The following questions were received during the December 1 and January 6 webinars with President Ambar and the deans. We will continue to add to this collection as new questions are received.

What will Add/Drop be like?

The Add/Drop period will begin on Monday, February 1, and end on Wednesday, February 10. Due to public health concerns, Add/Drop will be virtual. Similar to the fall, syllabi will be available for review on Blackboard. In some cases, you will also find supplemental materials and a Zoom link to attend the live class session.

How will advising take place for students who are choosing their classes for the spring semester?

Faculty are available for advising appointments. The AARC staff can also assist with advising on course selection.

Will there be more music courses offered in the summer for Arts & Sciences students majoring or minoring in music?

A new section of Music Theory/Aural Skills 2 will be offered this summer, and additional courses are being developed in areas such as TIMARA. We are also working on ways to best support students seeking lessons and ensembles and welcome communication to the Conservatory Deans Office about particular requests.

I was on campus for the fall semester, but none of my classes met in person. Is there a way to be sure that I can have an in-person experience in the spring?

When registering for classes, attend to the information about the mode of instruction (remote, hybrid, fully in-person) that is available as part of the course description in Banner. You can also search classes by mode of instruction. For Arts and Sciences courses in Spring 2021, the mode of instruction for courses is as follows: 27% in person, 41% hybrid, and 32% remote only. 52% of courses are scheduled to be remote accessible for students electing to study off campus.

For sophomores who did not sign up for micro-internships in October for spring 2021, will there still be an opportunity to sign up for one?

The Sophomore Practicum has two primary components: the January SOAR retreat, which counts for Winter Term credit, and micro-internships throughout the spring. Registration for the SOAR retreat is open until December 15; at this time, however, it is no longer possible to register to be matched with a micro-internship opportunity during the spring semester.

When will the SOAR schedule be released?

The full day-to-day schedule of the January SOAR retreat will be released in December. In the meantime, students can plan for all required activities to take place on weekdays, with the vast majority between 12–5pm EST (this full window will not be used every day).

Will first-year students participate in summer sessions?

There will be a cohort of first-years in the summer term.

Will there be academic forgiveness if a student feels ill for a day or two after receiving the vaccine?

Students should be in contact with their faculty members if they are unable to attend class for health reasons.

Access to vaccines will vary around the world, and travel restrictions may or may not stay in place. For international students, if they cannot come to campus in the fall, is it likely remote learning will still be possible?

We will closely monitor the situation for international students and plan remote options accordingly.

Will the conservatory have any live performances this spring?

The Conservatory is able to host live performances without audiences present. Should our ability to welcome audience members to performances change we will update our community as soon as possible.

If we (students) are in isolation/quarantine are we expected to keep up with our academic work? Is there a campus wide policy for that or will it depend on individual professors?

If a student is feeling well enough to participate in their academic studies they are expected to do so while in isolation or quarantine. If a student is experiencing symptoms or emotional struggles while in quarantine or isolation they are encouraged to turn to campus resources such as SHARE or discuss their situation with their Professor. Oberlin has encouraged all Faculty members to be flexible to the unique challenges that the pandemic presents.

Were the students who were in isolation/quarantine last semester able to keep up with their classes if their health allowed?

Yes. College support systems were able to ensure that students are still succeeding academically while in isolation or quarantine.

How exactly do hybrid and remote-accessible classes work? Do hybrid models alternate between in-person and online meetings? Will remote-accessible classes meet in-person with some students joining via Zoom?

There are a range of hybrid models, but it usually involves alternating between Zoom and in-person sessions. In-person remote accessible classes meet in person with a some students joining via Zoom.

What happens if you are in a class that is not remote accessible and you have to quarantine for two weeks?

Situations of this kind are handled on a case-by-case basis.

We were told that we needed to make our final decision by Nov. 30 as to whether our student will attend in-person. Now that the start of spring semester is later, could we get an extension for making that decision?

In light of the later start date for the spring term, the deadline to request remote study has been extended to January 5. There will be a late filing fee of $300 for requests made after January 5.

What percentage of students who were allowed to be in-person in the fall ended up studying remotely? Do you expect a similar percentage for the spring semester?

In the fall, 14% of students enrolled remotely. We will be able to identify the percentage of students studying remotely in the spring once the term has started.

Next Year

Will the 3-semester schedule continue into 21/22 academic year?

Oberlin will soon make decisions regarding the 2021-2022 academic year. More information will be forthcoming.

Is it likely that next year will return to a 2-semester year or continue with the trimester? If we continue with the trimester system, how will that work with athletics seasons?

Oberlin will soon make decisions regarding the 2021-2022 academic year. More information will be forthcoming.

Start Date

Is there any reason why school would NOT be in person on Feb 1? (I.e. is there a reason why school would not start on campus?)

The only reason would be a public-health, stated-mandated reason.

Was there consideration given to starting the semester in January remotely instead of delaying to February? How was the decision reached?

That was a possibility we considered. Ultimately, we opted for a delayed start so that we can preserve the on-campus experience to the greatest extent possible.

Is there any chance that the new start date will change again or that we will go fully online for the spring semester? If so, when will we know?

Only if public health and/or state authorities dictate this measure.

If campus can't reopen for Feb. 1, will students return mid-semester or would they stay fully remote? When would that decision be made?

This is a decision we would make should a Feb. 1 opening not be possible. As has been the case, we would approach the situation with the goal of having students on campus as much as possible.


How will the time between terms work? Will there be breaks? Will there be any overlaps between terms?

There will be short breaks between the terms. There will not be any overlap.

How does the later start date in spring affect SOAR?

SOAR will take place as scheduled in January. The delayed start does not affect SOAR.

How will the fall 2021 term be affected? When will it begin and end?

We are still determining this and will publish the academic calendar as soon as possible. We will attempt to be minimally disruptive while also giving some time for a break between semesters.

What will the 2021-2022 calendar look like? With the fall 2021 term starting late, how will the rest of the year be affected?

See above.

Will the 2021-2022 year also be three terms? If so, which students / class years will be on campus in the fall, spring, and summer terms?

The 2021-2022 academic calender will depend on the availability on a vaccine. We are hoping to return to the regular two term model, but cannot yet make this determination.

With all of these changes, when will winter term occur for each of the class years?

Winter Term updates can be found online. For January 2021: Sophomores who are off campus in the spring may participate in the remote Sophomore Practicum, the Sophomore Practicum + Language Study, or pursue the Sophomore Language Study alone.

Sophomores who were previously approved to complete a winter term project in May now have the option of participating in the Sophomore Practicum or not completing a winter term this academic year. Applications can be found at and will close Tuesday, December 15. Juniors who were previously approved to complete winter term in May, or who were unable to participate in the September Junior Practicum Winter Term Summit, have the option of enrolling in an online group project or pursuing a remote individual project with a faculty or staff sponsor during the month of January. Students are encouraged to design projects that they can complete entirely from their place of residence, while adhering to all applicable laws and health department guidance, without placing themselves or others in harm’s way. Individual projects may not include travel. These Juniors are the only group for whom individual projects are an option.

