Fall 2022 Protect the Nest Frequently Asked Questions

We encourage you to visit this Frequently Asked Questions page often as content is updated regularly. For additional details, check the Protect the Nest page.

Last Updated: August 19, 2022

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Vaccine Policy Information

Are students required to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Following advice from Franklin County Public Health, Otterbein requires students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 entering the 2022-23 Academic Year.

Incoming students are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, measles, mumps, and rubella. We also recommend the hepatitis B vaccine series and a meningitis vaccine. To be considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you must receive two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Students may request a medical or religious exemption from any or all of the vaccination requirements. Exemption requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. To request an exemption, students must contact covid@otterbein.edu. For a medical exemption, students will be required to provide documentation from their licensed healthcare provider. For a religious exemption, students will be asked to complete a separate religious exemption form.

Students who receive an approved exemption must agree to regular asymptomatic testing on campus IF the University requires it based on the advice of public health partners, at no cost to the students.

Are employees required to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Following advice from Franklin County Public Health, Otterbein requires students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 entering the 2022-23 Academic Year.

Employees may request a medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement. Exemption requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. To request an exemption, employees must contact hr@otterbein.edu.

Employees who receive an approved exemption must agree to regular asymptomatic testing on campus IF the University requires it based on the advice of public health partners, at no cost to the students.

Why is the university requiring COVID-19 vaccination?
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Otterbein has followed the advice of public health officials to make decisions in the best interest of the health and safety of our community. Franklin County Public Health has advised us to require the vaccination because the vaccine is still the most effective way to prevent serious illness or death from COVID-19. The vaccine requirement will offer the highest level of protection to our community and allow us to continue to offer in-person classes and activities.

Which COVID-19 vaccines qualify for this requirement?
To be considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you must receive two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Do you require booster shots?
Currently, we strongly recommend but do not require booster shots.

Are there any exemptions from the vaccine requirement?
To request an exemption, students must contact covid@otterbein.edu and faculty and staff must contact hr@otterbein.edu. For a medical exemption, students, faculty, and staff will be required to provide documentation from their licensed healthcare provider. For a religious exemption, students and employees will be asked to complete a separate religious exemption form.

Can I take classes online if I don’t want to get the vaccine?
We are not able to offer fully online alternatives to our in-person or hybrid courses.

How do I report my vaccine information?
STUDENTS: Please report your status by sending a copy of your vaccination card to covid@otterbein.edu.

FACULTY AND STAFF: Please report your status to hr@otterbein.edu.

Mask Policy Information

What is the mask policy on campus?
Otterbein is currently a mask-optional campus. This means masks are optional for all individuals on campus, regardless of vaccination status. While individuals are not required to wear masks on campus, they are welcome to wear one if they choose. Otterbein is a mask-friendly campus. We support those who choose to continue to wear a mask or need to wear a mask due to health concerns.

What if I want to wear a mask or need to wear one due to health concerns?
While individuals are not required to wear masks on campus, they are welcome to wear one if they choose. Otterbein is a mask-friendly campus. We support those who choose to continue to wear a mask or need to wear a mask due to health concerns. We will not tolerate discrimination against those who wear a mask on campus. Students may report any issues concerning their rights to wear a mask to covid@otterbein.edu. Employees may report any issues concerning their rights to wear a mask to hr@otterbein.edu or 614.823.1130.

Will I have to wear a mask at my off-campus experiential learning activities (internship, student teaching, nursing clinicals, community service, research, etc.)?
The masking rules of your host site apply when you are at that site. Please be aware of the host site’s rules in advance and be prepared to comply. As a general practice, you should always carry a mask with you, in case you are in a situation or at a location that requires masks.

Can faculty mandate mask usage in their classes?
Faculty cannot require the use of masks in their classes.

Exposure and Isolation Policy Information

What are Otterbein’s exposure or isolation guidelines?
Otterbein follows the CDC guidelines for exposure and isolation. For more information, visit the CDC website or contact covid@otterbein.edu.

Exposure Guidelines:
According to the CDC, exposure is being within 6 feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period — with or without a facial covering. EVERYONE, regardless of vaccination status, who is exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must:

  • Wear a high-quality mask around others for 10 days.
  • Watch for symptoms for 10 days.
  • Testing is optional for those who were exposed but are asymptomatic; but testing is required for those who develop symptoms following an exposure.
  • If you develop symptoms AT ANY TIME: Isolate immediately and get tested.

