Fall 2020 Reopening FAQ

For the most up-to-date information, please visit ObieSafe.

The following questions were received via email and live during the “town hall” webinars that took place June 15–25. We will continue to add to this collection as new questions are received.


When are advisors assigned, and when will students meet with them?

Advisors are assigned over the summer months. Incoming first-year students will meet with their new advisors during orientation in August.

For juniors who do not have advisors because they left campus, what is the process for finding one currently?

The Academic Advising Resource Center (AARC) would be happy to help find a new advisor in the event that the student's current advisor will be on leave or is unavailable. If the student has not declared a major, the student needs to initiate the major declaration process and choose an advisor in the major department. The AARC can assist with this process if the student needs help in identifying an appropriate advisor. In either case, send an email to Betsy Beach Mosgo at bbeachmo@oberlin.edu for assistance.

Should students be reaching out to their advisors now for help with scheduling/planning their path to graduation to make sure that they can have access to all of the courses they need in the right order?

It is never too early to begin that discussion. The registrar's office is in the midst of building the course schedules for fall, spring, and summer, but faculty within each department are aware of the course offerings and can help with a preliminary discussion about scheduling and planning. Degree Works will also be an excellent tool to check on progress toward the degree and what requirements remain to be completed.

What will office hours look like with faculty and advisors?

All office hours and advising appointments will happen remotely for the 20-21 academic year.

Will faculty work two of the three terms, or all three? If two, what will happen if one of my terms on campus doesn’t overlap with my advisor’s?

Each faculty member's teaching schedule is arranged with the department and the dean's offices. However, faculty will be prepared to advise even in semesters in which they are not teaching. The Academic Advising Resource Center (AARC) can also assist if a faculty member is not available.

Course Availability

What assurances will Oberlin provide that all required courses to complete a major on schedule will be provided?

Academic departments in the College of Arts & Sciences and the dean's office in the Conservatory have carefully reviewed class offerings to ensure that all students will be offered the correct courses needed to complete requirements on schedule.

I'm a musical studies major, and I'm worried about the linear aspects of that major. The classes I need to take to graduate are normally offered in the fall. I would expect that the schedule is being adjusted so that I can take those classes, but the conservatory students are there in the fall, so how will this work?

We are making sure to offer sections of music theory in the terms when musical studies majors are on campus. We will ensure that you and other students can complete your major requirements.

What opportunities are there for students who are planning to join the musical studies program or potentially enroll in the double degree program that requires taking a certain time-sensitive course load?

Students’ progress through the curriculum is foremost on our minds. Musical studies and double degree students will have choices in each term that fulfill requirements, prerequisites, and electives toward the major, as well as opportunities to pursue honors.

For students taking lab courses, how do you envision having up to 60% of classes hybrid or virtual?

Faculty are actively developing hybrid and remote instruction to support their learning goals for labs. Students will be able to engage actively in laboratory experiments when they are in person and also in virtual settings.

How will courses work across class levels? Will intro and advanced classes be available to all students for the two semesters they are on campus?

Each of the departments where there are lab courses have been carefully evaluating course data to understand enrollment patterns and course demand. Their plans for course offerings reflect the planning process; however, department chairs are prepared to expand offerings if there is a serious issue with regard to access.

For courses with prerequisites that tend to be only available in the fall (e.g., need Physics I to take Physics 2), will these prerequisites be offered in the spring? If a junior is in 200-level language classes, will the 201 class they need be offered in the spring semester?

Each of the departments where there is a vertical curriculum have been carefully evaluating course data to understand enrollment patterns and course demand. Their plans for course offerings reflect the planning process; department chairs are prepared to address individual circumstances if there is a serious issue with regard to progression within the major.

What about classes that mix students from different years? Will there be hybrid courses, or will people not be able to take certain courses? How will this affect classes in a student's major?

Department chairs carefully evaluated course data to understand enrollment patterns and course demand. Their plans for course offerings reflect the planning process; department chairs are prepared to address individual circumstances if there is a serious issue with regard to progression within the major.

Will courses that are usually only offered in the fall be adjusted? (I'm thinking of STEM and language courses that are two semesters long.)

Department chairs carefully evaluated course data to understand enrollment patterns and course demand. Their plans for course offerings reflect the planning process; department chairs are prepared to address individual circumstances if there is a serious issue with regard to progression within the major.

How are you enabling students to complete all of their major requirements in time to graduate in four years, given that many programs have highly sequenced requirements?

Department chairs carefully evaluated course data to understand enrollment patterns and course demand. Their plans for course offerings reflect the planning process; department chairs are prepared to address individual circumstances if there is a serious issue with regard to progression within the major.

The department of my first major (geology) will be offering significantly fewer classes in the summer semester, only two courses compared to a normal 10-15 courses per semester. What if I've already taken those classes and don't have enough classes to sign up for to be considered a full-time student?

Department chairs are prepared to address individual circumstances if there is a serious issue with regard to progression within the major.

What is going to happen to the theater major and minors? Since most of our classes and extracurricular activities revolve around groups of people coming together, what will we do? How will we get the experience/credits we need 1) to graduate and 2) for future planning (grad school, resume, etc.)?

The theater department is actively considering these issues and will share information with students at the start of the semester.

Speaking with teachers, some have spoken about reserving seats for those who were previously registered for their class. It seems as though a lot of teachers are not aware of the ability to do this, so will there be any action to ensure places in classes?

The AARC, A&S and Conservatory Deans' offices, and Department and Program Chairs are working with faculty members on the reservation process. The seat reservation process will be completed by July 23.

Course Catalog

When will the course listings for each of the three terms be available?

The registrar is in the process of working with all of our faculty to adjust course offerings to the upcoming year, including which courses will be offered during which terms and what the mode of instruction will be (online, in-person, or hybrid). The new course schedule will be posted sometime around July 15. There will be an advising period that follows, and then students will need to re-register in early August.

Will the course catalog clearly state which courses are fully online, hybrid, or in-person?

Yes. That information will be available in the catalog and in the "Browse Schedule of Classes" function.

Course Registration & Schedules

Do students need to re-register for courses? What is the process?

Yes, because we had to make so many changes to the course offerings, the only choice was to remove every student's registration and have students re-register. In August, we will assign new registration times, a RAP, and registration will be available sometime during the second week of August. You will be able to register for the two semesters in which you will be on campus in August.

Will certain cohorts be given specific registration times? Will registration be prioritized by class year? Or will all students have the same registration window?

As with any other registration period, your registration appointment time will be assigned by the number of completed credits at Oberlin (this excludes credits you took or earned before arriving at Oberlin). This assignment is related to class year but it is not a one-to-one match.

What if a student is on a waitlist for a major course for fall semester?

We plan to preserve the records related to waitlist so that departments and faculty know that you were waitlisted for a major course. We hope that this will be a valuable resource for them to support you in completing major requirements.

How will first-year students finalize their schedules and pick the rest of their classes with the modified orientation, particularly for double degree students?

In the second week of August, the PAL program will help Arts & Sciences or double degree students prepare for registration. In the Conservatory, students will have an opportunity to meet with their advisor, who is their principal private teacher. All first-year students will have the opportunity to meet with their advisor and then register. After completing their registration, there will be a schedule adjustment period in which all students can add or drop courses. That schedule adjustment period ends in the second week of classes so everyone will have sufficient time to finalize their schedule.

Can an A&S student change their schedule after receiving the 2-3 courses they pre-registered for prior to arriving on campus?

Yes, there will be an opportunity beginning in August and ending in the second week of classes.

When will we know how the classes we've already registered for have changed?

All courses will be unregistered for fall semester. Around July 15, the new schedule will be available so that you can see what will be offered in fall, spring, and/or summer.

Will the classes that students have already been accepted in for the fall be honored when they come back to campus in January?

You will need to register in spring and there is no automatic way to place you in specific courses. However, department chairs and faculty will have records of the fall registrations so that they can develop policies about how to acknowledge your fall course selections.

Many sophomores don’t know what they want to major in yet, and get a better idea as they go along. This makes it difficult to consider registering for fall, spring, and summer all at once for undecided incoming sophomores. How much flexibility to change one’s schedule will there be as students grow and learn more about their interests?

Sophomores will register for spring and summer courses in August after meeting with their advisor, but there will be schedule adjustment opportunities for both semesters. These schedule adjustment periods will be listed in the Academic Calendar, and you will be able to see your registration appointment times in Banner Self Service through Oberview. Your academic advisor is available for consultation, even between the start and end of registration and during add/drop.

What will happen with students who are not prepared to choose both semesters’ courses because they're relying on their first semester courses to determine their major and second semester courses?

There will be schedule adjustment opportunities for both semesters. These schedule adjustment periods will be listed in the Academic Calendar, and you will be able to see your registration appointment times in Banner Self Service through Oberview. Your academic advisor is available for consultation, even between the start and end of registration and during add/drop.

Will there be a fall break and/or spring break?

There will not be a fall or spring break because we are trying to limit travel in and out of Oberlin. However, in the fall, on campus instruction will end on Tuesday, November 24. Students will depart campus and complete the semester remotely. In between each of the semesters, we are building in breaks so that students have time to rest, relax, and sleep.

Winter Term

Where can I find more information on the changes to winter term?

Updates about winter term can be found on the Office of Winter Term's update page or in the Winter Term catalog. Any additional questions can be directed to wterm@oberlin.edu.

What are the details for winter term for each class?

Winter term for first-year students and seniors will be in August. First-year students will have a special winter term: "Critical Skills for New Obies." Seniors can do an individual project or join a group project. Winter term for juniors will occur during the fall term: one career-focused practicum with micro-internships to follow. Winter term for sophomores will occur during the spring term as a SOAR-related group project.

What are the dates of August winter term?

August winter term will begin August 3 and end August 25.

Will the winter term in August be on campus or remote?

All August winter term projects will be completed remotely.

Can first-year students opt out of this coming winter term?

All incoming Arts & Sciences students are required to participate in the August winter term project "Critical Skills for New Obies" (double degree students are invited but not required). If a student anticipates any challenges with completing the project, they should email pal@oberlin.edu, and any scheduling conflicts will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

If students are approved to enroll in a term that is not part of their pre-assigned cohort, what will they do for winter term? Which winter term projects will be available to them?

Students who are approved to enroll outside their pre-assigned cohort will be able to complete winter term in May.

Can students still do individual winter term projects, or is the junior winter term mandatory? Students may have previous plans for projects not arranged by Oberlin.

Only seniors may complete individual projects. All other students must participate in their cohort-specific opportunity to receive winter term project credit this year.

If I have already completed three winter term projects, do I have to do a fourth winter term?

No, only three winter term projects are required for graduation. Students may choose to complete a fourth project, but they are not required to do so.

Declaring Majors

Is there a revised deadline for declaring majors?

We expect rising juniors to declare majors on the current schedule, at the beginning of the fall semester. This will follow the registration period in August and their advising discussions with the current academic advisor. It will enable students to have a clear path for planning in the fall and in advance of their spring and summer semesters. Students always have the ability to request a delay in declaring their major if they do not feel prepared to do so. Those requests should be directed to the Academic Advising Resource Center (AARC) at aarc@oberlin.edu.

Can majors be declared remotely?

Yes, forms are available at the Registrar's downloadable forms page.

I'm a double major who hasn't declared my second major. Should I do this to make class planning easier for faculty? How do I declare over the summer?

Yes, we recommend doing this as soon as possible. Forms are available at the Registrar's downloadable forms page.

Progress Towards Graduation

How is class standing determined for students who took personal leave or medical leave?

The registrar is very carefully reviewing each student who previously took a personal or medical leave to determine their formal class standing. We hope to have this review finished in the next few days, and we will be in touch with you as soon as we have completed that review.

What exactly do you mean by determining your class year by "semesters completed"? For example, if you have taken a semester off, would you still be considered the year that you were when you left Oberlin, or will you be allowed to move forward with your class/peers?

Semesters completed is defined as a semester completed at Oberlin or a study away semester. If a student took a leave for a semester, that would not be included in the count of semesters.

Will there be adjustments for juniors who are planning (and able) to graduate in three years? Would they be considered seniors for the purposes of this plan?

A junior who can graduate in three years will need to appeal to be on campus for fall and spring. A clear plan as to how a junior plans to complete the degree by the end of spring is crucial to the appeal.

I currently am planning to graduate in six semesters, which will require me to take five courses per semester. Given the more limited course offerings, will I still be able to take five courses in the semesters I am on campus?

Yes, students who plan to take more than 4-1/2 courses/18 credits need permission from the AARC. The application is online at AARC's Course Overload page.

Has COVID-19 changed the process for submitting IB credits?

No. The same process applies; students should receive some verification from IB as to completion of the course of study. Please forward that to the Office of the Registrar Transfer of Credit staff member at toc@oberlin.edu.

Transferring Credits

Will Oberlin be making amendments to its current transfer credit policies to accommodate students who might wish to take classes at another college or university? Will academic departments be more flexible in accepting transfer credits?

We are discussing exceptions to the maximum number of courses allowed for transfer. Each student's situation is different; please write to toc@oberlin.edu for advice about your situation.

Have you considered extending the number of transfer credits (currently three) that we can apply from other institutions towards our degree?

We are discussing exceptions to the maximum number of courses allowed for transfer. Each student's situation is different; please write to toc@oberlin.edu for advice about your situation.

Do the maximum of three transfer classes include classes from when students are studying abroad?

No. Students can transfer back a maximum of four courses from each semester of study away while on an Academic Leave of Absence. Courses that students transfer back to Oberlin from Personal Leave fall into a different category. Additional details can be found in the registrar's Transfer of Credit page.

Can third-year students study away (domestically) from Oberlin in the fall term and then skip the spring or summer term?

No. Oberlin has cancelled study away, both domestically and internationally, for the fall term. Additional details can be found in the Announcements section of the study away portal.


Given the possibility of hybrid or potentially remote classes, will the college continue academic accommodations such as it did in the spring semester?

Yes, disability accommodations will continue to be available, when appropriate, for classes in any format (remote, hybrid and in-person). If a student feels that they need an accommodation, they should reach out to Disability Resources.

If I need to take all classes remotely (from home) due to a disability, what is happening with classes offered only as "in-person" (rather than hybrid or fully online) to make them accessible?

It will not be necessary for students to request a disability accommodation in order to study remotely. Oberlin College and Conservatory understand that our students may have different needs during the pandemic. All students should be receiving a survey most likely by July 10. Students are strongly encouraged to fill out the survey with any concerns or needs, and return this survey as expeditiously as possible. The College of Arts and Sciences or the Conservatory of Music will respond to students directly.

If I receive a positive SARS CoV-2 test result and am instructed to self-isolate or placed in quarantine for two weeks, and I am in a class designated only as "in-person" (rather than hybrid or fully online), how will I be able to continue participating in that class when I'm not allowed to attend?

A positive test result would require quarantine for your health and for reducing the opportunities for transmitting the virus to others. If you still felt well despite the positive test result, you may continue to do any coursework that you are able to do on your own. If you were to become ill, then you would take the time that you needed to recover. Extended absences and resumption of class participation would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, prioritizing health and safety.

Has there been a discussion about potential adjustments in grading policy and major/graduation requirements given the drastic changes in what the next academic year will look like and the state of the world right now?

We are poised to respond to the present situation by examining grading policies, deadlines, and processes. Our curriculum committees in the College of Arts & Sciences and Conservatory understand the potential for changes to address the disruptions that might occur due to the pandemic.

Will certain restrictions be lifted regarding the requirements for concentrations and minors if course availability and timing become an issue?

Academic departments have carefully planned their curricula so as to account for the needs of their students. It is the case that department chairs have always been able to make exceptions when conditions warrant it. We understand that certain students may need to request an exception or waiver for a requirement, and department chairs will be ready to make those exceptions as needed.

If a student cannot come in the summer (for financial or other reasons), but also cannot get an appeal to be on campus in the fall, will there be any adjustments or other actions to help that student graduate on time, or will they be forced to come back as a fifth year?

Students should detail important considerations if they wish to appeal to be on campus in a specific semester. If an appeal is not granted, then students need to return to campus with their assigned cohort. If students do not wish to do so, then they may elect to pursue a leave of absence and return in a future semester.

Remote Classes

Since Oberlin plans to have some classes fully online, can students enroll in those during the term they are not on campus and take them from home?

No, not for credit. This would affect your full-time enrollment status and could jeopardize your financial aid.

Can I take all of my classes remotely if I’d rather not be on campus?

Yes. But the number of available classes will be limited since many classes will meet in person.

What percentage of classes will be remote?

18% of classes are expected to be remote. 42% are expected to be hybrid.

Will I be able to audit online classes?

If you are scheduled to study during a specific term and elect to study remotely, you may be able to arrange to audit a course. If you are not scheduled to study during a specific term, you cannot "officially" audit a course. You may be able to "unofficially" sit in on a course. Permission to audit a course, either officially or unofficially, rests with the instructor of the course.

Will I be able to study in person with my private instructor, or, because he usually commutes from New York, will we have to meet through Zoom?

Please see the Conservatory's FAQ page.

If a student ends up with a fully remote schedule, would it make sense to not be on campus for that semester? How would the student benefit from being on campus?

It depends on the personal circumstances of the student. Some students may find campus a more conducive environment for remote participation in classes.

What is the rationale behind bringing students back under the risks of exposure (despite the layers of preventative strategies), instead of continuing with online, remote Zoom classes safely from our respective homes?

We want to offer students and their families a range of educational options that best meet their academic and personal needs and preferences.

Will immunocompromised students have the option of doing their academic work remotely (not on-campus)? How will tuition/financial aid be impacted for these vulnerable students?

Yes, students for whom a documented disability requires them to remain physically away from Oberlin in the next semester due to the current pandemic conditions may request a fully remote semester as a disability accommodation through the the Disability Resources portal on our website. Should a student be fully remote and not on campus, their financial aid cost of attendance will be modified to account for an off-campus housing and dining budget. Need-based aid will likely decrease.

How can I request to study remotely, and what is the deadline to request this?

Contact the Office of the Registrar. The deadline to request a change to remote study for the fall 2020 semester is August 18. There will be a fee of $300 for requests made after August 18. The last date that students may elect to study remotely for the fall semester is August 27.

What are the charges for remote-only study?

Students engaged in remote instruction will be charged the full tuition rate, activity fee and health fee for the 2020-21 academic year. These students will continue to receive instruction from our high quality faculty; have full remote access to health services, including psychological services; and be engaged in co-curricular experiences during the academic year.

How will studying remotely impact my financial aid award?

Students receiving need based financial aid may see their need based Oberlin grant reduced as a result of studying 100% remotely as the college will not be charging you for housing and dining. For students studying 100% remotely, tuition and fees will remain the same, but the following cost of attendance will be used for housing and dining:
Per semester: Housing $1500 and Dining $1600

How will I know which courses I can take while studying remotely?

The schedule of classes will indicate the anticipated mode of instruction for each course. Students studying remotely can enroll in Arts and Sciences courses designated as remote, hybrid/remote-accessible, or in-person/remote-accessible. For Conservatory courses, students should contact the instructor directly about whether a course is appropriate for remote study.

How will studying remotely impact my status as an F-1 visa holder?

Under the current guidance, which is subject to change, if a student with an active SEVIS record enrolls remotely for the fall semester their immigration record will be left active. Initial status students enrolling remotely will have their program start dates deferred and a new I-20 issued.


Which students will be on campus during each of the three terms?

Summary of Three-Semester Plan
  Term 1 (Fall) Term 2 (Spring) Term 3 (Summer)
Dates August 31 to December 16
(Remote after November 25)
January 7 to April 17 May 3 to August 11
In residence Approximately 2100 students
(all in single rooms)
  • All Con & DD
  • Almost all A&S 1st-Years
  • Almost all A&S 2nd-Years [by semesters completed, not credits to graduation]
  • All A&S 4th-Years
Approximately 2100 students
(all in single rooms) 
  • All Con & DD
  • Almost all A&S 1st-Years
  • Almost all A&S 3rd-Years [by semesters completed, not credits to graduation]
  • All A&S 4th-Years
Approximately 1200 students
(all in single rooms)
  • A few A&S 1st-Years
  • Almost all A&S 2nd-Years
  • Almost all A&S 3rd-Years
  • A small number of DD 2nd-, 3rd-, and 4th-Years for A&S classes
Not in residence Almost all A&S 3rd-Years Almost all A&S 2nd-Years  
Notes 3rd-Year Remote Educational Opportunities: September Group WT projects including career community and mentored research 2nd-Year Remote Opportunities: January Group WT projects including SOAR program A&S Undergraduate Research & Engaged Learning Focus for Second and Third Years

Will all majors still be offered?

Yes, all majors, minors, and concentrations will be offered.

How will individualized class planning affect students who haven't declared majors/second majors yet?

Department chairs carefully evaluated course data to understand enrollment patterns and course demand. Their plans for course offerings reflect the planning process for both declared majors and for undeclared majors who wish to take courses in that department.

Since I am a STRONG scholar, I would do undergraduate research during Winter Term. Will I be able to do this on another date, or will all students have to do the same program in August?

STRONG scholars will conduct their research during the May 2021 Winter Term.

How will senior thesis projects change, if at all?

Senior thesis projects will still be designed and carried out according to departmental guidelines. If adjustments need to be made to accommodate social distancing, then faculty and students will design hybrid or remote alternatives.

Will there be classes on Saturdays?

There are no classes in fall semester that are scheduled for Saturday; however, there may be courses on Saturdays in the spring or summer semesters.

Do you anticipate rolling out the new majors/minors, such as music studies minor, per the original schedule?

Yes, all majors, minors, and concentrations will be offered, including the new programs planned for 2020-21.

How will dance classes work?

The Dance department is developing socially-distant in-person courses, and hybrid and remote courses as well. Your faculty members will share information about the courses at the start of the semester.

How has LSAT testing changed due to the pandemic?

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is currently offering LSAT-Flex, a remote, online proctored test for test takers who were registered for the in-person exam during summer 2020. Students can visit the LSAC website for more information about changes to the LSAT or contact the Career Development Center for support.


What is the Con's plan to ensure that musicians can safely rehearse and perform together?

Please see the Conservatory's FAQ page.

What will happen with junior and senior recitals that were supposed to happen this spring but didn't, as well as in the coming year?

Please see the Conservatory's FAQ page.

Will the many new “Con opportunities for A&S students” coming out of the One Oberlin document be compromised this year?

Please see the Conservatory's FAQ page.

Will there still be ensemble auditions (for Dual Degree/Con students)? And if so, will the audition material be the same as (what is listed on the Oberlin website as) large ensemble audition material?

Please see the Conservatory's FAQ page.

Our first-year A&S student plays violin and had planned to take lessons, audition for an ensemble, and practice regularly at Oberlin. Will he be able to do this in 2020-21? Where can he practice?

Please see the Conservatory's FAQ page.

The Conservatory will not be open in the summer term. What about students for whom the Conservatory is a big reason as to why they are at Oberlin?

Please see the Conservatory's FAQ page.

How will the appeals process and application work? When will the appeal request process begin? Will decisions about appeals be made before registration opens for classes and housing?

Students wishing to attend a semester that is not part of their assigned cohort must submit an appeal by July 20. Students will be notified of the final decision on their appeal by July 27. Approvals of appeals will be rare, however, so students should set their expectations. The college is currently finalizing the appeals process, and it will be made available to students as soon as possible.

What are the criteria for appeals? What factors take precedence?

We don’t have the answer to this yet.

If a sophomore or junior already has a summer internship or job lined up, will they be able to appeal for a fall-spring schedule?

Yes, however, due to space limitations, only a very limited number of appeals will be granted.

Is there a possibility of those who are not scheduled to be on campus in the summer (first- and fourth-years) to appeal to move to the summer term in order to make more space for those needing to appeal, and will the college encourage them to do so?

Yes, we welcome all first- and fourth-year students to appeal to attend in the summer semester.

If a student is engaged in research with a professor, can they appeal to continue that research during the term that they are not matriculating in classes?

It will depend on whether the research is remote or on-campus.

What if my home environment is not conducive to learning and completing the fall semester after Thanksgiving? May I appeal to stay into December?

The College will accept requests to remain on campus from F-1 visa holders, students who would be homeless, and students who would face violence in their homes. Academic challenges will not be a sufficient reason to receive approval to remain on campus. Students are encouraged to work with their faculty, the AARC, and the Center for Student Success to identify strategies and explore options to complete the semester successfully.


Which terms will athletes be on campus?

Athletes will attend in their assigned cohort semesters. If an athlete would like to attend during the semester(s) of their sport(s), they will need to appeal.

What will it be like to be a student-athlete at Oberlin this fall?

Student-athlete life will certainly look different than it has in years past. We will follow NCAA resocialization guidelines, which call for a three-phased return to sports activity. Once we can return to sports activity, coaches will hold individual and small-group training sessions with the ability to phase into larger training sessions. There will still be opportunities to compete within teams and within the academic department. In addition, there will be opportunities for leadership development and community-building, which will include fun and safe all-athlete events.

What happens with our NCAC standing if we don't compete in the fall?

The NCAC recently announced that all competition and championships are cancelled through December 31, 2020. There will be no effect on our NCAC standing.

When will student-athletes report to campus in the fall?

Student-athletes will report per the policies of the college, in a staggered timeline along with the rest of the student body.

Do I need to wear a mask while I work out? During training sessions?

