COVID-19: March 13, 2023 Update

Posted Mar 13, 2023

The federal government plans to end the national COVID-19 emergency declarations on May 11. Public health officials are transitioning into treating COVID as an endemic illness, which means that people will continue to be infected and become ill, but in relatively stable numbers. Other examples of endemic illnesses are influenza (flu), bronchitis, and the common cold. 

In consultation with our partners at Franklin County Public Health (FCPH), we have decided to end our COVID-specific protocols on May 11, 2023.  

It has now been three years since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States, and as a campus community, we have worked together to keep our campus positive rates far below national trends. We thank you for all you have done! 

What will change? The biggest changes are that we no longer require vaccines for students or employees, and we no longer require students or employees to inform the University when they test positive for COVID.  

What will NOT change? We will continue to be a mask-friendly campus. We will continue to encourage practices that prevent the spread of illnesses, like washing hands frequently, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow, and not sharing drinks with others. We will continue to recommend, but not require, that you stay up to date on your vaccines — including those for COVID and flu. Additionally, we will continue to communicate with and follow the guidance of FCPH. 

Please note, these changes ONLY apply to Otterbein’s campus. If you study or work at an off-campus site, you must follow that site’s vaccination and reporting requirements. These may include nursing clinical sites, student teaching locations, internship host sites, and research labs, among other locations. 

Going forward: 

IF you feel ill: 

  • DO NOT attend classes, work, or come to campus.  
  • Immediately contact your faculty or supervisors to make arrangements for classes, assignments, or work.  
  • Contact your healthcare provider if necessary.  
  • Students can access healthcare services through Mount Carmel Health by scheduling a virtual appointment at or an in-person appointment. When making their first appointment, Otterbein students should call 614-627-2700 and identify themselves as an Otterbein student. More information can be found on the Health and Wellness page
  • NOTE: Free at-home COVID rapid antigen test kits are available for Otterbein students at the Library, at the Student Affairs Office, at the Office of Social Justice & Activism and at the Promise House until supplies run out. Residence Life staff also have tests available in the residence halls. 

IF you test positive for COVID, flu, bronchitis, or another contagious illness: 

  • DO NOT attend classes, work, or come to campus. 
  • Immediately contact your faculty or supervisors to make arrangements for classes, assignments, or work.  

IF you are recovering from an illness: 

  • Maintain social distance from other individuals. 
  • Wear a mask around other individuals until you are recovered. 
  • Wash your hands frequently and practice good hygiene. 

IF you have health and wellness questions: 

  • Students should contact the Office of Student Affairs at
  • Employees should consult with their healthcare provider for health-related questions or contact Human Resources for information about our wellness programs at  

If you are a student living on campus who has questions about isolation space, contact a staff member in Residence Life or you may also reach out to Student Affairs at 614.823.1250 or  

You can get more information about Otterbein’s COVID response, including FAQs at You can find more information about preventing and recovering from contagious illnesses at or

Thank you for your part in keeping the Cardinal community safe and healthy.