Protect the Nest: COVID-19 Response at Otterbein
(Archived August 24, 2023)


Through the patience and vigilance of our students, faculty, and staff, we have kept the number of COVID-19 cases at Otterbein far below the regional and national trends since the start of the pandemic.

The health and safety of our community has always been Otterbein’s highest priority. The Protect the Nest advisory team was established in mid-May of 2020 to monitor, advise, and guide the campus safely through the changing circumstances created by the pandemic. The team continues to develop protocols for students, faculty, and staff to keep campus safe for classes and operations in alignment with directives and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State of Ohio Department of Health’s Responsible Restart Ohio: Higher Education Minimum Operating Standards and Recommended Best Practices, Franklin County Public Health, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The guidelines we have developed are specific to instructional, work, residential, and social spaces. We remain responsive to public health orders and committed to the safety and wellness of our Cardinal Community. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the COVID Support Team at

UPDATE: MARCH 13, 2023

The federal government plans to end the national COVID-19 emergency declarations on May 11. Public health officials are transitioning into treating COVID as an endemic illness, which means that people will continue to be infected and become ill, but in relatively stable numbers. Other examples of endemic illnesses are influenza (flu), bronchitis, and the common cold. 

In consultation with our partners at Franklin County Public Health (FCPH), we have decided to end our COVIDspecific protocols on May 11, 2023. 

Read More >

Current COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols

Otterbein is a mask-optional campus. This means masks are optional for all individuals on campus, regardless of vaccination status. 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.

If you are sick, do not come to campus. Perform a daily self-assessment and if you are not feeling well, stay at home and call your doctor if necessary.

Read more >

Stay Up-to-Date on Your COVID-19 Boosters and Annual Flu Shot

Public health officials are recommending that Americans stay up-to-date on COVID boosters and get their annual flu shots. You can get your COVID booster or flu shot at your primary care provider, health clinics, or most pharmacies. You can find the websites, addresses, and phone numbers of local medical providers, clinics, and pharmacies here. Call ahead.

COVID boosters offer broader protection against subvariants and increase waning immunity in those who have already been vaccinated.

Why should I get boosted?

  • FDA-approved boosters provide the best protection from serious illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19, with broader protection against subvariants.
  • Your immunity may wane over time.

Where can I get boosted?

  • You can get a booster at your primary care provider, health clinics, or most pharmacies. You can find the websites, addresses, and phone numbers of local medical providers, clinics, and pharmacies here.

Keep in mind that COVID boosters can cause side effects in some patients, so plan accordingly. Common side effects include:

  • Pain, redness, and/or swelling at the injection site.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Chills.
  • Joint pain.

While Otterbein does not require the booster, we strongly recommend it as one way to protect all members of our Cardinal community. Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe and healthy!

What to Do if You Test Positive for COVID-19

Getting a COVID test:

  • Free at-home rapid antigen test kits are available for Otterbein students at Student Affairs and at the Promise House.
  • If you have health insurance, you’re covered for eight free over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 antigen tests each month. There are two ways to get your tests for free:
    • Use a pharmacy or store that your health plan designates “in network” where you’ll be charged $0. Check with your health insurance provider to find an in-network pharmacy.
    • Get reimbursed by submitting a claim to your insurance plan. Find out in advance what receipts or other documentation you’ll need.
  • You can get a PCR diagnostic test conducted at primary care providers, health clinics, or most retail pharmacies. You can find the websites, addresses, and phone numbers of local medical providers, clinics, and pharmacies here. Call ahead.

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

  • Students are required to contact; employees are required to contact
  • 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. If your fever is gone and your symptoms are getting better, you may return to class or 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.

You can find a list of nearby pharmacies and healthcare providers on the Health and Wellness page.

Otterbein University’s Return to Campus Plans have been 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 the Ohio Department of Health.