Juniors who were previously approved to complete winter term in May, or who were unable to participate in the September Junior Practicum Winter Term Summit, have the option of enrolling in an online group project or pursuing a remote individual project with a faculty or staff sponsor during the month of January. Students are encouraged to design projects that they can complete entirely from their place of residence, while adhering to all applicable laws and health department guidance, without placing themselves or others in harm’s way. Individual projects may not include travel. These Juniors are the only group for whom individual projects are an option.

When will students who appealed be notified whether their appeal has been accepted or rejected?

Most students who appealed have received a decision.

When will there will be a decision/announcement regarding spring sports?

A decision regarding spring sports will be made prior to students returning to campus for spring term.

Any update on whether postponed fall sports will be allowed in the spring, even if on a limited basis? What is the conference (NCAC) doing in this regard?

Following all health and safety guidelines, fall sports teams will be permitted to practice/train. The NCAC remains focused on spring sports and competition.

Do you think spring sports will be able to compete? When will we know for sure?

The path to outside competition is very narrow for spring sports. Conversations and planning are continuing.

With the new term schedule, specifically with the Term 3 end date of Sept. 2, there does not seem to be a path forward for fall sports to take place in 2021. Pre-season typically starts in mid-August with the first competitions taking place the end of August/beginning of September. At that time, only third and second years would be on campus, and they would be in the middle of finals period. It looks as though the earliest the 2021-2022 academic year will start will be mid-September, even possibly early October. Can you please address how you see fall sports potentially taking place in 2021, if at all?

We are working on the scheduling challenges the academic calendar presents for student-athletes. The college remains committed to athletics and understands the value of the student-athlete experience.

Is there any chance whatsoever for a baseball season?

The path to outside competition is very narrow for spring sports. Conversations and planning are continuing.

What about fall student athletes who normally return to school earlier? Would they return and overlap with the end of the summer term? This is assuming, hopefully, that sports could resume normally for the 21-22 school season.

We are working on the scheduling challenges the academic calendar presents for student-athletes. The college remains committed to athletics and understands the value of the student-athlete experience.

Are sophomore and junior fall athletes expected to take finals during their preseasons? Will we be on campus during September (when the majority of our competition is) while everyone else is at home?

We are working on the scheduling challenges the academic calendar presents for student-athletes. The college remains committed to athletics and understands the value of the student-athlete experience.

Is there a plan for the sports beginning in fall of '21? I know things might need to be adjusted due to the summer semester calendar.

We are working on the scheduling challenges the academic calendar presents for student-athletes. The college remains committed to athletics and understands the value of the student-athlete experience.

Can seniors in the Conservatory petition to come back early to record final graduate school auditions?

At present, all students should plan to return to campus only during their specified arrival times for spring semester. We hope to help students facing particular challenges with recording and auditions and are in close touch with our music school peers, all of whom are aware of the kinds of limitations students are facing when it comes to these auditions.

What will happen with junior recitals scheduled for January? Will they need to be rescheduled?

Yes, Concert Productions will continue to be in touch with students regarding all recital scheduling for spring semester. Questions can be directed to that office:

My son is a first-year double-degree student. Most of his work, including his first-year seminar, was remote in the fall. He said that most conservatory classes are remote because the Con has less physical space. Will that still be true for spring? Do we know what percentage of Con classes will be hybrid or in-person?

Most academic classes in the Conservatory are meeting remotely in order to prioritize space for lessons, rehearsals, ensembles, and studio use by students. This will continue during the spring semester in the hopes of maximizing in-person music making. For most Conservatory students, this means that about half of their credits are primarily in-person and half are remote or hybrid in nature.

Does the student health insurance provided by the college fully cover any Covid-related issues?

Yes. However, the student health insurance does not cover testing of asymptomatic individuals and therefore does not cover our COVID testing fee.

Can you please address the longtime request for individual insurance bills/receipts that we could submit to our own insurance for the COVID tests administered?

For those students with insurance coverage for our asymptomatic testing protocol, students may request a statement of service to support their insurance claims. Student requests for a statement of service should be forwarded to Karen Purvis, Account Manager with Harness Health, at It is important that these requests come from the student and include the student's T#.

What is the Covid testing fee for students per semester?


Will the Covid vaccination be free when it is available?

Yes, at this time the federal government is providing the vaccine for free. However, that may change in the future.

What can you do during the winter to allow students to have more social opportunities during bad weather? Specifically, are there ways to allow students to bundle up and eat meals with friends in protected outdoor areas or well-ventilated areas? The social isolation during February is very concerning.

Look for a "bundle up" outdoor program, a pilot progam on indoor social spaces, and lots of ways to connect, including virtual dining halls so you eat safely alone but have the company of other people.

What is the college planning to do to account for the lack of outside opportunities due to the colder weather?

We are going to make opportunities to play outside, and will pilot limited in-person indoor social gatherings. The Remobies virtual activities program is also available throughout the year.

Will there be tents with heat lamps, or firepits and/or propane heaters?

Unfortunately, outdoor heaters create significant safety risks, and we are not able to use them. The firepit in Tappan Square is easily reservable through the Student Activities office – students can attend organized bonfires or create one of their own.

Some student orgs were active in the fall, but it seemed that many were not. What support will be available for student groups to help them recruit first years and other new members and re-activate?

Student groups were active in a number of ways. Check the Student Union website for more information. If you want to get engaged with student orgs and aren't sure how to find them, please contact the Dean of Students office and we'll help you out.

Will there be more/expanded opportunities for students to study in Mudd Library and the Science Library than there were during fall term?

At this time, the availability of Mudd Center, the Terrell Library, and the Science Library will be similar to fall term. However, the library leadership team is discussing possibilities for additional study locations on campus, and we will update this answer as more information becomes available.

If the entire campus is able to be vaccinated by April, might that allow for a full commencement with families in attendance this spring?

Unforunately we do not forsee a pathway to holding a traditional commemencement ceremony. We hope to be able to hold an in person celebration for our graduating seniors on campus that will be made available viritually to family and friends.

If not, is there still a chance that Oberlin will host a belated commencement ceremony for the classes of 2020 and 2021 as was once suggested?

Oberlin continues to explore opportunities to offer a celebration to the Class of 2020 at a belated date. Commencement leaders are working hard to ensure both the Class of 2021 and 2020 are celebrated.

Will there be a commencement ceremony, and if so, when will it be?

A Senior Celebration is being planned for May 14, pending a stable pandemic situation.

What does Senior Celebration mean and what will it look like? Does it replace Commencement? Will there be an in-person element?

The Senior Celebration will be in place of Commencement, as we are unable to physically distribute diplomas that day. The details of the celebration are still being planned. We are hopeful that an in-person element for graduates will be possible, but we do not anticipate the ability to welcome family and friends to the event.

Will parents and families be included in the Senior Celebration?

We are planning to offer virtual opportunities for family and friends to participate in the Senior Celebration. We do not anticipate being able to welcome family and friends to the in-person element of the celebration.

Won't the Senior Celebration endanger the start of summer semester?

The Senior Celebration will be masked, physically distant, and follow all ObieSafe guidelines. Guests will not be permitted. We will only host the celebration during a stable pandemic situation in a way that does not endanger future semesters or activities.

