General Information

COVID Support Line and Email
A COVID Support Line and Email is available at 614-823-1586 or covid@otterbein.edu for faculty, staff and students to ask questions and report information related to COVID-19. You must contact the COVID Support Line if you have tested positive, have been exposed to someone with COVID, or have COVID symptoms. You may also contact the COVID Support Line if:

  • You are concerned about incidents in which members of the Otterbein community are not following safety guidelines; or
  • You have other COVID related concerns or general questions.

Off-Campus Residences and Student Conduct

COVID-19 doesn’t stop at the boundaries to campus. Disregarding safety practices off-campus can have a severe impact on campus. We are aware the widespread of the corona virus at large events has had a debilitating impact on communities throughout the country. Students living off campus are expected to follow the guidelines of the Franklin County Health Department to limit social interaction in their residence to groups of 10 or less. We recommend the use of masks and social distancing in these situations.

Residents of off-campus houses should not admit uninvited guests that result in groups larger than 10. Amnesty will be given in situations in which students control the size and safety of a gathering by taking precautions and contacting police for assistance to disperse uninvited guests.

Large events in off-campus houses are prohibited. This is consistent with the long-standing University policy (Student Code of Conduct, Section 3 – Off-Misconduct, page 33) in which “Otterbein University reserves the right to conduct disciplinary investigations, file charges, and impose discipline for off-campus conduct. . .” Threat of harm to the health or safety of others is specifically stated in this section.

Quarantine Plan
If a student tests positive or needs to be quarantined for 14 days because of exposure, we strongly encourage them to go home; that is the most comfortable place for most students. If that is not possible or ideal, spaces have been set aside for students who must quarantine. Spaces include residence hall rooms with access to a private bathrooms and small houses on campus.

Are we coming back to campus this fall?
Yes. Otterbein University is adopting a phased approach for students returning to campus this fall, based on new guidance from public health officials. While students will return to campus in four phases, ALL classes still begin the week of Aug. 24. The final phase of students will return by Sept. 13. Beginning Monday, Sept. 14, all courses will return to their original intended mode; a number of courses that are starting online will return to in-person or blended formats. We are developing plans in consultation with Franklin County Public Health and OhioHealth (Otterbein’s healthcare provider), and following CDC and Ohio Department of Health guidelines.

When do classes start and end?
Classes for fall semester will begin as planned on Aug. 24, 2020. During the phase-in, some classes — including select first-year courses and courses with significant lab or experiential components that cannot easily be replicated online — will meet in person or in a blended format; all other courses will begin the semester online. Beginning Monday, Sept. 14, all courses will return to their original intended mode; a number of courses that are starting online will return to in-person or blended formats. There will be no Fall Break or three-day weekends. We will finish classes by Thanksgiving with finals taking place remotely the following week. We request that residential students stay on campus from Aug. 24-Nov. 25 to protect both campus community members and families back home.

Is there a plan for classes if campus must close?
We are prepared to return to online instruction at any point should we be advised by public health officials to do so. Most classes will be set up so that students not able to attend in-person (due to quarantine or isolation) can continue to participate, and if this is not possible for a student, they can work with the Center for Student Success on alternative plans. Students who prefer online classes will have options to continue to learn in this manner, but please note that some experiential courses may not be available in these circumstances. Again, the Center for Student Success can help students find alternatives.

If classes are moved online and students have to leave campus, what is the refund schedule?
For residential students who move to campus prior to Aug. 24: If Otterbein is required to send students home during fall semester, we will issue Room and Board refunds based on a new schedule, which will be updated for all semesters moving forward. While a significant number of schools are altering contracts to not refund room and board this year if forced to go to remote teaching, we are committed to issuing refunds based on this schedule:

  • Students leave campus before Monday September 14 – 75% refund
  • Students leave campus between September 14 and October 16 – 50% refund
  • Students leave campus between October 16 and November 2 – 25% refund

Will I receive a refund on tuition if we move to remote classes?

No. If we must switch our in-person classes to online as we did for spring semester, we will have the same faculty delivering the same curriculum for the same classes, just in a different format, so there will be no refunds on tuition. It actually costs Otterbein more to deliver classes online, and just like you, we want to complete the entire fall semester on campus. It’s up to us as Cardinal community members to make responsible choices so that can happen.

