A Slow Relaxation of COVID Protocols: Hybrid Dining Begins March 7
Throughout the pandemic, Oberlin has made policy decisions based on the data available, as well as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local public health professionals
In recent days the CDC has begun to relax its COVID recommendations in an acknowledgement that we must begin to see COVID as an ongoing part of life. These recommendations include relaxing masking protocols and evaluating COVID severity based on hospitalizations in addition to case counts
At the same time, we at Oberlin still have the outbreak that occurred on campus in December fresh in our minds. While no students ended up hospitalized, the spike in cases was of concern to many on our campus, and there is still a strong and understandable desire for Oberlin to focus on limiting the spread of COVID
Given this context, the best path forward is a slow relaxation of ObieSafe protocols, with the continued goal of supporting Oberlin’s academic mission, maintaining the business of the college and enabling the type of athletics and campus community life we all enjoy.
With this in mind, we will take the following steps:
- Move to a hybrid dining model starting on Monday, March 7. Dine-in will be available at all locations. There will be physical distancing between tables and the number of students permitted into each location may be limited. Grab and go options will continue to be offered.
- Expand catering and allow groups (including registered student organizations) to have a meal together indoors as long as 6 ft of distance is maintained between each person and the room is large enough to accommodate such distance.
- Maintain the mask requirement indoors.
- Follow up with students, faculty and staff who have not yet completed the booster requirement or submitted a request for exemption or extension; and with those who have not yet completed the mandatory arrival testing for spring.
- Consult with local health care experts and monitor the state of COVID. Currently, Lorain County and the surrounding region are in a low risk category for COVID.
COVID can break out in congregate settings such as Oberlin’s campus without warning. We will continue to monitor the number of positive cases on campus and pivot further if our situation warrants.
Meet the Newest Member of the ObieSafe Team
Terri Buzzell, MHA, MSN, RN has joined the Oberlin ObieSafe team as a medical consultant. Buzzell is the Director of Nursing Operations at Harness Health Partners. She brings extensive leadership and clinical experience, most notably as the Director of Health Services for a large university in southwestern Ohio.
In her role with Harness Health Partners, Buzzell successfully leads operations of clinical and administrative teams serving a variety of clients across the Bon Secours Mercy Health footprint. She has been recognized by the American College of Healthcare Executives, Premier Health Nursing Excellence, Miami University Athletics, and Sigma Theta Tau International for her clinical and leadership excellence.
When asked about her new role, Buzzell said, “I am excited about joining the ObieSafe team. I am a firm believer that health and wellness are vital for successful academics. I look forward to serving Oberlin College by helping to keep the Oberlin community safe and healthy.”
Just Ask Terri
Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: ASK TERRI.
This week, we asked Terri about what testing Oberlin offers at Hales.
How do I know which test I need to get?
On campus, we are providing both a rapid antigen test and the PCR test. Both the rapid antigen and PCR tests are designed to detect active COVID-19 infections. Both tests are appropriate for individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who have been in close contact with someone who has been infected.
To clarify, close contact is defined as spending more than 15 minutes in close proximity (within 6 feet) to a confirmed COVID-positive individual. It’s important to remember it is best to receive testing 2-5 days after you believe you have been exposed or have come down with symptoms. For those who have symptoms, per the CDC these symptoms include:
- Body aches
- Loss of smell and/or taste
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion or running nose
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Skin rashes
More Hours for Symptomatic Testing
To be sure that Obies have access, Oberlin has expanded the hours for symptomatic testing at Hales. Remember, you need to text (440) 308-6193 to arrange a time to test.
COVID-19 Booster Requirement
The deadline for faculty, staff, and students to submit a valid COVID-19 booster vaccination or apply for an exemption was February 18. All students who did not complete this requirement received follow-up via email last week. To this point, approximately only 72% of students have submitted proof of a booster vaccine (non-inclusive of approved exemptions or extensions). The booster is a requirement which means campus should have a much higher rate.
If you have still not completed these steps, please be sure to upload your vaccine card immediately by using the Student Health Portal. Students who are looking to request an extension (i.e. students who do not yet qualify for the booster vaccine) or an exemption, please complete this form.
If you have still not completed these steps or have any questions, please contact Deputy Human Resources Officer Maggie Nieves at email@example.com.
Get in touch with the ObieSafe team
Have something to share in a future issue of ObieSafe Weekly? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with story ideas or information you’d like to have considered for publication.