July 2021 Return To Campus Message from President Comerford

Posted Jul 21, 2021

Dear Otterbein Students,

Otterbein University is looking forward to a return to normal this fall with in-person campus experiences, including classes, residence life, campus activities, and the many other things that make campus life so special. Of course, this return to normal is dependent on things beyond our control (like virus mutations) and things within our control (like vaccination rates).

As we plan for fall semester, we are asking all vaccinated students (graduate and undergraduate), who haven’t already, to send their vaccination status to covid@otterbein.edu by July 30. You must include a photo or scan of your vaccination card.

We continue to follow the advice of public health officials and some protocols from spring semester will continue for unvaccinated students, while vaccinated students are able to opt out.

Vaccinated students:

  • Are not required to participate in return-to-campus and asymptomatic surveillance testing.
  • Are not required to wear masks in campus buildings but are still welcome to do so.
  • Will likely not need to quarantine or isolate if exposed to COVID-19.
  • All vaccinated students who have their full vaccination by Sept. 1 will be automatically entered into a drawing for the following prizes:
    • Tuition for Spring Semester 2022 (undergraduate or graduate) – 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.
    • $250 Otterbein statement credit – Four students will be awarded a $250 credit toward their Otterbein statement.

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 covid@otterbein.edu.
  • Must participate in regular asymptomatic surveillance testing throughout the academic year.
  • Are required to wear masks inside all campus buildings.
  • Cannot participate in Otterbein-sponsored study abroad. (Please note: Other travel restrictions could be imposed as cases increase in some parts of the U.S.)

All students:

  • Are required to conduct a daily self-evaluation prior to coming to campus and should avoid coming to campus if they feel unwell.
  • Are encouraged to wear a mask if they have a cold or are recovering from illness.
  • Should continue to wash hands and follow COVID-19 hygiene protocols.

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.

Many other aspects of campus are returning to normal, too. Students can expect a wide selection of in-person campus activities, athletics, lectures, and arts performances and exhibits this fall. Offices will be open for in-person appointments and walk-ins during operating hours — and the staff is excited to see you! And classrooms, elevators, dining spaces, lounges, hallways, and other campus spaces have returned to their normal configurations, capacities, and traffic flows.

Please know that our plans for fall semester are subject to change in the best interest of our community’s health and safety. We have back-up plans in place if any part of our current plan for the academic year needs to be altered.

Visit the Protect the Nest website for updates, additional details about fall semester, a list of vaccine providers, and more. Should you have any questions, please reach out to covid@otterbein.edu.

Thank you for doing your part to keep our Cardinal Community safe and healthy. We look forward to seeing you on campus fall semester!

With Cardinal Pride,

John Comerford, Ph.D.