New COVID-19 Testing Requirements for 2021 Spring Semester

Posted Jan 07, 2021

Cardinal Nation,

It’s a new year and your Otterbein community can’t wait to welcome you back for spring semester! I hope the break gave you time to relax, reconnect, and celebrate in ways that were meaningful and safe for you and your loved ones. We have missed you and are busy preparing for your return to campus.

I’m writing with an important update regarding Otterbein COVD-19 testing protocol that will help us “Protect the Nest” during the 2021 Spring Semester. Thanks to smart planning, responsible choices, and a sincere commitment to take care of one another, we had a strong fall semester. I am confident we will experience more of the same this semester, but it will require your help.

SPRING 2021 COVID-19 Testing Requirements 

For the health and wellness of our entire campus community, we are requiring COVID-19 testing for all students who plan to be on campus for any purpose this semester — whether that is to attend class, to use campus facilities, to work on campus, or to participate in any student activities. The options for meeting or being exempted from testing requirements are detailed below.

We recognize this is different than what we asked of you during fall semester, but as you know, we are in a different stage of the prevalence of COVID-19. Just as we decided pre-emptively to delay the start of spring semester for preventative measures, this required testing is a new, additional step to our overall testing protocol that will help us re-establish the safety of our Otterbein bubble.

After our initial round of testing the first week of the semester, Otterbein’s protocol for symptomatic and asymptomatic testing will continue throughout the spring with weekly updates available on the 2021 Spring Semester Dashboard. Testing for students experiencing symptoms or those who are referred for testing by the COVID-19 Support Team will continue to be offered. As per Franklin County Public Health recommendations, random, asymptomatic testing of three percent of our student population each week will also continue. Additionally, Otterbein student athletes will be tested according to current NCAA guidelines. These combined measures help us closely monitor the overall health of our campus community.

COVID-19 Testing Options to Start the 2021 Spring Semester

You have two options for how to meet the test requirements for your return to campus: 

  • You can get tested before returning to campus at a provider of your choosing. If you utilize this option, your test must be conducted between Jan. 13-17, and your test results must be emailed by Jan. 17 to along with your name and student ID number. Both PCR and rapid test results will be accepted. If you plan to fly to return to campus, we encourage you to take advantage of the Jan. 18 on-campus testing event.
  • If you are unable to secure testing prior to returning to campus, a FREE testing event in partnership with the Ohio National Guard will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 18, in the Clements Recreation Center. After many other successful events at other universities throughout the state, we are confident the collaboration with the Ohio National Guard will ensure students move through testing quickly and safely. With your pre-scheduled appointment, we expect you will be able to complete the testing process within 15 to 30 minutes. You must pre-register for the event. A link to make your preferred appointment will be sent in a separate Otterbein email. Otterbein will provide your COVID-19 test at no cost if you’re uninsured or your insurance won’t cover the test costs.
    • Please note: The on-campus COVID-19 test results will take a few days, so prior to and after testing:
      • Undergraduate students should avoid contact with others and limit leaving your residence hall to in-person classes, carry-out meals, work, and emergencies until you receive a negative test result.
      • Graduate students are also asked to limit contact with others beyond your work and family responsibilities. We recognize many graduate students are already adhering to strict preventative safety measures at their workplaces.
    • If you receive a positive test result, Otterbein’s COVID-19 Support Team will be in immediate contact to assist you with next steps.
    • It’s equally important to note that a few qualifying factors will enable you to forgo this new protocol. You will NOT need a COVID test if:
      • You tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days (since Oct. 20, 2020). Please email proof of your positive test result to by Jan. 15, 2021.
      • You have received both doses of your COVID-19 vaccine. Please email proof of your vaccine to by Jan. 15, 2021
      • You will not be on campus for any reason during the 2021 spring semester. This means you will not have any in-person classes, work, or involvement in on-campus activities.

Your health and safety remain our main priority. It’s so important that we do all we can to ensure your well-being that those who fail to meet these COVID-19 testing requirements by January 18, 2021, will be suspended for the spring 2021 semester. 

Cardinals have a long history of doing the right thing — and we believe this testing protocol will help us all rejoin our community with confidence and shared responsibility. While the Cardinal Community Responsibilities remind us that behaviors like wearing a facial covering and frequent hand washing can help prevent the transmission of the virus, testing helps us understand our health as we make choices that could affect the lives of friends, colleagues, and those who are more vulnerable to this virus. Caring about the common good as much as our own well-being is an Otterbein value.

In the coming days, we ask that you check your Otterbein email daily for the latest news and guidelines as you prepare to return to campus. There will be information from Residence Life, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and the Office of University Events detailing everything from academic tips to Cardy Pop-Up events. Remember, too, that is your one-stop source for all this information. Be sure to check there often, too.

If you have questions and concerns, know that Otterbein is here to help. You can reach out to the Otterbein COVID-19 Support Team at

We look forward to seeing you soon!


John Comerford, Ph.D.