Otterbein University Plans To Resume In-Person Classes This Fall

May 4, 2020

After moving to remote learning for the spring and summer semesters, Otterbein University in Westerville announced plans Monday to resume in-person classes in the fall.

However, university president John Comerford says that does not mean things will operate the same as before the coronavirus outbreak.

"It means that we will be in-person so long as it is possible to do so safely and permitted by county, state, and federal officials," he wrote in a Facebook post. "It means we are already planning for enhanced cleaning, social distancing, contact tracing, and self-isolation of ill individuals. It means that even in the best-case scenario, we will not be operating normally.

Comerford said that class sizes may be smaller, dormitory living may be modified, and large gatherings may not be permitted. Sports will likely be impacted, and some classes will still be online for students or staff that are at-risk.

However, the statement acknowledges that classes will resume if and only if officials permit.

"Let me also be clear about what this does not mean," Comerford continued. "It does not mean Otterbein will be ignoring the orders and guidelines of government and medical professionals. It does not mean that we think the threat is over. It does not mean that we have all this figured out; we will have the summer to get additional guidance and make plans. It does not mean that we can stop planning for the worst-case scenario, and I will continue to ask faculty and staff to be prepared should class modifications be required again."

Otterbein University has a student population of about 3,000.