Are you considering testing staff and students more frequently considering the increased levels of Covid in the region and the existence of the more contagious strain? Many colleges are testing much more frequently, some twice a week.

The college plans to continue with monthly testing. Students who are symptomatic of COVID-19 will be assessed by Student Health. Additional COVID tests will be administered based on the health assessment.

Will additional tests to the initial test when we arrive on campus be available to students at spring opening who travel by plane, so that they can get tested at the recommended 5 days after possible exposure? If not, how will the current quarantine and test plan ensure that people stay safe?

Students should quarantine at home for the two weeks prior to returning to campus. Students will test upon arrival to campus and then will be required to quarantine untl test results return. Any student who becomes symptomatic should contact Student Health. Additional COVID testing will be administered based on health assessment findings. Students can schedule their February test early in the month if there are concerns based on travel.

In the fall, students who were determined to be travelling from hot spots were required to undergo two rounds of testing (upon arrival, and again the first week of Sept.). But the entire US is basically a hot spot now (and many other countries in the world). Will all students be tested twice in February? If yes, will they be required to maintain a semi-quarantine until receiving a negative result from both tests?

In the fall, the two rounds of testing for students from “hot spots” did not result in any positive cases. Students were asked to quarantine for two weeks prior to returning to campus. Based on the results of arrival and hot-spot testing, we learned that students were responsive to the quarantine request, which enabled us to maintain very low prevalence of the virus on campus. This spring, the College asks students to quarantine for two weeks prior to returning. The College will continue with monthly testing, and students who are symptomatic of COVID-19 will be assessed by Student Health. Additional COVID tests will be administered based on the health assessment.

What happens to the CV swab after the test? The swab contains DNA. Are the students' DNA stored in any database post-test?

Swabs are safely disposed of following medical guidelines and prescence of the virus is the only test performed at the lab. The only stored data are test results.

It looks like it might be possible for someone to schedule more than one test a month in the Oberview scheduling system. Could certain populations of the campus community (e.g. those more at risk, etc.) possibly schedule more than one test in a given month?

Students and employees are eligible for one test each month. Additional tests are not approved as this overwhelms the test center and eliminates testing opportunities for those who are eligible for a test.

What happens if a student who is flying back to campus is unable to meet their assigned PCR test time due to travel schedule?

Please cancel your test online. Contact Debra Herzog at 440-775-8839 or

Could you use your new access to rapid tests to increase screening testing (in addition to using them for symptomatic testing)?

We are only using the antigen tests for symptomatic students. Student Health must order a test. No walk-in appointments are accepted.

What is the difference between a PCR test and an Antigen test?

PCR is a molecular test, it detects the virus' genetic information. Antigen test detects specific proteins from the virus. PCR tests are more accurate than antigen tests. Antigen tests are more likely to miss an active COVID-19 infection compared to molecular tests.

Should we try to get a test before coming back to Oberlin?

Quarantining two weeks prior to arrival along with a PCR test 5-7 days before return is ideal.

If you test positive and are placed in isolation for 14 days, after the 14 days, can one assume that you are completely healed? Do you need to be re-tested after the 14 days?

The criteria to leave isolation is 10 days, with improving symptoms and no fever for 24 hours. Medication to suppress the fever can not be used in this 24 hours. The CDC does not recommend a test upon leaving isolation.

Do you expect a delay in test results when students return in late January (given the number of tests & overall stress on the testing system)?

We are currently not anticipating a delay in test results. The lab receives the swab the day after test administration. Once the lab receives the swab the test results are typically available within 48-72 hours. However, unforeseen circumstances may lead to longer wait times.

If/when the vaccine is received by an individual, will they still need to do the monthly Covid testing?

Yes, all community members, vaccinated or not, will be expected to continue to participate in testing throughout the semester.

How often will the rapid antigen tests be administered - will students need to make appointments?

Rapid antigen tests will only be administered to symptomatic students and students who have been determined to be close contacts of individuals who have tested positive for COVID 19. Students will directed on where to go for testing. Students will not be able to make an appointment or have a walk-in appointment for rapid antigen testing.

Has Oberlin considered surveillance of the college's sewage to predict possible virus outbreaks?

The college determined that surveillance of the college's sewage system was not a feasible option.

If you have to quarantine because you've been exposed to someone who tested positive, where do you quarantine? Is it the hotel, or is there a dorm reserved for quarantine?

Students in isolation (because they are symptomatic and/or have tested positive COVID-19) stay at the Hotel at Oberlin until they are medically cleared. Students in quarantine (because they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19) stay in Fairchild. Keep is also available if additional quarantine capacity is needed. Check the ObieSafe website and archived ObieSafe Weeklies for lots more information on this process.

Is there a way to give us more information about the COVID positives while protecting medical privacy? For example, can we see a breakdown of student cases vs. faculty/staff cases? And, can you tell us whether these cases are isolated or are breakouts, where 2+ students have a commonality (i.e. among students who live on the same hall, are in the same ensemble, in the same seminar, etc.)?

Due to Oberlin's low positivity rate during fall semester, we did not separate positive case data by student, faculty, or staff. This would violate privacy laws, as there is a potential for identification of the affected person. The COVID health coordinator monitors the trends by category, notifying appropriate individuals for mitigation. Contact tracing interviews facilitate identification of viral patterns. A plan is in place in the event a pattern of spread is identified. This was developed in conjunction with the Lorain Public Health Department which will assist should patterns emerge. Please know that, if you meet the health department criteria for exposure, you will be contacted by the contact tracing team.

Would an entire class need to quarantine if someone in the class tests positive?

No. Faculty are notified when a student in one of their classes tests positive for COVID-19. Faculty are asked to consider whether any learning experiences occurred that may have resulted in deviation from established policies, such as a lab or small group work. If COVID policies are followed, no further action is necessary. Thus far, quarantine has only resulted from social gatherings, not the classroom setting. Please note that faculty are not provided a specific class or section due to privacy concerns. They are told that a student in one of their classes during a specific date range, tested positive. In the event of an outbreak in a particular class, additional steps will be taken to mitigate spread of the virus.

Has there been any move towards adding more frequent testing for asymptomatic students (more than once a month)? Especially in light of successes of many other colleges that have used more frequent asymptomatic rapid (still PCR-based) tests.

Oberlin is not increasing the frequency of asymptomatic testing at this time. The most important way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a mask and always maintain a minimum of six feet of physical distance. Rapid testing for influenza A & B and for COVID-19 will be available for symptomatic individuals to expedite their care. Student Health will determine the need for rapid testing based on a health evaluation.

If rapid testing becomes available, will it be used for symptomatic faculty/staff, or just for students?

Oberlin has implemented rapid testing for faculty/staff in certain circumstances. Faculty and staff are asked to alert Katie Gravens, when they are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to determine next steps. Faculty and staff: please see the email from HR sent to you on November 20 titled “Employee COVID Exposure Guidelines” for full instruction.

Have the cases on campus so far been able to be traced to clear sources or just ambiguous community spread?

Cases on campus have been clearly traced to social events among students. The typical occurrence was that students would meet in dorm rooms to eat or socialize; masks were removed and individuals were less than six feet away. The other pattern occurred among students living in apartments. Typically, masks were not worn among residents and social distance was frequently less than six feet. When one student tested positive, the entire apartment went into quarantine.