Masks will be required in all buildings, including Shanks and Philips, and in all gatherings where social distancing can’t be observed. You will only be able to de-mask if specifically instructed by a coach, sports medicine professional, or YeoFit instructor.

Any specific recommendations for senior athletes who will not have another season? Should they still plan to train with their teams?

Senior athletes should do what they feel is best for themselves and their physical and emotional well-being. Training one last time with a team, even without NCAC or non-conference competition, can still be beneficial and is a great way to be a leader and positive role model for younger teammates.

Will individual teams ensure that all of their players will be on campus together?

If you want to be on campus during a term that is not assigned to your cohort, you must submit an appeal. Every effort will be made to keep teams together, but numbers are limited by the number of beds available.

What happens if there is an approved vaccine that can be scaled by the end of the year (2020). Would that change OC's approach to athletics?

During this unprecedented and unpredictable time, things are always changing. Oberlin College Athletics will do its best to adapt and revise any policies or procedures as necessary and as any changes dictate.

Will intramural and club sports happen? Usually athletes are somewhat limited in their ability to participate in them (i.e. can't compete on a club team in your sport). Will this be changed?

Intramural and club sports are subject to the same safety considerations as varsity sports. Each club sport team will need to evaluate the particulars of its sport and present a plan outlining how the sport can safely take place. It goes to reason that if a varsity sport can’t compete, a club sport of the same nature won’t be able to safely operate or compete either. During this time, there may be opportunities to offer different intramural options than in the past that comply with safety regulations.


With the cancellation of fall sports, do you still recommend that juniors who are fall athletes appeal to be on campus in the fall?

Any junior who wants to be on campus during the fall term should submit an appeal. Every effort will be made to keep teams together.

With the three-semester plan, how should student-athletes apply for specific terms?

Student-athletes can submit appeals for consideration to be on campus during terms not assigned to their cohort. Otherwise, they will be automatically enrolled in the terms assigned to their respective cohorts.

Can juniors enroll this fall, on a part- or full-time basis, for remote learning classes only, without filing an appeal? If so, will those athletes be able to train with their teams?

No. If juniors want to enroll in the college during the fall term, either remotely or in person, they must file an appeal.

Are athletic appeals considered as a group? (For the players, it's very much everyone or no one.)

No. Each appeal will be considered individually.

Should athletes plan to appeal to be on campus during their out-of-season semester to allow for teams to continue off-season workouts, or will athletics be restricted to the regular season semester?

Student-athletes can appeal to be on campus during a term that is not assigned to their cohort. There is no guarantee that appeals will be granted, and there may be cases where student-athletes will not have the opportunity to be on campus during their out-of-season semester.

If an appeal is granted, is it a commitment to attend? (Considering the previous question: if a student finds out they're the only one or one of a small group whose appeal was granted, most likely they'd want to revert to their cohort's assigned semester.)


Can a fall athlete take a year off and return? Can a fall athlete take the fall semester off and return in the spring? We are contemplating spring 2021/fall 2021; spring 2022/fall 2022 for a rising junior.

Yes. If this is your decision, you will just have to make your intentions known. It will not affect your eligibility.

If a junior fall athlete appeals to be on campus in the fall, should they request fall/spring or fall/summer or is it their choice? Will there be off-season athletic activities in the spring that impact that decision?

It is always your choice. The expectation is that there will be training sessions during the spring, but no athlete will be penalized for missing training sessions when they are not on campus.

If a junior is an athlete and will be on campus Fall/Spring, how will they have the opportunity to participate in the junior practicum?

Students enrolled in the fall semester will not be able to participate in the Junior Practicum. If a student is not enrolled in the fall semester and would like to participate, they should apply via the Career Development Center.


What impact would practicing or playing a limited number of games have on my eligibility with the NCAA? What are my eligibility options?

The NCAA has stated that waivers for eligibility will be granted if teams play less than 50% of their maximum allowed contests. For example, softball teams are allowed 40 contests. If the softball team plays only 19 games in the spring, softball student-athletes would not be charged a year of eligibility.

If my son chooses to return in the fall, will it affect his eligibility? In other words, if he does not play his sport, will he be permitted to play his sport for an additional year?

You will not lose a year of eligibility in a year in which Oberlin does not sponsor athletics.

Winter and Spring

Is there any chance that fall sports will have their seasons in the spring?

That is an unlikely scenario.

What is the likelihood that winter and spring sports will happen? When will students know?

There will be no winter sports competition for the remainder of the calendar year. Discussions about winter and spring sports will happen in early fall. Students will know as soon as decisions can safely be made.

Facilities & Training

Will athletic facilities still be open? Will they be open to all students or just to athletes?

Athletic facilities will be open to all students. There will be occupancy limits and policies and procedures that must be followed when using any athletic facilities in order to mitigate COVID-19 transmission.

Will locker rooms be available?

No. All locker rooms will be closed.

How many times a week will the weight room be available to an individual? How will that be managed?

At this time, there is not a set weight room schedule; athletes will have access to the weight room any time the building is open, as long as the occupancy limit is not exceeded.

Will athletic training be available to students?

Yes, but there will be limits to the number of students who can be in the training room at a time, and student-athletes will book appointments.

Will We Have T3 Strength & Conditioning Team Workouts?

Yes. Most training sessions will take place outside as weather permits to allow for greater distancing and larger numbers.

How will athletes stay in shape in the fall?

Through team and individual training sessions, YeoFit classes, and T3 training sessions.


With the cancellation of fall sports, will student-athletes still be tested weekly? How often will student-athletes be tested?

Student-athletes will be tested once a month.

How much will COVID testing cost for athletes?

For every student, there will be a $530 testing fee for each term the student is on campus.


Will athletes / teammates be permitted to live together since they will be practicing together?

No. Every student will have a single bed. Students can request to live near each other if they want to.


Will the football team participate in virtual competitions of any kind this year? Who will they compete against? What will be the nature of the competitions?

We are in the beginning stages of planning what competition will look like for all sports on campus this fall.

As tennis is not a contact sport, could the tennis team still practice and train during the fall semester? We are also a team of fewer than 10 players.

Tennis will have the opportunity to train during the fall semester.

Players in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) are having matches with safety protocols in place, such as having a different set of tennis balls for each server (only the server handles them) and having a very limited or no audience. I understand that we will not have any matches; however, could we still practice and train with these and other safety protocols in place?

Tennis will have the opportunity to train during the fall semester.

Internships & Career Counseling

Is there anything that the college will do (aside from the appeals process) to help third-year students who have already been accepted to prestigious summer internship programs for the summer of 2021?

We recognize that every situation is unique, and we are committed to supporting you through this process. Students are encouraged to email careers@oberlin.edu, so we can connect you with a staff member in the Career Development Center to discuss specific details to best support you.

Can you please go into some detail about what help will be offered to sophomores and juniors for finding non-summer internships? Are there any resources at Oberlin that we can use to find/obtain those internships? Will there be funding offered?

Juniors are encouraged to participate in the Junior Practicum Program this fall. The program includes a virtual Career Readiness and Skill-Building Summit in September and the opportunity to pursue a remote micro-internship or research experience from October to December. Students who successfully complete a remote micro-internship or research experience will have the opportunity to receive up to $800. This robust experience provides juniors with hands-on learning and meaningful career preparation. Visit the Junior Practicum Program website for more information. Sophomores are encouraged to participate in the SOAR program in the spring, which will include programming on how to find and prepare for internship opportunities. Further details about the SOAR program will be made available later this summer and into the fall semester.

How will Oberlin address the needs of students in fields where they are expected to attain an internship in the summer of the third year? Many areas of study involve students doing an internship in the summer of their third year, after which they often get job offers at their place of employment. How are these students expected to deal with the loss of these opportunities?

Each career field provides unique opportunities for students to pursue experiential practice, and we are committed to supporting you through this process. Students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with a staff member in the Career Development Center to discuss individual goals and industry standards.

How will fourth-years be supported regarding career experiences? Will there be career communities?

Students may schedule virtual advising appointments with a staff member in the Career Development Center to discuss their career goals, interests, and resources. Although the Career Communities program has been integrated into the new Junior Practicum Program this upcoming academic year, the Career Development Center is committed to supporting fourth-year students with their career journeys. Fourth-year students may also choose to participate in the "College, Career, and Beyond" Winter Term program in August 2020.

Junior Practicum

Will juniors who petition to be on campus due to athletics be able to participate in a junior practicum experience in the summer, or concurrent with their classmates in the fall term?

Students enrolled in the fall semester will not be able to participate in the Junior Practicum. If a student is not enrolled in the fall semester and would like to participate, they should apply via the Career Development Center.

Will we get credit for the Junior Practicum Summit?

Yes. Students who successfully complete the Career Readiness and Skill-building Summit will receive Winter Term credit. Please note that this program is the only option for juniors to receive Winter Term credit in the 2020-21 academic year.

Is the fall practicum required, or can juniors do individual projects?

The Junior Practicum Program is the only option for juniors to receive Winter Term credit in the 2020-21 academic year.

Will we have to pay for the practicum?

The Junior Practicum Program is free for all participants.

Can international students participate in the Junior Practicum?

Students enrolled in the fall semester will not be able to participate in the Junior Practicum. If a student is not enrolled in the fall semester and would like to participate, they should apply via the Career Development Center.

For the Winter Term Junior Practicum research, will this all be remote research, or will there be opportunities to do in-person research on campus during the fall?

At this time, the program is designed to support remote micro-internships. However, if you already live in the same location as your internship site, exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What kinds of practicum opportunities will be offered for juniors that will be on campus in the fall?

Students enrolled in the fall semester will not be able to participate in the Junior Practicum Program. If a student is not enrolled in the fall semester and would like to participate, they should apply via the Career Development Center.

Will everyone who applies to practicum be accepted? What happens if we are not?

Yes! Everyone who applies to the Junior Practicum Program will be accepted.

What is the application process for junior practicum?

The application will be available online from July 6-17. For more information about the application process, visit the Junior Practicum Program website.

If a junior has a current summer internship that they can continue through the fall, are they still required to participate in the Junior Summit or other programming?

The Junior Practicum Program is not required. If a student wishes to continue their internship into the fall, they are welcome to do so.

Is the Career Development Center open during the summer?

Yes! The Career Development Center is open year round, and the Career Development team is taking virtual appointments and is ready to support you. For more information visit the Career Development Center website.

Will the junior practicum be compatible with having a full time job/internship in the fall semester?

The Junior Practicum is designed to provide students with meaningful experiences to enhance their career readiness and skills. The micro-internship is intended to help you gain valuable experience and complement your educational studies; it is not intended to be a replacement for a full-time job, in terms of time commitment or compensation.

Can I find my own micro-internship as part of the Junior Practicum?

Yes! Students have the option to find and secure their own micro-internship experience after their WT in September (i.e. Career Readiness Summit), if they would like. They will indicate this preference on their WT application when they apply.


Will everyone be able to participate in SOAR? Will we have to apply or will we be automatically enrolled?

Yes, all interested sophomores who will will be off campus during the spring semester are able to participate in SOAR! More information will become available during the fall semester about a brief application process, which will help us gather information about you and your interests so that we can place you in the proper track.

What about other students who apply to be on campus in the spring? Will there be another opportunity to do SOAR, or can they do SOAR while they are on campus?

Students can only be enrolled in one academic term at a time. For this reason, if a sophomore is on campus during the spring semester, they would not be eligible to participate in SOAR.

For sophomores who will be participating in SOAR’s virtual retreat, what hours of the day are included in that? If they were considering trying to get an internship during spring term, can they still do that or does this take up time they might have spent doing that?

There are two primary components to this year's SOAR program: the virtual retreat in January and the experiential component from February to April. The January retreat will feature full days of weekday programming, scheduled with potential time zone conflicts in mind. It would likely be difficult to participate in the retreat and another opportunity simultaneously. However, students should keep in mind that only the January retreat is required for Winter Term credit, so students could certainly choose to participate in the retreat and then pursue an independent opportunity during the remainder of their semester away from campus.

What dining plans will be offered this year?

Please visit Meal Plan Options and Rates for details.

How will the college handle meals for those with special health issues or needs, allergen sensitivities, or other dietary restrictions?

We will offer an option to meet the needs of students with special health issues and needs, dietary restrictions, or allergen sensitivities. More details will be coming very soon.

Will there be any group dining experiences, or will all meals be grab and go?

We hope to be able to offer dining room experiences but will be following the local health department guidance as it develops over time.

Will grab and go dining be sustainable or plastic based and can students use their own utensils and containers?

Students can not use their own containers or utenstils. We plan to use eco-friendly carry out options.

Will OSCA reopen this academic year? If not, can students who were supposed to eat in a co-op opt out of a formal dining plan?

OSCA will not reopen in the fall. All students will be on a formal dining plan.

If I live off-campus, do I have to be on a meal plan?


Will students be able to cook in the common kitchens? If not, will the college allow microwaves, kettles, induction burners, or other small kitchen appliances in dorm rooms?

