ObieSafe Policies: Fall 2021 Arrival

Updated September 17, 2021

Oberlin’s COVID-19 policies have been developed after review of Oberlin College and county data and in consultation with Lorain County Public Health and University Hospitals. Policies are subject to change based on the evolving recommendations of public health entities.

Now that the COVID-19 vaccine has received federal approval, Oberlin College requires that all students without exemptions for reasons of health or religion be fully vaccinated within 45 days of that approval, which occurred on August 23. All students must receive all doses of a vaccine by October 7. The College also highly recommends that all faculty and staff receive a COVID-19 vaccine as the best strategy for protecting each person’s health, stopping the spread of variants, and preventing new ones from emerging.

The College’s goal is to reduce health risks and facilitate a traditional college experience. A high vaccination rate allows students, faculty, and staff to benefit from a low risk of infection on our campus.

Oberlin policies are subject to change based on evolving public health recommendations. Please see the ObieSafe Fall 2021 FAQ for additional information.

ObieSafe Community Agreement

All students are required to sign an ObieSafe Community Agreement demonstrating their commitment to responsible participation in a residential educational experience that supports the health, wellness, and safety of all community members. The agreement is due by September 10.

ObieSafe Community Agreement

Vaccine Intent Form

All students must complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Intent Form by September 10 regardless of vaccination or exemption status.

If you have medical or religious reasons for not getting vaccinated, please note it on your COVID-19 vaccine intent form. Oberlin will send you an exemption form to complete.

COVID-19 Vaccine Intent Form


Students are required to receive all doses of a COVID-19 vaccine no later than October 7.

  • Immediately upon receiving the final dose of a vaccine, upload your vaccine card to the Student Health Portal.
  • Individuals are considered fully vaccinated when they are 2 weeks past the final dose of a vaccine series or single dose vaccine. Students are considered unvaccinated until this time so must receive a weekly COVID test.
  • Any student who received a vaccine other than those produced by Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson must still upload their vaccination card to the Student Health Portal.
    • Vaccinations that are approved by the World Health Organization will be accepted.
    • Students arriving from an international destination who are unable to obtain a vaccine in that country may be granted an extension. Additional information will be posted on ObieSafe.
    • Please review the policies for testing and quarantine of international arrivals.

Influenza Vaccine

All students are required to obtain an influenza vaccine prior to arriving on campus.

  • Students who are currently on campus can contact Student Health to schedule a vaccine when it becomes available (440) 775-8180 or
  • Students arriving from countries that do not offer the influenza vaccine will be able to receive a vaccine through Student Health. Please contact them to make an appointment (440) 775-8180.
  • Students who would like to request an influenza vaccination exemption should submit documentation to Student Health as detailed in the Certificate of Immunization form.

Opportunities for faculty and staff to receive the influenza vaccine will be announced in the coming weeks.

Initial Testing

As announced on September 10, Oberlin is initiating testing protocols for everyone on campus, regardless of vaccination status.

Please note: in a departure from last year, you do not have to make an appointment. You also do not have to quarantine while you await test results.

  • Students arriving from international destinations should follow the “International Arrival” protocol listed below.
  • The day of move-in, students are required to go to Hales Gym for a PCR test.
  • Students living off campus should test on the day of their arrival to campus.
  • Students who have symptoms at move-in should go directly to Student Health.
    • If you arrive on Saturday, Sunday or in the evening you must isolate in your room until Student Health opens (M-F 8:30-4:30).
    • You may leave your room to use the restroom or to pick up meals but must wear a mask at all times.
    • If you have a roommate, you and your roommate should wear a mask in your room until you're tested.
  • Students already living on campus also need to be tested and should come to Hales between September 20 and September 30.
  • All faculty, staff, and those who work on campus for AVI and Scioto also will be required to test at Hales. No appointments will be necessary. Testing clinic dates and hours will be announced soon.

International Arrivals

If you are a student arriving from an international destination, you will test in Student Health, not at Hales Gym. Schedule all required tests prior to returning to campus.

Unvaccinated students and students who are not fully vaccinated upon arrival from international destinations:

  • Quarantine for 7 days.
  • Schedule a rapid test for the day of your arrival at Student Health (440) 775-8180 or
  • Schedule a PCR test with Student Health (440) 775-8180 or 3-5 days after arrival. You must quarantine for the full 7 days even if the PCR result is negative.
  • Unvaccinated international travelers may request early arrival so that their quarantine ends prior to the first day of class.
    • You should arrive no later than September 26 in order to be eligible for in-person class attendance on October 4. This is the latest day to arrive to complete the 7-day quarantine before the start of classes.
    • You must fill out the Student Early Arrival Request Form no later than September 10 to request early arrival. Questions can be directed to Residential Education at

For fully vaccinated students arriving from international destinations, no quarantine is required.

Ongoing Testing

After the initial arrival test, unvaccinated students, faculty, staff, and vendors will be required to test weekly, per new federal requirements.

  • Testing will take place at Hales Gym. See the testing hours.
  • Any student who is symptomatic at any time during the academic year, should call Student Health at (440) 775-8180 or email Symptomatic testing for COVID-19 and other infections will be available based on a health assessment by Student Health.
  • Symptomatic employees should contact their primary care provider or be tested at regional COVID-19 test locations. Please contact to let the contact tracing team know that you have symptoms.

Mask Wearing

Currently, Lorain County is considered an area of substantial or high transmission per the CDC.

Before September 27, the previous mask policy remains in effect:

  • Masks are required indoors for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals unless in their residence or office with the door shut.
  • Masks are not required outdoors for vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals.
  • All students will be given five masks upon arrival to campus.