Can you provide evidence that 3-term “de-densification” has contributed meaningfully to the low COVID positive results vs. the very similar (if not superior) COVID results achieved by other small, OH-based liberal arts schools, (particularly) such as Kenyon, Denison, Wooster, which retained a 2-semester model with roommates and classroom academics?

As part of our layered health strategy, de-densification has been a key element to reducing the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Other schools used different strategies that included de-densification, such as Kenyon. They maintained a two semester calendar by having only half of students on campus, which means each student had a full remote semester. Oberlin is able to offer two in-person semesters to each student by moving to the three semester calendar, which students have repeatedly identified as a highest priority. Other schools have experienced challenges even with mitigation strategies, such as Wooster, which went fully remote in late October. Oberlin made strategic choices among a range of options to provide students with the most robust educational experience possible under pandemic conditions.

For the students in the fall term who tested positive, what were the reasons? Was it a flouting of the rules?

It can be difficult to pinpoint the source of infection from COVID-19. There were no clear epidemiologic patterns that emerged. However, during contact tracing interviews students were very honest, which was wonderful, acknowledging that they socialized without masks and inadequate social distance. This lead to isolation and quarantine.

Will everything start to open up more when the campus has been vaccinated? Would all classes and exams return to being in person? Would the community agreement change?

At this time all policies implemented during the Fall Semester will remain in effect for Spring Semester.

Will international students be expected to return to their home countries if they violate the community agreement?

The Dean of Students Office works with each student individually should they be asked to return home for the semester to ensure their health and safety after their departure.

If violations of the community agreement are revealed during the contact tracing process, will students be sent home or otherwise disciplined?

Contact tracing is intended to be a private and confidential process where honest answers allow Oberlin to successfully assist those who have been exposed to COVID-19. Minor violations of the community agreement are not disclosed to others. Only in cases where serious violations of Oberlin's conduct expectations are revealed such as illicit drug use, assault, or if there is reason to believe an individual is a danger to themself or others is further action taken to ensure the safety and well-being of all parties involved.

Are students allowed to spend any time inside a dorm room with friends or spend time together in a dorm lounge?

Yes, students may have guests who are participating in Oberlin's COVID-19 testing program. Guests are limited to two per resident if they can maintain 6 feet of physical distancing and wear masks. Students can also socialize in lounges if they follow the posted occupancy of the space, maintain 6 feet of physical distancing, and wear masks.

When you look at the safety of socializing indoors, can you also please look at whether students who have pool tables / ping pong tables in their residences may use them? These tables are 9+ feet long and can be used safely, more safely than perhaps sitting around playing a board game or eating meals together.

Based on guidance from health professionals, we are not allowing the use of pool tables and/or ping pong tables due to the use of shared paddles or pool sticks.

If there are residents/students in a dorm not adhering to the community agreements, how does a student report that anonymously?

Right now, Oberlin does not offer anonymous reporting. In most cases, a conversation with the reporting party helps the college to respond most effectively to reports. If possible, the reporter's identify will be kept confidential, although this may not be possible in all cases.

What steps can you take/are you taking to ensure that local businesses comply with a level of COVID-safety regulations equivalent to those followed by students and staff?

The college is in active, regular conversation with our partners in the city of Oberlin, including local government and business organizations. Everyone has a deep interest in keeping our community as safe as possible, and the level of cooperation and collaboration remains very high.

What are the expectations/guidance for employees if we see students engaging in risky COVID-related behavior?

It is all of our responsibility to keep our Oberlin community safe. A form has been set up to allow persons to report concerns. In addition, Campus Safety remains open 24-hours a day to provide assistance and respond to immediate health and safety concerns from the faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Please call (440) 775-8444, or the emergency line at (440) 775-8911, available 24 hours a day.

Flu Shot

Will students who were gone in the fall be required to get a flu shot?

All students must upload evidence of a flu shot to the health portal in order to reside and/or take classes on campus in spring or summer 2021. If you were not on campus this fall, talk to your health care provider or visit one of the many locations such as pharmacies providing flu shots.

COVID-19 Vaccine

The governor has said that "teachers" will get the vaccine soon. Does that apply to colleges, or is he talking only about public school (K-12) teachers? Do we know if Oberlin faculty/staff fit into vaccine protocol 1B or 1C?

Governor DeWine's statement does not include college faculty. Faculty and staff who are 65 years of age or older can be vaccinated during Phase 1B (most likely starting the first week of February). Ohioans with severe congenital, developmental, or early onset medical disorders that make them particularly vulnerable will also be vaccinated during Phase 1B. In the state of Ohio, it has not be determined who will be vaccinated during Phase 1C. For more information, see Ohio's COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Are childcare workers included with teachers in the governor's list of priority vaccine recipients?

Governor DeWine's statement did not specify childcare workers at this time.

Are there any guidelines for those who have had the COVID virus in receiving the vaccine?

Yes, once an individual has been cleared of the virus (no longer symptomatic), it is recommended that they receive the vaccine.

Are there COVID vaccination plans being formulated for student/faculty/staff during the spring semester?

Yes, the college is in the process of applying to be a distribution center for our students, faculty and staff. Information will be forthcoming.

If I have received the vaccine for COVID, will this change any part of my Oberlin experience in the spring?

No, you will be expected to continue to follow all mitigation protocols throughout the semester

If I'm away from campus in the spring and get vaccinated somewhere else, how should I document this so that Oberlin knows?

Student Health Services will be sending remote students information on how to submit verification to the Student Health Electronic Portal.

Which vaccine will Oberlin distribute if it becomes a vaccination site?

We do not know which vaccine will be available if we're approved to be a distribution center. At this time, the Moderna vaccine is being used in public health settings. However, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is a one dose vaccine, may receive Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the next few months.

What if my doctor recommends the Pfizer vaccine?

Your doctor will have to inform you of locations offering the Pfizer vaccine. Due to the need to store this vaccine at ultracold temperatures it is highly unlikely that it will be administered on campus, if Oberlin is approved as a distribution center.

If approved, will the COVID vaccine be mandatory for all on campus students like the flu vaccine was?

Definitive policies have not been determined at this time.

What vaccination group do people with underlying conditions fall under? Approximately when will they get vaccinated?

It will depend upon the "underlying condition". Please refer to COVID-19 Vaccination Program from the Ohio Department of Health.

The vaccine obviously prevents a person who gets the virus from developing symptoms. But does the vaccine stop the infected person from spreading the virus?

It is currently unknown whether the vaccine prevents the spread of the virus. For this reason, it is important that we maintain all mitigation protocols until the vast majority of the population is vaccinated

How will you handle the 2-part vaccine if it distribution begins later in the semester shortly before students are expected to leave campus and return home across the country?

We do not have a clear answer for this question at this time. We are hopeful that a vaccine requiring only one administration will be available by April. More information will be forthcoming.

Will graduating seniors be prioritized to receive vaccines before mid-April since they would be leaving in mid-May?

We do not have any prioritization plans at this time. Once the vaccine is available, we are hopeful that all students will be vaccinated within a brief period of time.