What are my responsibilities when I return to campus?
We have created six main responsibilities for all members of the campus community this fall:

  1. Perform a daily self-assessment. Don’t come to campus if you have two or more of the following symptoms not associated with a chronic health issue: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
  2. Wear facial coverings. Students, faculty, staff and visitors are required in common spaces and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.
  3. Practice social distancing. Stay 6 feet from other people whenever possible.
  4. Keep it clean. Clean your workspace or common spaces with the provided sanitizing supplies.
  5. Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds.
  6. Share concerns via anonymous reporting page. If you have concerns or suggestions, you can report them anonymously through the reporting page in Ozone, under the Return to Campus tab.

What precautions will be in place when students return to campus?
We have spent the summer preparing campus to be safe for our students to return. We will provide campus signage, training, and educational materials on those changes and new protocols. Some of the changes you will see include:

  • Reconfiguration of furniture.
  • Altered traffic flow through spaces.
  • Revised schedules.
  • Hand sanitizer stations across campus.
  • Sanitizing wipes will be widely available in campus facilities to clean workspaces and common areas (desks, computers, sinks, etc.).
  • Increased cleaning from our janitorial service.
  • Facial coverings will be required.

How will you enforce the new protocols for students who choose not to follow them? (For instance, students who choose to attend parties or refuse to wear facial coverings.)
We are relying on our Cardinal Community to care for each other and to stay healthy and stay strong so we can stay together. Our goal is to encourage people to build habits that prevent spread of COVID-19. To that end, we are making temporary modifications to our student and employee handbooks and we are enlisting faculty, staff and student leaders to model appropriate behaviors and remind people to wear facial coverings, follow directional signage, etc. At the same time, we do not want to put people who have legitimate reasons not to wear facial coverings under undue pressure.

How do cases in Franklin County and across Ohio impact our return to campus this fall?
The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are at the heart of our fall semester return to campus plans, which is why we’ve worked closely with public health officials every step of the way. We’ve appreciated your questions and comments, and your willingness to remain flexible as the situation in Franklin County, the State of Ohio and across the country changes.

The first week of August, based on current COVID-19 trends, Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) recommended Otterbein adopt a phased approach as the safest way for our residential students to return to campus. During the phase-in, some classes — including select first-year courses and courses with significant lab or experiential components that cannot easily be replicated online — will meet in person or in a blended format; all other courses will begin the semester online. We know this represents a change in plans for some of you. We thank you for understanding these changes are part of our commitment to keep our campus community as safe as possible.

What are the factors that would determine a shut down?
We have developed plans for a variety of scenarios in consultation with Franklin County Public Health 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. Currently, public health authorities are advising us that it is safe for us to reopen campus for in-person classes this fall. Those plans are very flexible, to adjust to new developments, information, guidelines and advice that we may receive from local, state and national officials. As in the spring, we are relying on our close partners at Franklin County Public Health and OhioHealth to advise us on any changes (large or small) that we need to enact to make campus safer for our community.

Have any decisions been made about the spring semester?
We intend to hold in-person classes on campus for the entire academic year. Decisions on the academic calendar, commencements and other events, protocols, and more have not yet been made for spring semester. We will continue to make plans in consultation with Franklin County Public Health and OhioHealth (Otterbein’s campus healthcare provider) and follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Ohio Department of Health.

Student Life

Where can I go on campus between classes if I am a commuter?
Many commuter students have asked where they can go between in-person classes, or if they have an online class immediately before or after an in-person class. We’ve compiled a list of computer labs and campus spaces that commuters — or any student — can safely use:

Computer Lab Availability (O-Zone, login required)

Campus Spaces:

  • Outdoor areas.
  • Campus Center: Lounge.
  • The Point: Various locations.
  • Towers Hall: Commuter lounge and Towers 233.
  • Roush Hall: Fisher Gallery first and second floors, Roush 331, Roush 118.
  • Library: Various location.
  • Battelle Fine Arts Center: Lounge
  • Science Center: Lobby, second floor lounge.
  • Art and Communication Building: Lounge in the northwest corner (adjacent to radio broadcast booth).

The Center for Student Involvement is here to support commuters. Please reach out to csi@otterbein.edu with any questions, comments and needs you may have.

Parking Passes Distributed from the Campus Center
Taking into consideration the various ways Otterbein classes will be made available to students this fall, all full-year parking decal prices have been reduced by 50%. Students who only need a pass for fall semester can return their parking pass for a full refund by the end of the semester. Every student planning to have a vehicle on campus needs to purchase their parking pass online.

  • Residential students can pick up their parking pass during residence life check-in.
  • Commuters can pick up their parking passes August 15-23 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. If you need to make other arrangements, please contact CSI@otterbein.edu.
  • Graduate and evening students can pick up their parking passes at the Campus Center main office from 9 am to 11 pm.

