March 11, 2020 8:30 PM
Meredith Raimondo, Dean of Students

Dear Students,

Following yesterday’s campus communication about COVID-19 and the possibility of remote learning, here is specific information about actions you will need to take and resources that will be available to you in the coming weeks.  Based on new state information regarding the community spread of COVID-19 in Ohio, all students should depart campus for Spring Recess by noon Saturday, March 21.  Only students who petition to stay on campus due to exceptional circumstances and receive approval will be allowed to remain in College or OSCA housing.

Our highest priority is the community’s health and safety.  These steps represent an important strategy to achieve this goal; please take good care of yourselves, each other, and your loved ones.  The College is committed to the continuation of the academic program and your success as students.  The faculty is prepared to teach classes remotely if it becomes necessary.  Remote education adds flexibility to our academic program and helps protect us all from COVID-19.  This is an unprecedented situation in the life of most people on campus.  Let’s support each other with patience, with clear reliance on the public health guidance, and by encouraging our community to keep achieving in all its intellect, creativity, and compassion.  Please read the following suggestions carefully.  If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions, please send an email to Health.Info@oberlin.edu or call the Dean of Students office at 440-775-8462.

Sincerely,

Meredith Raimondo
Vice President and Dean of Students


Key Dates

March 14:  Deadline to complete the Oberlin College Spring Recess Registry and Petition (REQUIRED)

March 18:  Last day of classes

March 19 and 20:  Classes cancelled; students to complete boxing personal belongs in preparation to depart campus

March 21: All students should depart for Spring Recess by noon

March 25:  Last date for student notification regarding return to campus

March 30:  Classes resume, either through remote learning or on campus

Required Action

1. All students must complete the required Spring Recess Campus Registry and Petition by March 14, which will allow us to understand where you plan to spend Spring Recess and what technology needs you may have if the College moves to remote education for a period.  This link also allows you to petition to remain in campus housing if extraordinary circumstances mean you cannot return home or to another off-campus location for Spring Recess.  This information will also assist the College in communicating with you during this period of rapid change and ensure everyone who remains on campus is appropriately supported.  If you have any questions about the registry, please send an email to Health.Info@oberlin.edu.

Academic Concerns

2. Please plan to complete all academic work that is scheduled to be submitted before Spring Recess. If you are unclear on the requirements for a particular course, please consult the professor for directions on what work is due and how to complete it.  Please stay home from class if you are sick; otherwise, please attend class as scheduled through March 18.  Professors have been advised to be flexible with attendance policies to enable students to observe best practices in disease prevention by not attending when ill. Please continue to wash your hands and practice good respiratory etiquette by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or sleeve.

3. As you may be aware, Student Senate submitted a request for flexibility around mid-semester academic deadlines due to the stresses created by COVID-19 and potential changes to the semester.  This document has been shared with faculty leadership for consideration.  We know this is a stressful time and want everyone to be successful in your academic and creative work.  Please consult with your individual faculty members to discuss specific concerns with any upcoming deadlines.  It can also be very helpful at a time of disruption to keep a regular schedule as much as possible, and we encourage you to prioritize your academic work as a way to create additional stability.  Below you will find support resources that may assist you if you are finding it challenging to focus.

4. You will receive additional information by March 25 about whether the semester will transition to an online format. If you have specific questions about your individual academic situation, you may seek assistance from the Academic Advising Resource Center (440-775-8828 or aarc@oberlin.edu).

5. The Office of Study Away will continue to support students as they explore summer and fall programs in other parts of the US and around the world. Please contact the Office of Study Away (440-775-6499 or study.away@oberlin.edu) with any additional questions.

Spring Recess, Housing, and Dining

6. Although we do not yet know if the College will transition to remote learning for a period of time, the information provided by the state today means that all students will be required to depart campus for Spring Recess by noon on March 21. The only exceptions to this requirement will be individuals who successfully petition to remain in campus housing due to extraordinary circumstances.

7. If there are exceptional circumstances that would make it difficult for you to depart campus for Spring Recess, or to return to your permanent home this spring if the College announces a transition to remote education, you may petition to remain in Res Ed or OSCA housing by completing the Spring Recess Campus Registry by March 14. Students who receive permission to remain in campus housing will be expected to remain in Ohio for the duration of this period and will have access to campus dining.  If it is determined that you may stay on campus, Campus Dining will be in operation with an adapted program to minimize risk of disease transmission.  If you do not have a meal plan, you are welcome to purchase meals.  Extraordinary circumstances may include but are not limited to international travel restrictions, significant safety issues, or lack of access to other housing.  Evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in your home area will generally not be considered an extraordinary circumstance.