Students will be permitted to use common kitchens with posted occupancy limitations. In-room item policies have not changed.

Given the hasty shutdown of campus in March, will students who had remaining flex dollars from the spring have those credited to their account in the fall?

No, all students who departed campus in March have been issued a housing and dining refund.

Since the Kosher Halal Co-op will be closed, how is the college planning to provide students who observe religious dietary restrictions with the kind of food they need?

The college is excited to partner with AVI Fresh to provide students options to meet these needs.

What are the college's plans for dining at Afrikan Heritage House? The increased foot traffic in a dorm with Black students who are disproportionately vulnerable to COVID-19 is a very great concern for this community.

Afrikan Heritage House will continue to serve dinner from Sundays through Thursdays. We plan to utilize traffic movement strategies to help guide students in and out of the dining area without accessing the living space.

How will DeCafe operate next year?

We are still finalizing plans for DeCafe.

For immunocompromised students with dietary restrictions who are off the meal plan, will these students be able to get back on a meal plan that meets their needs given that going to grocery stores to get food increases the risk of contracting COVID-19?


Can I bring my own food with me?

CDS is mindful that not everyone will have refrigerators, and microwave ovens are not allowed in residence hall rooms. For that reason, grocery bags are made up of shelf-stable items and prepared meals from dining halls should be consumed immediately. For those students who want to keep cold beverages and other perishable food items in their rooms, arrangements should be made in advance for a mini-refrigerator. Food can be brought to campus and safely held this way. See the personal belongings policy for mini-refrigerator specifications, or see Housing Services for refrigerator rentals.

Oberlin College is requiring off-campus students to be on a dining plan which requires them to pick up food from a centralized location. Doesn’t this pose more risks for the campus community than letting off-campus students cook for themselves in their own kitchens?

Actually, AVI Fresh, our new dining services provider, is adding more venues and dining options this year, including a dedicated Kosher/Hallal kitchen, allergy-free kitchen, and an order-ahead mobile platform--which add to de-densification efforts. With all culinary staff and managers certified in the National Restaurant Association's COVID-19 training, and following the local health department's guidance, our dining halls meet the CDC's guidelines for very low COVID-19 risks while guarding against food insecurity and missed meals.

What if I have a specific need or question about meal service and menus that I want to ask before visiting the dining halls?

AVI Fresh looks forward to meeting the needs of all students upon arrival to campus; students should use the AVI Fresh “Text-a-Manager” hotline: 440-577-5304 with any dining questions.

What is the Buddy Tray system and how does it work?

Our Buddy Tray program provides students with breakfast, lunch, and dinner while they are recovering from illness. Students must be enrolled in a campus dining meal plan; meals can be charged to your T# and delivered to you.

What will meal service will look like while I am in quarantine and awaiting test results?

Upon check-in, you will pick up a grocery bag of staples and snacks for the quarantine period. Students will be able to visit dining halls for meals using an advance reservation system (more to come on this; please see the Dining Services table at check-in for further details on meal times and dining hall hours of operation). Upon picking up their meal from the dining hall, students should return promptly to their rooms.

When do meal plans start for students on campus for fall?

Meal plans are activated when students visit the dining halls on the date of their respective check-ins.

When do the dining halls and outlets open?

Stevenson Dining Hall is open during the summer and will continue service during the entire arrival period and on into the fall semester. Beginning August 25, other dining halls will open gradually. All CDS locations will be open for regular hours beginning Monday, August 31. All meals will be served in take-out containers and social distancing must be followed while obtaining food in the dining halls. Browse “Your Guide for Eating Great" [file no longer available].

General ExCo Questions

Will students not in session in the fall have access to teaching and taking ExCos?

Yes! Anyone involved in the community of Oberlin will be able to take ExCos in the fall, even from afar. Students who are not in session in the fall will not be able to receive credit for teaching or taking ExCos.

Regarding the mode of instruction: courses that are purely online will be the easiest to engage with remotely, but if you are interested in a course that is hybrid or in-person, please reach out to the instructor of the course to see if they can accommodate you.

How will we maintain social distancing in our classrooms?

ExCo will follow the guidelines set by Oberlin College. These include wearing masks in the classroom and maintaining 6-feet distance from each other. As we learn more guidelines from the college, we will update this page.

How will class sizes change?

ExCo limits its class sizes to 15 students per instructor. Via the information we have about classroom capacities, most classrooms should accommodate 15 students and an instructor. For classes with two instructors (30 students max.), classes may have a reduced student capacity, or may, for example, alternate smaller-group, in-person teaching, and remote teaching. For classes that are entirely online, class sizes will remain the same (15 students per instructor).

How will attendance policies change?

Attendance policies will not change in the fall 2020. ExCo instructors are expected to follow the guidance of Oberlin College concerning missing class for sickness and/or a quarantine period. ExCo students are expected to contact their instructors if they are missing class. Per our policy, if a student misses 25% of classes (e.g., two absences in a course that meets once a week) without communication, the student will not pass the course.

How do you talk clearly through a mask?

We have found this resource helpful when thinking about communicating while wearing a mask. We will update this question as we find more resources.

How will ExCos function if we need to pivot to online classes in fall 2020? Will we be fully online or will ExCos be canceled?

The ExCo Committee is committed to having ExCo courses no matter what learning environment they are set in. In spring 2020, ExCo courses transitioned quickly from in-person to online classes. In that process, only 6 out of 61 courses were unable to transition to an online format and were converted into first module courses. If classes were suddenly to move completely online, we would make a similar transition and continue to offer ExCo courses in different capacities online.

How will the grading policy change?

ExCo’s grading policy prior to COVID-19 will not change: ExCo students and ExCo instructors will be graded using the P/NP option, the P grade being A+ through C-, and NP grade being D or F.

ExCo Instructors

When should we schedule midterms and finals? For example, should the ExCos have their finals before Thanksgiving break?

Midterms will take place around the middle of the semester (around Week 7). This is likely to vary slightly from course to course.

Since ExCo grades are due during the reading period, all work should be completed by the last day of classes. Please contact the ExCo Committee if you have specific questions for your course.

If your ExCo is a practicum and includes a performance or show as a component of the final, you may hold that on campus prior to Thanksgiving. You will be required to complete remaining components of the final and course remotely between Thanksgiving until the end of the semester.

What is the process for reserving rooms for our ExCo?

Reserving rooms will be a similar process as in years past and will be covered during Instructor Orientation.

Where should we hold our class?

The room in which you hold your course will depend on your course type. We recommend a space that is large enough to accommodate your class size, and one that fits your class’s needs (e.g., Do you need a projector? Do you need a white board?). Please contact the ExCo Committee if you have specific questions for your course.

How do you keep things interesting while teaching online?

There is no simple solution to this question. It is an ongoing learning process for all educators to learn how to engage students online.

Creating a survey at the beginning of the semester gauging your students’ feelings about the best way to learn online, their least preferred methods (i.e. lecturing for 60 minutes straight with no break), and other information would be a good place to start and know how to best engage your students.

Resources for teaching online:

We are concerned about being able to have sufficient cleaning materials and other PPE in order to run a clean and safe ExCo. What supplies will ExCo be able to provide?

We do not know the answer to this question at this time. We will update this page as we receive more information.

Given that students will be fairly isolated living alone and doing some classwork remotely, what extracurricular activities do you anticipate will still be available in the fall and spring?

The Student Activities Office will continue to work with student organizations to provide an extracurricular experience for our students within the health guidelines.

What types of events do you expect to be canceled for the year? Please address cover band showcase, big parade, concerts, plays, musicals, operas, performances, and other events?

We are in discussion about large-scale events and hope to have decisions made by mid-July.

Do you have a plan yet for non-athletic group activities such as choir, theater, a cappella, and other performance ensembles?

We are in discussion about large-scale events and hope to have decisions made by mid-July.

What will happen with student organizations, generally? What rules will be in place for club meetings, etc.?

Student organizations will need to follow the health guidelines. We are currently working on specific guidelines for all student organizations.

Will the radio station (WOBC) still operate?

Yes, there may be some restrictions based on the health guidelines.

Will the art rental program still be in effect?


Will Connect Cleveland still happen?

We are exploring options to integrate components of the Connect Cleveland program into career development initiatives, providing students opportunities to connect with local Cleveland organizations, alumni, and industry leaders.

Please address how Oberlin will deal with heat relief in the summer for dorms and classrooms. Will there be air-conditioning?

We will assign as many students to air-conditioned rooms as possible for the summer. We will also assess the electrical capacity of our dormitories and investigate the feasibility of increasing the number of air-conditioned rooms on campus.

Have you considered converting outdoor areas to common spaces (by tenting) to de-densify?

Yes, we are working with the College and Conservatory staff, the campus grounds supervisor, and our tent vendor on locations and types of tents.

What will be the protocols for using practice rooms in the Conservatory?

Please see the Conservatory's FAQ page.

Will I have access to campus facilities during the term in which I'm not enrolled?

Students who are not enrolled are not permitted to visit campus, as they are not part of the College testing plan.

How will communal spaces like Mudd and Wilder function?

All communal spaces will be de-densified and access will be limited based on social distancing. This will be determined on a space-by-space basis.

What precautions will be taken for communal bathrooms/kitchens on campus? Will frequent cleanings be enforced?

Communal bathrooms will be cleaned more frequently. Kitchen access will be limited. We have yet to determine which kitchens will be available for use. If a communal kitchen is open, students will have to follow disinfecting guidelines. There will be disinfectant products in the kitchen for use before and after using any communal appliances.

Will lids be installed on toilets that currently only have seats?

We are looking into the feasibility of this.

I’m curious about the HVAC systems on campus - what is the risk involved with the older systems? Do you consider UV filters a standard?

All HVAC systems have been reviewed against CDC, EPS and heath department guidelines with our expert licensed mechanical engineer advisors and licensed HVAC vendors. We are installing UV disinfection and higher rated MERV filters where it has been determined to be effective in HVAC systems. Additionally where needed, external air exchanges and fan speeds have been adjusted.

What is the additional cleaning protocol for dorms and bathrooms?

All cleaning products are CDC hospital grade for bio-hazard, anti-viral, and bacterial cleaners. All communal spaces will be deep cleaned daily with additional high touch point cleaning conducted multiple times daily. Additional cleaning supplies will be available in bathrooms and communal spaces.

Will the use of air purifiers with HEPA filters be useful in smaller offices and rooms as an added layer of air protection?

The College has researched these individual systems and they were not recommended as being effective for COVID.

Will swipe access to buildings be expanded for faculty who need to gain entry to a variety of academic buildings during all hours of the day and night?

The College will look into expanding access to various groups who need entry into academic building during off-hours. Our primary responsibility is to the health and safety of everyone on campus. Our next priority is supporting Oberlin’s academic mission. If we can support the latter while still maintaining appropriate safety levels, we will consider expanding access.

Some schools have identified water sitting in plumbing for several months as a source of Legionnaire’s Disease. Is this something Oberlin is addressing?

Oberlin is aware of this issue and typically takes steps to address it after a long period of little to no use, even in a non-COVID19 year.. As a precaution recently, the College flushed all buildings during the summer and prior to move in.

What kinds of extra/new financial aid opportunities are there for students with increased financial need due to COVID-19?

Students who have had a change in circumstance, loss of income, or other financial issue may appeal to be considered for additional need-based financial aid by emailing financial.aid@oberlin.edu.

When will students receive financial aid decisions for next year?

Financial aid awards for students whose aid file is complete are beginning to be available to be viewed in Banner self-service. You will receive an email when your aid is available.

Considering the absence of OSCA, what provisions will be made for students who relied on the co-op system for financial accessibility to Oberlin?

Students who apply for need-based financial aid receive aid up to their financial need for assistance, based on the cost of attendance for the year. The cost of room and board will be considered in that process.

How is my financial aid affected if I need to attend all three semesters to stay on track?

Students are not able to attend a third semester for credit.

Will financial aid packages be updated if there are changes to tuition and housing/dining charges?

For students living and dining on campus, there will not be changes to tuition or other charges*. For students studying 100% remotely and not living on campus, need-based aid will decrease, as you will not be charged for housing and/or dining on campus. For those living off campus but attending on campus, your charges will include a charge for a meal plan unless otherwise exempted. Your financial aid will be based on this cost of attendance, and need-based aid may be adjusted.

If a student athlete chooses to do remote learning in the fall, how will it affect their aid?

If any student is 100% remote in the fall, their charges will be reduced as they will not be charged for housing, and consequently if they receive a need-based grant, that will likely decrease as well. We will revise all financial aid as needed once we receive the final list of students studying remotely.

Will parents be welcome on campus? Is there a parent orientation?

Parent Orientation will be presented remotely during the month of August along with student orientation.

May parents help their student move into their dorm?

Yes. One person Two people at a time may assist a student moving into the residence halls.