Enhancing Outdoor Spaces
We are doing a number of things to enhance outdoor spaces on campus this fall. Public health officials agree that being outside lowers the risk of transmission due to airflow and the ability to distance, and social distancing lowers the capacity of indoor spaces. That's why we are investing in making our outdoor spaces more welcoming, adding:

  • 72 more Adirondack chairs.
  • Eight new sets of tables and chairs.
  • More trash and recycling containers.
  • Outdoor games – eight different kinds are being manufactured at The Point.
  • Eight 10 x 10 ft. tents.
  • Four 10 x 20 ft. tents.

We are also exploring the possibility of purchasing larger tents that we can winterize. Tent spaces can be used for meetings, social gatherings, classes and rehearsals that may be safer outside like wind ensemble or choirs — with all the appropriate precautions in place.

Will there be events on campus this fall?
Are you planning a meeting, event or a gathering on campus? This would include any planned or spontaneous event or meeting, indoors or outdoors, with a small number of people participating or a large number of people in attendance. Organizers should continue to assess, based on current conditions, whether to postpone, cancel, or significantly reduce the number of attendees for each gathering. External events or rentals will not be approved through Dec. 31, 2020, with a few exceptions. Internal Events that invite guests to campus may not be approved, based on the interaction with faculty, staff and students. Please reference these processes and guidelines to plan the implementation of your meeting, event or gathering to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Do I need to purchase a parking pass this semester?
Students must still display a valid student parking permit on their vehicle to park on campus. Parking permits can be requested online from the Otterbein Police Department.

How will COVID-19 affect Greek life and recruitment?
Formal recruitment and new member education will be moved from fall semester to spring semester. Greek life and the Greek community will still continue to exist, and events will still be hosted with safety precautions in place. The Greek Council will be fully supporting all sororities and fraternities on campus with any questions or needs they may have.

What kind of support will be available for commuter students?
The Center for Student Involvement is here to support commuters. Please reach out to csi@otterbein.edu with any questions and needs.

How can new students meet each other?
First Flight, which is the welcome week for new students, will have some in-person activities, as well as virtual events. The Class of 2024 Facebook group is a great way for new students to start interacting with each other virtually right now.

How will on-campus residents socialize?
Large lounges in residence halls and in buildings on campus will remain open, the Residence Life staff will be working on planning a lot of outdoor and virtual programming.

Will organizations and clubs be able to meet on campus?
We encourage all members of the campus community to meet virtually when possible, but we understand that some organizations and clubs will want or need to meet in person. Our general guidelines will apply, including wearing masks, maintaining social distance, not moving furniture and sanitizing the space before and after use. Spaces on campus will have lower capacity than last year, so organizations and clubs will have to keep that in mind when scheduling an appropriately sized space. Anyone planning an event or gathering larger than a meeting on campus should consult the Office for Events and Conferences for the latest information.

Will students be able to work on campus?
Yes. Offices that can arrange a safe working environment for students can employ students. Workspace and schedule changes may be made to accommodate student workers.

Are there any restrictions on a student taking a job off-campus?
No, we will not restrict students from taking off-campus jobs.

Can students engage in face-to-face service and volunteer activities in the community?
Much of our service and volunteer activities depend on the needs and rules of our partners/hosts. The Center for Community Engagement will continue to work with partners/hosts to create opportunities that minimize risk but allow our students to continue giving back to their community.

What is the visitation policy for on-campus housing?
Visitors will not be allowed in on-campus housing. Additionally, students cannot visit the room of another resident living in the same building. Another way to think of this is residents of the room are the only people allowed in a room, residents of the residence hall are the only people allowed in the building.

Can parents visit students during the semester?
Parents are welcome to visit, but we ask that they not visit the student's residence hall. Uptown Westerville is a great place to walk and visit and Westerville has many parks near campus and throughout the city.

Are students allowed to go home throughout the semester?
We are encouraging students to remain on campus from when they move in until the end Thanksgiving. We won’t prohibit them from leaving, but encourage them not to do so for the safety of their families and the campus community.

Should students bring special supplies to campus due to the pandemic?
Students are encouraged to bring a thermometer, facial coverings, hand sanitizer and sanitizing supplies for their rooms. Each student will receive two washable cloth facial coverings when they arrive on campus.

If all my classes are online, can I opt out of the residence hall contract?
Yes. If you decide to opt out of housing due to online classes, please email reslife@otterbein.edu with your decision by Friday, August 14. Students MUST decide about opting out of housing PRIOR to moving into the residence halls. Only students who are taking all their classes online or who plan to live at home with their parent/guardian within a 30 mile radius of campus may opt out of their housing agreement.

