July 15, 2020 1:00 PM
Dean of Students, Dean of the Conservatory, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Dear Oberlin Student,

We hope you and your family are well, even as we all address the continued challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are writing with information to help you make decisions about your enrollment plans for the 2020-21 academic year. Please review this entire memo carefully.

An Oberlin education has never been more important to help you understand the historic challenges we face and make an impact on the world around you. With your commitment and engagement, we will come together this year as a community of students, scholars, and artists in a way that is both responsible and inspiring.

In this email you will find:

  • Information about the changes to campus life required by the COVID-19 pandemic. For reasons of public health, campus life will need to be different, although we are confident that students will have a dynamic and educationally rich in-residence experience. Students for whom it is appropriate will also have the opportunity to study remotely or take a leave or gap semester/year if such options better fit their individual circumstances.

  • All students will be required to review and sign the community agreement that details your obligations during the 2020-21 academic year. Making the campus as safe as possible depends on making sure our actions express our collective commitment to each other’s well-being. The community agreement reflects your commitment to participate fully in a caring community culture that will help keep us all safe and healthy.

  • Information about the academic program, including the revised Schedule of Classes for both the College of Arts & Sciences and the Conservatory of Music. The schedule will show you what courses will be offered in each semester and whether they are expected to use in-person, remote, or hybrid modes of instruction. Here you can view an up-to-date list of fall semester Arts & Sciences courses that are remote-accessible.  

  • Information about a survey regarding your enrollment plans for the 2020-21 school year, including whether you wish to attend Oberlin on campus or remotely, or you wish to take a leave or a gap semester/year. To assist us in completing our preparations for the start of the academic year, we ask you to answer a series of questions by July 20.

Campus Life and the Community Agreement

Action needed: review and sign the Community Agreement and review the ObieSafe website.

We are delighted to welcome you back to campus during the 2020-21 academic year. In order to ensure that you, as well as the entire local community, remain as safe as possible, we have made a number of changes to campus life that students will be required to observe.

In an immediate and practical way, this pandemic highlights the individual responsibility each of us must take to keep one another safe and help one another flourish. We will succeed if each of us is serious in making this commitment and living it out each day, in a true spirit of community. Although we recognize that some of the new steps we take may be inconvenient and even frustrating at times, it is critical that all members of our campus community embrace the responsibility to protect our shared health. In order to set out on the right foot, all members of the Oberlin community will proactively pledge to do their part.

To help you understand these changes, we would like to introduce you to ObieSafe, our name for the strategies we’ll adopt together to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus to the greatest extent possible. As you will see at the ObieSafe website, which we encourage you to visit regularly for updates, ObieSafe is our way of “caring for our community.”  This value is deeply embedded in Oberlin’s traditional commitment to an inclusive, supportive learning environment, and we ask you to embrace it fully and enthusiastically.  When you visit the website, you will find resources that include:

  • The community agreement you’ll be asked to review and sign, along with a summary of required actions to reduce transmission of COVID-19 on campus and related student conduct policy

  • Information about housing, dining, student activities, and campus social life

  • Information about steps the College will take to test students, faculty, and staff and safely care for our community, including the provision of appropriate isolation for those who test positive

While the College will take every step that the state of Ohio identifies as a best practice for the reopening of higher education, it will not be possible to eliminate entirely the risk of COVID-19 transmission on or off campus. Our goal is to provide compassionate support to those who contract COVID-19 and prevent the spread of the virus to the greatest extent possible so that we can return to campus in pursuit of our academic and artistic mission. You will need to consider the risks and what is required of you to live in this community and make the decision that is best for you. 

Please review and sign the Community Agreement and review the ObieSafe website.

Academic Information and Enrollment Survey

Action needed: review the schedule of classes and complete the enrollment survey.

You will shortly receive a survey about your enrollment plans. Please complete this survey by July 20 to assist us in planning for the 2020-21 academic year. We appreciate your willingness to share this information now, which will help us support you effectively and enable us to determine what appeals it may be possible to grant while still accomplishing physical distancing as required by College policy and state of Ohio guidance. We encourage you to consult the schedule of classes for the 2020-21 academic year as you make decisions. If you are considering remote attendance, please also see the up-to-date list of fall semester Arts & Sciences courses that are remote-accessible.

Your answers are important to us, and we will take action based on what you report in this survey. For example, if you have been assigned to be on campus during the fall semester but indicate instead that you do not intend to be on campus, then we will release your housing spot to someone who is awaiting assignment for the fall. Very late changes may impact any refund that you request; be sure to review College policy carefully in regard to both tuition and housing and dining. If you have questions about how to complete the survey, please email Oberlin College Academic Year Planning at 2020-2021planning@oberlin.edu.

Conclusion

Please reach out with your questions, ideas, and concerns – we look forward to your return to Oberlin and are here to help you in every way we can. Please also remember you can consult the College's extensive FAQ on reopening, which includes almost every question that was posed during our reopening webinars. In addition to calling or contacting specific offices, you may also write to Oberlin College Academic Year Planning at 2020-2021planning@oberlin.edu, and your message will be forwarded to the appropriate office. Conservatory and Double-Degree students should contact the Conservatory Dean’s Office at condeans@oberlin.edu.

We look forward to a wonderful year ahead, in which the indomitable Obie spirit fuels us to tackle the challenge of this global pandemic. It’s what Oberlin does – we face the challenges of each historical moment with a deep commitment to our educational mission and our graduates’ continuing contributions to the world. Each of us has a part in upholding this legacy, and we thank you for your part in it.

Sincerely,

Meredith Raimondo
Dean of Students

Bill Quillen
Dean of the Conservatory

David Kamitsuka
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences