With everyone's participation, Ohio Wesleyan is looking forward to a vibrant 2021-2022 academic year. Both students and employees are required to be vaccinated or to apply for and receive an approved exemption. These FAQs, geared toward students, should help to answer common questions about safe campus protocols.

What if I become ill with coronavirus symptoms? Will I switch to remote classes?

If you are tested and diagnosed with COVID-19, you will need to notify Ohio Wesleyan via covid19@owu.edu and notify your individual professors. Classes are not being offered remotely this academic year, but your professors will work with you to try and keep you on track so you can finish the semester.

What happens to me if I am exposed to someone testing positive for COVID-19 after I am vaccinated? Will I be quarantined or isolated?

Ohio Wesleyan intends to follow the CDC’s public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people. Currently, these recommendations state that vaccinated individuals may “refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings” and also “refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic.”

For the latest list of coronavirus symptoms and access to an online Coronavirus Self-Checker, visit the CDC’s Symptoms of COVID-19 webpage.

What if I am not vaccinated, or not fully vaccinated, before classes begin? Am I able to move in, to attend classes? How will my experience be different from vaccinated students?

Ohio Wesleyan continues to monitor the latest guidance and to consult with public health experts regarding 2021-2022 protocols. 

Students not vaccinated by the start of classes will be able to attend OWU if they have applied for and received a vaccine exemption or are in the process of completing their vaccination protocol. Additional information on this topic is posted in this guide.

Per current public health recommendations, everyone on campus is expected to wear a facial covering when indoors in classrooms, dining halls, and other public areas. This protocol will be reviewed weekly. Even if the mask requirement is dropped for vaccinated students, faculty, and staff, unvaccinated individuals will be expected to wear masks when indoors in all public areas. 

For student-athletes, the NCAA’s latest guidance states: “Unvaccinated athletes and athletics personnel should consider wearing masks and/or remaining physically distant during all athletics activities unless the population has reached a critical threshold of 85% immunity and the community transmission is low.” At Ohio Wesleyan, unvaccinated athletes will be required to wear masks in accordance with NCAA and University policies and will be required to participate in frequent testing.

Why is Ohio Wesleyan requiring a vaccine that the FDA has authorized for emergency use only?

Update: On Aug. 23, 2021, the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use in people 16 and older.

That said, our primary goal is to keep everyone healthy. For students, we want them to enjoy a robust residential campus experience that includes large gatherings, athletic competitions, studying and dining together with friends without required facial coverings and physical distancing, and more. Additionally, protecting our entire campus community, including those unable to receive a vaccine due to health conditions, is a critical priority.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials, and nearly 367 million doses have been administered since December 2020 “under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.” Medical experts agree that any potential health concerns from new vaccines would likely have occurred within the first six weeks of the administration of the vaccines.

Like Ohio Wesleyan, hundreds of U.S. colleges and universities are requiring students to be inoculated based on the effectiveness and safety of COVID-19 vaccines and the recommendations of the CDC and other public health organizations. The American College of Health Association also urges college students to be vaccinated as soon as possible and recommends that universities require vaccination of their students.

How do I provide Ohio Wesleyan with proof of my COVID-19 vaccination?

After completing their vaccinations, students who have not already documented their vaccination status with the University should upload an image of their COVID vaccination card and fill out OWU’s online vaccination registration form. All incoming first-year students should complete this form and upload an image of their COVID vaccination card in addition to returning their comprehensive vaccination form to the OWU Health Center. Proof of vaccination must be provided by 5 p.m. July 23. Individuals who have received only the first shot in a two-shot series should send proof of their first shot to covid19@owu.edu with an image of their vaccination card, then complete the vaccination registration form when the series is completed.

Employees are asked to upload an image of their vaccination card or submit an exemption request form via the ADP portal by 5 p.m. Aug. 20. 

If I wish to request a medical or religious exemption, what documentation do I need to provide and how do I submit it?

Students who wish to apply for an exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement may do so using the student petition for vaccination exemption form. Documentation is required for any exemption. The deadline to apply for an exemption is 5 p.m. July 23.

  • Students seeking medical or ADA exemptions must provide documentation from medical professionals. If an exemption is requested and approved because of a temporary medical condition, the exemption will expire when the medical condition is resolved. All requests for medical exemptions are reviewed in consultation with medical experts from OhioHealth. For questions, please contact covid19@owu.edu.
  • Students requesting a religious exemption must provide documentation that they are part of a faith community that has a doctrinal statement against vaccinations.

Please note that exempted students may be unable to participate in international travel and other activities, and they need to follow other precautions to help protect the campus community. These restrictions may change as public health recommendations evolve.

In the event of a campus outbreak of a medical condition for which there is a documented immunization (such as mumps), students who are not immunized or are under-immunized may be asked to leave campus and/or quarantined until public health officials determine that the threat of illness has passed. This protocol is consistent with how other campuses manage non-immunized populations.

Will all students be tested upon their arrival at Ohio Wesleyan for fall and spring semester? Will I be given a timed arrival time?

Based on current knowledge and guidelines, students will not be tested if they are fully vaccinated, and move-in times will not be scheduled. Parents and family will be permitted to move in and out of buildings without restriction to help students get settled in, too. Everyone participating in the move-in process must wear a mask when indoors on campus property.

Ohio Wesleyan is still discussing whether unvaccinated students will need to be tested upon their arrival to campus and may receive a scheduled move-in time accordingly.

What vaccinations will Ohio Wesleyan accept to meet its requirement (for both domestic and international students)?

Ohio Wesleyan will accept any COVID-19 vaccinations listed for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and/or the World Health Organization to meet the vaccination requirement. 

Ohio Wesleyan also will help international students with getting an approved vaccine if they are unable to do so before traveling to the United States for classes. For more information, contact the Office of International and Off-Campus Programs.

What should I do if I don’t qualify, or aren’t approved for, a vaccination exemption and still choose not to be vaccinated?

While the guidance we have received from public health authorities, the scientific community, and the FDA leads us to conclude that requiring students to be vaccinated is the most prudent step for OWU, we recognize that some students are uncomfortable receiving the vaccine until the FDA grants full approval.

For these students, we will work with entering students to defer admission, and with returning students to grant a leave of absence, so that you are able to continue your education at Ohio Wesleyan when you are comfortable doing so. For more information, entering students should contact their Admission counselor, and returning students should contact the Office of the Registrar. Employees should contact the Department of Human Resources.

For more information, watch our COVID-19 Vaccination Information Session.