Will the current vaccines provide immunity against future mutations of the virus?

It is not clear if the current vaccines will provide immunity to future mutations of COVID-19 virus. This depends on the types of mutations/where the mutations happen. If the virus mutates in a way that changes the make-up of the spike-proteins, it could result in the new mutations being resistant to the immune cells generated by currently available vaccines.

What happens with students who do not want to get the vaccine?

Definitive policies have not been determined at this time.

What can a person who is highly allergic (and who has experienced prior adverse vaccine reactions) do if they are asked to get a vaccine and hesitant to get it for these reasons?

Students will need to submit documentation to Student Health Services that verifies their past history of adverse reactions to vaccines. We will not require a student to have a vaccination if there is a documented risk of adverse reaction.

What is the advice regarding getting the vaccine if you have a history of anaphylaxis that is not traced to a food allergy?

Consult with your personal physician before receiving any vaccine.

Will the vaccine be mandatory for students in order to be on campus?

Definitive policies have not been determined at this time.

Will the employees of Oberlin College be required to get the COVID vaccination?

Employees will be strongly encouraged to obtain the vaccine at this time.

Will international students get the vaccine along with domestic students?

If Oberlin is approved as a distribution center, all students will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine as long as they meet the Ohio Department of Health guidelines.

For sophomores, should they plan to get the vaccine before returning in May? What if they can only get the first of two shots before returning to campus?

You should to call Student Health Services before receiving the first dose of vaccine at home to see if we will be able to administer the second vaccine of Moderna. It is possible that you will be required to obtain both vaccines from the same facility. You cannot mix vaccines, meaning you cannot get one administration of Moderna followed by an administration of Pfizer. It is also possible that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available which only requires one dose.

Do you anticipate that all students who are on campus this spring will be vaccinated before the end of this semester?

It is our hope that all students will be vaccinated by the end of the semester. There are factors that are beyond our control so we cannot provide any guarantees.

Will all faculty and staff be vaccinated through the college?

If Oberlin is approved as a vaccine distribution center, it is our plan to offer vaccines for all faculty and staff.

What are the known side effects so far of the vaccine?

See What to expect after getting COVID-19 vaccine?

Is there any concern about a large number of the community refusing the vaccine?

The Oberlin community has been very cooperative with all of our mitigation protocols. We do not anticipate a large number of community members refusing the vaccine.

If I am on immunosuppressive medications, should I get the COVID vaccine?

At the beginning of Dec 2020, Anthony Fauci did recommend COVID vaccine for patients with compromised immune systems. Dec 23, 2020, stated the following: "Despite several vaccine candidates being in phase 2/3 clinical trials, no current clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine has enrolled immunocompromised patients. Thus, the efficacy and safety of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine has not been established in the different immunocompromised patient populations." It is always recommended that persons with compromised immune systems discuss their questions with their provider/immunologist, before taking action.

If students are required to get the vaccine, including those with life-threatening allergies, can this be done at hospital and not on campus due to medical care needed for anaphylactic reaction?

Medical professionals will be present at the site to monitor and respond to any adverse reactions. The proposed vaccination site is adjacent to the hospital.

Can you explain what the vaccine actually does or is intended to do?

The CDC explains how vaccines work well.

Is it a medical fact that once you have had COVID you cannot contract the virus again - meaning you wouldn't need the vaccine?

The length of immunity post-infection has not been determined at this time. There are cases of people being reinfected a second time. Currently, it is recommended that you receive the vaccine even if you have been infected

If I can get a vaccine in my home state before I can get it in Ohio, will I be permitted to travel home to get it?

You will need to contact the Dean of Students office to request travel approval. If there are no travel restrictions at the time of your request, we will allow you to travel home to get a vaccine. If you are taking a two-administration vaccine (i.e. Pfizer or Moderna) you will want to check with Student Health Services to see if the second administration would be available to you in Oberlin. Please be aware that if you are approved for travel, you will need to quarantine upon return to Oberlin.

For staff that are required to be on campus, would they qualify for the "essential workers" category and therefore be able to obtain a vaccination earlier?

Currently, the State of Ohio would not recognize you as a person of priority (unless you are a health care worker) and therefore you would not be eligible for an earlier vaccination

Does Ohio's allocation of vaccine include the student population? Is that clearly demonstrated?

In the state of Ohio, the allocation of vaccine will include students. The time frame has not been determined.

Will retirees of the College be able to get vaccinated at the College?


Do we know how long the vaccination lasts? Are we likely to need a new vaccination every year, like the flu?

This is largely unknown.

If a student recently recovered from COVID exposure, will they still be required to be vaccinated?

It is recommended that those who were previously infected receive the vaccine.

Are student health and sports medicine personnel being considered for early vaccinations? Or not, since they are not a part of a hospital system? Which category of the vaccination rollout would they fit into?

If the employee falls within the state's definition of a healthcare provider they are eligible for early vaccination. Currently athletic training staff are not considered healthcare providers by the state of Ohio.

Will classes be cancelled on the day vaccines are distributed on campus to allow people to get the vaccine?

At this time, there is no plan to cancel classes on days the vaccine is distributed.

Vaccination Site

Has Oberlin applied to be a vaccination site?

Oberlin is in process of applying to be a distribution center, which subsequently requires approval from the state.

When will Oberlin know if it has been accepted as a vaccination site?

The state has not indicated how long the approval process takes.

What will the subsequent timeline look like if Oberlin is approved as a vaccination site?

Oberlin must follow the state criteria for vaccine distribution. A clear timeline has not been provided beyond phase 1B.

If the college becomes a vaccination site for the campus community, can that distribution be extended to the immediate family of faculty/staff?

If Oberlin becomes a distribution site it will be considered a closed pod and the vaccine will only be given to the Oberlin College community.

If Oberlin is approved as a vaccination site, will it be following the CDC priority order?

Yes, but it is possible that when the college gets the vaccine, distribution will be open to all.

If Oberlin is NOT approved as a distribution site, where near campus can students go for vaccinations when it is their turn?

Most likely there will be a vaccination site in the town of Oberlin

Will the estimated timeline (college student vaccinations happening between 4/1-6/1) affect Oberlin being able to administer vaccines before April, if given vaccination site status?

Oberlin will administer the vaccine if we are approved as a distribution site. Vaccine administration will depend on availability of the vaccine. The type of vaccine will also be a factor. The process is too new to provide specific information.

If the college were to become a vaccination site, how would the distribution of vaccine doses work for students/faculty/staff?

The college is currently discussing potential options for vaccine administration.

If Oberlin becomes a vaccination site, what measures will be put in place to safeguard the lives of individuals who might have an adverse reaction after being vaccinated?

All faculty, staff, and students will be required to stay at the vaccination site 15 minutes after receiving their vaccine. During this time, medical professionals will be present to monitor and respond to any adverse reaction to the vaccine.

If Oberlin becomes a vaccination site, does this mean that students with underlying conditions or who are immunocompromised will be able to be vaccinated by Oberlin before the vaccine is available to the general population, or would they have to get vaccinated somewhere else?

