Health and Safety Protocols

Our multilayered health and safety strategy for opening this fall ensures that any possible illness is caught early and that we reduce the possibility of illness transmission. The strategy was developed with public health experts from the Ohio State University and Wayne County Health Department, and with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Health, the American College Health Association, and local health providers.

  • Reduce density by modifying classrooms and other spaces across campus
  • Social distancing of at least six feet
  • Cleaning and sanitizing practices for shared public spaces and high-contact surfaces based on CDC guidance
  • Face masks to be worn by all students, staff and faculty when in the presence of others
  • Compulsory temperature and symptom monitoring
  • Contact-tracing protocols in collaboration with the Wayne County Health department
  • Rapid, broad-based testing on arrival and regularly thereafter
  • Rapid testing in case of symptoms or contact with people who are ill
  • Quarantine and isolation spaces, where students will be supported if they are ill or have been in contact with someone who is ill.

The College will be working in the coming weeks on detailed plans to make these components work well for everyone at the College, based on the best public health advice.

What are the safety and health requirements of every student upon returning to campus?

All Wooster students will be required to commit to our Community of Care Agreement outlining campus requirements to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep our community safe before scheduling a move-in appointment for fall 2020. In addition, all students will be asked to regularly monitor their email and course Moodle sites to receive timely information from faculty and staff, who may need to make quick adjustments to classes and college programming.

How are you preventing airborne and surface transmission?

We are optimizing our ventilation based on CDC guidance throughout our various HVAC systems, updating filters, increasing fresh air circulation, and optimizing humidity control. We are increasing cleaning of public spaces, shared restrooms per CDC guidelines, including restrooms and high touch areas twice per day, we are asking each person to wipe down multi-use spaces when they leave (i.e. classrooms, library, etc.) and we will utilize products as defined by EPA.

Are masks required?

Yes, masks or face coverings will be required at all times when outside of your immediate housing assignment and outdoors when six feet distancing cannot be maintained.

What is the requirement for wearing masks in your room?

If you have a roommate, you are essentially a family unit and do not need to wear masks in your living situation.

How will social distancing and masks work in residence halls?

If you are outside of your room in a more public space you will need to wear a mask. If you have common spaces in your Residence Hall, you will be required to wear masks in those spaces.

Will social distancing and mask wearing be required when doing laundry?

Yes, we are requiring everyone to following six foot distancing measures and masks in all common spaces. We may be installing plexiglass where social distancing cannot be achieved.

What will be the consequences for people not following the safety protocols?

Every member of the Wooster community will be required to sign our Community of Care Agreement to uphold campus health and safety rules prior to scheduling a move-in appointment. Failure to comply with the College’s required health and safety rules will result in referral to the College’s existing conduct processes.

Will students and others be required to help with sanitizing and cleaning spaces?

We will be requiring that students, faculty, and staff wipe down their areas before leaving for the next person’s use.Sanitization will happen periodically a couple times per day using CDC approved methods and cleaning supplies. In between, we will be asking students, faculty and staff as they are going from place to place to wipe off an area after you leave it with College-provided wipes for the next person.

How will we make sure houses have the cleaning they need?

EPA recommended cleaning supplies will be provided to students in the houses and training on CDC cleaning guidelines will be provided.

Will we be requiring masks in outdoor public spaces?

The best public health information right now is that we should require masks in outdoor spaces when six feet distancing cannot be achieved. 

For visitors to campus, especially during move-in, how will you enforce mask wearing?

This is a private campus and all folks are required to wear masks. If visitors arrive on campus during move-in without masks they will be issued a mask by College personnel. In addition, our more community spaces like the library, Lowry Center and Scot Center may be swipe only access. 

Are you going to be restricting movement of students from campus to town?

We will make decisions about that close to when we open and it will be based on what the public health situation is in town. Right now, the town is quite safe so we don’t think students risk anything by going to the grocery store with their masks on. We may keep students on campus for a short period of time when they first arrive and before we start mixing the campus and broader community populations. We are regularly meeting with local officials in order to make the best decisions.

If we return to campus and a resurgence of COVID-19 requires we evacuate campus, will students without viable alternatives be allowed to remain?

Yes, we will provide a process to request housing and accommodation on campus in the event that a resurgence of COVID-19 requires us to evacuate the campus.

Will I have to quarantine when I arrive in Wooster?

If students test positive following their initial COVID-19 antigen test on campus they will be required to isolate in a designated space on campus with separate bathroom facilities and meals delivered to them. During this time we will do symptom monitoring through our Wellness Center. We realize the seriousness and inconvenience of this measure, but it’s the only way we can ensure students are healthy before they join the campus community.

If a student tests positive at the beginning of the year or during fall semester would they be quarantined? 

If you test positive for COVID-19, we would do contact tracing in coordination with the county health department and we would then test those with whom you’ve had contact on campus. If they don’t test positive but you do, you may be isolated elsewhere. If all housemates test positive we would discuss the best approach to isolation that would ensure no exposure to others on campus.

What will be Wooster’s approach to caring for a student who has tested positive for COVID-19?

It will depend on what the student needs. They would be isolated in a space where they have a separate bathroom and meals would be delivered. We would be caring for them through our Wellness Center. Nurses would be checking in on them daily. 

  • Asymptomatic individuals would remain in isolation until they test negative. 
  • If a person is ill and needs more care, we are working with the local hospital to get nurses to visit them on campus and assist them.
  • If a person is really sick and needs to be hospitalized, we will be working with the county health department, the local hospital, and our physician at the Cleveland Clinic to ensure the student gets the care they need.  

How would we notify parents and who will be the patient advocate?

We have a working relationship between our Wellness Center and the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Elderbrock of the Cleveland Clinic would be the primary advocate and person guiding the care for the student through the Wellness Center. Students’ health information is private but normally we talk to students about informing their parents. If a student has a major health and safety issue we will contact parents right away.

If I want to return to campus but have some personal health concerns will I be able to request accommodations?

We understand that many students may have health conditions that make the decision to study on campus difficult. Our planning is prioritizing the safety of all members of our community. If you need an accommodation to study on campus, please fill out an accommodation request through our learning center.

Are we communicating with members of the community as part of our safety planning? 

We have been in contact regularly with the mayor and the chair of the city council. They are excited to have students back and they are confident in our plans. We also have been in touch with the head of the local hospital and they are in a really good position to provide support to our campus should we need it. We are in weekly calls with the county emergency management association.

What do I do if I am on campus and there is an emergency?

The College of Wooster will alert you to any major emergency by sending an email to your Wooster email and a text message to the cellphone number on file.

If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911.

You can also call Campus Safety at 330-263-2000 to be connected with crisis services.

Will students be able to get their flu shots on campus?

Yes, students will be able to get flu shots at the Wellness Center. We highly recommend that everyone get a flu shot.

Will student-athletes be able to get their physicals on campus?

We are strongly recommending that students get their physicals before returning to campus this year to reduce density issues and provide greater capacity for staff in Wellness to focus on testing. If you are not able to get a physical before returning to campus, you can make an appointment online with the Wellness Center by calling 330-263-2319.