Important Information about COVID-19 in Franklin County – November 19, 2020
Posted Nov 19, 2020
Dear Otterbein Community,
Today, Franklin County’s public emergency category was increased to Level 4 (Purple) on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. This is the highest emergency level on the Public Health Advisory Alert System, which uses data to assess the degree of the spread of COVID-19 and to guide response and actions to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Level 4 (Purple) indicates severe exposure and spread in the county and advises residents to only leave home for supplies and services and to follow all current health orders. These orders include many of the things we are already doing on campus, including maintaining social distancing, wearing facial coverings and washing hands frequently.
In addition to these common-sense measures, we are making changes to campus protocols to keep our students safe as they prepare to return home to their families for winter break, and our faculty and staff safe as many of them plan to spend the holidays with their immediate families.
On Tuesday, we proactively limited our dining services to grab-n-go meals only and limited the capacity of the fitness facilities.
Now that Franklin County has been moved to a Level 4 (Purple), we are asking our community to take some additional precautions:
- Students should shelter in place for the remainder of their time on campus through Wednesday, Nov. 25. The only reason students should leave their rooms is to go to class, complete academic work, employment or pick-up food in the dining hall.
- In-person classes can continue with the current health and safety protocols in place. Currently, there have been no cases of transmission traced to our classrooms.
- No in-person student activities will be held for the remainder of semester.
- Athletics practices will be cancelled for the remainder of the semester.
- Supervisors may allow flexibility to make work-from-home arrangements, if employees are able to do so, with area VP approval; however, all campus offices will remain open.
- The governor has issued a statewide curfew from 10 p.m.-5 a.m., effective at midnight on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, and lasting for 28 days.
- The curfew provides exceptions for work, food and pharmacy purchases and emergencies.
- Otterbein courses and clinicals will continue to meet at their scheduled times, even if they extend into the curfew period. The library, labs and other educational spaces that remain open later than 10 p.m. to support student learning will also remain open as scheduled.
Our partners at Franklin County Public Health have advised us to finish our semester in person. They have reviewed and approved these new measures.
Thanks to our current preventative protocols and the vigilance of our Cardinal Community, we have kept our positive case numbers on campus low this semester. Thank you for making smart choices for yourself, your friends, your family and your community. We truly appreciate your understanding during the last week of our semester and your commitment to protecting the nest.
John Comerford, Ph.D.