wander and look at the “things of earth.” We need to fasten our attention – to those unseen realities that surround us every day.
English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning observed that, “Earth’s crammed with heaven,And every common bush afire with God;But only he who sees, takes off his shoes —The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries…” (Aurora Leigh, 1856)
Thus, we need to tamper with our way of seeing – so that we catch glimpses of heaven in our everyday interactions with everyday places and everyday people.
If we do this, we will be better able to fix our eyes – gaze intently – on Jesus.
So, “...we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18)
After all, He was meant to be our fixation.
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
You Are Here
April 23, 2020
Not too far from our house is a place called Easton Town Center. It’s one of those huge indoor/outdoor malls where stores stretch on for what seems like miles. It has over 240 stores, twenty-some restaurants, and over 1.6 million square feet of shopping. Any newbie visiting Easton will appreciate the kiosk maps located every 3-4 miles ☺. With any luck and a little spatial intelligence, you can locate where you are, and the store you want to go to next. The first thing to do is to find the big “Red Dot” marked, “YOU ARE HERE.”
Take a minute to look at the graphic above. I do not know its original source, but it’s a good guide to various reactions people are experiencing to the COVID-19 virus. Perhaps you can locate yourself in one of the three zones. This is a great illustration to help us visualize where we are, and hopefully, where we want to be. Where we can choose to be. I can choose to move to the next zone, just like the Easton Town Center. If I am in Macy’s and want to go to North Face, I can choose to go to North Face. But a couple of things are needed.
I need to:
Know Where I Am
Know Where I Want to Go
Have a Desire to Go There
Look at the Map
Take the First Step
As great as the first graphic is, I would suggest there is another “zone” we need to consider. In the first graphic, the overriding pronoun used in each description, again and again, is “I.” Which is empowering and good – because there are things “I” can and should be doing to flourish during this crisis. God gave us a mind, legs, and arms to use – to DO something. However, I would encourage you to consider the graphic below.
This crisis, like all crises, is not the whole picture. The first graphic makes the crisis seem like it is the only thing to consider. But when rightfully considered, in light of Scripture, it is only one thing within the total scope and authority of God’s Sovereignty or His “Zone of Authority.” Over and over in Scripture, we read stories of people who are struggling and seem to hit a wall, encountering one obstacle after another. And when it seems like things are hopeless, two words appear in the storyline. “But God...”
But God remembered Noah...
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.
1 Samuel 23:14
...but God did not give David into his hands.
But God will redeem my life.
...but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Remember, no matter where you find yourself – you are never out of God’s Zone of Authority. Today, you may find yourself a little nearer the Fear Zone, or maybe in the middle of the Growth Zone. Just remember, that no matter where your “Red Dot” shows up, you are always in the TRUST ZONE of God’s Authority – and you can say, I AM HERE!
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D.
The Wrong Way Around
April 17, 2020
I love songs that tell stories – so it follows that some of my favorite singers are great storytellers, like James Taylor, Harry Chapin, and Billy Joel. Even ones by little known groups, like “One Tin Soldier” (1969) by The Original Caste. But probably my favorite American singer storyteller is Don McLean – best known for his song “American Pie” (1971). He also gave us “Vincent,” and “And I Love You So” - which has been covered by such famous singers as Elvis Presley, Perry Como, and Glen Campbell.
One of my favorite songs by Don McLean, “Empty Chairs”, isn’t one of his more famous ones. It’s a song about a relationship that has ended, and the person narrating/singing the song now lives in an empty house. One of the verses, from which the title comes, is:
Morning comes and morning goes with no regret,And evening brings the memories I can’t forget,Empty rooms that echo as I climb the stairs,And empty clothes that drape and fall on empty chairs.
The word “empty” has a melancholy feel to it. If you type the word “empty” into your smartphone or computer, it will assist you by suggesting things like:
Empty roomEmpty walletEmpty pocketsEmpty fridgeEmpty promisesEmpty heart
Kind of sad, right?
But Jesus has a wonderfully creative way of getting things turned the wrong way around. When asked “Who is my neighbor?”, He told a story and then asked, “Who proved to be the neighbor?” When confronted with violating Jewish law by healing on the Sabbath, Jesus commented that the Sabbath was created for man, and not the other way around. If we want to save our life, we have to lose it. Those who are first will be last, and those who are last will be first. He became friends with “sinners” and the enemy of the most respected “religious” people of his time.
And so, it is not surprising that when we come to the phrase “Empty Tomb”, the emotion we feel is anything but sadness. It seems like the Bible is getting it the wrong way around again. Like “jumbo shrimp”. Or “virtual reality”. But in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Scripture combines two of the most melancholy-loaded words, “empty” and “tomb,” and instead of giving us a double dose of despair, we get HOPE. But, I think that’s part of the point. To teach us that’s was Jesus does. He takes our sadness and turns it into joy. Takes our mourning and turns it into dancing. Takes our mess and turns it into a message.
And isn’t it just like Jesus, at a time of empty shelves, to show up and give us hope - with an Empty Tomb.
“Christ the Lord is ris’n today,”Sons of men and angels say,Raise your joys and triumphs high,Sing ye heav’ns, and earth reply.
Lives again our glorious King,Where, O death, is now thy sting?Dying once He all doth save,Where thy victory, O grave?(Charles Wesley, Hymn for Easter-Day, 1739)
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
God in Three Tenses
April 13, 2020
We are all creatures of time. Our lives are lived in time. We want our meetings to start on time. When we are having fun, time flies. When we are under a Stay at Home order and quarantined, time can drag.
The last book of the Bible was written to new converts as they were beginning to face persecution under Caesar. It was a dark time. One purpose of this circular letter that traveled to multiple congregations was to offer comfort and to strengthen their faith during the crisis. John begins the letter by stating, “Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come” (Revelation 1:4). In other words, John reminds his followers that they have put their trust in the God of all three tenses. I think in this time of anxiety, it might be good to remember we worship the God who is, the God who was, and the God who is to come.
