ObieSafe Update: March 25, 2022
March 25, 2022 11:30 AM
The ObieSafe Team
Updates to Campus COVID-19 Protocols
This time of year the lengthening days, warming temperatures, and emerging flowers offer the encouragements of spring. We also expect the improving weather, increased time outside, and promising vaccination rates on campus indicate an ongoing decline of COVID-19.
Earlier this month, Oberlin embarked on a pilot program involving the gradual relaxation of ObieSafe restrictions. This strategy reflected improved data, guidance from health officials, and a cautious yet optimistic approach that allowed us to pursue our academic mission, athletic competition, and community life. Our campus has continued to enjoy low numbers of cases, regardless of the reopening of our dining halls.
With the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) relaxing its masking guidelines and strong booster rates among our students (82%), faculty (97%), and staff (94%), the campus can with confidence continue the pilot program and a gradual relaxation of ObieSafe protocols. At any point in this process, if COVID-19 begins to rise significantly on campus, these steps may be re-evaluated.
Beginning Monday, March 28, masks will be optional in all athletics and recreational facilities. The Philips Recreation Center and Shanks Health and Wellness Center will welcome family and community members back to that facility. Asymptomatic student athletes and athletics staff will no longer need to test weekly.
Indoor mask policies will be unchanged for all other areas of campus. Masks will still be required within buildings and residence halls when with others.
During spring break, symptomatic testing will continue at Hales Gym during published hours. Due to the low number of students remaining on campus, asymptomatic testing will not be offered April 4 through April 8. However, during break, students, faculty, and staff may still pick up a home test kit at the Campus Safety Office.
Asymptomatic testing will resume Saturday, April 9, during currently published hours. Any student who traveled during the break and wants to get a PCR test will be able to do so on a walk in basis during published hours. Arrival testing will not be required. The CDC recommendation is to test 5 days after potential exposure should you feel you have been exposed.
The college will monitor the general health of the campus community and the surrounding area for 10 days following spring break.
If case numbers remain low, then beginning Thursday, April 21, masks will be optional for most campus buildings, including residence halls, libraries, Wilder Hall, and classrooms.
Also on April 21, restrictions on indoor campus events would be lifted, allowing for rooms to be used to 100% capacity.
We ask that you continue to keep your mask handy. Please appreciate that this change could be jarring for some who may feel the need to continue to wear a mask. Obies are expected to show support and acceptance of those who choose to wear a mask and respect requests to put on a mask when near others.
Testing will continue at Hales Gym for the remainder of the spring term, regardless of COVID-19 rates. Symptomatic testing will continue 7 days a week during the published hours until June 3. Beginning April 21, asymptomatic testing will be conducted Mondays through Fridays during published hours until the same date.
COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters will continue to be required of all faculty, staff, students, and visitors who spend time indoors on campus.
We are optimistic that a gradual relaxation of ObieSafe protocols will allow our campus to complete the spring semester with continued low rates of COVID-19. This does not mean we can be reckless. Get tested if you are symptomatic. Continue to wash your hands often. Be understanding of those who continue to follow a more stringent protocol.
The college will continue to report key data points at the ObieSafe website.
We are emerging together into spring. Let’s continue our good work of coping with COVID-19 together, as only Obies can.