If Oberlin College becomes a distribution site, we will be following the state of Ohio guidelines for distribution. If someone is eligible for an early vaccination because of a health condition, it is our understanding that we would be able to administer the vaccine during the individual's eligibility time frame.

Will there be a paramedic on site when administering the vaccine in case of a bad reaction?

We will have licensed medical professionals on site to respond to any adverse reactions.

What defines "close contact" with a Covid-positive person that would warrant quarantine?

Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period* starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.* Individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). the determination of close contact should generally be made irrespective of whether the contact was wearing respiratory PPE. See CDC definition of “close contact.”

With a high risk student (pre-existing conditions), we would like to be prepared in advance. We have MD notes from primary/immunologist care – but likely student would need immediate mitigation (convalescent plasma/monoclonal antibodies), etc. Should we brief someone at Oberlin in advance?

Yes, this would be very helpful. Please call Student Health Services at 440-775-8180.

If a student gets a flu shot at home, what documentation should they bring to campus?

A digital copy showing student's name, date of administration, type of flu shot. This can be submitted directly on the student health portal.

If you have had Covid and recovered, are you now immune from spreading the virus or becoming re-infected?

The CDC says that, at this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long. However, some studies (published Jan 6, 2021 in Science) show robust immunity 8 months after infection. 

Were there any cases of Covid transmission within classrooms between students and/or teachers?

There were no cases of COVID transmission within classrooms or between students or teachers. Student transmission occured in situations in which students were unmasked in their living space with inadequate social distance. Employees primarily acquired COVID in off campus situations from family and friends.

How does the Oberlin College Covid infection rate compare to Lorain County in general, and to other higher ed communities in the county?

Data related to Lorain County can be found on the county health department website. The county and the city of Oberlin have generally mirrored national and state trends.

What is the Lorain County case rate in terms of percentage of population?

This data changes on a regular basis. Information can be found at

If a student is thinking of taking off the spring semester, when does the student have to notify Oberlin?

The deadline to take a personal leave without a late filing fee is January 5. More information is available from the Academic Advising Resource Center.

If you are scheduled to enroll in the summer and decide not to attend and return in the fall, what are the implications for returning to campus with regard to housing and registration for courses? Would this be considered a leave of absence?

This would be considered a personal leave of absence. Upon confirmation of your intent to return, registration information would be sent by email. Residential Education would send an email to your OCmail account regarding housing and dining options.

With so few days between semesters, and students attending three or even four semesters in a row without breaks, what will the college do to ensure the mental/physical health and academic success of its students?

Oberlin students have demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of the unique challenges of being a college student in a pandemic. The college will continue to foster resilience by offering individual and group counseling services, offering supportive advising through SHARE, and programming designed to build skills in wellbeing. The YeoFit series is also a critical resource for fostering a healthy mind and body. Unlike the overexertion/collapse cycle that sometimes characterizes the standard academic year with summers off, this unique year offers the opportunity to explore strategies of careful schedule planning, microbreaks, and other tactics for maintaining wellbeing.

My son is a junior. All of his classes, once he returns to Oberlin, will be remote, with no labs. How can the school make sure he does not feel isolated and give him opportunities to socialize safely?

There are a range of ways to get connected and be involved. Watch for student organization activities, both remote and in person. There are also ways to connect via virtual dining halls and other RemObies programming. If any student needs assistance in finding ways to connect, they are strongly encouraged to request a meeting with a SHARE advisor.

How will theater classes happen in the spring, assuming there will be no in-person performances until there is a vaccine?

The theater department has developed a range of creative solutions to give students performance and performance-related experience.

What are the chances for any in-person theater next semester or in the summer?

This depends on the vaccine. We are all eager to resume in-person theatrical experience as soon as it is safe to do so.

Have there been any known cases of the new, more contagious variant in Lorain County?

No, as of 1/8/2021.

Is there any concern about the more infectious version of the virus with regards to the layered strategy protocols that are in place now? Are the current distancing and mask requirements and indoor space protocols sufficient to stop the spread of that new strain, or will more restrictive protocols be implemented? Will small ensembles be more vulnerable, even given existing measures?

Dec 28, 2020, Johns Hopkins reported that so far the new strain did not require new prevention strategies. "We need to continue doing what we are doing."

Can you explain what "more contagious" means and how it impacts current mitigation tactics?

"More contagious" means - a new form of the virus quickly becomes dominant over other variants. - a new form has a higher “secondary attack rate,” which means each case infects more people. - infected people appear to have a higher viral load, carrying perhaps 10 to 100 times more virus in their nose and throat. This does not mean that the new form makes you sicker. Please also see CDC Also

Is there currently a concern that the new more contagious variant of COVID presents a significant possibility of disrupting plans for the spring semester?

A more contagious variant definitely creates concern. We implore all students, faculty and staff to be diligent about wearing masks, maintaining a minimum of 6 feet of social distance, washing hands frequesntly, avoiding crowds and following all ObieSafe protocols

Are the modes of transmission for the new variant of the virus the same (as far as we know now)?

Yes as of 1/8/2021

What are your thoughts on small student pods for the sake of mental wellbeing/avoiding complete isolation during this semester?

We have considered the "student pods" concept. We are still evaluating if this might be possible with local health officials.

If I have a significant other on campus, does this mean I am expected to never see them without a mask? What is your opinion on one or two people that I can hug? (I am a third year student so I wasn't there to experience the fall.)

The ObieSafe policies are based on guidance from public health experts, including not using "pods" or any pairing/grouping as an exception to the required COVID-19 safety practices. Given the current state of the pandemic, we do not anticipate relaxing them in the near future. For now, it is important to maintain at least 6 feet of distance and keep your mask on except when in your own room alone. During periods you are not in school, we recommend staying well-informed about COVID-19 risk from the CDC and other reliable sources. It's important to know how risk is reduced by physical distance, face-coverings, ventilation and minimizing the total minutes per day of any unavoidable close contacts. We know all of this can be challenging, but keep in mind vaccination is on the horizon, so it won't be forever.

Which residence halls have been allocated for isolation/quarantine?

The Hotel at Oberlin has been reserved for student in Isolation. Fairchild and Keep are reserved for students in quarantine.

Can you clarify the difference between isolation in the hotel and quarantine in the dorms?

Isolation separates sick people with or potentially with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. It typically lasts 10 days. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who have been exposed or potentially exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. It typically lasts 14 days, the virus’ incubation period. More information is available online at:

My daughter is allergic to a lot of foods and cannot eat what would be delivered. What plans does the campus have to address this issue? I ask because she had to quarantine after traveling out of state, and had to ask students to shop for her.

Our campus dining partner, AVI Fresh, engages the services of a campus dietician with whom we can consult on allergies and other dietary restrictions in order to provide nutritious and appealing meals even when there are special needs. AVI should be contacted directly at and they can also be reached via text at 440-577-5304.

How does quarantining work if you are in village housing?

The process is the same regardless if you are living in a Village house or a residence hall.

I am afraid that further success for Oberlin will be hampered by less ability to be outside combined with lack of large ventilated indoor social common spaces accessible for students. What is the college doing to address this?

Oberlin is exploring possibilities to safely allow indoor socialization. Our ability to do so is dependent upon a stable pandemic situation on and off campus.