The God Who Is. The events that were unfolding for the 1st Century Christians did not look as if God were in control. It appeared that although they had been told that “all things work together for good” that nothing, at present, was working, and none of it was good. They were trying to keep the faith, but things seemed out of control. During difficult times, it is easy to think of God as the One who created things a long time ago, but then backed off, and is now viewing things remotely, from Heaven. But that God is not the God of the Bible. Our God is the God who is. He is literally here, right now, at this moment. He is active among us and in all we are seeing unfold. God is a God who is.
The God Who Was. This is perhaps easier to understand. If the Bible is anything, it’s a book of history. Everywhere it is concerned with the meaning of events that happened in space and time. The reason Israelites paid attention to their past, and the prophets, is because they believed God was the principal actor throughout it all. And so, do we. When the world was created, we were not there. When the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman empires rose and fell, we were not there. Throughout all of history, we were not there; but God was there. The God who is was there. He is not joining human history late in the game. He was there at – and before - the beginning. He knows the whole story, YOUR whole story. God is a God who was.
The God Who Will Be. While the Bible does focus on history, I would suggest that it’s favorite tense is the future. The Bible’s focus on the past is in order to throw light onto the future. Christianity is the only religion I know that has elevated hope, to one of the three top moral virtues – the other two being faith and love (I Cor 13).
All of this is because the Bible believes the future is in God’s hands and not ours. We are not tumbling into a blind future“full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”(Macbeth). Our future is in God’s hands. He is already there.
As we celebrated Christmas just a few months ago, none of us saw the COVID-19 crisis that was just around the corner. But God did. Because we know that the God who was, and who is, is also the God who will be, we need not know ultimate fear. He led us in the past, he is present with us now, and he holds the keys to our future.
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow Because He lives, all fear is goneBecause I know He holds the futureAnd life is worth the living, just because He lives.”
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
Easter and The Middle Child
April 9, 2020
Jennifer Lopez, Bill Gates, and Britney Spears have one thing in common — they’re all middle children. And not to stretch the analogy too thin, but so am I.
Being the middle child is often associated with negative stereotypes, like always being left out or overlooked. One theory that sums up these stereotypes is the so-called “middle child syndrome,” or the belief that children who are born with older and younger siblings are resentful of the attention given to the firstborn and youngest children (of course, we all know that the oldest and youngest DO get way too much attention)!
This weekend we will celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday, skipping over the “middle child” of Holy Saturday. Jesus died on Good Friday and was raised to new life, conquering death on Easter Sunday. So how can Holy Saturday compete? Even Maundy Thursday (the Last Supper) gets more attention. But who cares? After all, nothing happened on Saturday.
However, let me suggest that the question of God’s presence in mortality – death - is significant. If we allow it, Holy Saturday can have a meaning all its own. And it may offer a significant word about human “living and dying” between the cross and the resurrection.
Today, we live in a world that has a Holy Saturday “feel” to it - one in which God often seems absent. Just spend five minutes scrolling, or trolling, through the news on your smartphone, and you will see what I mean. Things can seem out of control. However, if we believe that God was present in the death of Jesus, then God can be and is present even where and when he seems most distant. Christ’s death and descent into the grave, emphasizes that he has joined us in our human condition of vulnerability and death. We have long been taught that Jesus was fully God and fully human. Not 50/50 of each, but 100/100. So, if God was in Christ in the grave, then death cannot be wholly alien to God, any more than it can be wholly alien to us.
The late Alan Lewis, theologian and author of Between the Cross and the Resurrection, claims, “The New Testament story of the cross and empty tomb is the profound and dramatic confirmation of the Creator’s “yes” to our mortality.” Resurrection and new creation come as a result of God’s abundant grace from above and beyond the possibilities of our current reality. There is more to what we see than what we see. As C.S. Lewis repeatedly wrote, “Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.”
At Christmas, we often speak of “God with us.” Immanuel. But God being with us as a child in a manger is an easier image to handle over the “God with us” as a despised man hung to die on the cross. But the manger is not the central symbol of our faith. Neither is the empty tomb. The early Christian Church decided very early on that the sign of their faith would be a cross.
If you ask people to share what shaped their souls most intensely and meaningfully, they will probably tell you stories of suffering or hardship or conflict. We understand that we’re all terminal and needy and selfish and hurtful and hurting. And we understand we can’t be totally fixed in any permanent way in this life. That is the hope of the resurrection and the promise of heaven. Only there will “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain...” But while we can’t all be “fixed,” we can all be cherished and fed and embraced and forgiven and heard and included and seen as beautiful and assured that we matter.
And that’s what Holy Saturday means. Even in our most difficult circumstance – when we are most defeated, deflated, and discouraged - God is with us.
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
April 6, 2020
Each week we are confronted with words like “quarantine” and “lockdown.” Here in Ohio, we are living under a “Stay-at-Home Order” from the Department of Public Health and the Governor. Each day we are told to “social distance” and students of all ages are receiving their educations “remotely.” These words can create images in our minds of isolation or aloneness. So, I want to share with you four words that have been coming to mind this past week.
Sleep. Christianity hasn’t spent a lot of theological capital developing a “theology of sleep” – but perhaps we should. After all, we will spend close to one-third of our lives asleep! Psalm 127:1-2 states that “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord guard the city the watchman stays awake in vain... he gives sleep to those he loves”. The message I take from this is – if God isn’t in charge, worrying isn’t going to help. When we lie down to sleep – we need to remember God is awake. Sleep is a gift of God that he has given to us. And there is a healing that God wants to give our bodies in sleep. George MacDonald, the Christian author who inspired C.S. Lewis, has said that “Sleep is God’s invention for giving man the help He cannot get into him when he is awake.” The Lord is your Keeper. Lay down the reins. Rest.
Awake. A popular word recently introduced to our everyday lexicon is “woke.” While this term has gone through several definitions and revisions, it still basically refers to a perceived awareness of issues concerning social and racial justice. It has to do with the idea of a person “waking up” and “staying awake” to the issues that are surrounding themselves and their city, state, and nation. During this crisis, this might be a time when God is calling on you to “Wake up, sleeper, rise...” (Eph 5:14). This might be referring to you literally waking up to the sin in your life and hearing him calling you to “rise from the dead” of an unbelieving life. Or, it may be a time to “wake up” and get out there and do something to help a neighbor or friend in need. The Lord is your Waker. Get up. Do something.
