Public health experts say college students who test positive for COVID-19 should stay where they are instead of traveling home, and President John Comerford agrees. 

Students returning to campus are hoping to maintain some kind of routine and normality this fall. Last semester, students, faculty and staff were sent home to complete spring semester virtually. However, people are curious if a similar situation will happen once students return to campus. 

“Of course, the answers are always ‘it depends.’ If we were advised by Franklin County Public Health that we need to return to all remote instruction, then it would probably look a lot like what happened in March,” Comerford said. “We’d ask students to go home if they are able. Just like last March, we’d have some who cannot go home for some good reason, and we’d let them stay on campus.” 

A majority of the decisions that the office of the president makes is from the supervision of Franklin County Public Health. Nonetheless, the location of where students may end up if another COVID-19 outbreak occurs is still not certain.  

          

On the university's website, a student FAQ was provided in late August answering the question “Are students allowed to go home throughout the semester?” Otterbein is encouraging students to remain on campus. 

Students on campus must follow the guidelines put in place to continue to use residence halls, certain Greek houses and Otterbein facilities. With a school that is as hands-on as Otterbein, students returning and switching to online learning would impede the importance of this type of education. For example, the theater, zoo/conservation and nursing programs all depend on in-class learning.    

“Things like main stage shows, classes, directing projects and students getting together and creating theater will be a great deal more difficult over Zoom,” Junior theater student Jake Ronk says. 

          

To keep students on campus and increase the amount of in-person classes, everyone must do their part in fighting against this virus and taking preventative measures.  

“The key to make this happen is the choices we all make,” President Comerford says. “You can see on other campuses how a few house parties or other poor choices quickly led to students being sent home...even those who were not involved in the poor choices.” 

Students are holding each other accountable and reporting to the COVID-19 hotline if someone suspects the breaking of guidelines. The campus community controls how the pandemic will impact classes this semester and moving forward.