If you send people home in the fall will they need to move all of their things out or will they leave their things for spring semester return?
The date of the closure would impact the process, but all students planning to return for spring 2021 would be given the option to keep their belongings in their room. If a closure occurs before registration for spring 2021 has begun, students will be asked to pack their belongings but may leave them in their room. (This will assist in shipping them if the student is not able to return for spring 2021.) If the halls need to close after students have registered for spring semester 2021, all registered students planning to live in the same residence hall space for spring 2021 will be able to keep their belongings in their room.

How will laundry room activity be handled?
Laundry rooms will be limited to one to three people at a time based on the size of the room. The capacity will be marked on a sign outside the room. Sanitizing supplies will be available to wipe down equipment before and after use.

Will bathrooms in suite-style halls (DeVore & 25 W. Home St.) and on-campus apartments be cleaned by Otterbein?
No. Those spaces are considered private areas and should be cleaned by residents. Residents will need to provide their own cleaning supplies.

Will the fitness center be open for students? And will students need a mask inside that area?
The fitness center will be open, with limited capacity due to social distancing. At this time, locker rooms and showers remain closed. Students will not have to wear a mask while working out, but must wear a mask while in the building and not working out.

Do individuals have to bring their prayer mat for the prayer room in the Chapel building?
Yes, students should bring their own mat to the masjid.

Will there be a more sustainable option for takeout containers instead of throw-away containers since there will be more take out options?
Our dining service is investigating options for containers. Cost and availability are factors affecting the options we can provide.

In The Den and The Nest, we will have the reusable plastic trays that we used last year. The guest would pay a one-time $5 deposit for the tray. They get a red carabiner that is easy to hook on to a bag. When they get their meal, they will exchange the carabiner for the tray. When they bring the tray back, they will get a carabiner as a place holder until their next meal. Due to the increased offerings at The Den, we are expanding this program which we only ran in The Nest last year. Hopefully this will eliminate a lot of unnecessary packaging waste.

Do students have to sign up for a move in date/time if living in on-campus apartments?
Our phased return to campus means that students will return on different dates based on which phase applies to them. Students will receive information from Residence Life regarding their move-in details.

Will we be able to help our child move in?
Yes. Families will be able to help their student move in on their scheduled day and time. We encourage families to only bring as many helpers as are necessary to move their student into the hall. We will be asking everyone entering buildings to wear a mask and to maintain 6-feet distance from other people/families.

What changes are being made to residence halls? Will there be doubles?
We have made some changes to residence hall living for the safety of our residential students.

  • There will be double rooms, but some smaller double rooms have been turned into super-single rooms and some triple rooms have been turned into doubles.
  • Visitors/guests will not be permitted in residence halls.
  • Sanitizing supplies will be available in common areas. Residents are asked to clean before and after use.
  • Laundry facilities will be available, with sanitizing supplies available.
  • Some common areas will be temporarily closed; those that are open will have sanitizing supplies available.

Will students be able to invite visitors on campus to their dorm rooms?
Visitors/guests will not be permitted in residence halls.

What if campus closes residence halls and I am unable to go home?
If we are required to shut down residence halls, we will allow students to request exemptions and accommodate those students on a case-by-case basis, as we did in the spring.

Will Otterbein be providing additional sanitizing products for students living in on-campus apartments?
Sanitizing products will be provided in common areas, such as residence hall lounges, computer labs, laundry facilities and multiple use restrooms. Cleaning supplies for personal spaces must be provided by the residents of those spaces. Apartment residents should bring their own cleaning products for their room and the rest of the apartment. Suite-style hall residents should bring cleaning products for their room and bathroom.

If arriving from out of state or traveling by air, will there be a quarantine period?
No. Ohio does not have any quarantine requirements in place for those who have traveled outside the state. Otterbein follows state guidelines on quarantine.

What dining options will be available this fall?
A dining plan for the Cardinals Nest (Campus Center Main Dining Room), OtterDen (Campus Center, First Floor), OtterBean (Coutright Memorial Library), Roost Express (Roush Hall, First Floor), and The Point Café was developed in collaboration with Otterbein’s food service provider, Parkhurst.