Alone. No doubt, the COVID-19 crisis has driven us all indoors, at home, sheltering in place, which has probably ratcheted up your “alone” time to new levels (or has destroyed it depending on your situation). But whether you’re getting too much or too little, I want to put in a good word about solitude. When handled properly, being alone with yourself is a time when you can see things a little more simply, a little more clearly. When we pull away from others, physically and electronically, we can see things as they really are. To dare to be alone with God is one of the best ways to do anything. If we are ever to be or do anything, we must know God, and this means taking intentional time to be alone... with Him. The Lord is your Friend. Hear him. Talk to Him.
Together. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and martyr, has famously said, “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community... Let him who is not in community beware of being alone.” Why? Because the one who wants fellowship all the time, without solitude, plunges into a void of words, feelings, comparison, and FOMO; and the one who always wants to be alone all the time, without fellowship, perishes in the abyss of self-righteousness, self-deception, vanity, and despair. We need each other. People need to connect. So, if you are spending too much time alone, find ways to connect with others across the virtual divide through Facetime, Zoom, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Or step outside and talk to your neighbors – at a safe distance, of course. We are part of a Body. We need each other. Connect.
Sleep. Awake. Alone. Together.
We can do this.
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
Remember the Mission
March 30, 2020
There are several accounts of the tragic story regarding the sinking of the Titanic. Many theories and post-mortem explanations combine the fatal duo of icebergs and fire. But perhaps the cause was the tyranny of the urgent over the important. The Titanic was the largest ship ever built and was in a race with other ocean liner companies. But not a speed race, it was too big to be competitive in speed. By the time the Harland and Wolff Shipyard was contracted to build Olympic and Titanic, there was a fight for dominance in another race – the race to offer the most luxurious accommodations the world has ever seen. Perhaps an urgent need, but not a very important one. At least not important enough to ignore six weather warnings received by other ships regarding large floating ice fields. It is easy to let the urgent take over and overwhelm the important. Lately, our lives, TVs, and phones are flooded with urgent news. And, to be fair, some of it is also really important. But, a lot of news, like celebrities’ activities in their mansions during a self-quarantine, is neither urgent nor important. So often, we are not flooded with information as much as we are flooded with insignificance. Either way, we are flooded, just like the engine rooms on the Titanic. When times are difficult, it is necessary to remember what is important. And for Ohio Christian University, what is most important goes back to our mission. Universities like Ohio Christian University, who strive to imbed and integrate the entire college experience with a biblical worldview, are increasingly becoming an endangered species within higher education. Partly due to many schools compromising their biblical worldview, and partly because many are no longer able to stay in business due to low enrollment. Either way, each year, we lose more authentically Christian universities in our country. The Barna Research Group indicates that only 17% of practicing Christians have a biblical worldview. Barna defines “biblical worldview” as believing that:
- absolute moral truth exists,
- the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches,
- Satan as a real being or force, not merely symbolic,
- a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works,
- Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth, and,
- God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.
Additionally, Barna has found that among practicing Christians, the claims of New Spirituality are among the most enticing to blend with orthodox Christianity. For instance, almost three in 10 (28%) practicing Christians strongly agree that “all people pray to the same god or spirit, no matter what name they use for that spiritual being.” Further, the belief that “meaning and purpose come from becoming one with all that is” has captured the minds of more than one-quarter of practicing Christians (27%). This brings us back to “mission”; why do we do what we do? What makes Ohio Christian University unique (and more unique by the year) in the landscape of higher education?The simple answer is our mission.Our mission at Ohio Christian University is to prepare students to serve effectively in the church and society by providing a holistic, Christ-centered, biblically integrated education in the Wesleyan tradition. To be genuinely Christ-centered and not merely religious (or formerly religious) makes us unique. To truly seek to integrate a biblical worldview into all our educational programs makes us unique. To prepare our graduates to serve the church and society, not or, makes us truly unique. When we lose track of the mission, our eyes fall on the urgent and the temporal. Instead, let us remember the important and the eternal. During these times, let’s remember why we do what we do. Let’s remember our mission – even as we serve our Maker and Master. Praying with, and for, you all.
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
I Will Trust and Commit Into His Hands
March 26, 2020
Amid all the economic and COVID-19 news, it would be easy to forget we are well into the Lenten Season. Lena and I are working through a daily Bible reading and devotional geared around the 40 days of Lent.
Today was Day 28. The verse for today was Luke 23:46;
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The story of Christ dying on the cross for our sins is one of the most poignant stories in all of Scripture, if not THE most. It was the climactic moment for which Christ came to earth; to die in our place. The One who knew no sin, to die for those marred by sin from birth. God who came to earth to die, so humankind, would not have to die, but be able to enter into heaven and live with God forever. Thankfully, there is an Easter Sunday that follows Good Friday.
However, as I look at the specific verse above – the devotional author focuses on the last act of Christ on the cross before He died. Just moments before He uttered the words above, He had cried out, “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken me?” But now, at the end, Jesus switches from “My God” to “Father.” He dies in intimacy with His Father. He dies with a prayer on his lips. He dies trusting His Father to take care of His Spirit. It was a Son’s simple trust in a good Father.
“...into your hands I commit my Spirit.”
So, what is the takeaway?
For all of us during this time (both Lent and COVID-19), perhaps God is asking you to commit something to Him? Am I trusting an unknown future to a known God?
The Scripture promises peace – because of what Christ did on the cross. But the promise also comes with a “but” or an “if” clause attached.
Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)You will keep him in perfect peace,Whose mind is stayed on You,Because he trusts in You.
Keeping up with all the updates from the Ohio Department of Health, the Governor, the County Emergency Management daily Situation Reports, the White House, the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the Department of Education can be distracting. It is easy NOT to have my mind stayed on God and to have the peace that Christ died for stolen from me.
I don’t know about you, but I find it far easier to trust God for eternity than for tomorrow. I find it easier to trust God for my salvation than my retirement, groceries, or toilet paper.