What opportunities will students have for face-to-face contact in the cold months? Food, down time, etc.? We all know how important that is for social and emotional health.

Students can still interact in person. They just need to social distance, wear a mask, and follow posted occupancy guidelines for the spaces.

Will there be any changes in food service operations, based on lessons learned during the fall?

We're pleased that we have a close partnership with the Lorain County Board of Health and that we continue to follow their guidance, and that of the CDC, in daily campus dining operations. All students and guests are now required to show their Campus Access Daily Pass for entrance to all campus dining halls and venues. The Campus Access Pass is downloaded to your phone's wallet app or emailed after completing the Daily Symptom Survey that is emailed each morning.

Please update us on the status of OSCA and efforts to bring it back into the community post- and during-pandemic. When will OSCA reopen?

Assuming the public health situation permits, OSCA is expected to reopen in Fall 2021.

With such a short time between semesters (I believe it was 10 days between the spring and summer semesters), will students be able to stay on campus or will everyone be expected to return home?

Students will be expected to move completely out between spring and summer terms. We will have a process for some students (F-1 visa holders or students facing homelessness or domestic violence) to stay on campus similar to the process used after Thanksgiving.

What about the co-ops? What are the possibilities of restarting those, and when might that happen? And how could first years get fed into the co-op system?

Oberlin College is in active conversation with OSCA about conditions that would permit the co-ops to resume operation. We appreciate your patience and understanding about the pause in OSCA operations to ensure the highest possible level of community safety. As soon as information about resumption of operations is available, the college and OSCA will share it promptly.

There isn't much break between spring and summer semesters – possibly not enough for a 2-week quarantine. Will there be provisions for students to stay on campus during that time? Can they leave their stuff in their rooms if they must leave campus?

Students will be expected to move completely out between spring and summer terms. Students will not be residing in the same room for the summer term that they are staying in for the spring term. We will be able to offer students a more desirable option for the summer term. A process will be available for students who have extenuating circumstances to stay on campus similar to the process used after Thanksgiving.

Will juniors have to move between dorms spring to summer to fall (3 moves)?

Yes, students may need to move three times. Students may be able to stay in the same space, but it depends on a number of factors. Most likely, students will want to move to a more desirable housing option between each of the semesters. More information about housing selection for the summer term will be sent out later in the spring term.

Are students expected to leave campus between spring and summer in May?

Students will be expected to move completely out between spring and summer terms. Students will not be residing in the same room for the summer term that they are staying in for the spring term. We will be able to offer students a more desirable option for the summer term. We will have a process for students who have extenuating circumstances to stay on campus similar to the process used after Thanksgiving.

How are the RAs involved in supporting students?

The RAs are still involved in supporting students. How RAs support students just looks different due to the pandemic. RAs still meet with students just by physical distancing and wearing a mask or meeting with students over Zoom or the phone or reaching them by text. The RAs are still available to support students. RAs also offer a variety of community building strategies on a weekly basis to their floor or house communities.

Can another Oberlin student, who is part of the testing program, help move a student in?

Family members or guests may assist students moving in as long as they are screened at the Science Center Atrium prior to assisting the student move in.

What would the threshold be that would cause you to make a decision to push back the start of the semester or move to fully remote learning for the spring?

There is not an established threshhold that would cause the start of the semester to be delayed or move to fully remote learning. The Lorain Public Health Department provides guidance based on the number of cases seen on campus and whether there are clear epidemiologic links. We monitor cases closely and consult with the health department regularly.

Is there a threshold set by the state government for college closures or delayed starts?

There is no threshold set by the state.

Does my child need to take a test before she moves into her dorm room?

Yes. All students should complete thier test prior to moving into thier residence hall room.

Can I help my daughter to set up her dorm room?

Family members or guests may assist students moving in as long as they are screened at the Science Center Atrium prior to assisting the student move in.

Do you have a plan for LA students if we go into lockdown?

Any student who cannot travel to Oberlin because of restrictions will be allowed to access their classes remotely (unless an in-person experience is required). Once restrictions are lifted, the student could return for an on-campus experience.

What protocol do you have for isolation or quarantine for a student who has a suspected false positive PCR test, a month before coming to campus? Asymptomatic, rest of family is all negative - both rapid test and PCR.

Unless you are experiencing symptoms, you should be clear to return to Oberlin with the understanding that you will follow our current Obiesafe guidelines. The only guideline that would be different for someone who tested positive, is that you would not be required to participate in testing for 3 months following the date you tested positive.

How long will we be in quarantine for upon arrival to campus?

Students will be required to quarantine until the results of their PCR test return.

Is there any possibility that remote teaching will be extended past the first week of classes?

There is not an established threshhold that would cause an extension of the first week of remote teaching.The Lorain Public Health Department provides guidance based on the number of cases seen on campus and whether there are clear epidemiologic links. We monitor cases closely and consult with the health department regularly and are prepared to make these decisions should we see spread where remote classes would slow such spread down.

What is the timeline for a student's return to campus? Does a student from out of state arrive, take their test, and then move in all in the same day?

The official move-in dates are available online. If a student arrives after the end of testing and check-in for the day, they can go to Campus Safety at 140 West College Street. Campus Safety will assist them in gaining access to their housing and provide a welcome bag of snacks from Campus Dining. They will then go to their scheduled testing time. The student should quarantine until the assigned testing time, after which they should proceed to the Res Ed check-in location to complete the move-in process.

In the spring move-in schedule, South is listed for both January 27 and January 29. Which day is correct?

Due to an editing error, two dates were originally listed for South on our website, which we have corrected. Students living in South move in on January 29. All official move-in dates are available online.

Due to flight schedules, our two returning first-years will arrive the evening before their check-in date. Will they be able to get into their dorm rooms that evening? If so, how?

If students arrive the evening before, they will simply need to go to Campus Safety at 140 West College Street. Campus Safety will assist them in gaining access to their housing and provide a welcome bag of snacks from Campus Dining. They then go to their testing time. We ask that they quarantine until their assigned testing time, after which they should proceed to the Res Ed check-in location to complete the move-in process if they were not on campus for the fall term.

We’ve already purchased a return flight for Jan 4. With the delayed start, how soon will we find out when our son is scheduled for return so we may reschedule his return flight?

See the official Spring 2021 move-in dates.

Students traveling from the West Coast may not arrive in time for testing the same day they arrive due to the time difference. Is there a way to accommodate them?

If a student arrives after the end of testing and check-in for the day, they can go to Campus Safety at 140 West College Street. Campus Safety will assist them in gaining access to their housing and provide a welcome bag of snacks from Campus Dining. They will then go to their scheduled testing time. The student should quarantine until their assigned testing time, after which they should proceed to the Res Ed check-in location to complete the move-in process.

Can you please clarify what days students can arrive on campus before the February 1 start and what day they must leave campus at the end of the term?

Official move-in dates are available online at Spring 2021 Opening. The official housing closing dates are posted at Housing Important Dates.

Do you have to get a COVID test before returning to campus?

We are researching home testing options that may be useful to our students returning to campus. Currently, we are not requiring students be tested prior to returning to campus. As in the fall, they will be tested upon arrival and will be asked to quarantine until receiving a "clear" test result.