What are the dates of on-campus orientation?

Following Oberlin's remote August orientation period and August winter term, welcome days will be the week before classes begin on Monday, August 31. However, due to the implications of COVID-19, all program dates are subject to change. Fall in-person classes will begin on Monday, August 31. Please continue to check the orientation website for the most up-to-date details: www.oberlin.edu/orientation.

Where can parents stay when dropping off their students since the hotel is not operating this year?

There are many options for places to stay around Oberlin. Please see the Area Accommodations page.

Can you tell us more about the time requirements for the August orientation / winter term, so that we can plan jobs/other plans? Will it be at certain times of day, and how much of each day?

Beginning August 3, the remote components of orientation will feature a series of programs welcoming parents and students to Oberlin and introducing you to all we have to offer. Some of these programs will be live, and many will be recorded for you to watch at your leisure before coming to campus. Many of the sessions throughout the month are required. Please watch for instructions for accessing Guidebook, a schedule app that will have more details, including how students can join sessions and whether they are expected to join live. The Orientation website will be updated as information becomes available.

You mentioned that students will be tested and then quarantine for 24-48 hours upon move-in. What does this look like?

Students will be asked to self-isolate as much as possible until test results come back from the lab. That will mean spending as much time in dorm rooms as possible.

Please elaborate on how you will orient these students and prevent them from being isolated. They arrive on campus and then isolate for 48 hours. Then what? How do they build community? How do they make friends? How do they support each other?

There are many events/programs being planned by the Student Activities Office, Residential Assistants, student organizations, RemObies, PALs and various other departments to insure that students have the opportunity to meet one another and learn about the robust student life on campus.

Has a date been set for graduation 2021?

A specific date for commencement has not yet been finalized. However, it is tentatively scheduled to be held in late April, between the end of Spring term (April 15) and the beginning of Summer Term (May 3rd).

What will graduation look like?

We do not yet have this information, but will update as soon as possible.

Will there be limits to how many people can attend graduation?

We do not yet have this information, but will update as soon as possible.

Health Safety Expectations / Behavior

Can you outline some of the safety measures that Oberlin intends to have in place (or require)? Specifically, I am interested in your expectations about use of masks in open spaces, classrooms, etc.

Oberlin College will be requiring all Oberlin College faculty, staff, students, and visitors to wear a mask when in public including classrooms, administrative offices, gyms, libraries, dining commons (except when eating) and open spaces. When alone, faculty, staff, and students will not be required to wear a mask in the privacy of their own room or office. Physical distancing (at least 6 feet), hand washing, and daily symptom monitoring via an app will be enforced. All faculty, staff, and students will be tested for COVID-19 at the beginning of each semester and then at regular intervals (approximately once a month) during the semester.

Will students be restricted from gathering socially? How will this be enforced?

A policy is now in place for proper socialization under the COVID-19 recommendations concerning public health. Students will complete a Community Standards Agreement prior to coming to campus which will be enforced in conjunction with our Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. Behavior that endangers community health may result in immediate departure from/access to campus with refund implications.

May students have guests in their rooms?

Student visitors to your room in residence halls are limited to two per resident if you can maintain 6 feet of physical distancing and wear masks.

How much are you working with the city of Oberlin on their infection control strategy? If some businesses are not up to par, will you prevent students from patronizing them?

We will not be preventing students from patronizing local businesses. All businesses will be expected to abide by local and state laws and regulations. Any business in violation should be reported to the Lorain County Public Health Department.

Will distancing guidelines be less strict once the whole campus has been together "in place" for a month or so, assuming no one tests positive?

There are no plans to loosen guidelines over the course of the academic year. We will be following the guidance of the CDC, state and local public health departments.

Are expectations related to move-in, testing, physical distancing, or the social contract different for students who are living off campus?

No, we will have the same expectations of all of our community members no matter if they are living on or off campus.


Will face shields (transparent plastic) be an acceptable alternative to face masks?

No, according to the Lorain County Public Health Department, the research is inconclusive regarding the effectiveness of face shields as an acceptable alternative to face masks. Currently, we will be requiring all Oberlin College community members to wear masks. We will change this recommendation if CDC research shows that face shields are just as effective as face masks in slowing the spread of the virus.

Can students use their own masks, or only those provided by the college? If students are able to use their own masks, are there any standards that must be met?

Students may use their own masks. The mask must completely cover the nose and mouth.

Will professors wear masks when lecturing?

Faculty will use appropriate PPE and physical distancing.

I cannot wear a mask while eating or drinking. Am I allowed to eat or drink outside of my room?

Students are permitted to eat or drink in outside spaces as long as they are able to properly socially distance (six feet away from other community members). This can include eating outside at a picnic bench or in one of Oberlin College’s several quads. Masks should be put back on directly after eating or drinking.

Do I need to wear a mask while exercising outdoors?

Students are required to wear a mask while exercising outdoors on Oberlin’s campus. There are special exceptions that will be permitted via Oberlin’s Athletics Department on a case-by-case basis. For additional help, please consult with Oberlin’s Athletics Department (440-775-8500) or the Dean of Students Office (440-775-8462).

How can we expect students to use masks all the time, including when they are outside? I have been in NY and we are using masks, but the reality is you get home after an hour or two and you need to take the mask and take a break.

We know that it will be challenging for students, faculty and staff to wear a mask while in public including when they are outdoors. We are taking a conservative approach because we believe that it will slow the spread of the virus on our campus and mitigate an outbreak. Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to remove their masks when they are alone in the privacy of their rooms and offices.

What face coverings are acceptable other than masks? Do face shields work?

Face shields are not as effective as face masks but are adequate as a face covering. We are recommending that all students have a fabric mask (at least 2 layers). Scarves and bandanas are not effective face coverings.

May I remove my mask to use face recognition on my phone or tablet?

No. Masks must be worn whenever you are outside of a private bedroom or office. It may be useful to set a numeric passcode so that you can access your devices even when wearing a mask.

Social Contract

Please describe the social contract you are asking students to sign. When may we review it? How does it relate to HIPAA laws?

Our social contract applies to faculty, staff, and students and will include testing, wearing masks, social distancing, handwashing, and daily symptom-monitoring via an app. We will ask you to bring your own thermometer to campus, and to use it before beginning each day. We will explain how to use the daily online screening tool app to help detect symptoms of COVID-19. We are also asking you to be particularly careful during the two weeks prior to coming to Oberlin, and to take great care when traveling here.

What are the consequences of violating the social contract?

Our student conduct system prioritizes community safety, education, and restorative principles. Our system offers students several potential follow-up processes for policy violations, including: a) informal documentation and conversations; b) restorative conferences with an administrative hearing officer; and, c) a formal community board hearing involving students and faculty members. A range of possible consequences/sanctions is available at Student Conduct Sanctioning.

Symptom Monitoring

Will an app be used for symptom monitoring? Will there be a website version in case a student's phone is non-operational?

A web application will help you monitor your symptoms using a daily questionnaire. Faculty, students, and staff will be able to access this tool via phone, computer, or tablet.

Can the symptom monitoring tool be used to track physical distancing, or does it only help identify symptoms?

The tool will only help with identifying symptoms; it will not track physical distancing.

Will the symptom monitoring tool have a push notification for students who forget to log each day?

No, it will not have a push notification, but it will send an email reminder.

What kind of symptoms should I report to the Full Measure survey?

Full Measure is one strategy to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The survey reminds the entire Oberlin campus community to monitor how they feel every day. The Full Measure symptom questions ask you to report symptoms that are "different from normal." For example, if you have allergies and experience frequent congestion and a runny nose, respond "no" to the question as this is your norm. This is true for any typical symptoms you experience. However, if your symptoms are unusual and you do not feel well, please answer the survey honestly. Stay home and contact Student Health Service or, for employees, your healthcare provider.

Do I have to take the survey when I do not plan to be on campus?

Everyone is asked to complete the Full Measure survey on a daily basis even if they are studying or working remotely. In this situation, you only have to answer one question indicating that you will not be on campus. You will not be given any symptom questions to answer.

The myriad of student, faculty and staff arrangements related to their presence on campus makes it impossible to eliminate individual accounts. Your understanding is appreciated as we work collectively to maintain a safe learning environment.


How often will students be tested?

Students will be tested throughout the semester, roughly once a month. Athletes will be tested approximately once a week.

What test will be used?

A nasal swab testing for COVID-19 (not antibodies). Test results will be communicated directly to the student via email.

Where will students go to get tested?

Testing will take place at Williams Field House.

What happens if a student refuses regular testing?

The testing is one of the layers of the strategy we are creating to help keep our campus community safe. We will need everyone to participate to make this as effective as possible. If someone elects not to participate, we suggest they not come to campus. Those who decline to participate in testing and other behaviors meant to keep the community safe will be asked to leave campus.

If a student’s healthcare plan pays for COVID-19 testing, how will this impact the testing fee charged by the college?

Oberlin is finalizing a documentation request process for students and their parents to submit to their insurance carrier for reimbursement of testing fees. Please keep checking the ObieSafe newsletter and website for more information.

Will students return to campus in organized, staggered groups that are tested as they come to campus?

We are creating a testing schedule that aligns with orientation and move-in. Students will be assigned an arrival time. We ask that you keep that appointment so we can regulate the number of people on campus at any one time during this process. Students will be tested and asked to self-isolate until we receive the results.

How will the college communicate infection rates to campus?

ObieSafe Weekly is a weekly email generally sent on Tuesdays to the Oberlin College community including students, parents, faculty, and staff. Updates are also posted on a weekly basis to the ObieSafe website.

Can protocols be put in place to notify parents in case of illness?

If a student is hospitalized due to illness, parents will be notified. If a student tests positive for COVID-19 and is not hospitalized, we will need to have the student's written permission to notify parents.

Will testing results be shared with just Student Health or with faculty members as well?

Testing results will be shared only with Student Health.

Many students will already be able to show that they have antibodies and will neither be at risk nor a risk to others. How will you take account of this?

Currently, we do not know whether the presence of antibodies alone provides greater immunity. Therefore, the expectations of physical distancing, mask-wearing, testing, symptom monitoring, and good hygiene will be the same for every Oberlin College community member.

Since you are testing everyone and they are essentially not leaving campus until Thanksgiving, it seems to me that regular testing might eventually not be necessary. Will you look at the R for the town of Oberlin and then shift based on the local epidemiology?

The current plan is to provide regular testing throughout the academic year. Any change in the plan would only occur after guidance from state and local health authorities.

Are the employees of Oberlin going to be tested as often as the students?

Yes. Faculty and staff will also be tested throughout the semester, roughly once a month.

Will athletes be charged for the extra testing they'll require?

To be safe, athletes will be tested weekly during their seasons. The college is assessing its options for covering the added costs for these tests. Athletes should be prepared to pay increased fees for the additional testing.

Will there be contact tracing if a test comes back positive?

Yes. Oberlin College will be conducting internal contact tracing along with additional external contact tracing conducted by the Lorain County Public Health Department. Contact tracing by the college is only done for College students and employees. If you have concerns about exposure to or from someone outside of the college’s community, please contact the Lorain County Public Health Department.

It is important to comply with the requests of college contact tracers and to answer openly and honestly. Participation in necessary contact tracing is part of the Community Agreement and an important part in keeping our campus safe.

Is Mercy doing testing yet, and if not, how are students who may be sick going to get transported to testing facilities?

Mercy Allen Hospital in Oberlin will be providing COVID-19 testing for any student who is symptomatic.

My daughter is healthy herself, but has an immunocompromised brother, as well as, a mom with asthma. Would it be possible to get her tested just before she leaves Oberlin campus for home?

All students will be scheduled for tests in November. Anyone who wants to ensure a student is tested immediately before leaving campus for home should arrange for a separate test at a local independent testing site. Remember to allow time for processing. Also, understand that there is risk of contracting the virus while in transit from Oberlin to home.

As schools across the nation ramp up, do you think you will be able to keep up the frequency of testing and timely results?

The company (Tempus) providing the tests has secured enough tests for the academic year and has the staffing to provide us timely results throughout the year.

I have read that some labs have developed a saliva-based test that is relatively unintrusive and yields results within minutes. Would Oberlin be able to adopt those tests?

Due to the lack of availability, Oberlin College will not have access to these tests during fall semester.

If I test positive for Covid-19, does the college automatically share that information with my family or my emergency contacts, or does the college first need my permission to share that information?

The Community Agreement signed by all students returning to campus includes authorization for the college to share with emergency contacts information related to the COVID-19 diagnoses. If your parents are not listed as your emergency contacts and you would like them to receive updates regarding your medical condition, including a positive test for Covid-19, there is a form available through the student health center that students can complete to identify with whom they would like the college to share their medical information. Parents, if you want to receive medical updates pertaining to your adult student, you need to be listed as their medical emergency contact. Please be sure to check with them regarding who they have listed as their emergency contact. Your adult student is the only individual who can update this information.