  • Cardinals Nest: The main dining room will seat 136 people, socially distanced with no more than four people per table. Additional seating will be made available in Dining Room 1 (28 seats) and the 1847 Room (20 seats). All self-service food lines and buffets will be eliminated. The flow of service has been designed to allow individuals to enter only via the spiral staircase and leave via the left exit by the 1847 Room as part of a one-way path to service. The Nest will be closed from 2-4 p.m. daily for deep cleaning and sanitizing.
  • OtterDen: The seating area will be closed with all food served as carry out only. A one-way flow of including points of entrance and egress has been developed. There will be an addition of a hot quick service entrée and sides as well as a large Grab n Go cooler for additional quick serve options and increased selection of convenience/grocery items.
  • Roost Express: The Roost Express will not be open during fall semester since it has been determined that the space is too small to allow for sufficient social distancing while ordering and paying for food.
  • The Point: Stanchions will be added to set one direction flow and social distancing. Sneeze guards will be added to the long counter space facing the front of the building to create a pickup zone​.
  • The OtterBean (Library, First Floor): The flow of service has been changed with an entrance and egress identified.

How will Greek life be handled? Housing? Chapter meetings? Events?
Guidelines for living in campus owned and non-campus owned Greek housing are being finalized and will be shared with the Greek leaders. Chapter meetings and events will be held to the rules for campus events and gatherings. Meetings and events should be held virtually whenever possible. When not possible, facial coverings, social distancing, and cleaning/sanitizing the space will be required. Anyone planning an event on campus should consult the Office for Events and Conferences for the latest information.

How should Commons residents get food if they are quarantined and do not have a meal plan?
A quarantined resident of the Commons apartments can have a friend or family member shop for them and leave the shopping bags outside the apartment, or order food from an establishment using contactless delivery. If a student has nobody to shop for them, they can contact the Office of Student Affairs and arrangements will be made to assist them.

Will the Commons apartments stay open should students be sent home in the fall?
If the University is required to close campus housing, the apartments will close as they did in spring semester. We will work with students who need to remain on campus in a similar way to how we did last spring.

Did the Commons apartments get renovated this summer?
The scheduled Commons apartment renovations were placed on hold to allow Facilities Services to implement new health and safety measures across campus for fall semester.

Will Homecoming and Family Weekend be held this year?
The Cardinal Nation will come together through a series of virtual experiences to celebrate Otterbein and honor this long-standing tradition. Instead of just one day on campus, look for a week-long calendar of events for alumni, families and friends running September 21-26.

Academics

How can a commuting student maximize virtual classes to be on campus as little as possible?

The Center for Student Success will host an Advising Week starting Aug. 10, and can help you create a schedule that works for your specific needs.

Where can students take online classes if they are a commuter and have other classes on campus?

Campus computer labs will be available, with safe distances between computer work stations.

What options are available for students who don’t have web cams or other technology needed for any online learning?

Computer labs will be open with social distancing in place. If we are required to send students home and move to remote learning only, we will follow a model from spring, when we set up a central location at The Point where students can borrow laptops and work remotely using campus wifi. If needed, we will create additional spaces with that model.

A number of programs require in-person experiential learning, including student teaching, internships and field experiences. Will students be able to complete those requirements? If not, will course requirements change?

Academic Affairs and individual departments are working with partners/hosts to make arrangements for the completion of experiential learning, or to adjust the requirements if possible. Some agencies that oversee certification of professionals (like teachers and nurses) are adjusting their requirements to fit the current reality. Students should contact their department regarding specifics of their options. Please know that we are committed to helping our students complete their education on time if possible and with the qualifications they need to succeed.

If a professor tests positive, are all of their students expected to quarantine for 14 days?

No. The CDC recommends quarantine for those who have had close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. “Close contact” is defined as being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes. We have set up the classrooms to minimize that risk. Only students who have had close contact with the professor will have to quarantine.

Will labs be available online?

There are some learning experiences that cannot be replicated online, and lab work is often one of those. Students enrolled in most labs will need to come to campus to conduct that coursework.

Will tutoring still be available?

Yes. Tutoring and other student support services will be available.

How will evening classes be conducted?

The general class schedule will remain similar to the traditional schedule. We will still offer evening classes, with the same protocols of day classes.

How will Music classes be conducted?

Most academic classes that do not involve active music-making will be offered in rotation-blended mode. That would be theory, music history and aural skills (which does involve some singing). Piano classes will be taught in blended-rotation. Instructors will be online, and the keyboard lab can accommodate six students safely. Some students will be bringing portable keyboards to campus and others will be provided keyboards for remote participation.

The Music Department is working on solutions for methods classes in music education: percussion, guitar, brass and strings. A class like percussion needs to be in-person if possible, while other areas may be delivered online or in a blended format.

