Important mask policy update and fall 2021 protocols

Posted Aug 04, 2021

Dear Cardinals,  

As I look at the calendar, I can hardly believe classes start in just a few short weeks. This fall, I’m excited for the return of fall sports, campus activities, and full classrooms. I’m looking forward to the Common Book Convocation, Homecoming and Family Weekend, Theatre and Dance performances, and the many events we missed out on last year. 

The good news is that our partners at Franklin County Public Health and OhioHealth (Otterbein’s campus healthcare provider) have told us that, despite the Delta variant, we can have a robust, in-person fall semester if our community takes a few precautions. With that in mind, the following protocols will be in place for fall semester: 

  • Masks: The CDC released guidance on July 27, 2021, stating that ALL people (including vaccinated people) should return to wearing masks indoors if they live in a county with moderate or high spread. As of July 30, 2021, that includes Franklin County. After consulting with Franklin County Public Health (FCPH), Otterbein has updated its mask policy to require all students, faculty, staff, and visitors to wear masks in common spaces indoors, including classrooms, the library, and residence halls. This policy is effective Aug. 4, 2021. FCPH has advised that 6 feet of social distancing is not required for individuals who are wearing masks. 
  • Return-to-Campus Testing: To make sure we are starting our semester with a safe campus environment, unvaccinated students must be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival to campus or prior to arrival. Should you get tested prior to arrival, a negative test result should be dated within three days of your move-in date or the first date of class for non-residential students. The test result should be sent to  
  • Surveillance Testing: We will conduct weekly random surveillance testing of unvaccinated students so that we can get ahead of any potential outbreaks.  

In addition to these protocols, we strongly encourage students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. As an incentive, all students who have their full vaccination by Sept. 1 will be automatically entered into a drawing for the following prizes: 

  • Full Tuition for Spring Semester 2022 – Two awards for spring semester tuition up to 18 undergraduate credit hours or six graduate credit hours will be given. Employees and tuition exchange students are not eligible. Awards will be applied in place of all other university-funded awards. 
  • $250 Otterbein statement credit – Four students will be awarded a $250 credit toward their Otterbein statement. 

We are committed to providing you with a full academic and social experience this fall, and we are confident that we can do so with these precautions. Visit the Protect the Nest website for complete details, updates, additional details about fall semester, a list of vaccine providers, and more. Should you have any questions, please reach out to

We truly appreciate your commitment to protecting the nest, and we thank you for everything you are doing to keep our campus safe.   


Dawn Stewart  

Vice President for Student Affairs  

Director of Athletics