Isolation Guidelines:
If you tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status:

  • Students are required to contact covid@otterbein.edu; employees are required to contact ekidwell@otterbein.edu.
  • Everyone who has presumed or confirmed COVID-19 shall stay home and isolate from other people for at least 5 full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the day of the positive test for asymptomatic persons).
  • Ending isolation if you had symptoms: If you have a fever or other symptoms that have not started to get better on day 6, stay home until your fever is gone and other symptoms are better. You must wear a mask for days six through ten. If your fever is gone and your symptoms are getting better, you may return to work on day 6 but must wear a mask for days 6 through 10.
  • Ending isolation if you did NOT have symptoms: You may end isolation on the sixth day after your positive test.
  • Take precautions until day 10: Wear a mask around all others, avoid travel, and avoid being around people who are at high risk.
  • In addition to the above direction, you must follow any additional guidance from your healthcare provider.

PLEASE NOTE:
Employees who have COVID-like symptoms but cannot secure an off-campus test should assume they are positive and follow the Isolation Guidelines.

Student Health and Wellness

What do I do if I am a student and I feel sick?
Students should pay attention to signs of illness. Common symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever of 100 degrees or higher, new cough and shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. If you have two or more of these symptoms not associated with a chronic health issue, follow the steps below:

  • Students experiencing severe symptoms (shortness of breath, high fever) should go to an urgent care facility or an emergency room for immediate attention.
  • Do not attend your classes, leave your room, or come to campus.
  • Contact the COVID Support Team at covid@otterbein.edu if you have symptoms and/or test positive for COVID-19.
  • Include your name, student ID number, and phone number for a call back within 24 hours.
  • You will be prompted to answer questions related to symptoms and current living situation.
  • A team of Student Affairs staff will contact you with information about next steps for medical assistance, testing, and possible isolation.
  • If a student receives a positive test result from an off-campus testing facility, they must inform the COVID Support Team at covid@otterbein.edu.

For local healthcare options, visit the Student Health and Wellness website.

Additional COVID-19 Information

Who do I contact if I have questions, concerns or symptoms?
The COVID Support Team is available at covid@otterbein.edu for students to ask questions and report information related to COVID-19. Students must contact the COVID Support Team if they have tested positive, have been exposed to someone with COVID, or have COVID symptoms.

Employees should contact ekidwell@otterbein.edu if they have questions, have tested positive, have been exposed to someone with COVID, or have COVID symptoms.

How do I report violations of campus protocols related to COVID-19?
You can report violations or concerns to the COVID-19 Support Team at covid@otterbein.edu or the Otterbein Police at (614) 823-1222 (for concerns that need immediate attention). When reporting a concern, include all information necessary to investigate the concern. That may include date, time and location.

How does Otterbein determine its COVID-19 protocols?
Otterbein’s COVID-19 protocols are developed in consultation with Franklin County Public Health and OhioHealth (Otterbein’s campus healthcare provider) and adhere to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Ohio Department of Health.

What is the daily self-assessment?
All members of our campus community must perform a daily self-assessment before coming to campus. Don’t come to campus if you have two or more of the following symptoms not associated with a chronic health issue: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell. Download the self-assessment guide from our Protect the Nest website.

Are students and employees permitted to travel abroad for classes or work?
Fully vaccinated individuals may be permitted to travel abroad on Otterbein-sponsored trips, including class, work, and alumni trips, depending on conditions in the country to be visited. Students can request a waiver of Otterbein travel regulations to countries with a U.S. State Department Level 4 travel warning if the cause for the warning is due to Covid-19. See the Study Abroad office for more information. Unvaccinated individuals cannot participate in Otterbein-sponsored trips abroad. This decision has been made for the safety of our community due to the risks of unvaccinated individuals contracting COVID-19 while abroad and the changing rules in many countries regarding unvaccinated tourists. Please note, other travel restrictions could be imposed as cases increase in some parts of the U.S.

Do students have to be vaccinated to participate in an internship or clinical program?
Some off-site hosts of internships or clinical programs require their employees, including student employees, to be vaccinated. Check with the host of your off-site experiential learning program about any vaccination requirements.

If I must isolate or quarantine, how will that affect my class attendance?
All classes will be taught in the modality indicated in the course schedule. Instructors of in-person courses may choose to offer synchronous instruction along with in-person instruction to accommodate students who are unable to attend class due to illness but are not required to do so. COVID-19 will be treated like any other illness in regard to attendance requirements and making up classwork and exams.

Who will teach classes if my professor gets sick?
We have processes to continue classes if, for any reason, a faculty member is unable to continue teaching. We implement that protocol at least once during most semesters. We will use the same process in the event a faculty member becomes ill with COVID-19.