Most private lessons will be delivered online

How will music ensembles practice and perform?

Ensembles will be mostly online, with some in-person small sectional rehearsals. Students will record and upload their individual parts to a central hub, where directors and our audio engineer will assemble and edit the parts into complete performances.

The Music Department is planning a cross-curricular project to showcase the entire department, built around the theme of music from the Renaissance, and the Baroque and Early Classical eras. This will be a fully produced and curated online performance product that we can show to the world. The second showcase will be a holiday concert at the end of the term.

I know that tuition and fees are due August 1, but I won’t know the format (face-to-face, hybrid or online of all of my classes by then. What do I do?
We understand that students are anxious to learn which of their courses will be in person and which will be hybrid or online. Our commitment is that we are weighing both space issues (how many students can safely use this space and be socially distanced) and pedagogical issues (Can we teach this successfully in an online format? Can we have small group discussions safely in person, etc.) as we work through these decisions. If, once students see their schedule and the format of classes, they feel like they need to make a change, we will try to support them. Students will have until Friday, September 4, 2020 to drop courses and receive a 100% refund on tuition.

What will the format of my classes be this fall?
During the phase-in, some classes — including select first-year courses and courses with significant lab or experiential components that cannot easily be replicated online — will meet in person or in a blended format; all other courses will begin the semester online. Beginning Monday, Sept. 14, all courses will return to their original intended mode; a number of courses that are starting online will return to in-person or blended formats.

We know that many of our students prefer to participate in an on-campus experience for fall semester, while others would prefer to participate in their classes fully online. Our fall course offerings will utilize a combination of online, hybrid-flexible, and safe, socially distant, in-person, on-campus classes. Our aim is to ensure the best experience for our students, taking into account space, scheduling, pedagogical, and health concerns for all students and employees. We are optimizing class options to allow our students to tailor their fall semester experience to suit their personal preferences, comfort levels and ability to be on campus.

At this time, the university conservatively estimates that one-third of classes will be taught fully in person, one-third will be taught fully online, and one-third will be taught in a mixed format. For example, a mixed format Tuesday/Thursday class might have half of the class attend in person on Tuesday and the other half participate remotely, with the opposite groupings on Thursday. We are prioritizing in-person class experiences for first year students, experiential courses (such as labs and clinicals), and courses that simply cannot be replicated in an online format.

Details of which courses will be on campus, which will be fully online, and which will be mixed are being finalized and will be communicated in the coming weeks. It is a serious and significant undertaking, so cannot be done quickly. Our goal is to finalize the options and share instructions on how to access your schedule and view the method of instruction the week of Aug. 10. That week, the Center for Student Success will host Advising Week for students to discuss their options and concerns and finalize their fall semester schedule. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Student Success team at studentsuccess@otterbein.edu.

What if I’m not ready to attend class in person? Will students be able to choose to enroll remotely from home?

We understand that, for various reasons, some students may not be ready to return to campus for classes. In most cases, we have the ability to deliver classes remotely. However, there are some cases in which students would need to be on campus, including labs.

If I must isolate or quarantine, how will that affect my class attendance?

Most classes will be set up so that students not able to attend in-person (due to quarantine or isolation) can continue to participate, and if this is not possible for a student, they can work with the Center for Student Success on alternative plans.

Who will teach classes if faculty get sick?

We have processes to continue classes if, for any reason, a faculty member is unable to continue teaching it. We implement it at least once during most semesters. We will use the same process in the event a faculty member becomes ill with COVID-19. Academic Affairs is asking all faculty to utilize BlackBoard so the course materials are available for an adjunct or other faculty member to complete the course efficiently.

How will labs be social distanced?

Otterbein’s Environmental Health and Safety Officer is working with lab instructors to create a safe environment that aligns with current CDC and Ohio Department of Health guidelines.

What will access to the library be like?

The Library is working on a phased-in approach to access. Starting Aug. 17, all patrons will be allowed into building, limited to public health safety capacity standards. Social distancing, facial coverings, workspace sanitizing protocols and traffic flow will be enforced. Hours may be limited. Services may be adjusted to limit contact.

Will my faculty have office hours?

Faculty are being asked to maintain office hours for virtual meetings.

Are nursing students going to have clinicals still? What will that look like if so?

Yes, students will still have clinicals. The clinical groups will be smaller and may not be weekly depending on how many sites remain viable options as we will not go to Intensive Care Units where active COVID patients are cared for.

Rather, face-to-face clinicals when needed will be augmented with virtual modules and additional lab times. We have a new simulation lab with high fidelity manikins that will permit "real-like" experiential learning.

