Campus Bulletin: Current Students, Faculty and Staff, Parents, ObieSafe

ObieSafe Weekly: February 23, 2021

February 23, 2021 4:15 PM

Office of Communications

Contact tracing requires open and honest communication; reminders about keeping our community safe

Obie Safe Weekly: Caring for Our Community. (The squirrel mascot is wearing a mask.)

Coronavirus Testing Results
February 16–22
New Tests 502
New Positives 0
% Positive 0.00%
The data reported here reflect Oberlin’s testing protocol only. Cumulative totals and information on testing procedures are available at the ObieSafe website.


Transcription follows.
Created for ObieSafe by Boston-based artist Beth Wolfensberger Singer P’19.

Partial doesn't quite cut it.

Wearing a mask and maintaining six feet of distance is the best formula for keeping your fellow Obies safe (heart symbol). Items shown:

  • A pair of audio headphones with one side missing.
  • A bike helmet with the front sliced off.
  • A flip flop missing part of the sole.
  • A surgical glove with holes cut in the fingers.
  • A baseball cap with part of the visor missing.
  • An oven mitt with the tip cut off.
  • Sunglasses with one lens missing.

Contact tracing slows the spread—it’s up to you to be accessible and honest

Contact tracing slows the spread of COVID-19. Answer the call. (with CDC logo).

Contact tracing is a public health process and part of Oberlin's layered strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. An effective contact tracing program is pivotal in keeping the campus open for the 2020-21 academic year. Oberlin has a team of contact tracers who call individuals who test positive for COVID-19. The interview focuses on identifying close contacts from the college community who may be at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 due to exposure to the positive person.

A close contact is defined as less than 6 feet of distance for equal to or more than 15 minutes in a 24-hour period. The contact must occur during the infectious period, which is two days prior to symptom onset or, if the positive person is asymptomatic, two days prior to the test date. Subsequently, contact tracers call the close contacts, obtaining key information. The contact tracing coordinator collaborates with the Lorain County Public Health Department regarding quarantine decisions.

Quarantine lasts for 14 days, with day 1 of quarantine beginning the day after the last contact with the person who tested positive. People who reside in a shared living space, such as an apartment or house, are routinely quarantined per health department guidelines as there is a greater risk of infection.

Employees quarantine at home, while students quarantine in specially designated residential spaces. Honesty is very important when speaking with a contact tracer. The best way for the campus community to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to decrease exposure through isolation and quarantine. When someone tests positive, they should promptly answer phone calls from unknown numbers as it is likely a contact tracer. It is also helpful if the person notifies anyone they have had close contact with that they have tested positive and should expect a phone call from a contact tracer, which may be an unknown number.

Communicating your COVID-19 status

When an individual needs to isolate due to a COVID-19 infection or quarantine due to exposure to someone who has tested positive, it can take time to process that information. However, it is very important that students alert their professors or other important people that they are not able to attend in-person classes or activities. Students particularly need to consider the impact of their absence on the ability of other students to participate in academic activities. This demonstrates that caring is the essence of the Oberlin community.

While in quarantine and isolation, no outside food or deliveries are allowed

This is a reminder that neither outside food nor deliveries are permitted while in quarantine or in isolation. For these students, and for the safety of others, it is important that these guidelines are followed. While we are fully aware that this can be a challenging time for those affected in this manner, student life advisors will contact those in both quarantine and isolation daily to check on their wellbeing. Counseling center professionals are also available at 440-775-8470. For special meal needs or requests, contact our dining partners with AVI Fresh at their dedicated textline: 440-577-5304.

Do your part to help sanitize shared spaces

A dispenser of wipes in a corridor. Sign reads 'Disinfecting Station'.
Photo credit: Yvonne Gay

In addition to masking, maintaining a physical distance of at least 6 feet, washing hands, and checking symptoms each day, it is also important that everyone sanitizes shared spaces and furniture, such as desks in classrooms. Wipes, sanitizing spray, and paper towels are abundant across campus for this purpose. If you find a space that needs additional supplies, please email with your request.

Questions we've been asked

Q. Can you address the longtime request for individual insurance bills/receipts that we could submit to our own insurance for the COVID tests administered?

A. For those students with insurance coverage for our asymptomatic testing protocol, students may request a statement of service to support their insurance claims. Student requests for a statement of service should be forwarded to Karen Purvis, Account Manager with Harness Health, at It is important that these requests come from the student and include the student's T#. Read more in the Cost & Insurance section of the Spring 2021 FAQ.

COVID epidemiology explained: a potential 2021 shift

It’s not about the amount of resources federal health agencies receive, but how they’re used. The federal government has a history of efforts to protect public health.

Get in touch with the ObieSafe team

Have something to share in a future issue of ObieSafe Weekly? Email with story ideas or information you’d like to have considered for publication.

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