Spring 2022 Protect the Nest Frequently Asked Questions
(Archived May 12, 2022)

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: February 28, 2022

On this page:

Spring Semester 2022

Will classes be in-person during spring semester 2022?
Yes! The semester starts in-person on Monday, Jan. 10, as scheduled.

Do I need to be tested to return to campus?
All residential students, including all students residing in Greek houses, must test negative for COVID-19 before they will be permitted to move back into their residence. Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days are exempt from return-to-campus testing for spring semester.

How do I submit my test results or schedule a test to return to campus?
Residential students have three options:

  • You can get tested before returning to campus at a provider of your choosing. If you utilize this option, your test must be conducted within 72 hours of returning to campus, and your test results, name, and student ID number must be emailed prior to your arrival to covid@otterbein.edu. Both PCR and rapid test results will be accepted. At-home tests are only accepted if there is written confirmation of results; this type of test is proctored by a trained individual virtually.
  • You can take a COVID-19 test upon arrival. You must pre-register for a time at the Testing Center using this form. The Testing Center is located at 172 W. Main St. Check-in is on the back ramp and testing will take place on the front porch. Please bring your Cardinal Card to show at check-in. BEFORE ARRIVING, please download the NAVICA app. This app is how you check in-with the team and receive your results. If you have any additional questions, please call the COVID-19 Support Team at 614-823-1375 or email covid@otterbein.edu.
  • You can send proof of a positive COVID-19 result dated within the past 90 days, along with your name and student ID number, to covid@otterbein.edu prior to your arrival on campus.

Why do I have to be tested if I am already vaccinated?
The current dominant strain of COVID-19 is more effective at evading natural and vaccine immunity. While the vaccinations are still highly effective against serious illness or hospitalization, vaccinated individuals can still contract and spread COVID-19.

What are the testing requirements for unvaccinated students with approved exemptions?
All unvaccinated but exempted students will be tested weekly during spring semester. The first test must be completed before classes start on Monday, Jan. 10.

What are the spring semester dining protocols?
For your safety, food service will start the semester with grab-and-go only — seated dining areas will be closed. The campus community will be informed when the dining areas reopen.

Will I be required to get a COVID-19 booster?
Currently, we strongly encourage the COVID-19 booster for those who are eligible to receive one, but do not require it.

What is campus housing like this spring?
Residential spaces on campus have returned to pre-COVID set-ups. Rooms are set up for their normal occupancy, and lounges will be open.

Vaccine Policy Information

Are students required to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Following advice from Franklin County Public Health, the University students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Are employees required to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Following advice from Franklin County Public Health, the University currently requires students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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, 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?
As of Feb. 28, 2022, Otterbein has adopted the newly released masking guidance from the Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Based on this new guidance, Otterbein is ending its mask requirement for students, employees, and visitors to campus. This decision has been made in consultation with our partners at Franklin County Public Health (FCPH). This will take effect immediately and includes public events and performances.

We still require all unvaccinated but exempted students and employees to be tested weekly through May 1, when we will reassess this policy. Only 3% of our campus community is unvaccinated with medical or religious exemptions.

What if I want to wear a mask or need to wear one due to health concerns?
While individuals are no longer 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 Scott Fitzgerald at 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.

Additional COVID-19 Information

Where can I read Otterbein’s quarantine or isolation guidelines?
Otterbein has adopted the CDC guidelines for quarantine and isolation. You can read them here.

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 student organizations and other campus activities taking place?
Yes! All campus activities, In-person meetings, and events will take place.

Are offices open for in-person visits?
Yes. All offices are open and staffed to serve you in person during normal operating hours.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Health & Wellness

Is the Student Health Center available for my non-COVID needs?
Yes. The Student Health Center is available by appointment only for non-COVID needs. Call 614-823-1345 to make your appointment.

How do I care for my physical and mental health?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people are neglecting their physical and mental health needs. Don’t forget to keep your routine medical appointments and maintain your routine healthcare practices. For your mental health needs, Otterbein counselors are available to provide a supportive, therapeutic relationship and safe space for students to address and work through challenging situations, grow in their relationships, and realize their potential as active members of their communities. The Counseling Center information is below:

Location: 146 W. Home St.
Hours: Monday – Friday (8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
Phone: 614-823-1333
Email: counseling@otterbein.edu

What do I do if I feel sick?
All 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:

  • 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 or quarantine.