What do I need to commit into His hands today, because he wants me to have peace today? And tomorrow.
Today, I will trust and commit into His Hands:
- My family and their health
- My kids and their jobs
- My kids and their spiritual formation during this time because ONLY HE can be with them always
- My job
- My colleagues and their work
- My church and pastor
- My community and all those working on the frontlines from EMTs to nurses to firefighters to police to all those working at Kroger and Walmart and Meijer
- My state, and nation, and all those God has placed in leadership “for such a time as this”
- My today
- My tomorrow
John 14:27 (NIV)Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
The peace the world gives is a peace that comes when there is an absence of trouble. The peace Christ died to provide us with, is not the absence of trouble, but peace in the middle of it.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D. President
It Is Well
March 24, 2020
As we begin DAY 1 of the Ohio Department of Public Health’s mandatory Stay at Home Order, I wanted to reach out to the Ohio Christian University community with hopefully a word of encouragement. No doubt, we are all feeling the impact of the virus COVID-19 situation, some physically, many economically, and perhaps many more emotionally. I posted an article on our university webpage yesterday from The Acton Institute that is worth a read – as it talks about the Church being the Church during this time of national crisis. You can also access it here.
The Acton article reminded me of a story I read of a German pastor named Martin Rinkart. He served as a German Lutheran pastor in Eilenburg, Saxony (Germany) in the 17th Century. He is most famous for his hymn - Now Thank We All Our God. The lyrics are as follows:
Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.
Oh, may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And guard us through all ills in this world, till the next!
The lyrics may not seem overly remarkable until we understand that the greater part of Rinkart’s professional life was passed amid the horrors of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Eilenburg being a walled town became a refuge for fugitives from all around, and being so overcrowded, not unnaturally suffered from pestilence and famine. During the great pestilence of 1637, the town’s “mayor” went away for a “change of air” and could not be persuaded to return (no surprise there!). So, on August 7, 1637, Rinkart had to officiate at the funerals of the other two clergymen, leaving Rinkart as the only clergy in town. As a result, Rinkart often conducted 40 to 50 funerals per day, and in all, over about 4,480. During the whole epidemic, some 8,000 persons died, including Rinkart’s first wife. The pestilence was followed by a famine so extreme that thirty or forty persons might be seen fighting in the streets over a dead animal. Rinkart gave away everything but the barest rations for his own family so that his door was surrounded by a crowd of poor, who found it their only place of refuge.
When we understand the context of a song or poem, sometimes it can add a new sense of gratitude and understanding. No doubt, this song was a source of great encouragement to the citizens of Eilenburg and the surrounding area, as they faced the trials of disease inflicting their town. Here is the last verse of that hymn:
All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given,
The Son, and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven—
The one eternal God, Whom earth and Heav’n adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.
It is my prayer that our family, as well as yours, might in this time of sickness and economic decline:
- Continue to give thanks
- Continue to praise the God who reigns in highest Heaven
- Continue to have joyful hearts
- Continue to experience His blessed peace to cheer us
This reminds me of another song,
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well with my soul.”
Praying with, and for, you all,
Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D.
April 3, 2020 - CDC Update
April 3, 2020
Ohio Christian University and its administration urge you to constantly consult CDC guidelines. On April 3rd, the CDC announced a new recommendation.
CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
March 22, 2020 - Ohio Governor Update
Ohio Issues "Stay at Home" Order; New Restrictions Placed on Day Cares for Children
March 22, 2020
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D. MPH, today announced that Ohio will be under a "Stay at Home" order.
The order will go into effect beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 6, 2020, unless the order is rescinded or modified.
Read the full order here: Director's Stay At Home Order
"We haven't faced an enemy like we are facing today in 102 years - we are at war. In the time of war, we must make sacrifices, and I thank all of our Ohio citizens for what they are doing and what they aren't doing. You are making a huge difference, and this difference will save lives," said Governor DeWine. "Right now, we are in a crucial time in this battle. What we do now will slow this invader so that our healthcare system will have time to treat those who have contracted COVID-19 and also have time to treat those who have other medical problems. Time is of the essence."
More information: Stay At Home FAQ
CHILD CARE/DAY CARE:
Beginning on Thursday, March 26, 2020, all operating child care centers in Ohio must do so under a Temporary Pandemic Child Care license and follow these guidelines:
There should be no more than six children in a class.
Ratios must be kept at one teacher to no more than six children.
Children whose parents are employed by the same entity should be kept together whenever possible.
The same teachers and children in each room should be maintained whenever possible.
There should be limited use of shared space or mixing of groups.
If shared space is used, a rigorous cleaning schedule must be in place.
Parent interaction should be limited at drop off and pick up.
The program will operate until April 30, with the potential to extend and adjust as needed.
NEW WEBSITE FOR BUSINESSES:
Businesses and workers can now access all of these resources related to COVID-19 in one place at coronavirus.ohio.gov/BusinessHelp.
The portal includes information on unemployment benefits, the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, the Liquor Buyback Program, modified rules for trucking to help ship critical supplies into the state, the delay of BWC Premiums, etc.
CHLOROQUINE AND HYDROXYCHLORQUINE:
Ohio State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy passed a rule related to prescribing chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for purposes of COVID-19.
Unless otherwise approved by the Board’s executive director, no prescription for chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine may be dispensed by a pharmacist or sold at retail by a licensed terminal distributor of dangerous drugs unless:
The prescription bears a written diagnosis code from the prescriber;
If written for a COVID-19 diagnosis, the diagnosis has been confirmed by a positive test result, which is documented on the prescription and both of the following apply:
The prescription is limited to no more than a fourteen-day supply, and
No refills may be permitted unless a new prescription is furnished.
Prescriptions for either presumptive positive patients or prophylactic use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine related to COVID-19 is strictly prohibited unless otherwise approved by the Board’s Executive Director in consultation with the Board President, at which time a resolution shall issue.
COVID-19 OHIO DATA:
There are 351 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and three deaths. A total of 83 people are hospitalized.
Confirmed Deaths: Cuyahoga (1), Erie (1), Lucas (1).
Confirmed cases: Ashland (1), Ashtabula (2), Belmont (2), Butler (17), Carroll (1), Clark (1), Clermont (5), Clinton (1), Columbiana (2), Coshocton (2), Cuyahoga (125), Darke (1), Defiance (2), Delaware (6), Erie (1), Franklin (34), Gallia (1), Geauga (2), Greene (1), Hamilton (19), Hancock (1), Huron (1), Lake (6), Licking (1), Lorain (19), Lucas (5), Mahoning (18), Marion (1), Medina (10), Miami (13), Montgomery (5), Portage (1), Richland (1), Stark (10), Summit (23), Trumbull (3), Tuscarawas (2), Union (1), Warren (3), Wood (1)
For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.
Information pulled from: https://governor.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/governor/media/news-and-media/
March 12, 2020 - Ohio Governor Update
Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine announced the following Thursday, March 12.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH has signed an order to prohibit mass gatherings in the state of Ohio.
Mass gatherings are defined as any event or convening that brings together 100 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theater, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space.
This would include parades, fairs, and festivals.
Mass gatherings does not include normal operations of airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls and centers, or other spaces where 100 or more persons may be in transit. It also does not include typical office environments, schools, restaurants, factories, or retail/grocery stores where large numbers of people are present, but it is unusual for them to be within arm’s length of one another.
Additional exclusions are listed in the full Ohio Department of Health order.
This order will take effect immediately and will remain until the state of emergency declared by the Governor has been rescinded or modified.
FIFTH CASE CONFIRMED:
Ohio now has five confirmed cases of COVID-19. The fifth case involves a 55-year-old Trumbull County man who is currently hospitalized. The man has no travel history outside of Ohio, and this case represents a case of community spread. Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton expect that the number of cases will continue to grow, as medical experts have predicted that the number of cases will continue to double every six days.
NURSING HOMES/ASSISTED LIVING:
At the urging of the nursing home industry, the Ohio Department of Health will soon update its current order limiting visitors to nursing and assisted living homes to reflect that no visitors will be admitted.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has announced that due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, he has ordered that all kindergarten through 12th grade schools close for a period of several weeks.
Beginning at the conclusion of the school day on Monday, March 16, all K-12 schools will close to students through Friday, April 3. This order includes all public, community, and private K-12 schools in the state, but does not apply to Ohio’s childcare system such as daycare centers and home-based childcare providers.
During this extended period of closure, schools should work to provide education through alternative means and school district leadership may make decisions on whether to use their school buildings. Staff members should continue to report to school as directed by administrators.
"We want to thank educators and administrators for the extraordinary efforts they will take to continue offering services during this time of national crisis," said Governor DeWine.
For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.
Information pulled from: https://governor.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/governor/media/news-and-media/
March 12, 2020 - Athletic Conference Statement
The RSC released the following statement on March 12, 2020, regarding the suspension of conference activity:
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- The River States Conference has suspended all athletic related activities including all competition, informal or organized practice, and participation in NAIA championships effective March 13 at noon through March 31st. Further direction will be provided as soon as it is available.
For the health and safety of RSC student-athletes, coaches, support staff, and the general public, the RSC Commissioner and Council of Presidents feel this is the best course of action at this time.
The RSC will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments, and leadership will work closely with our member institutions to determine the best path forward for future competition.
The River States Conference features 12 member institutions from five states – Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The RSC sponsors championships in 17 sports throughout the year.
March 10, 2020 - Local and Federal Updates
Campus Closures and Travel
Last night, Ohio State University announced that it will be moving to on-line classes only through March 30. Given that OSU is on spring break, this means that students will be on-line for two weeks unless this is subsequently extended. However, currently scheduled campus events for that period are not canceled.
Numerous institutions in our membership have recalled students and faculty from abroad and stopped all foreign travel. At this point, we are unaware of any independent college that has suspended classes or that has moved to exclusively on-line instruction.
Many of our institutions are on spring break next week, which means that many of our campuses will likely not be making decisions until next week.
Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) director Amy Acton held a press conference yesterday and said that they will be taking a very “aggressive approach” to responding to the disease.
With Ohio’s primary election next week, the legislature has been out and was not anticipated to return for several weeks. Depending upon the rate that the disease spreads, it would not be surprising if this is extended.
The ODH resources page is here but has not been updated in a week.
Federal Student Aid provided guidance last Thursday and Wednesday, respectively.
We know that the U.S. Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs are working on guidance for student aid policies for the disruption of classes.
Starting Your Day Off Right
Starting Your Day Off RightThad Hicks, PhD - Professor of Emergency and Disaster Management
What if I was to tell you that the first hour of each day will influence how constructive and successful, you'll be the rest of the day. The first few minutes of the morning can be the most hectic since once you set down, and turn on your computer, often the stress starts rolling in. Successful people tend to create morning rituals and routines that push back against this stress, creating an ideal environment for effectiveness and efficiency.
If you find yourself having trouble starting well, there is hope. You don’t have to struggle to get the most out of your day if you follow the suggestions below.
Be Proactive We need to be proactive, but our actions can set us up to be reactive. When we begin our day in a reactive state it is hard to escape from this. According to social psychologist Dr. Ron Friedman, if you spend the first 10 minutes of each day checking and answering email, you’re priming your mind for a reactive state. Rather than go on the defensive each morning, take that time back and re-frame it to “me time.” This might be a quiet cup of coffee prior to turning on your computer, taking time to thumb through the paper, or even a few minutes of prayer or meditation. Regardless of what you choose to do, your first step in the day should not be reactive.
Make a Plan One of the first things I do following my cup of coffee and a few minutes of quiet time is devise a plan based on what I know I will need to accomplish on that day. Setting up a game-plan will make the day feel less formidable. I still keep a paper planner. It may seem a little old-fashioned, but the tactile piece of writing my plan works better than recording it digitally into my phone. When a task is accomplished, crossing it off my list feels a lot better than hitting the backspace button.
