COVID-19: A Message from Dean Karla Zadnik

The message below from Dean Karla Zadnik about COVID-19 was emailed to Ohio State Optometry students, faculty and staff today. 



I trust that you have had a chance to review the email that was sent last night from President Drake about the university’s response to the COVID-19 global outbreak. I want to underscore the President’s sentiments about the importance of the health and safety of our entire campus community.


Tomorrow, I will send more information about courses, teaching, and examinations through (at least) March 30.


Today, one important decision we have made is that the main clinic and our satellite clinics in Columbus will remain open. Of course, if student interns, attendings, or staff experience COVID-19 symptoms, test positive for COVID-19, or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they should stay home.


Fourth-year externs should maintain their regularly scheduled patient care duties at their sites unless instructed otherwise by Dr. Heidi Wagner.


For those with travel plans, President Drake’s announcement indicated that--effective immediately and until further notice--all university-sponsored international travel is suspended. University-sponsored domestic air travel will be limited to business-essential travel and will be approved on an as-needed basis. Therefore, please plan to cancel your trips through April 20 and contact me if you’d like to appeal this decision. If you have a guest scheduled to visit soon for a class or speaking engagement, please reach out to me to we can decide the best approach to address that situation.


We are working with the Office of Human Resources for guidance that fits with our Business Continuity Plan regarding plans for telecommuting opportunities, where appropriate, for faculty and staff during this time. Information about COVID-19 reporting, employee-leave management, and associated workplace issues will be available from Human Resources in the coming days. We will forward this information out as soon as it is available.


First-year students, I will send an email soon about your observation rotations with the third-year students in the Primary Vision Care service..


As for prevention, I’m sure you’ve read much advice. To summarize: 

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick 
  • Don’t shake hands
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when you sneeze or cough
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water (20 seconds or longer) or use alcohol hand rub
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces
  • Clean and disinfect "high-touch" surfaces often, including telephones
  • Anyone who is seriously ill should seek medical advice from a doctor or emergency department 


If you have questions, please direct them to me at



Karla Zadnik, OD PhD

Dean and Glenn A. Fry Professor in Optometry and Physiological Optics

The Ohio State University College of Optometry