How will medical care be provided?
After a student contacts the COVID Support Team at covid@otterbein.edu, a team of Student Affairs staff will advise the student on next steps for medical assistance, testing, and possible isolation or quarantine.

Student Affairs staff will contact students with the following information:

  • How to be tested on campus. (Testing will be managed by OhioHealth)
  • A waiver that allows OhioHealth to inform the Dean of Students of Covid test results.
  • The importance of going home, if possible.
  • OhioHealth medical follow-up, if needed.
  • Coordination of medical information for students who are tested off campus.
  • Otterbein assistance regarding classes, if needed.
  • Residence Life and Food Service information for residential students.
  • Discussion of a quarantine/isolation plan if needed.
  • Communication with Franklin County Public Health.
  • Whether a student should receive a free, on-campus COVID-19 test. If a student tests positive, an OhioHealth case manager will provide ongoing medical assistance.

If a student feels symptomatic when the Campus Health Center is closed, what should the student do?
All students must contact the COVID Support Team at covid@otterbein.edu if they have symptoms and/or test positive for COVID-19. They should include their name, student ID number, and phone number for a call back within 24 hours about next steps. Students experiencing severe symptoms (shortness of breath, high fever) should go to an urgent care facility or an emergency room for immediate attention. 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.

Where does a student isolate or quarantine?
If a student tests positive or needs to isolate or quarantine, we encourage them to do so at their permanent residence. If that is not possible or ideal, spaces have been set aside for students to isolate or quarantine.

If a resident in a Commons apartment tests positive, will all of the residents of the apartment be able to quarantine in their apartment?
This will depend on the number of residents and whether there are unvaccinated (exempt from vaccine requirement) residents in the apartment. Each person in isolation due to a positive test needs to have their own bathroom. Students who cannot go home to isolate/quarantine will be offered other housing to do so.

How should Commons residents get food if they are quarantined and do not have a meal plan?
A quarantined resident of the Commons apartments can have a friend or family member shop for them and leave the shopping bags outside the apartment, or order food from an establishment using contactless delivery. If a student has nobody to shop for them, they can contact the COVID Support Team at covid@otterbein.edu and arrangements will be made to assist them.

Will Otterbein communicate with parents to let them know that someone in their student’s residence hall/suite has COVID?
To protect private student information, we do not inform parents.

What are Otterbein’s quarantine or isolation guidelines?
Otterbein has adopted the CDC guidelines for quarantine and isolation.

Although the CDC is not changing the definition of “fully vaccinated,” its new recommendations for isolation and quarantine differ for individuals who received a booster and those who have not. Otterbein has adopted the CDC guidelines. The guidelines are now dependent on vaccination status, so please review closely and if need clarification, visit the CDC website or contact covid@otterbein.edu.

Quarantine Guidelines:

  • Quarantine is for individuals who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. According to the  DC, close contact or 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.
  • No quarantine is required IF you have received a booster OR received the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine less than five months ago OR received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine less than two months ago OR tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days
  • Quarantine for at least five days is required IF you are unvaccinated OR your vaccine is not up-to-date (no booster AND more than five months since second dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or two months since Johnson & Johnson vaccine). To quarantine, you must stay home, avoid contact with others, and wear a well-fitted mask if you must be around others in your home. If you do not develop any symptoms, you can return on the sixth day.
  • EVERYONE, regardless of vaccination status MUST:
    • Watch for symptoms for 10 days: Monitor for 10 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
    • Take precautions until day 10: Wear a mask around all others, avoid travel, and avoid being around people who are at high risk.
    • If you develop symptoms: Isolate immediately and get tested. (See Isolation Guidelines.

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

  • Students must contact covid@otterbein.edu; employees must contact hr@otterbein.edu.
  • Isolate for at least 5 days: Stay home for 5 days and isolate from others in your home. Wear a well-fitted mask if you must be around others in your home.
  • Ending isolation if you had symptoms: You may end isolation on the sixth day if you have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and your symptoms are improving.
  • 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.
  • If you were severely ill with COVID-19: You should isolate for at least 10 days. Consult your doctor before ending isolation.


  • Provide your booster information to help the COVID Support Team (students) or Scott Fitzgerald (employees) determine the length of your quarantine.
  • Employees who have COVID-like symptoms but cannot secure an off-campus test should assume they are positive and follow the Isolation Guidelines.