Many colleges are testing more frequently, either weekly or even twice a week. Do you think Oberlin's plan to test once a month is going to be sufficient to track Covid on campus?

Oberlin College does not have the capacity to test more frequently than our current plan. We do believe that the current frequency of testing will reduce the transmission of the virus on our campus.

Should students be tested for antibodies before returning to campus?

Students are welcome to be tested for antibodies. Oberlin College will not be requiring antibody testing. Researchers are still unclear whether the presence of antibodies is indicative of immunity in regard to COVID 19.

What are the "false" rates (both positive and negative) for this test?

Tempus reports that their tests are more than 98% accurate.

Which specific PCR test will be deployed at Oberlin? (There are many varieties.)

The Tempus COVID-19 PCR assay detects the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA (the causative viral agent of the COVID-19 clinical syndrome) in upper respiratory tract specimen from people at risk for COVID-19. The assay uses revers-transcription coupled with a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) targeting three SARS-CoV-2 genes: N (nucleocapsid protein), S (spike protein), and ORF!AB. The assay includes positive and negative plate level controls as well as a sample level internal control. Together, these verify the efficacy of RNA extraction, PCR amplification and can identify contamination.

How often are you updating data and sharing it?

We are sharing updates weekly on the ObieSafe website to provide perspective on trends in the data. Anything more frequent would provide skewed versions of the public health trends taking place on campus. Each week Obie safely will provide you with a variety of information including the testing results for the campus during the past week.

A number of new tests are being developed and made widely available. Is the College considering adopting these tests in addition to or in lieu of the PCR test currently being conducted on campus?

The College is consistently considering additional or alternative testing methods to improve the health and safety of the campus community. Scientists are moving forward swiftly on faster and cheaper tests to detect COVID-19. The College is keeping abreast of the advances in testing and will look at all opportunities to improve our testing program when those options become publicly available.

Test Scheduling

I will be teaching or working remotely and will not be on campus. Do I need to sign up for a test appointment?

No, you do not need to sign up for a test. If, however, you intend to drop in on campus at any time, you need to have been tested and received a negative result before arriving on campus.

I will primarily be teaching or working remotely, but may be on campus occasionally. Do I need to schedule a test?

Yes. You must have been tested and received a negative result before arriving on campus. Your test must have occurred within 30 days of the date you intend to be on campus.

I would like to or already have been tested for COVID-19 elsewhere. Can I forward the results to Oberlin College and skip being tested on campus?

No. You must be tested by Oberlin College.

I am out of town and can’t sign up for a test on the days it is being offered to my group. What should I do?

While you should make every effort to be tested during normal test periods for your group, we will offer additional make-up appointments throughout the semester. As make-up dates and times are determined, you will receive an email message explaining how to sign up.

I will not be on campus until late August. When can I be tested?

Keep in mind that the first day of classes is August 31, 2020 and faculty or staff members will not be permitted on campus without having been tested and received a negative test result. Test samples are delivered to the lab overnight, and it can take more than 48 hours for tests to be returned once they’ve arrived in the lab.

If you’re arriving in Oberlin very late in August, there may not be enough time to schedule a make-up test and for those test results to be returned prior to the start of classes. We advise that you make plans to return to campus earlier if possible. If not, contact your Dean or supervisor to make alternative arrangements.

I scheduled my test for a day/time that I cannot attend. How can I reschedule?

First, please search your Oberlin issued email address inbox for your appointment confirmation email. That email will contain information on how to reschedule/cancel. If you are unable to locate your confirmation, please search for an email title “Keep this Email to Reschedule our COVID-19 Test Appointments This Semester.” This email contains a unique to you link that will allow you to reschedule a test. In addition, contact covid.testing@oberlin.edu and request that your original appointment be canceled.

Cost of Testing

How much will testing cost per student?

The $530 fee covers the costs of students’ monthly tests and the administration of the program.

Is the $530 fee per semester, or for the whole year?

The fee helps cover the program's costs for testing and administration per semester. Students who attend two semesters will be charged the fee each semester.

Is the fee covered by the health plan that the college offers?

Health insurance is not covering testing costs for people who are not demonstrating symptoms. The health plan the college offers is taking the same approach and is not covering testing costs.

When will the testing fee be posted on the term bill?

The COVID testing fee will be posted to the August bills of students who are enrolled in on-campus classes.

Are the testing fees included in the health fee?

No, the fee for COVID testing is in addition to the traditional health fee, which supports Student Health Services.

Will financial aid be available to help parents pay the testing fee?

For students who are charged the testing fee and are need-based financial aid applicants, the Financial Aid Office will add the cost of testing to your financial aid cost of attendance and determine if you qualify for additional assistance to help offset this charge. If a student qualifies for additional assistance, that aid will be added to the financial aid award and applied to the student account. If students do not apply for need-based aid, or no additional aid is available to a student, another option for assistance with this charge would be applying to the CAREs Act Fund. The application can be found at the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act page.

Quarantine and Isolation

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19? How does isolation work? Who will take care of me if I develop symptoms? Who will bring me food?

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they will be placed in a room with their own bathroom at the Hotel at Oberlin. Students will be provided information on how to monitor their symptoms and who to call if symptoms worsen. Medical professionals from Student Health Services will check in with students daily to monitor symptoms and make sure they have everything they need. Food will be delivered three times a day to the student's room. Students will be able to access their classes online.

If a student is quarantined during the semester, will they be able to continue learning remotely in the 2+ weeks they will be unable to attend in-person classes?

Yes, students will have access to their classes online. Make-up work will be negotiated with professors for classes that require in-person attendance, such as labs.

What is the quarantine policy for re-entry onto campus after having been away? Will students (especially those coming from hot spots) be required to quarantine for a period of time when they arrive in Oberlin? How will this work? Will students be in their rooms? In their halls? How will they get food and any other things they need?

Students must request temporary travel approval and adhere to the all expectations set forth by the Dean of Students Office. Quarantine upon return will be required for a period of at least 7 days, or possibly more, in the quarantine dorm upon return. Returning students will not be permitted to quarantine in their permanent housing assignment. Food will be delivered. A PCR test must be taken after 5 days in quarantine and students must remain in the quarantine down until a clear result is received. Once a clear result has been received, they may return to their assigned housing.

If a student in a given in-person class tests positive for COVID-19, is the entire class required to quarantine?

Not necessarily, we will be relying on contact tracing and guidance provided by Lorain County Public Health to determine who will need to be quarantined.

If a student is isolated, will their parents have access to them?

The guidance from Lorain County Public Health is that if a student has tested positive for COVID-19, they should remain isolated with no physical contact with others (except for medical personnel) until they have been medically cleared. All students who have tested positive will have daily check-ins from medical providers. Parents will have access to students via phone, web, etc.

Besides food deliveries, etc., how will isolated symptomatic covid patients be monitored? Will individuals with no symptoms who are self-quarantining also be monitored by health professionals?

All isolatated and quarantined students will be monitored daily by a health professional. Therefore, students who are asymptomatic and are quarantining will be monitored daily.

If someone in your in-person class tests positive, will everyone in the class need to quarantine for 14 days, even if everyone was wearing masks and was six feet apart? Or will they be immediately tested?

No. Lorain County Public Health will provide contact tracing in which they will determine if anyone in that class needs to quarantine and/or be tested.

If someone who is infected with Covid-19 clinically recovers and is later identified as a contact of a new case, should they be quarantined again?

Given what we scientifically know right now, the answer is yes. We don't know whether someone who has been infected and then exposed is capable of transmitting the virus or not. We will err on the side of caution.

What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease. Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease (COVID-19) from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

What benchmarks or guidelines will be used to decide when additional isolation measures should be taken in regard to a COVID-19 outbreak on campus?

We are analyzing a number of factors to decide which steps we should take to ensure the safety of those on campus. Data such as the positivity rate of our testing program, the number of students we have in isolation in the hotel and in quarantine in dorms, the growth rate of our case load, the location of spread on campus, and other input points (including local and national data) are all factors that we would consider. We consult almost daily with the Lorain County Public Health department (“LCPH”) and any decisions of magnitude are made in consultation with these health professions. In our discussions with LCPH about this very matter, they have indicated that bright line rules are not the method by which we should make these decisions. Rather, they have indicated that it is this multifactorial approach that must be weighed against the facts as they present themselves. Therefore, there are no hard and fast or singular metrics upon which to make a determination. We also have a series of intermediate steps, between closing the campus entirely, that we can make as compared to our situation in March. If we felt actions were necessary and the data suggested we should alter our course, we could take any variety of steps, including closing facilities, making all classes remote for a given period, expanding quarantine measures and more.

Contact Tracing

How will contact tracing work?

Once an Oberlin College community member (student, faculty, staff) has been identified as testing positive for COVID-19, the COVID-19 Campus Health Coordinator will be notified and begin the contact tracing process. Lorain County Public Health (LCPH) Department will be notified and begin their contact tracing process as well.

What app will be used for contact tracing, and what are the data usage and privacy policies of the app?

We will not be using an app for contact tracing. All contact tracing on our campus will be conducted by the Lorain County Public Health Department.

Flu Shots

Will flu shots be required this year?

Students are required to receive the influenza vaccine this year. Exceptions will be made for medical or religious reasons. Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to as well. Flu shots will be available at the time of every person’s COVID-19 test throughout the month of October. Students arriving on campus for the first time in January must have uploaded documentation of their flu vaccine prior to arrival. More information can be found in the September 22 ObieSafe Weekly email.

Will you require/strongly encourage staff and faculty to get a seasonal flu shot?

Yes, we will be strongly recommending that all staff and faculty get a seasonal flu shot.

When is the best time to get a flu shot in order for it to be most effective?

Oberlin College Student Health recommends receiving the flu shot from late-September through early November.

If I get a flu shot in August, should I get one again in December or January, because the vaccine's effectiveness wanes after a few months?

It is not recommended to get two flu shots in the same season. If you do get a shot in August, research has shown that the vaccine's effectiveness may wane in the later months of flu season (February, March). You should consult with your medical provider if you are considering a second flu shot.

Is there an enhanced value of a flu shot this year? Does it give a better chance of fighting off COVID-19?

For the upcoming influenza season, which typically peaks in January/February, influenza vaccination will be paramount to reduce the impact of respiratory illnesses on campus and further strain on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is no evidence that the flu shot gives one a better chance of fighting off COVID-19.

What is the college’s plan for ensuring the supply and distribution of flu shots for students, faculty, and staff in the fall?

We currently have 1000 vaccines available. We have just ordered another 2500 vaccines in order to provide vaccines for all students, faculty and staff.


Could you comment on the data related to vitamin D status and Covid mortality/prevention?

Research has been mixed in regard to Vitamin D as a preventative measure for COVID 19. Many researchers believe that we receive adequate amounts of Vitamin D in our diets and through sun exposure especially during summer and fall months. There may be greater danger in taking a Vitamin D supplement because higher levels of Vitamin D can be toxic and lead to heart and kidney problems. Please see this article for more information.

Please comment on the importance of lifestyle factors to overall immunity including COVID prevention (including eating the rainbow and getting sufficient sleep - see recent study on the importance of melatonin in Journal of Melatonin). How can the average person strengthen their immune system?

We will be encouraging all of our students to practice good self-care including eating a well-balanced diet, getting sufficient sleep, moderating alcohol and other drug use, and engaging in regular exercise.

Should students be wiping down grab and go dining containers? How important is surface spread?

It is always good practice to wipe down high touch surfaces. However, research has not shown that people contract COVID 19 from food containers.

Medical Facilities and Support

What will staffing look like at the Student Health Center? Will it be different from previous years?

Currently, staffing will be the same as previous years. We have a plan to increase staffing if it becomes necessary.

Can I access student health in the term I am not enrolled on campus?

If students are residing in Ohio during the term they are not enrolled, they can access Student Health Services. Student Health will not be able to provide telehealth to students who are not residing in the state of Ohio (which would apply to most students not enrolled).

What are Oberlin’s hospitalization agreements with Mercy Allen and/or other Cleveland-area hospitals should they become necessary?

Students will be triaged at Student Health Services. If testing/hospitalization is warranted, students will go to Mercy Allen to be tested/stabilized (depending upon severity of presenting concerns). If students need ongoing care, they will be transferred to Mercy Lorain Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, or University Hospitals of Cleveland.

For students who test positive and quarantine: Will these students be monitored daily by a medical professional for symptoms? What is the process for students to understand how to monitor their symptoms? Will each student be given a pulse oximeter to monitor O2 saturation? Who do they check in with daily about their symptoms and progress or decline? What is the protocol for students who get too sick to be left unattended? Who do they call, who decides if they need to go to a hospital, how do they arrange transportation, etc.?

