February 1, 2020 4:45 PM
Carmen Twillie Ambar, President

Dear Oberlin College community,

I know that many of you are understandably interested in news regarding the novel coronavirus. You’ve already received two messages from the college on this matter; in an effort to keep our campus community informed, we plan to continue communicating with you frequently until the coronavirus is no longer of public concern.

In that spirit, I am writing to tell you about a situation that took place last night. Out of an abundance of caution, a student with a cough contacted the Office of Campus Safety and requested transport to the hospital for evaluation. Medical professionals at Mercy Health Lorain and Lorain Public County Health monitored the student for an appropriate period and determined today that the symptoms were no cause for concern. The student was then cleared to return to their residence.

There are currently no suspected cases of 2019 novel coronavirus on Oberlin’s campus nor in Lorain County.

Everyone can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases, and public health professionals recommend we:

  • wash our hands often with soap and water
  • cover our mouth and nose with our sleeve or a tissue when we sneeze or cough
  • avoid close contact (touching or shaking hands) with people who are sick
  • avoid touching our mouth, nose, and eyes
  • stay home when we are sick

As the health and safety of our campus community is our highest priority, the College is taking additional steps.

We are providing hand sanitizer stations in residential areas and public spaces throughout campus. Personal-use hand sanitizers for students and employees will be made available through student health and other locations on campus. Signs have been posted reminding people to wash their hands and practice good hygiene. The College also is increasing the frequency of services to clean and disinfect high-use areas. Disinfectant wipes are available to clean common-use items such as public computers, desktops, and pianos and other instruments.

The CDC continues to say that the risk for coronavirus in the U.S. is low, and the College is closely watching worldwide developments, monitoring updates daily from the CDC, and is collaborating with local and state public health agencies. One of the biggest challenges in instances of a public health concern is to take prudent steps while not stereotyping individuals. I am confident that our compassion and concern will carry the day.

For more information, please see our coronavirus FAQ page and the archive of previous messages on this topic that have been sent to the community. To submit a question, please send email to Health.Info@oberlin.edu.

As we begin the spring semester, please use this opportunity to take care of each other and protect the health of our Oberlin community.

President Carmen Twillie Ambar