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

ObieSafe Weekly Special Issue: Revisions to Layered Health Care Strategy, March 25, 2021

March 25, 2021 9:30 AM

Office of Communications

Revisions to Layered Health Care Strategy

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

Summary of Revisions to Layered Health Care Strategy

The state of the COVID-19 pandemic is changing. As the weather warms, positivity rates across Ohio have decreased, and vaccines have become more readily available. The college is reviewing its layered health care strategy to focus on phased-in adjustments that support a safe return to a more “normal” campus life. Completion of the three-semester plan and return to a two-semester academic calendar will depend upon public health issues and final Board consideration.

The college is implementing the revisions below with the expectation that at least 80% of Oberlin students, faculty and staff will be fully vaccinated by July 1, 2021, that there continues to be negligible levels of COVID-19 on campus, and that hospitalizations and deaths in the region, state, and nation continue to decline.

The changes in this document reflect modifications for spring and summer 2021, based on discussion with the Lorain County Public Health Department and analysis of Oberlin data. Potential conversion to a two-semester curriculum with full campus activities is the goal for fall 2021. Additional policy revisions are likely as the health department and Centers for Disease Control update recommendations.

The following policy changes will be implemented.

Policy #1, Isolation & Quarantine


The college will discontinue its use of the Oberlin Hotel to isolate students who are either symptomatic or  have a positive COVID-19 test result.

Change: As of April 5, 2021, isolation for students who test positive for COVID-19, verified by a PCR or antigen test, will move to Fairchild House*. Isolation of patients will move to Keep Cottage for summer 2021. Over the next several weeks, the Hotel at Oberlin will return to public use.


Oberlin currently uses Fairchild to quarantine students who:

  • identified as being in close contact to a positive person (14 days).
  • had approved travel (7 days).
  • traveled internationally over semester break (7 days).

Change: As of April 5, students will quarantine in their residence*. This will include students who are:

  • Designated through contact tracing as having close contact with a positive person (minimum 14 days).
    • A rapid test will be added to the protocol on day 1 of quarantine.
    • PCR testing will be administered on day 5 instead of at the start of quarantine.
  • Symptomatic and have a negative antigen test (quarantine ends if negative PCR result).
    • PCR test will be done with the antigen test to confirm the results.
  • Returning from approved or international travel (minimum 7 days).
    • PCR test will be administered on day 5 or after depending on the test schedule.

Students in quarantine have permission to go to Stevenson to pick up their meals at designated times each day. Specific instructions will be provided at the start of quarantine. Shared restrooms are not a concern per the Lorain County Public Health Department (LCHD). Students should disinfect the restroom before and after use as recommended. There will be daily contact with Student Health and the Share advisor.

*Please note that any student in isolation or quarantine as of April 5 will be moved to either Fairchild House or their residence as noted above. Prior to April 5, students will be required to move to the appropriate isolation or quarantine location.

Policy #2, Vaccines

Change: Temporary Travel

  • As of March 19, 2021, students will be able to travel regionally for the purpose of getting a vaccination only, with the following restrictions:
  • Students must submit a Temporary Travel Approval Form.
  • No overnight stays or other stops, such as for dining. 
  • Students are encouraged to drive unaccompanied, as being with people in a car constitutes the definition of a close contact. 
  • Students must upload their vaccination card to the Student Health portal immediately after dose two for verification of regional vaccination: Process for Submission of COVID-19 Vaccine.

New vaccine policy: 

Faculty, staff and students should upload their vaccine card as soon as possible to the designated student or faculty/staff portal. This documentation will establish the percent of campus herd immunity, indicating a large part of the campus is protected. The information will inform decision-making regarding return to “normal” activities.

Individuals who are 2 weeks post-vaccination (after two doses of Moderna/Pfizer or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson) AND who have uploaded documentation will no longer need to:

  • Participate in a monthly PCR test.
    • Symptomatic individuals should notify Student Health and their physician.
  • Quarantine if exposed to a positive person unless symptomatic.
  • Quarantine and test following approved student travel. 

The ObieSafe Vaccine Updates webpage includes information on the vaccination card upload process under the FAQ “Process for submission of COVID-19 vaccine documentation."

Policy #3, May Monthly COVID-19 Test

  • Students who are remaining for commencement and those who are leaving campus should test between May 3-11.
  • Students who remain on campus from spring to summer term should complete their monthly test May 14-19.
  • Summer term arrival testing and quarantine for students who are new to campus will begin May 20-21.
    • Students who submit proof of vaccination prior to arrival will be exempt from arrival testing and quarantine. 
  • The schedule to make appointments through Oberview will be available soon.

Policy #4, Athletics

Low and intermediate risk athletic competition will be permitted beginning April 1, 2021, and will follow NCAA guidelines. Athletes, coaches and trainers will participate in additional COVID-19 testing to monitor for infection. All participants will be required to have a green symptom survey pass prior to play. Travel will be limited to regional competition with strict COVID-19 protocols in place.

(The Athletics Department will release additional details later today.)

Policy #5, Commencement

Two guests will be allowed for each graduate with two separate ceremonies in Bailey Field. Each ceremony will include approximately 300 graduates and up to 600 guests. This meets the Ohio Health Department’s 30% outdoor capacity guidelines. All guests must have a ticket, wear masks and be seated six feet apart. The ceremony will be live-streamed for other family and friends.

(Graduating students will receive additional details later today.)

Policy #6, Academics & Admissions

The Conservatory and Arts & Sciences plan to continue current policies for the remainder of spring semester. This includes no guests on campus for any spring academic activities.

The six-foot social distance standard will remain.

However, in conjunction with Admissions, academic areas will permit indoor tours of buildings (one family per student guide) with ObieSafe protocols followed. As of July 1, 2021, more than one family will be allowed on a tour of campus buildings and in-person sessions will be held with 20-30 people at a social distance.

Current A&S curriculum plans for summer 2021 include: 50% in-person classes; 37% hybrid and 13% remote, subject to change as vaccine availability and public health conditions permit.

The Conservatory may sponsor limited musical events outdoors. Four classes are planned for small choral ensemble and small singing events. 

Policy #7, Human Resources

All employees will fully return to work on campus by June 15, 2021. 

Employees are encouraged to register their vaccination status with the college. Any unvaccinated student, faculty or staff assumes the personal risk of potential infection. The college will continue to follow the health and safety recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the Lorain County Public Health Department.

Policy #8, Campus Visitors

Buildings will remain closed to visitors for spring 2021. Select exceptions for approved indoor private events, with COVID-19 restrictions, will be made during summer 2021. Buildings will remain closed for the general public in indoor venues. General guests will be permitted outdoors this summer, with masks and social distancing.

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