Yes, students will be monitored daily by Oberlin College Student Health Services medical staff. Students will receive an instructional sheet that will inform them of the symptoms they need to be monitoring and who to call if their symptoms worsen. Students will not be given a pulse oximeter. If a student needs hospitalization, Student Health Services will help arrange for a medical transport to Mercy Allen Hospital. Students will call Student Health Services during our normal business hours (Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm). After hours, students will be instructed to call Mercy Allen Emergency Department. A medical professional from Student Health services or from Mercy Allen Hospital will determine if the student needs to go to the hospital.

How will the college support students who are immunocompromised, especially sophomores who are coming and going twice?

We strongly recommend that any student who is immunocompromised consult with their medical provider before deciding to return to school. Students, parents, and medical providers are welcome to speak with the director of Student Health and Counseling if they have any questions about our plan or any other health-related matters.

Please provide specific information about the capabilities of Mercy Hospital vs. the Cleveland Clinic network. How can parents ensure that any child in real trouble can get to a top-notch Cleveland hospital - and how would Oberlin's protocols define "in real trouble"?

All students who are symptomatic will be evaluated by Mercy Allen Hospital in Oberlin. If needed, Mercy Allen will work with the student until they are stabilized. If the student needs longer term care they will be transferred to Mercy Lorain, Cleveland Clinic, or University Hospitals of Cleveland depending on the level of care needed. Students and their families can request to be sent to a specific hospital (if that hospital is appropriate for the type of care the student requires). If a student is hospitalized, it is Oberlin College's policy to inform parents or legal guardian. Mercy Allen medical staff will determine the level of care needed depending upon the student's symptomatology.

What should we do if our student gets Covid while at Oberlin?

If a student tests positive for COVID 19 while at Oberlin, they will be placed in a room at the Oberlin Hotel. While there, students will receive 3 meals a day and will have a medical professional checking in with them daily. The usual time in isolation will be 10-14 days. Lorain County Public Health has stated that the student should not travel home until they have be medically cleared. Lorain County Public Health has also stated that visitations from parents should not be allowed because of the potential of spread to the community. We would recommend that parents have regular contact with their student via phone, social media, or Zoom. With the student's permission, Student Health professionals would be happy to speak with you about how we can partner to provide the best possible care for your student.

Non-COVID Illnesses

What happens if you get sick with something other than Covid-19, like strep or the stomach flu?

Students are encouraged to call Student Health Services if they are experiencing any symptoms. A medical professional will determine whether you need to be seen in person or if you can be treated via telehealth. If a student is experiencing a sore throat (which could indicate strep), they most likely will be seen in person in order to test for strep. Other conditions like the stomach flu may be treated via telehealth or may be referred to the flu clinic at Mercy Health in Oberlin.

Health Insurance

If a student has health insurance through Oberlin, will there be a break in coverage during the term that they are not on campus? My student is part of the spring/summer cohort and will not be on campus for fall, can we still enroll in the Oberlin Student Health Insurance?

Yes, students in the spring/summer cohort will be billed for the Student Health Insurance in July and may enroll, or waive if eligible, at that time.

The plan does not cover out-of-state expenses which infers that a family would be required to carry two plans for their student – is this accurate?

The Oberlin Student Health Insurance is a nationwide plan that covers expenses outside Ohio.

If a student tests positive while on campus, who will pay the cost of treatment? Can the student's medical insurance cover that cost? And do you have any designated hospitals for that purpose?

Oberlin's Student Health Insurance by Anthem will cover 100% cost of treatment. If a student has other coverage, the student would need to contact that insurance to determine what is covered.

Does the Oberlin Student Health Insurance cover COVID testing and treatment?

Yes, Anthem is covering doctor-ordered testing and treatment at 100% through 12/31/2020.

Disability Resources

How will you ensure that the needs of all the students who need academic, housing, and dining accommodations are met? Will disability resources be expanded in light of how many more people will need accommodations given the recent circumstances?

Disability Resources will continue to provide accommodations based on the ADA as before. If the need arises for additional departmental assistance, the College has a plan in place to provide that. If you wish to request accommodations, please visit Disability Resources: Prospective Students.


Since juniors are not returning to campus in the fall, what is the plan for all personal belongings left in dorm rooms when we had to vacate in March - we were told it would be moved to our room in the fall, including clothes left in dressers. Do we need to travel to campus to arrange for storage of these items until we return to campus in January? Will we be able to retrieve items left on campus before we return in January if we want to?

Res Ed will store your items until you return to campus for the spring term. If you would like to come to campus to pick up your items before the college reopens, please contact your Area Coordinator to schedule a time for pick-up. If you are not returning to campus and would like to have the items shipped, we will assist you in setting up shipment to your address. Costs will be billed to your student account. If you have financial need in regard to shipping costs, please request assistance from the OC Student CARES Act Fund.

Residence Halls

When will we receive our housing assignments?

We are still finalizing the housing selection timeline and will provide additional information once it becomes available. Information will be sent to your Oberlin email account and posted online at How Selection Works.

May we stay in Oberlin during the term we are scheduled to be away if we are able to find off-campus housing?

The College strongly encourages students not to live in the city of Oberlin during the semester they are not enrolled. The goal of the three-semester plan is to de-densify the campus and community, and increasing the number of people in town could contribute to COVID-19 transmission.

Will village housing still be available?


Must we reapply for housing / how will housing assignments work?

You will not have to reapply; however, we will allow you some time to change your housing and dining preferences. We understand that your housing and dining preferences may have changed since you completed your housing application back in March. We are also offering some exciting new housing communities that you might want to add to your preferences. We will send more information about the housing selection process soon.

Will students have to move in and out of their rooms if they are not there for consecutive terms?

Unfortunately, students who are on campus for only fall and summer will need to completely move out after fall term. The housing assignments for fall and summer terms may be the same but we can't make any guarantees.

Will more students be granted off-campus status to allow for greater spacing?

Students must have completed 6 semesters in residence (i.e., seniors) to be eligible to live off-campus. There are a limited number of rentals available off-campus in Oberlin and there is a lottery and wait list for off-campus status (i.e., renting from local landlords). This is a very competitive process and must be handled delicately. We typically reach the point each summer where there aren't any vacancies available that students want to rent in Oberlin.

Will students be allowed to stay on campus between terms?

Students may request to stay between terms if they meet certain criteria.

How many students will be assigned to each bathroom?

This will vary by hall; however, the average number of students per bathroom is 9 students per bathroom.

Will program houses and program halls continue this year, or are the FYRE dorms and Identity-Based Communities and Language Houses going to become traditional housing?

Yes, we will offer program houses, FYRE halls, themes, Identity-based communities, and language houses this year.

Will housing prices increase because all students will be living in singles?

No. We have a standard housing rate so the cost will not change.

Has any consideration been given to the "quarantine pods" concept to increase capacity and improve social quality of life?

We have considered the concept and determined that quarantine pods represent a risk this community cannot afford to take at this time.

Will students have the opportunity to choose adjacent single rooms with the roommate with whom they were planning to live?

Please contact the Residential Education Office at Resed@oberlin.edu with the name of the person you would like to live adjacent to and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

If you had a housing accommodation, will that accommodation remain in place or is that subject to change?

We will be re-evaluating all housing accommodations and sending follow up emails to each student. The assignment may change based on the semester you are on campus and availability of housing.

If students who don't qualify for off-campus would be more comfortable living in their own off-campus housing, will that be allowed?

Students must have completed 6 semesters in residence (i.e., seniors) to be eligible to live off-campus. There are a limited number of rentals available off-campus in Oberlin and there is a lottery and wait list for off-campus status (i.e., renting from local landlords).

Will second-years (and any others normally unable to live off-campus under the lottery) be granted the accommodations to do so due to the circumstances?

Students must have completed 6 semesters in residence (i.e., seniors) to be eligible to live off-campus. There are a limited number of rentals available off-campus in Oberlin and there is a lottery and wait list for off-campus status (i.e., renting from local landlords).

If a student has to attend in the summer of 2021, can the student stay in the same dorm for the fall 2021 semester so the student will not have to move rooms again?

Possibly. If the space is available during your housing selection appointment time, you can select the same space.

Do you have any advice for students who will be living in quads with one student in each of the two rooms separated by a shared common space? Should students keep their masks on in their common room? Can students have visitors in the common rooms?

Students should wear masks in the common room and physical distance. Student may have visitors in the common rooms but everyone must wear a mask and physical distance.

Specifically, where common areas are not large enough for social distancing, or where the layout is such that anyone entering the unit must walk through one of the bedrooms to access the common area and the second bedroom, are students who don’t live in the unit permitted inside the Village housing unit?

All students in common spaces should wear a mask. If the space is not large enough to physical distance there shouldln't be more than one person in the space at a time.


How about infection through open toilet flushing? Is that a myth, or is it something the college is considering?

Bathrooms will be de-densified and ventilation systems inspected to ensure they are working according to CDC and EPA guidleines. There are no CDC, EPA, or health department requirements or guidelines regarding toilet flushing.

What guidance would you offer for using shared dorm bathrooms and other public restrooms? What steps should students take in those environments to protect themselves and others?

Students should maintain physical distancing when using shared residence hall bathrooms. Additional guidance is available online on the ObieSafe website under shared restrooms.

What should students do when they are unable to wear masks (taking showers, brushing teeth, washing face, etc.)?

Students should maintain physical distancing and not use the sinks that have been taken out of operation. We also recommend that students avoid placing toothbrushes or other personal hygiene items directly on counter surfaces. Totes should be used for personal items to limit their contact with other surfaces.

Students Living Off Campus

Any specific tips for students living in off-campus housing?

Students living off-campus should follow the same guidelines for students living on campus. More information is available on the ObieSafe Housing page.

You've said that the college isn't supportive of housing pods, but wouldn't students who are living off campus together be considered a pod?

Students off-campus should follow the same guidelines for students living on campus so they wouldn't be considered a pod.

What if international students cannot enter the country for the fall semester?

Students should consider applying for a remote semester via an application recently sent via email.

In March when classes went remote, there was initially an implication for F1 students that they could not leave the US without impacting their visa. This was ultimately resolved. Is there a chance that the same implication about F1 students not being able to attend in the spring/summer terms with their peers because of visa implications could also be resolved?

The government has not yet released guidance for immigration regulation exceptions for the fall. It's possible that a similar exemption could be issued. If this were to happen, F-1 visa holders would be notified immediately.

Will international sophomores be expected to return home for the spring term?

F-1 visa holders are expected to enroll in the fall and spring semesters in order to maintain their immigration status.

Do the off-campus career center opportunities apply for international students in their home countries? If not, will housing be provided for them in the U.S.?

F-1 visa holders are expected to be enrolled in the fall and spring semesters and will not be able to participate in programs during those semesters designed for students that are not enrolled. However, if an F-1 student is not enrolled during a given semester, they are welcome to contact the Career Development Center for details on participating.

Will students returning from foreign countries need to be quarantined before they can engage with campus?

There are not currently any mandatory quarantine policies for the U.S., Ohio, or Oberlin. All students will be tested upon their return to campus.

What advice do you have for incoming international students, many of whom still do not have access to U.S. embassies in order to obtain their visas in time to be on campus for the fall and, in some cases, even for the spring term?

Please consider applying for a remote fall semester and in-person summer semester via the application recently sent to your email.

What will happen if campus has to close again and international students are not able to return home?

Students unable to return home will be able to petition to remain on campus, as was the case this past semester.

Will international students be allowed to use the same three-semester plan?

All F-1 visa holders are expected to enroll in the fall and spring semesters in order to maintain their immigration status. If you'd like to follow the three-semester plan with your domestic cohort, please contact Josh Whitson to discuss the immigration implications.

Can you house international students year-round?

Yes. F-1 visa holders and others that are experiencing travel or immigration complications will be allowed to petition to remain on campus during breaks or summer.

Does current financial aid carry over if I would like to take a leave of absence for a semester or year?

If a student is granted a deferral for the year, the scholarship will remain the same when they attend in the future. If the student is a need based financial aid applicant, the need based aid will be based on the data we receive from the FAFSA for the next academic year, and could be different if any income, asset, or household information changes.

If I choose to take a year off, will my Oberlin study abroad program for fall 2021 still be an option for me?


What is the process for taking a leave of absence?

The process for taking a leave of absence is outlined on the Academic Advising Resource Center Leaves, Withdrawal, Reinstatement page.

What is the deadline for students to notify the college if they're taking a year or a semester off?

The date to apply for a personal leave is July 20. More information is available from the Academic Advising Resource Center’s Leaves, Withdrawal, Reinstatement page.

What mental health resources will there be for students who are feeling isolated, as they won't be able to spend as much time with one another and build connections during the day and will spend significantly more time alone?