Will the first week of classes in February still occur remotely as it did in the fall?

The first week of classes will be remote in order for all members of the community to quarantine until they receive the results of their first COVID-19 test. This time will also include virtual education on campus expectations for behavior in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Do you really expect students to quarantine at home for two weeks prior to returning to campus?

We ask everyone to quarantine if at all possible. This strategy represents the best public health guidance and helps to ensure the lowest possible rate of infection among students returning to campus. Our very low initial COVID-19 infection rates were part of what allowed us to have a successful fall semester, and we look forward to replicating that good outcome this spring – with your help!

How can I change my designated arrival date? I am taking Amtrak, and the only trains available arrive on different dates.

If you are unable to arrive during your scheduled arrival date, please complete the Spring 2021 Request to Change Arrival Date Form.

What will student employment opportunities look like in January? Will students be allowed to be remotely employed (and what if you live in Oberlin over January?)

Please consult with your individual supervisor. Most campus positions will not resume until students return in February.

Based on the new calendar start dates for spring and summer, this means sophomores planning to study abroad in fall 2021 would need to take a leave for the summer term to study abroad in fall, as the summer semester ends after some of the study abroad semesters begin. What options are available for those sophomores so they can graduate with their class, or will they be part of the 2024 class now? If they are accepted to a program for the fall 2021 can they submit an appeal to be on campus spring 2021 if space is available?

Even with the recent adjustment to Oberlin’s academic calendar, students will still have plenty of study away opportunities in the Summer and Fall of 2021. However, each student’s academic situation will be unique this year and next, and we’re still carefully monitoring the COVID landscape and how it will impact study away. Any student interested in pursuing study away in the upcoming Summer or Fall is encouraged to contact the Office of Study Away ( so that we can provide personalized support and guidance.

Can you provide guidelines for parents/families to come visit their child on campus, especially for juniors who will not be coming home between spring and summer?

This is a hard issue. Family visitors are not able to come to campus except in emergency situations to assist a student (please contact the Dean of Students office to make arrangements for a COVID-19 screening in this case). Visiting increases everyone's risk of exposure to COVID-19, which is why student travel is only permitted in specific circumstances with appropriate quarantine on return. If you can avoid visiting in person, that may be the best course until the public health situation improves and more prevention options become available.

Could you clarify, if my student is enrolling for spring and summer, are they expected to stay on campus from February-September, with no break to come home?

Students will return home after the spring semester. Those who do travel between semesters will need to participate in the move-in process and testing protocol enacted at that time.

With juniors on campus almost continuously over the next year-plus, what opportunities will there be for students to see their families? Will juniors be able to leave campus at all between the spring and summer semesters?

Students may only leave campus for emergencies or other urgent activities, such as in-person interviews or auditions, by completing the travel request form on the ObieSafe website. Return to campus involves testing and a period of quarantine. Unfortunately, this means that the college cannot approve normal family visits in order to maintain the protected environment on campus.

Is there any possibility that parents will be allowed on campus for recitals or other performances?

We do not currently anticipate being able to welcome off-campus audience members in the spring.

When is tuition due? (Last year, first installments for spring were due at the end of December. Current bill is due now for spring. Since spring semester is now back to starting pretty much at the normal time, will bill due dates be adjusted back?)

The tuition due date was November 22, 2020. While the due date has not been adjusted, the college will not begin to assess holds or fees on accounts until the first week of January.

If the spring semester is forced to become virtual for students that had planned on and paid for the in-person semester, will room and board be refunded/credited?

If the spring semester is forced to become virtual, room and board charges will be refunded consistent with the housing and dining contract, which considers the week students would be required to leave campus. The refund schedule is as follows:

  • Week 1: 100% Refund
  • Week 2: 75% Refund
  • Week 3: 65% Refund
  • Week 4: 55% Refund
  • Week 5: 45% Refund
  • Week 6: 35% Refund
  • Week 7: 25% Refund
  • Thereafter: 0% Refund

If students cannot return to campus due to public health reasons, will there be a refund/credit for room and board?

Yes, students who do not return to campus for any reason will receive a refund or credit for room and board consistent with the schedule above.

Will juniors who did not participate in the Junior Practicum now be able to complete a winter term project in January?

Yes, any junior who has not yet completed a winter term project may complete a project in January.

If a student did participate in the Junior Practicum, can that student do a winter term in January too? (To get another of the three that are required, or just for enrichment?)

Students may only receive one winter term credit per academic year, so students who participated in the Junior Practicum would not be eligible to participate in the January winter term period.

Is a sophomore who opted to switch enrolled semesters to enroll in spring instead of fall now able to participate in a winter term project or class, like the juniors?

Sophomores who were previously scheduled to complete winter term in May are now eligible to participate in the January SOAR Retreat. For second-year students who are enrolled in the fall and spring semesters, the January SOAR Retreat is the only option for winter term credit at this time

How does the January term work for first year students? Do they have that as an option? Do Con first years do a winter term?

A&S first year students had the opportunity to receive winter term credit for their orientation programming in August. They are not eligible to participate in the January winter term period. Conservatory students of any year are eligible to participate in the January winter term period.

Are sophomores expected now to do winter term in January? And when will they hear more about the SOAR program?

The January SOAR retreat, one of the components of the Sophomore Practicum, is still the primary winter term option for second-year students. Students can visit the Sophomore Practicum's website or email for more information.

Explain what is happening regarding winter term for sophomores? It is a bit late at this point to find worthwhile opportunities. What office or person should be contacted in regard to discussing winter term opportunities?

The winter term opportunities for sophomores are unchanged. More information is available on the Winter Term updates page or by emailing

Can sophomores complete an independent winter term?

No, independent projects are not permitted for sophomores at this time.

Did the summer orientation count as a winter term?

Yes, first year A&S and Double Degree students could receive winter term credit for their participation in the orientation program "Critical Skills for New Obies."

How do students do a winter term? We’re still hazy on the details of how to put one together.

Students who are eligible to complete independent projects this year can schedule a 30-minute advising appointment with the Office of Winter Term to discuss project options by going to or email with any questions.

Can you talk a little about the approach admissions is taking? I have a current student and a high school senior.

Admissions has continued to recruit for the Class of 2025 and beyond. Most recruitment activities have been conducted virtually (school visits, open houses, information sessions, etc.), while campus tours continued in person throughout the summer and fall. We have been able to connect with students, and the virtual offerings have made it easier for students to find opportunities to engage with the college. Application dates have not changed, but Oberlin did move to a three-year, test-optional pilot program in light of the unprecedented effects the current pandemic is having on access to testing. We are planning for a virtual admitted student program as we did last year and will continue to evaluate possible on-campus options for the spring depending on health conditions. We encourage any prospective student to join one of our events and be in touch with their regional counselor if they have any questions.

During campus visits of prospective students and their families, are faculty/staff allowed to meet/greet in person?

At this time, it is recommended that all engagement with prospective students and families remain virtual until further notice. If you happen to encounter an Admissions tour in person, it is fine to greet prospective students and families, but please follow all safety guidance including mask-wearing and physical distancing.

See Also

Contact Us

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

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.