Beginning September 27 and lasting until October 18 * (jump to note 1):

  • Masks are required indoors and outdoors.
  • The only time you may take off your mask is when you are in your room alone or with your roommate.
  • Masks may be removed while eating outdoors or alone in your room with your roommate.
  • Conservatory students and athletes will follow COVID policies specific to their activities.

* (return to reference 1) The outdoor mask requirement may be extended dependent upon the rate of infection identified in the arrival period.


Unvaccinated individuals are recommended to maintain 6 feet of distance from others when possible. Oberlin plans for full capacity for fall and strongly recommends vaccination for each person’s individual safety.

Daily Symptom Monitoring

Students, faculty, and staff should monitor their symptoms on a daily basis and wash their hands frequently.

  • The CDC offers an online, mobile-friendly CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker. The tool asks a series of questions, and based on the user’s responses, provides recommended actions and resources.
  • If you’re sick or experiencing symptoms, stay home. If you must be out in public, wear a mask and maintain distance from others until tested.
  • If symptomatic, students should contact Student Health by calling (440) 775-8180 or emailing Employees should contact their primary care provider.

Isolation, quarantine, and contact tracing

In the event of a positive COVID case on campus, Student Health will inform students of their positive test results. Contact tracing will occur to identify close contacts.


Positive test results will require students or employees to isolate.

  • Students who test positive will receive a call from a doctor, and will be directed to isolate in your room or off-campus residence.
  • Isolation will last for 10 days from symptom onset or test date.
  • If you are on a meal plan, food will be delivered to you.
  • Students should only leave their room to use the restroom facilities. Masks must be worn when leaving the room.
  • The College will provide disinfection materials that should be used with each use of the restroom.
  • Coursework will be managed on an individual basis between the student and faculty member.
  • The roommate of a positive student can choose to remain in the room if they’re fully vaccinated as the risk of infection or serious illness is low. If the roommate chooses to leave the residence, the College will provide temporary housing at the Hotel at Oberlin if a room is available. The roommate will be tested prior to entering the hotel as well as on day 5 to monitor for infection.


We will conduct contact tracing, but please remember, the definition for exposure is far different now than last year. It is highly unlikely that a vaccinated person who has been wearing their mask will be considered exposed to someone who tests positive. Vaccinated and unvaccinated close contacts will generally not be required to quarantine if they wore a mask consistently near the infected person and some distance was maintained. Close contacts should monitor their symptoms and contact Student Health if symptoms occur.

  • If an unvaccinated individual needs to quarantine, as determined through contact tracing, they will remain in their residence or employee’s home.
  • Quarantine will last for 7 days.
  • Student Health will test students with a rapid antigen test upon entry to quarantine.
  • Student Health will test students with a PCR test on day 5 of quarantine. A negative test result does not change the length of the 7-day quarantine. If the test is positive the person will begin isolation.
  • Students may leave quarantine to use the restroom facilities and to pick up grab-and-go meals, which must be eaten in the residence. Masks must be worn when leaving the room.
  • Coursework will be managed on an individual basis between the student and faculty member.

The Ohio Department of Health contracts with Public Consulting Group (PCG), a contact tracing service, so any student, faculty or staff who tests positive will receive a phone call from this service.


The College’s goal is to reduce health risks and facilitate a traditional college experience. A high vaccination rate on campus allows students, faculty, and staff to benefit from a low risk of infection. Full occupancy will occur in all residence halls with no differentiation in vaccination status.


Between September 27 and October 18, all dining will be grab-and-go ** (jump to note 2). Students may eat outdoors with others. When eating indoors, students should eat in their room.

Campus events must also follow this protocol.

Outdoor events are permitted with masks, and food can be served and consumed.

Once the grab-and-go requirement is lifted, those sponsoring campus events where food is served:

  • Everyone is to abide by the 6 feet physical distancing protocol and reduced indoor occupancy policies.
  • Masks should be worn at all times indoors when not actively eating or drinking.

Outdoor events are permitted with masks, and food can be served and consumed.

** (return to reference 2) The grab-and-go meal requirement may be extended dependent upon the rate of infection identified in the arrival period.


Students are permitted to travel off campus.

  • Oberlin will require all students to be fully vaccinated by October 7, unless there is an approved exemption.
  • Unvaccinated students should have a COVID test in Student Health 3-5 days after returning to campus.
  • Unvaccinated athletes may travel for competition and must follow all athletic traveling protocols.
  • COVID testing for approved and verified academic purposes (study abroad or course-related experience) can be scheduled in Student Health.
  • COVID testing prior to elective travel is not available on campus. Area retail pharmacies offer testing.


Athletes arriving on campus before fall semester begins should be vaccinated if possible.

  • Athletes who are unvaccinated or do not present a vaccination card upon arrival to campus will be required to undergo testing. Athletes who remain unvaccinated will undergo weekly testing.

Athletes are to adhere to institutional athletic competition protocols with consideration of the NCAA guidelines.

There will be times when required activities for athletes permit the removal of masks indoors in shared spaces. Examples include swimming and diving.


In addition to the policies above and the ObieSafe Fall 2021 FAQ, a separate FAQ for Conservatory students covers modified policies related to activities required for education purposes.

Conservatory COVID-19 Guidelines for Fall 2021

Visitors on Campus (General and Admissions)

  • Oberlin recommends that all visitors and guests be vaccinated if they are indoors.
  • All visitors must follow all current COVID-19 policies.
  • Anyone with symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, should refrain from attending campus events.

See also:

COVID-19 Guidelines for Admissions Visits