Will orchestra be able to rehearse and perform? If so, will we be able to have a live audience at the concerts?

String Orchestra, conducted by Jim Bates, will be mostly online. There may be a few sectional rehearsals, but for the most part, rehearsals will be online and the performance product will be a virtual ensemble built out of multi-track recordings.

Jim Bates has initiated an exciting project to make a themed departmental project out of our virtual ensemble and blended classroom experiences, that will focus on the Renaissance, Baroque and Early Classical eras. Many of our ensembles and classes will contribute elements of this project, which will result in a recorded departmental showcase, and a portfolio of additional documents.

The Westerville Symphony, at this point, plans to present a concert in Cowan on Sunday, Oct. 18, at 5 p.m. It will be for reduced forces on stage, and with no more than 100 people present. The concert will likely be live-streamed as well.

There was mention of programs being cut at Otterbein from a previous email. Have any decisions been made on cuts to academic programs, and how will it affect students currently enrolled in those programs?

Some cuts have already been made to majors or minors that could be combined with existing, related programs so those students affected can continue in the related program. Only a small number of students has been affected by those cuts. With any program elimination, there is a phasing out process that will ensure students enrolled in that program will be able to complete their studies.

Health and Wellness

What do I do if I feel sick?
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever of 100 degrees or higher, new cough and shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. If you have two or more of these symptoms not associated with a chronic health issue, follow the steps below:

  • Do not attend your classes, leave your room, or come to campus.
  • Contact the COVID Support Line if you have symptoms and/or test positive for COVID-19 by calling 614.823.1586.
  • Leave a message on the office voicemail with your name, student ID number, and phone number for a call back within 24 hours.
  • You will be prompted to answer questions related to symptoms and current living situation.
  • IF YOUR SYMPTOMS ARE SERIOUS AND NEED IMMEDIATE ATTENTION, CALL 9-1-1.
  • A team of Student Affairs staff will contact you with information about next steps for medical assistance, testing, and possible isolation or quarantine.

Will the Student Health Center offer COVID-19 testing to students?
Yes. We are committed to offering on-campus testing to symptomatic students. Arrangements will be made by the Student Affairs team responding to COVID Support Line calls.

If I am unable to wear a facial covering due to medical concerns, will I be able to participate in face-to-face classes?
Students who cannot wear a facial covering due to health reasons should contact Kristy Drobney, kdrobney@otterbein.edu, or Kera Manely, kmanley@otterbein.edu, in the Academic Support Center. They will work with the student to provide accommodations in the classroom if possible.

How will medical care be provided?
After a student calls the COVID Support Line at 614.823.1586, a team of Student Affairs staff will advise the student on next steps for medical assistance, testing, and possible isolation or quarantine.
Student Affairs staff will contact students with the following information:

  • How to be tested on campus. (Testing will be managed by Ohio Health)
  • A waiver that allows Ohio Health to inform the Dean of Students of Covid test results.
  • The importance of going home, if possible.
  • Ohio Health medical follow-up, if needed.
  • Coordination of medical information for students who are tested off campus.
  • Otterbein assistance regarding classes, if needed.
  • Residence Life and Food Service information for residential students.
  • Discussion of a quarantine/isolation plan if needed.
  • Communication with Franklin County Department of Public Health.

If it is determined a student should receive a free, on-campus COVID-19 test, once the swab is collected, the student will be quarantined either in their own room if they have a single with a bathroom, or in another space set aside as quarantine space (single occupancy with bathroom). Test results will be available in 24 – 72 hours. If a student tests positive, an OhioHealth case manager will provide ongoing medical assistance.

Where will that student be quarantined and cared for?
If a student test positive or needs to be quarantined for 14 days because of exposure, we strongly encourage them to go home — for most students that is the most comfortable place. If that is not possible or ideal, spaces have been set aside for students who must quarantine. Spaces include residence hall rooms with access to a provide bathrooms and small houses on campus.

How will a Student Health Center with limited hours help to care for students with COVID-19?
The Student Heath Center is open four days a week starting Aug. 17 for routine appointments. Free, on-campus COVID-19 testing will be provided by contracted professionals. If a student tests positive, an OhioHealth case manager will provide ongoing medical assistance.

How will Otterbein communicate with parents to let them know that someone in their student’s dorm/suite has COVID?
To protect private student information, we do not inform parents of the medical needs of other students. Roommates or residents in close proximity may choose to communicate this information to their parents.