We will be offering individual therapy, group therapy, and extended walk-in hours this upcoming year. We will also offer Let's Talk consultation hours daily, Monday through Friday, which will provide students an opportunity to have a brief conversation with counselors without having to go through the intake process. We are also planning frequent outreach programming to address isolation concerns that students may be experiencing. Health promotion will engage in communication and education on the importance of social connection while observing physical distancing. Programming throughout the Division of Student Life (ResEd, Student Activities, PAL, Peer Support Center, etc.) and offices across campus, working in conjunction with student leaders, will promote social connection.

Will mental health resources be available to students in the term they are not on campus? Will there be virtual Zoom counseling sessions?

Because of state laws, Oberlin College Counseling Center staff cannot provide services to students not residing in Ohio. If a student is not enrolled and not residing in Ohio, we cannot provide services. Unenrolled students living in Ohio may be eligible for services. We are happy to help students find care where they are residing. Just call the Counseling Center or see our website.

Will mental health resources be expanded given how all of these changes will affect students?

We will be maintaining the same staffing as last year, which will be an expansion of services given the de-densification of campus.

Do you feel that it will be necessary for the counseling staff to be increased at Oberlin in anticipation of the near-certain increase of anxiety and depression in students during this time?

Oberlin College has hired two additional part-time staff in the Counseling Center to help manage the possible increase in anxiety and depression among students.

How do you plan to balance students' mental health needs with all of the required distancing precautions and limitations related to COVID-19?

Oberlin College will be offering a variety of opportunities for students to connect with each other while remaining safe. We recognize that the necessary precautions in place to keep our community safe are taxing on one's mental health. Throughout the semester, Oberlin College will be offering outreach programs on self-care during a pandemic. The Counseling Center will also be expanding their virtual walk-in capacity in order to provide students more opportunities to discuss their mental health concerns.

Burnout Concerns

Looking to the future & graduation, does this mean that juniors will be in school for 18 months straight (Jan 2021 until graduation in May 2022)? If so, what kind of specific support structures will be in place for juniors in order to support their futures and prevent burnout?

There will be health & wellness resources and health promotion information provided to the entire campus community including messaging regarding pacing and burnout prevention. Programming and communication will be ongoing. Student Life staff will communicate directly to students in various cohorts about related concerns, engage in health promotion programming and collaborate with students to create a wellness plan template (accounting for burnout when continuing on a different schedule, and challenges of adjustment when away from campus). Wellness strategies and potential areas of challenges will be shared proactively with academic advisors, to inform their work with advisees. Individualized resources and support will continue to be available We do not yet know what the 2021-2022 academic year will look like, but anticipate the possibility the changes in academic schedules and breaks may pose challenges for many of us during the next 1-2 years. There will also be breaks between semesters. There are 26 days between summer and fall semesters. We anticipate that January 2022 will be a return to our usual winter term, in which case students will, depending on their winter term plans, be able to return home.

Will juniors get any sort of break between their 3rd and 4th years? If not, how will you accommodate 3rd year students whose health cannot handle going through 18 months of schooling with no breaks?

For students who need part-time semesters related to a documented disability, part-time status will continue to be an option as an accommodation.

Have you considered that a sophomore or junior fall athlete may not have a break between summer and fall 2021 due to training? Will there be an option for these students to complete the summer remotely?

Sophomores and juniors may attend the summer semester remotely.

Will I be allowed to volunteer in the Oberlin, Lorain, or Cleveland communities?

Yes, provided it is virtual. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to seek virtual volunteer opportunities that respond to community-expressed needs.

Will my Community-Based Learning class be able to work directly with community partners?

It is important that we continue to facilitate community engagement and engaged scholarship – safely and remotely – with students, faculty, and community partners. Faculty are encouraged to work with community partners to develop remote engagement opportunities. The Bonner Center is available to support faculty in developing online community-based learning and research opportunities that respond to community-expressed needs and meet course learning goals.

How does this impact any research with human participants?

Per Oberlin’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), effective immediately and until further notice, ALL research involving face-to-face contact with participants should be performed remotely (e.g. by phone, Zoom, or other means). Exception: Course-based student research involving interviews/oral histories which may be done “in-person” if the participant is currently in residence with the researcher, and the researcher practices appropriate physical distancing and health practices (refer to federal government guidelines), and adheres to any state or local ordinances regarding COVID-19.

I am a faculty member teaching a class this fall and had planned a field trip to visit a non-profit organization in Cleveland. How does this policy impact these plans?

Faculty are encouraged to work with community partners to develop remote engagement opportunities, such as virtual site visits. The Bonner Center is available to support faculty in seeking alternative, remote modes of Community-Based Learning & Research.

Will we still be allowed to participate in local engagement if the activities are hosted outside or with appropriate PPE and physical distancing?

While students are studying at Oberlin, off-campus in-person college-sponsored activities are not permitted for at least the fall semester. Programs are encouraged to stay connected to the community through virtual opportunities, such as conducting policy research, remote data collection, developing social media campaigns, and online engagement, that respond to community-expressed needs.

What is the plan for theater majors and the need to interact with one another during rehearsals and performances, especially student productions that provide many opportunities for performance and staging/directing?

The theater department is actively considering these issues and will share information with students at the start of the semester.

What will be the plan for performance activities (choirs, orchestras, ensembles, musical theater, etc.)? Are these being adapted to smaller groups? How can we ensure the safety of the students involved in these activities?

Please see the Conservatory's FAQ page.

What will work study/campus jobs be like, particularly CDS? Can we still work?

We anticipate students will be able to work jobs during their semesters on campus as usual. CDS jobs will be available, but students will be hired and paid by AVI, not Oberlin College.

Can students work campus jobs in the semester in which they are not enrolled?

No. Please see the memo Remote Work for Student Employees from Human Resources.

How will the college ensure job/income security for work-study students whose on-campus jobs and/or summer employment have been impacted or paused by physical distancing and other COVID-19-related changes?

In any given year, the college does not guarantee a student will be able to find a job, nor does it guarantee the student will work a particular number of hours or earn a particular amount of income. The award letter is an indication of eligibility for this funding, but not a guarantee of work. We do not know how the pandemic will impact the availability of jobs or number of hours available to be worked on campus. It is an evolving situation that we will have to handle as the year progresses.

Will student employees who work in the Oberlin community (America Reads/Counts, for example) still be able to work?

That is still being assessed. The community partners need to determine to what extent they are able to use Oberlin students in their organizations and how they can perform the work safely.

Will RA jobs change? Will additional RAs be hired for the third term?

Yes, the RA position will change in relation to Covid-19. RAs will perform the same overall jobs, but many things will need to be done differently; they will be trained on how to navigate being an RA during the pandemic. We anticipate the need to hire a few more RAs, but we won't know about the summer term until the spring term.

Will there be the possibility of study abroad for juniors during the summer semester of 2021?

The Office of Study Away is currently working with several offices on campus and several of our overseas partners to establish a formal study away process for Summer 2021. This will involve changes to our programming, as well as several considerations for our standard academic and financial policies. When details are finalized, they will be available at studyaway.oberlin.edu.

What does this mean for students who go abroad in the spring but don't get back until June; would they still be able to participate in the summer semester?

Students who wish to study away in the spring and return to campus in the summer will need to carefully consider the academic calendar of their study away program. Their program will need to end prior to the start of Oberlin classes in the summer.

If my study abroad program for the spring is not cancelled and Oberlin resumes study away in the spring term, will Oberlin accept the credits earned from my participation in that (Oberlin affiliated) program?


If one is looking at applying to study abroad for the next academic year, does the process remain the same?


Will the study abroad office be open during the summer, and if not, who should we address questions to in the meantime?

Yes. The Office of Study Away will be open all summer. Contact details can be found on the Office Staff and Contact Info page of the study away portal.

How is class standing determined for students who enter as a transfer student?

The registrar is very carefully reviewing each student who entered as a transfer student to determine their formal class standing. We hope to have this review finished in the next few days, and we will be in touch with you as soon as we have completed that review.

Will transfer student be attending the fall and spring semesters with the first-year students, or with their designated year? Will all transfer students be treated the same? Which schedule will they follow?

Transfer students are scheduled to attend fall and spring but may elect to attend the summer semester.

Do transfer students participate in the first year seminar program?

No, not unless the transfer student is in their first year of college.

I am a transfer student and have not spoken to an academic advisor. Will I be assigned someone soon, before class registration?

Transfer students and first-years will be assigned an academic advisor prior to the August course registration dates. The academic advisors will work with students to choose their courses for the two terms of their enrollment. Students should regularly check their email for updates on advisor assignments.

How can students and faculty best protect themselves in the two weeks prior to coming to Oberlin?

Students, faculty, and staff should continue to wear masks, maintain at 6 feet physical distance from others, and consistently wash their hands. Everyone should avoid large gatherings especially where others are not wearing a mask. All faculty and staff have been asked to not travel during the two weeks before the start of the semester.

For students who need to fly, how will they get from the airport to Oberlin in a safe way? Any advice about flying in general?

Transportation to and from the airport will be provided as in the past, while following the new health guidelines. Always follow guidelines and recommendations from health authorities when flying.

For the specific assigned arrival windows, what if students are driving to campus together? Can their specified arrival time be coordinated?

For family members, yes; all others will need to request a coordinated arrival time by contacting the Office of Residential Education.

If parents rent an RV to travel to Oberlin when bringing a student to campus, is there a parking lot on campus where they can park overnight?

Yes, there are hook-ups located in the "Grey Gables" parking lot, located on the south side of West College Street between Professor and Cedar streets.

Will students be allowed to leave campus during the term, such as for a family obligation, or even just a trip to Cleveland?

Yes, however safety guidelines and recommendations must be followed. Travel outside of the defined greater Cleveland area must be pre-approved by the Dean of Students Office and is subject to additional quarantine and restrictions upon return.

What efforts will Oberlin take to protect its on-campus community from others outside the community entering campus? Will visitors be allowed on campus?

In an effort to safeguard the health and safety of the Oberlin community, Oberlin College is restricting visitors to campus during fall 2020. Guest speakers, artists, and performers will not be allowed on campus while this policy is in effect. Visitors will be limited to those coming to campus through Admissions, pre-approved vendors, and pre-approved family members of enrolled students for specific or emergency purposes. Visitors must abide by all campus health protocols, including wearing masks, maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance, frequently washing hands, and following all other hygiene and de-densification best practices the college has adopted..

Can parents visit during the semester?

Parents and other guests should avoid visiting campus during the fall semester. If a family member must visit campus in case of an emergency, please register with the Office of the Dean of Students by emailing deanstu@oberlin.edu.

Will there be a parents weekend this year?

There will not be an in-person, parents/family weekend this year.

Will there be changes to tuition, housing, and dining costs for the 2020-2021 academic year?


What is the payment plan? Will tuition be billed before each semester in residence, so not until January for juniors?

Billing for the fall term will occur on July 6, with a due date of July 22. Billing for the spring term will occur on November 2, with a due date of November 22. Billing and payment dates for summer term have not yet been finalized.

Will juniors be charged tuition for the fall career summit/internship experience?

No. There is no tuition or fee associated with the Junior Practicum Program.

Will there be any tuition discount for classes that are 100% online?


If a student ends up missing fall or spring semester due to illness, will they be able to make it up in the summer semester without incurring additional charges?

Standard charges apply for students who take classes in a given term. If students are attending any two terms in the academic year, and receive financial aid, that aid will be applied to the two terms attended.

For students who must be fully remote (international students, vulnerable students, etc.), will tuition be adjusted accordingly?

No. Tuition will remain the same for all students.

How will the college ensure the voting rights of students who are not on campus?

Students' voting rights are very important to Oberlin, and steps are being taken to ensure a seamless voting experience.

What happens if there is a massive second-wave outbreak of COVID-19 on campus, in Ohio and/or nationally?

Oberlin is dedicated to the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. If we feel that the health and safety of our campus community is threatened, we will take appropriate action. We also will follow the guidance of the local, state, and national public health authorities.

What is the threshold of positive cases that would lead to the closure of campus?

There is no technical threshold of cases that would lead to closure. We are in contact with Lorain County Public Health, and our layered health care strategy has been reviewed by LCPH, Ohio State and the Cleveland Clinic. We will follow the guidance of local, state, and national public health authorities when making such a decision.

Should there be a vaccine or some other mitigating factor before the end of the three-term plan, will the plan evolve, or is it set in stone?

Oberlin always is evaluating its options. That is how we came up with the three semester plan! We intend to follow this academic schedule at least through summer 2021, and will reassess as we head into the next academic year.

What is the likelihood that this three-term schedule will persist beyond the 2020-21 academic year?

Assuming that the public health situation permits the college to do so, the current plan is to resume the normal academic calendar in 2021-22.

See Also

Contact Us

If you have questions about testing, the Community Agreement or best health care practices, you can send an email to ObieSafe@oberlin.edu or to Oberlin’s COVID-19 Health Care Coordinator Katie Gravens at kgravens@oberlin.edu.

If you have a question about academic delivery during the pandemic, you can send an email to these addresses as well as your dean’s office.