Get Comfortable Nowhere is it written that your workspace must be unpleasant. What if it was nearly as comfy as relaxing on your sofa at home? You should figure out the most ideal work set-up for your productivity. Maybe that’s a standing desk, a pillow behind your back, or even an exercise ball. I know that not everyone is blessed with a view from their window, so if not, get outside. There’s an entire field of research (chronobiology) that shows light is what triggers the body to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that tells the body to sleep, and be more alert. (And conversely, experts know that not being exposed to enough natural light throughout the day can trigger mood problems like depression or low energy.
When it comes to starting your day, take it from someone who has learned some hard lessons over the years. Set up the essential ingredients each day for success. You don’t need to worry and be distracted by every single item on your schedule the moment you open your eyes. Be deliberate about starting well and focus on what you can get done, not what is possibly beyond your reach.
Make Your Bed
Make Your Bed – Personal Rituals & Quarantine Thad Hicks, PhD - Professor of Emergency and Disaster Management
During this time of quarantine and social distancing, there is a slow and steady devolving that can happen in our lives. At two weeks of quarantine, we might decide to occasionally skip a shower, and just wear Crocs all day. I watched a Catholic priest perform a mass in a Buckeye sweatshirt. What happens in week 3 or 4? Unless we are cognizant of the move, it can catch us by surprise. Our discipline slowly loosens up, possibly allowing more important things to slip by, that would have never in the past. While there is nothing inherently wrong with a more relaxed state, too much of this can begin to impact our lives in unhealthy ways. This slide downward can be pushed back when we keep our rituals.
When I say ritual, you probably go directly to your religious experience, but this is not what I am referring to. I am talking about the things that you do or don’t do daily. Rituals are a part of all known cultures and there is something satisfying and healing about performing them. What are your personal rituals?
Our world is very chaotic and unpredictable right now and developing personal rituals can help us feel in control over our own lives. The rituals I am referring to are the things we do that have special, personal meaning and that become a regular part of our day. These rituals benefit our mental health by allowing us to have complete control over something.
The rituals with the most positive impact are the simplest of rituals because they reduce, rather than contribute to, stress and exhaustion. I would encourage you to find something and then decide to do it deliberately and in an unhurried manner.
- Brewing your morning coffee
- Each morning I step out onto my front porch and just breathe for a few minutes. This is empowering.
- Make a daily "gratitude list" to build psychological resiliency.
- Sitting in the quiet listening to God.
- Going for a long walk or bike ride through town, with social distancing.
- I have even ritualized the making of my bed each morning.
Coming up with these personalized rituals is empowering and can allow you to feel in control in these hectic and seemingly wild days. Developing and performing these rituals can:
- Reduce stress and, by default, blood pressure and heart rate
- Improve sleep
- Calm the mind
- Increase a sense of peace and contentment
- Decrease the often-debilitating effects of poor mental health
Take care of your mental health. What enjoyable thing do you already do? Consider intentionally doing more of it. Create a ritual that can impact your mental health.
A Biblical Response to the COVID-19 Crisis
A Biblical Response to the COVID-19 CrisisCaleb Friedeman, PhD - Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies
“Unprecedented” is perhaps the best word to describe our current situation. The coronavirus, a problem that just a month or two ago felt very distant, is here and impacting our daily lives in significant ways. What does it look like to respond to this crisis as a Christian? Here I offer five points drawn from Scripture, not as a be-all-end-all answer but rather to provide some starting-points as we seek to follow Jesus in these exceptional times.
1. Call on Immanuel, God-with-us In the midst of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, it is easy to feel alone and overwhelmed. But Jesus has promised us, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20). Our God is not the god of deism, a distant and disinterested “clockmaker” who built the world, set it ticking, and left it to run on its own. He is Immanuel, God-with-us, a God who cares for his creation and acts in it. This does not mean that when disaster strikes, we must put on a plastic smile and pretend that everything is all right; Jesus certainly did not. On the cross he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:35), quoting the opening line of Psalm 22. But notice that although Jesus feels forsaken (the Father is not saving him at the moment), he nonetheless says, “My God, my God.” This is a God with whom he has a relationship and can call upon. And if Jesus knew the rest of Psalm 22 (which I suspect he did), then he knew that this feeling of forsakenness was not the end of the story, for the psalmist concludes by praising God for delivering him. We, too, can call on this God as our God, trusting that, whatever the circumstances, he is with us and will deliver us. As one worship song puts it, “It may look like I’m surrounded / But I’m surrounded by you.”
2. Obey the authorities “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities,” Paul tells the Christians in Rome (Rom 13:1). Peter similarly says, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,” noting particularly the emperor and his governors (1 Pet 2:13). Of course, there are gospel-oriented limits on such obedience—when the Jewish authorities told Peter and John to stop preaching the gospel, they replied, in effect, “No can do” (Acts 4). But directly disobeying civil authorities when one’s faithfulness to the gospel is not at stake does not seem to have been a valid option for the New Testament authors, and there is no reason to think that we are an exception to the rule. Perhaps you don’t like stay-at-home orders and social distancing. I certainly don’t. I also don’t like the sign at the corner of Court and Main in Circleville that tells me not to turn right on red between 8 am and 5 pm. But that doesn’t mean that I am free to disregard it. Similarly, we should do our best to obey the current preventative measures that our civil authorities have put in place, and we honor God when we do so (Rom 13:1–2; 1 Pet 2:11–17). Of course, obeying is not the same as agreeing. There may be legitimate concerns about whether some authorities are overreaching the lawful limits of their power, but our legal system contains appropriate channels for expressing those concerns, and we will have ample time to pursue such matters after this crisis subsides.
3. Love your neighbor (actively!) Jesus said that the second greatest commandment is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31, quoting Lev 19:18). In his book The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark argues that one of the factors that contributed to the growth of early Christianity was the fact that when epidemics occurred, Christians rolled up their sleeves and served the sick at personal risk to themselves. To do this in the present crisis requires discernment, for (as noted above) we want to honor the preventative measures instituted by our civil authorities. However, at the very least, we can reach out to isolated and stressed friends, family, and acquaintances with a text, call, or video conference. There may also be additional opportunities to serve, such as doing grocery shopping for the elderly. Loving our neighbor during such times is not only good for the neighbor; it is also good for us. Left to their own ends, our hearts tend to curve in on themselves; it’s very easy for us to focus on ourselves and what we don’t have and drown in self-pity, particularly at a time like this. But when we allow God to come into our hearts and turn them outward toward himself and toward others, we find true joy.
