The Office of Campus Safety remained the 24-hour office on campus when students had to leave in March 2020, and later when several staff members began working remotely. The office has implemented many changes and taken on new tasks while maintaining regular duties.
In this Q&A, Director of Campus Safety Mike Martinsen and Assistant Director of Campus Safety Clif Barnes explain how their department has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q. In what ways has Campus Safety adapted for the pandemic and campus reopening? What things are staff doing differently?
Our officers and staff strive to adhere to the ObieSafe guidelines to set an example to our campus community.
Like other offices on campus, we have added plastic shields to our high-contact office personnel. We’ve also reduced occupancy for our lobby and directional foot traffic for students and visitors entering the office spaces.
We had to change our medical transportation protocol regarding bringing students to Mercy Health-Allen Hospital and other area hospitals.
We have plexiglas barriers in two of our Campus Safety vehicles to reduce airborne contact with people.
Unfortunately, we had to discontinue RideLine during the pandemic to follow ObieSafe guidelines safely.
We set up substations last spring through the summer of 2020 and again in 2021. These were to ensure the separation of our Campus Safety Officers by shifts. All of our Campus Safety officers have returned to our office space. We have also tried to minimize the interactions between our Campus Safety officers and our museum security officers. Our officers continue to minimize their interactions with other officers during their shifts. We sanitize our vehicles and office spaces between shifts and as otherwise necessary.
Q. How are you meeting the needs of students in the pandemic?
We have taken on the responsibility of taking students to quarantine at Fairchild or isolation at the Hotel at Oberlin. We document the transportations to share with only essential college employees. We contact our ResEd partners to make sure our students are supported while in quarantine or isolation.
We are temporarily using an open-air club car to take students to Fairchild or the Hotel.
Our Campus Safety officers and supervisors bring needed or otherwise forgotten items to our students in quarantine, such as meals, instruments, pillows, etc.
We also assist in the screening of parents and visitors to our campus during move-ins and departures.
Q. What are some behind-the-scenes responsibilities that some people on campus don’t see or realize?
We [Mike Martinsen and Clif Barnes] assist with transporting our students in and out of quarantine and isolations when our Campus Safety Supervisors are unavailable.
We serve on-campus leadership teams specific to COVID-19 response, including planning and testing.
We act as liaisons with the Lorain County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (LCEMA/HS) and the Ohio Public Private Partnership (OP 3), which works with the State Office of Emergency Management.
At the beginning of the pandemic, when personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitizing cleaners were in short supply, we obtained some supplies from private donations and county and local resources.
We helped coordinate move-in and move-out activities and worked with other ResEd partners to ensure the operation’s success.
Q. What have been some successes and/or challenges for Campus Safety in the pandemic?
As essential employees, we have done our best to navigate the pandemic. By following the ObieSafe guidelines, our department only had two officers test positive for COVID-19, and there was no internal spread of the virus.