COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Check this page for the latest updates on the campus response to COVID-19.

Thank you for your patience as we transition to online course delivery as part of our COVID-19 prevention measures. Otterbein students, their family members, faculty, and staff will find helpful information below. This page is being updated daily as information becomes available.

Please note the following:

  • University Admissions is continuing individual visits for families, but large group visits have been cancelled. We will continue to assess this situation moving forward and will inform prospective and admitted students of the future visit options as that information becomes available.
  • All campus events have been cancelled. This includes community events, such as theatre and dance performances, athletic events, music concerts, and art exhibitions.
  • For information about the status of the campus network, please visit our Network Updates page.

Important Phone Numbers:

Otterbein Switchboard 614-823-1250 (temporary)
Otterbein Police 614-823-1222
Office of Facilities 614-823-1300

March 20 Announcement from Otterbein President John Comerford

Dear Colleagues,

We’ve had a challenging few weeks.  We lost most of our technology and then suddenly became an on-line college.  We’ve focused on getting faculty set to teach in a new format and on students as they have had to move and adjust to the new (temporary) world.

All the while, our amazing staff have kept doing their work, looked for ways to help, and kept spirits high.  Thank you.  Those words don’t fully articulate what I want to say, but they’re the best I have.

There are still many staff reporting to work on campus, but I know many of you have begun to work from home.  Working remotely is new to most of us, and it is based on a culture of trust.  You are professionals, and we trust you to do your best given the circumstances we face.  We intend to be supportive and flexible as we move into this new world of working from home.  We do not expect you to use vacation or sick leave unless you take a vacation day or are ill.  If that’s the case, just follow the standard reporting process. 

Watching our economy grind to a halt is also creating a lot of financial stress.  Know that payroll on the 25th will happen as scheduled.  We are also able meet all our current employee obligations.  That is, all employees will continue to be paid through June 30. If you are full time faculty, staff, or a coach who normally receives pay during the summer, we will continue your pay.  If you are part time faculty, an academic year employee, or a part-time coach, then you will be paid until your normal ending date.  If your position does not fall within one of these categories, please contact your Vice President for clarification. Our hope is that before June 30 we will have started the process of returning to normal operations. 

Please continue to work with supervisors on who can and should work from home.  We will still have some students on campus who cannot go home, so we have to maintain services on campus.  And, of course, we’re temporarily an on-line college so there is plenty to be done in support of our remote student body!

Again, thank you for all you do.  


John Comerford, Ph.D.
Otterbein University

March 17 Announcement 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.-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.

Email Message Archive

Tuesday, March 10 - 6:02 pm

Faculty should expect to hear from their Department Chairs regarding meetings this week to plan for Academic Continuity.

On Wednesday, March 11, the Center for Teaching and Learning will be holding 3 informational sessions providing an overview of remote learning tools and how each can be used in teaching.

The session will be repeated at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm in Riley Auditorium of Battelle Hall.

Subsequent training for using these tools will be announced later.

Due to the network outage, if you know of any Faculty or Staff members that do not have access to email (and thus will not have received this message), please help us in letting them know about this important session so that they can be informed about remote learning tools that are available.

Thank you.

Office of Academic Affairs

Tuesday, March 10 - 11:17 am (FAQ)

Dear Otterbein Faculty, Staff and Students:

We are aware of the concern related to the coronavirus, COVID-19. An Otterbein task force continues to work closely with Franklin County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health regarding Otterbein’s response to the COVID-19. At this time, Franklin County has NOT recommended schools and universities close. Updates will follow shortly.

I am writing to provide an update regarding our network situation along with a list of FAQs. While many of the FAQs are specific to faculty and staff, I hope this information is helpful to all. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.

On Friday afternoon Otterbein learned of a malware concern that has impacted most campus technology and immediately shut our systems down. As of this morning, the campus network, most phones, and other systems remain offline. All computers will remain off while we determine the level of risk and damage. Faculty are still teaching, but mostly without their typical technology. Students are understandably frustrated to be living without the internet.

Business partners at The Point are on a separate network and have been largely spared. We are also fortunate that our main student database (Banner) has not been corrupted but remains offline. Email was not infiltrated, though some are still unable to access their Otterbein accounts.

The Otterbein technology team is evaluating each individual computer to document the level of infection. We are working with a specialized team to help us evaluate this incident and restore our system. We are working with a professional organization to determine if personal information is at risk.

We will continue to provide updates on this page, so you can check it for the latest news.

Thanks for your support as we work through these situations.

John Comerford, Ph.D.

Note: The FAQs originally included in this email have been removed for brevity and integrated with the information provided above.

Sunday, March 8 - 9:50 pm

Welcome back to campus. We hope you had an enjoyable break.

We regret to inform you that the University’s computer network is currently down – impacting our Wi-Fi network, office and residence hall telephones, Blackboard, Banner and the dining hall swipe system (all food services will remain open though). Classes and offices will remain open and our faculty are aware of this situation and will be working to deliver their classroom instruction with this in mind.

Below, please find some key telephone numbers that will be operational during this outage. Additional numbers will be shared shortly.

Otterbein Police (614) 823-1222
Office of Facilities (614) 823-1300

Please be assured that we are diligently working to get our system restored and operational, but it may take some time.

In an abundance of caution, please don’t turn on your university computer and try and connect to our network. Otterbein’s IT staff will be reviewing all faculty/staff computers before they are turned on, and we will be deploying teams on Monday morning to check their computers. In the meantime, you may use your personal device and personal hotspot for your connectivity needs. For peace of mind, we urge you to consider changing any non-Otterbein passwords that you may have used on your university computer.

Otterbein works hard to keep our computer infrastructure secure, and we sincerely regret that this outage has occurred. Please be assured that as we work to restore our computer network, we will also be investigating whether or not any sensitive data may have been exposed as a result of this outage.

Thanks for your patience as we work to address this situation.

John Comerford, President

Friday, March 6 - 9:32 pm

Otterbein is currently working to resolve an issue with our computers and network. Out of an abundance of caution, we encourage members of our campus community who may have used the University network for personal business to change any associated passwords.

Faculty should be prepare to teach without the access to computer and network technology for classes on Monday.  Staff will receive directions from their supervisors on Monday, upon arrival on campus, with any information that may impact their work.

We do appreciate the inconvenience this may cause and are grateful for everyone’s patience and cooperation.