4. Look for the good Joseph tells his brothers, who sold him into slavery out of jealousy, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Gen 50:20). Notice that Joseph does not say that God caused his brothers to sell him into slavery. Rather, God allowed this to happen and brought good out of what they meant for evil. Likewise, we need not think that God has caused the coronavirus. But he has allowed it. What good might God want to bring out of this crisis? Here are a few things that come to mind:
- Openness to the gospel. A few weeks ago, we humans might have thought that we were in control of the world, or at least all the parts of it that really mattered. The COVID-19 crisis has disinherited us of that illusion and reminded us of how transient and fragile we are. As people look for answers during and in the wake of destabilization, they may be more open to the gospel than before.
- Human unity. If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it is the degree to which our common humanity connects us. We are all susceptible to COVID-19 because we are all human. As we unite across ethnic, cultural, political, and socioeconomic lines to fight this disease, could it be that we might learn how to focus on what we have in common rather than what divides us?
- Rest for the earth. COVID-19 has forced us to slow down, and this has already had positive effects on the environment. Water is cleaner, and the air is purer, etc. There has been an economical cost, of course, but it seems that this slower pace of life is doing good for our planet.
- Gratitude for everyday blessings. Who would have thought a few months ago that seeing one’s friends in person, going out to eat, or relaxing in a coffee shop would be craved-for commodities? If we let it, the coronavirus might just make us more thankful for the simple things.
5. Hope in the resurrection There are a lot of people who are very afraid of death right now. Christians don’t have to be. This isn’t because we’re immune to death (we’re not), but because death isn’t the end for us. We look forward to the resurrection, when God will raise us from the dead and give us new bodies in his new heavens and new earth (1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thess 4:13–18; Revelation 21–22). Jesus’s own resurrection, which we celebrate at Easter, is the guarantee of all this (1 Cor 15:20). So whatever the future holds, we can face it confidently, proclaiming, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”
What Have We Lost? What Are We to Do?
What Have We Lost? What Are We to Do?Dr. Larry Olson - Professor of Psychology
The time we are experiencing is certainly not a fun time. We have all LOST something. Anytime we lose something important to us, we experience GRIEF. We were on Spring break, looking forward to a strong finish of the semester and sending our Seniors off to conquer the World on a high note, on our behalf. Then came COVID 19. Suddenly classes are canceled, but we were just going on-line for a couple of weeks. No problem, we can do this. COVID is out there somewhere, but it’s not here.
Then came the Tuesday Night call. It IS here, on our campus, we fear. And we’re closed? What?
Each day the next shoe seemed to be dropped. The Governor started issuing decrees, we couldn’t do anything fun anymore. The State Health Director was signing all kinds of documents to keep us in our houses! We were locked down. Suddenly we’re learning ways of making “surgical” masks for ourselves. This is serious. Just as suddenly, all was lost.
Let me say this again: Anytime we lose something that is important to us, whether it be friends, family, relationships, even a job or car, we experience grief. We have all felt the twinges of grief as we began to see things being “taken away” in this crisis. These ‘compelled separations’ from those we care about add greatly to this grief.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross defined the grief process in stages for us:
First, we’re in DENIAL: “This can’t be real,” we say to ourselves, “it’ll go away. We’ll be fine.” Then, President Kulaga says (and it’s true), “it’s not going away, sorry.” Then we can get ANGRY at the situation and I think we all at least felt annoyed with it. Then comes BARGAINING: “Well, it’s just a few weeks, we’ll get back to normal soon, I can do this.” But it doesn’t. The closures and the losses get locked in for a longer time. Our life and work change significantly. Suddenly, those things we love, the classroom, our students, the comradery, the fellowship, the simple contact with real people, even the great celebration of GRADUATION!!! It’s all GONE.
Trust me, I know students are feeling this. I see it in Facebook posts, in discussion posts, in the written work submitted. Especially in the Sunday night text thread with a senior in my class who is deeply grieving the loss of her senior year. We’re all feeling the Grief.
DEPRESSION is the next stage. This is a tough one. It can slap us in the face, it can sneak up on us. We can deny that it will happen, but it comes at some level. We don’t want to find ourselves trapped there. While these stages seem to have an order, they all can come and go randomly at times, but if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice them. Depression seems to be the most worrisome of the five. So how do we avoid a lock-down in depression? I have some suggestions for you as we work our way to the final ACCEPTANCE stage of grief.
Yes, there is something you can do. First off, know that you are valued and loved. You are indeed worth it, no matter what these circumstances have told you.
Here are some things you can do:
- Being separated from your regular routine at school or work, you need to establish a new one. Set the new right time to get up each day, get your shower, get dressed, make your bed! Then you’ve already accomplished something!
- What’s on your list to do today? Set up that homework or work schedule so you accomplish exactly what you need to and do it! Find that place in your living space that is your work space or zone!
- Boredom leads to thinking too much about what you don’t have. So, plan a fun activity. Watch a movie; write a letter; read a good book; hit social media to check in with your friends. But, I’d suggest this: Make that phone call; do a video chat so you see your friend’s pretty face. Actually seeing them will make all the difference.
- Are you getting any exercise? That always helps. I know you can’t go to the gym but there are lots of on-line exercise activities that people are publishing now. Check one out. If nothing else, take a good fast walk around your own yard. That’s what I’m doing. I walk enough, fast enough that it gets my heart rate up to about 130. That’s good for someone my age. Don’t have a yard? Try some stretching exercises in your room.
- Have your devotions, your Quiet Time. This is THE most critical piece. Get alone with God. Pick your best time of the day. I’m a morning person so I do this first thing. It starts my day in the right frame of mind. If you’re a night person, do it at night. Pick the time that you are most alert. Spend some time reading God’s Word and some time in prayer. Be sure to be quiet for a bit so you can hear the voice of God coming back to you. A little of your favorite style of gospel background music can be good, too!