8. Students who live off-campus and plan to stay in their current housing should plan to remain off-campus for the duration of Spring Recess. Student access to campus facilities including the library, athletic facilities, and practice spaces (other than approved dining and housing access) will be prohibited through March 29.

9. The College will notify students as to whether we will transition to remote education after Spring Break no later than March 25.  We know that this date leaves you with some uncertainty about how to plan for the rest of the semester, but we cannot be more specific at this time given the rapidly changing situation. Please continue to monitor your college email.

10. As you depart campus for Spring Recess, please remember to take essential items with you. Essential items include any academic materials you may need to continue your education (books, papers, electronic documents, notebooks, and technology including laptops, tablets, and related chargers) and any personal items you may need if you are unable to return to campus for some time (medication, valuables, passports and state identification, credit cards, and other important items).  The goal is to be prepared in case you are unable to return to your campus residence for an extended period. Do not leave any animals in your campus residences to ensure their proper care; this is particularly important in the event that you are unable to return to retrieve them.

11. Please also remember to pack your personal belongings into boxes before you leave if you reside in campus housing or OSCA. The college will provide packing boxes which you may leave inside your campus housing until you return. The college will clean residential spaces prior to students’ return to campus. Large items including furniture, televisions, and refrigerators do not need to be boxed.  More information on how to get the boxes will be coming shortly; please continue to check your email regularly. Please contact Residential Education (ResEd@Oberlin.edu or 440-775-8472) with questions related to housing and departure for spring break.

Student Employment

12. Many students have questions about their employment on campus. As decisions are made about the rest of the semester, expect to hear from your campus employer about the status of your position.  If the campus moves to remote education, jobs that can be completed at a distance will likely continue.  Employment that requires you to be present on campus will end if the College moves to remote education.  Federal law includes a provision allowing an institution to make federal work-study payments under certain limited circumstances to disaster-affected students who are unable to continue working. Oberlin will be able to continue paying student’s federal work-study wages while students are off campus or the job is discontinued because of steps taken to slow the spread of COVID-19.  If you have questions about your campus employment and your financial aid package, please contact the Office of Financial Aid (440-775-8142 or financial.aid@oberlin.edu). Other questions about student employment may be sent to Health.Info@oberlin.edu.

13. All practices and competitions for Oberlin Athletics are suspended during Spring Recess, beginning March 20. An update on any events scheduled after Spring Recess will be provided by March 25.

14. At this time, co-curricular activities that involve gatherings of less than 50 students, faculty, and staff may continue through March 18. Events with public audiences may continue if there is no live audience presence and/or they are livestreamed.

Support Resources

15. Support resources will continue to be available during this time; we understand that this may be a stressful time for you. Student Help and Resource Exchange (SHARE) advisors will be available Monday to Friday for phone or video meetings; you can call 440-775-8462, schedule an appointment online, or submit a SHARE form to request support for yourself or a friend.  The Center for Student Success (Student Academic Success Programs, Disability Resources, and Health Promotion for Students) will also be available at 440-775-8464 if you need assistance related to academic support. The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (440-775-8103 or orsl@oberlin.edu) is also a good source of personal support.

16. Student Health (440-775-8180) and the Counseling Center (440-775-8470) will be available for informational telephone consultation. Please be aware that state law prohibits care to be administered to individuals who are out of state. If you need help accessing health care in your area, please call for assistance in identifying appropriate resources. You may also access a professional counselor after hours by calling the Counseling Center and selecting option 2.

17. International students may have particular concerns about upcoming plans and housing and academic options. Please complete the petition to stay on campus if this option would be required for you and contact the International Student Resource Center with any questions or concerns at 440-775-8462 or by sending an email to Assistant Dean of Students Josh Whitson at josh.whitson@oberlin.edu.

18. We know that summer opportunities are also being affected by COVID-19. The Career Development Center (440-775-8140) remains a great resource for identifying opportunities that continue to advance your goals in the summer of 2020.

19. At times during public health emergencies, individuals can unfortunately be subject to bias based on incorrect beliefs of connections between their perceived identities, their citizenship or visits to impacted locations, and risks to health. If you need support or want to learn more about these issues, please contact the Multicultural Resource Center at 440-775-8802. The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (440-775-8555) may also be a helpful resource.