Campus Bulletin: Current Students, ObieSafe

Indoor gatherings in cold weather: Guidelines to stay safe and prevent spread

October 19, 2020 3:15 PM

Office of the Dean of Students

As Ohio transitions from a crisp fall to a brisk winter, the cold weather is likely to encourage informal social interactions and gatherings inside. Unfortunately, inside settings encourage the spread of COVID-19. This interesting Vox video of COVID-19 spread titled “How coronavirus spreads outdoors vs. indoors” is a helpful resource that cites epidemiologists and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Given this increased risk factor, it is paramount that our community is vigilant in following ObieSafe guidelines when it comes to indoor activities and, in particular, indoor socialization. Below are a few important policy reminders and helpful tips:

Guest Policy

As a reminder, according to the ObieSafe website’s Policy on Parties during COVID-19, “Student visitors to your room in residence halls (who are participating in Oberlin’s COVID-19 testing program) are limited to two per resident (the “You plus 2” rule) if you can maintain 6 feet of physical distancing and wear masks.” Adherence to this policy is paramount to reducing the possible spread of COVID-19.

This policy applies equally in common spaces in quads or village houses or when using a public space like a laundry room. 

Tips for Safe Socialization

While we know it can be hard to potentially leave friends out of activities, there are plenty of ways to be inclusive while following these tips:

  • Try to limit gatherings over meal times. While food has always been connected to social gatherings, eating communally indoors involves taking off your mask. You can always schedule Zoom socials over meal times to connect with friends! 
  • Recommend that your friend group attends an on-campus event! The events calendar has a ton of in-person events that are ObieSafe approved. If getting together prior to the event, don’t meet in your residential room! Make sure to meet up in a larger common area or outdoors.
  • Set boundaries with your friend group. It is easy to fall into stressful situations where you may need to confront a friend regarding the ObieSafe guidelines. However, asking friends not to invite others into your residential room or to take off their mask indoors are important ways to protect your health and promote ObieSafe compliance.
  • Schedule zoom hangouts or get involved in other online communities with your friends. For example, start a Discord group or get into an online game together. 

Here are some of our wonderful FYRE RAs having fun in their room and following all the ObieSafe policies!

Two masked RAs hanging out in a dorm room while following all the ObieSafe policies.
Nihal Kodavarti on the left and Clara Landon on the right.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Oberlin College


Overall, it is important to stay socially connected, but also to prioritize the health of the Oberlin community. We all miss the old ways that we used to connect, and we shouldn’t give up on connecting even though it feels hard to do so right now. We just need to get creative and try new ways of socializing. If any students are capable of coming up with new and creative ways to engage, it’s Obies! We have done a great job this year, and we are confident that we can close the semester on the same positive note. Thank you, Obies, for all your hard work.