Here is a true statement from the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4: 16 to 18 that fits our current state:
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
One of my favorite Scriptural names for God was given by Hagar, Abraham’s servant girl, (Genesis 16) who was running away from Sarah, Abraham’s wife, in the battle over the baby. Hagar found herself alone, hungry and thirsty, nothing had gone as planned. Life as she knew it was over. The angel came and spoke to her and gave her the promise from God: He will take care of her! In her distress, in that moment she KNEW God “saw” her. She gave Him the name: “The God Who Sees Me.” In our difficult times, we can hold fast to that Name, because He does SEE us.
A student named Ryan Jones wrote and performs this song. It’s the story of the blind man that Jesus healed. All the man knew was that Someone asked him if he wanted to see. He didn’t know who it was, just Someone. And the lyrics go like this:
“You don’t have to see to believe. Although I did not see him, I know what he did for me. He was the first one to love me and show me that he cared when everyone just passed me by. He saw me that day. You don’t have to see to believe.”
So in the blind man’s case … and in ours… its not seeing is believing, but BELIEVING is seeing.
Look at Paul’s words in Ephesians 1: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.” And now we know that we are ACCEPTED by God, and therefore, we can ACCEPT our circumstances and see God’s hand in the midst.
Optimizing Your Crazy Workday, Without Going Crazy
Optimizing Your Crazy Workday, Without Going CrazyThad Hicks, PhD - Professor of Emergency and Disaster Management
The dirty truth about working from home is that unless you are deliberate, it feels like the work never ends, and there is no such thing as a typical school day. As we move next week into the 4th week of online learning, you are probably feeling burned out and overwhelmed by your class to-do list. You are certainly not alone. How do you make this very full schedule work alongside your personal life, because this is crucial?
There are ways to optimize your life and create a space for efficiency. There are steps we can take to unpack out the jam-packed work schedule.
- Don’t roll out of bed and begin answering emails and making calls. Take some time to get moving and to develop some morning rituals that you follow each morning.
- Spend the first hour each morning talking to family members face-to-face and possibly reaching out virtually to your friends. You may spend the rest of the day in front of our computer, so take advantage of these times.
- Try setting up specific times each hour to respond to emails. I would suggest hollowing out the last 15 minutes of each hour.
- Take a break and eat some lunch. As I noted earlier, the face-to-face time is vital for relationship building and this directly correlates with your effectiveness.
I am not saying to neglect schoolwork, but trust me, we spend a lot of time each day working on things that really don’t require as much time and attention as we give them. With this in mind, we can spend less time each day “working” because we are being deliberate about the time we spend on each thing. If we spend 8 hours a day doing our job inefficiently, when we put some structure to it, it now only requires 2-4 hours, cutting out the wasted effort and replacing it with effectiveness, and increased personal time. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/25/5-tips-for-optimizing-your-crazy-workday-from-a-productivity-expert.html
Overcoming Quarantine Stress for Students
Overcoming Quarantine Stress for Students
Thad Hicks, PhD - Professor of Emergency and Disaster Management
It’s been 2 weeks now since many universities and colleges elected to take an extended break as COVID-19 made its debut in The United States. Now, a couple of weeks into the pandemic, students are in a completely new reality. Many schools have written off the remainder of the semester and canceled spring commencement. In addition to this, in numerous states, students are under a mandated quarantine in their homes.
Overwhelmed, lonely, stressed, and at wits’ end are a few terms that may describe the feelings of students as many have moved from living on campus, fully engaged in the college life, to now being quarantined off campus, trying to get the hang of on-line learning. The outbreak of COVID-19 is stressful for people. Fear and unease about this pandemic can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions to bubble to the surface. This concern is real, and schools are taking it seriously. A recent article in Inside Higher Ed found that the mental health of students topped the list of presidents' short-term concerns, cited by 92 percent of presidents, 37 percent of whom said they were very concerned. The mental health of employees followed next, at 88 percent (source).
Despite the presence of COVID-19, it’s important to remember that life must go on. and that there are several strategies that students can use to manage this stress, stay healthy, and complete the semester’s work.
Take Time Away
While it seems counterintuitive, and contrary to what I would normally tell a student, stepping away for a time can actually raise your efficiency in an emergency event. Too much time in a challenging situation can drive you to complete burnout, but taking just a few minutes to focus on other things can be revitalizing.
Keep Up Your Normal
One of the biggest dangers during this time is a feeling of helplessness. It is important to keep a schedule. Whether you believe me or not, daily rituals keep us sane. You should work on your courses during the scheduled time that they would normally have class. You shouldn’t sleep till noon, and when you get up, get dressed, and make your bed. I would also encourage you to develop some type of exercise program that gets them off the couch and on their feet. These simple steps can change the trajectory of how you feel each day.
Focus on “Small” Victories
We need to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and forgetting to focus on the seemingly small accomplishments can be a problem. If we look at a victory as getting the rest of the semester’s work done in the first week, we might miss the smaller accomplishments that can be life-giving during this COVID-19 situation.
Remember You Are Not Alone
One of my favorite strategies is to stop and remember that you are not alone in this. Hundreds of colleges and universities and thousands of school districts are in the same boat as you. When things begin to get rough remember that there are people and places you can reach out to. A closed university building is not necessarily a closed university. The faculty and staff that were there to serve you before the pandemic are still there waiting to hear from you. Remember that your professors are stuck at home as well.
This situation is going to affect everyone differently. We all react in distinct ways to stressful situations. A well organized and informed approach will put you in a place where despite the COVID-19 pandemic raging around us, we can stay physically and mentally healthy, ready to tackle whatever we encounter, as long as we do it from 6-feet away.
Ohio Department of Health Call Center 1-833-4-ASK-ODH
WHAT IS THE CORONAVIRUS
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear between 2 to 14 days after exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends contacting your professional health care provider if you are experiencing symptoms, have been in contact with someone with a confirmed case or have traveled to a destination with higher numbers of confirmed cases.
Take Steps to Protect Yourself
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people
Take Steps to Protect Others
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow
- Throw used tissues in the trash
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Wear a facemask if you are sick
Clean and Disinfect
Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.