Fall 2020 Announcement from Otterbein President John Comerford, Ph.D.
Monday, May 4, 2020
Dear Colleagues and Students,
Otterbein University is announcing today that we intend to resume in-person classes in the fall. Of course, there is much we cannot control, but we believe that in-person classes, athletics and other co-curricular activities, and our campus community are central to what makes an Otterbein education so special.
Let me be clear about what this means. It means that as the economy slowly begins to reopen, it is important we signal our intentions to students. It means that we will be in-person so long as it is possible to do so safely and permitted by county, state, and federal officials. It means we are already planning for enhanced cleaning, social distancing, contact tracing, and self-isolation of ill individuals. It means that even in the best-case scenario, we will not be operating normally. Class sections may be smaller, student housing may be modified, large group gatherings may be impossible, and athletics may be different. We also anticipate some classes will continue to be offered on-line or hybrid to allow faculty, staff, or students in high-risk categories to continue to avoid potential exposure.
Let me also be clear about what this does not mean. It does not mean Otterbein will be ignoring the orders and guidelines of government and medical professionals. It does not mean that we think the threat is over. It does not mean that we have all this figured out; we will have the summer to get additional guidance and make plans. It does not mean that we can stop planning for the worst-case scenario, and I will continue to ask faculty and staff to be prepared should class modifications be required again.
We hope that as our students wonder about the future, our commitment to being in-person if at all possible will come as some reassurance. We all need to be prepared for the worst, but also plan for more likely and more positive scenarios. We look forward to seeing you all in the fall!
John Comerford, Ph.D.