Otterbein Moves to Phased Return Plan for Student Safety

Posted Aug 07, 2020

Complete details on Return to Campus and the Phased Return Plan for students is available online at

Otterbein University is adopting a phased approach for students returning to campus this fall, based on new guidance from public health officials. 

Due to current COVID-19 trends, Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) has recommended a phased approach as the safest way for residential students to return to campus. Following this guidance, Otterbein officials have altered plans for the start of the semester.  

“We understand this is a change for many of our students, but we share a common goal with Franklin County Public Health — keeping our campus community as safe as possible,” said President John Comerford. “The most important thing I want our students to know is this: We are coming back to campus. But we’re going to spread out their arrival times in smaller, defined groups to make sure we have as safe a return to campus as possible.” 

“Otterbein University has worked closely with Franklin County Public Health developing their Return to Campus plan. We support the plan and appreciate their ongoing partnership in alignment with our overall community response,” said Franklin County Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola. 

While students will return to campus in four phases, ALL classes still begin the week of Aug. 24. 

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.  

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 appreciate everything our students have been willing to do for the good of our entire community,” Comerford added. “Our students are remarkable individuals in their integrity, character, compassion, and care, and I’m looking forward to seeing each one them on campus this fall.”  

More details are available online at  

If you have questions or concerns, please refer to the Return to Campus FAQs or contact the COVID Support Team at