Protect the Nest Weekly Update for Students – October 16, 2020

This weekly update is intended to keep you informed of the latest developments from our 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.

Spring Semester Days Off
Can the University keep spring break on the calendar?
We’ve had a number of students ask about the possibility of keeping spring break or having additional days off. We have been advised by public health officials to avoid any break that encourages people to leave and return to campus to protect the health and safety of both our campus community and students’ families. That’s why the scheduled “reading day” falls in the middle of the week.

Could we offer more reading days?
No, we cannot offer additional days off. Our accreditation requires a certain number of contact hours in our courses and with the condensed schedule and reading day, we are at the minimum hours required.

Can we add a week at the beginning or end of the semester to add days off during the semester?
No. Adding a week to the start of the semester would bring us within two weeks of New Year’s Eve, a time when people might gather in groups, increasing their risk of spreading COVID. We cannot add a week to the end of the semester, because it would push back graduation, overlap with summer session, and interrupt summer plans.

Self-Screening Assessment
Before you come to campus each day, don’t forget to complete your self-assessment. Download this guide, which has important information and a checklist.

Feeling sick? Stay home.
It’s cold and flu season. This year, some of the common symptoms overlap with COVID-19 symptoms. So if you are feeling ill, don’t take any chances — stay home! If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, contact the COVID Hotline at 614-823-1586 or covid@otterbein.edu and let our Student Affairs staff and OhioHealth representative advise you on your next steps.

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. We appreciate the generous support of our donors in underwriting this service this year. 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.