Return to Campus Weekly Update for Students – October 9, 2020

This weekly update is intended to keep you informed of the latest developments from our Protect the Nest Team (formerly the Return to Campus Team). Please visit www.otterbein.edu/rtc for additional general and student-related information. If you have questions or concerns, contact the COVID Hotline at 614-823-1586 or covid@otterbein.edu.

Week 7: We’re Halfway There
That’s right, it’s the end of Week 7! We are halfway through the semester, and we are so impressed with how our entire campus community has embraced our Cardinal Community Responsibilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But now is not the time to become complacent. Just the opposite! We need you to remain diligent and continue to follow the rules so we can make it all the way through the semester – TOGETHER! Remember to check the Protect the Nest website if you need a quick reminder of the protocols, and contact the COVID Hotline at 614-823-1586 or covid@otterbein.edu if you have any questions or concerns.

Go to Class: Your professors miss you!
Most of our face-to-face classes are simultaneously taught online so that students not able to attend in person due to quarantine or isolation can continue to participate virtually. That doesn’t mean that you can choose to attend virtually in your pajamas from home if you aren’t in quarantine or isolation. Students have overwhelmingly told us they want to be on campus, and we want you here, too — including the professors teaching face-to-face classes. In other words: Go to class! Your professors miss you!

How Many Cases Would It Take to Force Us to Shut Down the Campus?
The short answer is: There is no magic number. We have developed plans for a variety of scenarios in consultation with Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) and OhioHealth (Otterbein’s campus healthcare provider) that adhere to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Ohio Department of Health. FCPH would be the agency guiding our decisions. They monitor our data and Otterbein officials are in regular contact with the agency. There is no magic number of cases that would determine a change in direction; FCPH considers a number of factors in any guidance they give us. In addition, FCPH has advised us not to send students home like we did last March. Instead, we would likely shelter in place and move to all online classes for two weeks. Campus is unlikely to be shut down.

Mask Protocols
As the weather gets cooler and people start gathering indoors, facial coverings will be even more important to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here’s a reminder from the CDC of how to select, wear and clean your facial coverings. Highlights include:

  • Wear masks with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Masks should be worn by people two years and older.
  • Masks should NOT be worn by children younger than two, people who have trouble breathing, or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance.
  • Do NOT wear masks intended for healthcare workers, for example, N95 respirators.
  • CDC does not recommend the use of gaiters or face shields. Evaluation of these face covers is on-going, but effectiveness is unknown at this time.

FREE FLU SHOTS FOR STUDENTS
It’s more important to get your flu shot now than ever before. This year is different than most: two easily transmissible and potentially deadly viruses will be circulating in the community at the same time. Not only is the flu shot the most effective way to avoid getting the flu, but it is also an effective way to conserve precious healthcare resources needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Student Affairs is planning several FREE flu shot events, so look for information coming soon. If you can’t make it to an event, students can get a free flu shot at the Student Health Center. Shots at the Student Health Center will be given by appointment only; no walk-ins will be accepted. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Monday- Thursday. Call 614-823-1345 to make your appointment.

Otterbein will provide free flu shots to both insured and uninsured students. Students are asked to provide a copy of their insurance card if they have insurance, or inform the flu shot event organizer or Student Health Center when making an appointment if they do not have insurance.