Special Announcement About COVID-19 Response from Otterbein President John Comerford

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dear Otterbein Community,

We all have been experiencing the major disruption that has been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. All of us have needed to implement drastic lifestyle changes, and unfortunately as a University community, we have not been spared from such changes. We recognize that this is a stressful time for many, and through it all, the safety and wellness of our students, faculty and staff remains our utmost priority. We are coordinating closely with local government officials and have an important update to share with you.

While we do not have a reported COVID-19 case on campus, we are implementing the executive orders made by Governor Mike DeWine regarding recommended safety measures and prevention while we continue to plan for the remainder of the academic year.

Based on recommendations from the Governor, we have made the decision to move all our classes to an online delivery format through the end of the semester. The Courtright Memorial Library is also committed to serving the Otterbein community during this time. Library services have shifted online until further notice. Digital resources remain available 24/7.

Additionally, we are requiring all students to vacate University-owned campus housing and all Greek Houses by 5pm on Tuesday, March 24. Please access this link and complete the form to begin Express Checkout. This means that students will not be returning to campus for the rest of the 2020 Spring Semester. As indicated on the form, after clearing your room of your personal belongings, please return your key to the Campus Center lounge for Express Checkout, beginning Wednesday, March 18, and continuing daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through March 24.

If a student who currently resides on campus is unable to return to a permanent residence, please also reference the link above as this will serve as the waiver system for students to stay in approved, alternate housing. This waiver must be submitted by Friday, March 20.

It is our intention to provide students with a credit for room and board not utilized between March 25 and May 1. This will be complicated given varying rates, so please be patient. More information will be forthcoming.

Regarding our commencement ceremonies on May 2 and 3, we are postponing these special events at this time and look forward to planning a celebration, deserving of our graduates and families.

For faculty and staff, telecommuting plans are being developed to support non-essential personnel to work remotely. Staff should continue to work closely with their supervisor and vice president with any questions and for further guidance.

We continue working with healthcare experts and public health authorities to give you the most updated information related to this evolving situation. FAQs have been posted online at our COVID-19 preparedness website. Please continue visiting this site for the most recent updated information.

I understand as a result of these decisions there will be many questions. We continue monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it changes daily. Students, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Student Affairs at 614.823.1250. Faculty and staff should reach out to their supervisor and/or the Office of Human Resources.

I extend my deep gratitude and best wishes to all members of our University community during this unprecedented time.

With Cardinal pride,

John Comerford, Ph.D.

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