Which company will be doing the testing? How long will it take to receive the results?
The testing company Otterbein is working with is called Eurofins. It currently provides results in 24-48 hours.

If a student feels symptomatic when the Campus Health Center is closed, what should the student do?
All students should contact Student Affairs at 614.823.1586 if they have symptoms and/or test positive for Covid-19. They will be asked to leave a message. Their call will be returned with in 24 hours with information about next steps. Students experiencing severe symptoms (shortness of breath, high fever) should go to an urgent care facility or an emergency room for immediate attention. Detailed information about the University response, resources, and quarantine plan will be provided to all students in mid August.

Do students have to wear masks while doing athletic activities?
No. Student-athletes and students using the athletic facilities will not be required to wear masks while working out or practicing. Students will still be required to maintain social distancing.

Will a mask be required at the Equine Center, in the barn or while riding?
A mask will be required inside all campus buildings and outside when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. Students will not be required to wear a mask while riding a horse or other athletic activities.

Can face shields be worn as a facial covering?
Face shields are meant to be used along with a cloth facial covering. People wearing a face shield will also be required to wear a cloth facial covering as long as it is safe for them to do so. If individuals who have received an exemption from wearing a cloth facial covering would like to wear a face shield, they can do so.

I have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Do I need to quarantine for 14 days?
Yes, the Ohio Department of Health recommends you quarantine for 14 days if you have been within 6 feet for 10-15 minutes or longer to an individual who has tested positive for the virus. If you have been exposed and begin to exhibit symptoms, you should contact your physician and or local health department.

If a resident in a Commons apartment tests positive, will all of the residents of the apartment be able to quarantine in their apartment?
This will depend on the number of residents in the apartment. Each person in isolation due to a positive test needs to have their own bathroom. Students who cannot go home to isolate/quarantine will be offered other housing to do so.

Will students, faculty, and staff be required to wear masks inside and outside of buildings?
Students, faculty, staff and visitors will be required to wear a facial covering in classrooms and other common spaces, and outdoors when social distancing is not possible, unless is it unsafe to do so. Students, faculty, and staff will be provided with two cloth facial coverings. Disposable facial coverings will be made available as needed.

Exemptions
You are exempt from wearing a facial covering if it is unsafe to do so. Individuals may be unable to wear a face covering if:

  1. Facial coverings in the campus setting are prohibited by law or regulation;
  2. Facial coverings are in violation of documented industry standards;
  3. Facial coverings are not advisable for health reasons;
  4. Facial coverings are in violation of the campus’ documented safety policies;
  5. Facial coverings are not required when working alone in an assigned work area;
  6. Facial coverings are not required when the student is alone in a residential setting;
  7. There is a functional (practical) reason not to wear a facial covering on campus. (Campuses must provide written justification, upon request, explaining why a facial covering is not required on campus. At minimum, facial coverings (masks) should be cloth/fabric and cover an individual’s nose, mouth, and chin.)

If you cannot wear a facial covering due to health reasons, students should contact Kristy Drobney, kdrobney@otterbein.edu, or Kera Manely, kmanley@otterbein.edu, in the Academic Support Center. Employees should contact Scott Fitzgerald in Human Resources at 614-823-1130, 614-716-8632 or sfitzgerald@otterbein.edu.

Why do I have to wear a facial covering?
The CDC recommends the widespread use of face coverings due to the possibility of transmission by asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic carriers of COVID-19. The use of face coverings may help prevent a carrier from spreading the virus to others and should be utilized in conjunction with other protective measures. Facial coverings are not a replacement for physical distancing and increased hygiene measures.

Will the Student Health Center offer COVID-19 testing to students?
Yes. We are committed to offering on-campus testing to symptomatic students. We are currently working out the details with Franklin County Public Health and other partners.

Will students be required to have a COVID-19 test before returning to campus?
No. Currently, our partners at Franklin County Public Health and OhioHealth are not recommending testing for people without symptoms of COVID-19.

What if I (or my roommate) test positive for COVID-19? Where do we plan to isolate students who test positive for COVID-19 or those who must quarantine due to exposure?
In the event that a residential student is diagnosed with COVID-19, we have isolation protocols in place for the student, including reserved student housing; tracing and quarantine protocols for those who have had close contact with the student (including roommates and classmates); and cleaning protocols for spaces where the student has been while contagious. While we have set aside space for those who must isolate or quarantine, we encourage those who live in central Ohio to do so at home if that is a more convenient or comfortable option.

Will the flu shot be available to all students?
Yes. Otterbein has flu shots available to all students, faculty and staff each year. That will continue this year.