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Announcement Archive

FALL 2021 PROTOCOLS

2021

September 24, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

 COVID-19 Protocol Update

Thank you, students, for your extra effort toward our two major goals this semester: the physical and mental health of our campus and a more typical experience than last year. Thank you, also, faculty and staff, for your support. You’ve each made a difference!

The COVID-19 environment at Ouachita has improved considerably – and continues to improve in our county and state.

  • As of today, we have 5 active cases on campus. We’ve only had one new case in the last nine days.
  • 81% of employees and 56% of residential students have submitted information for the $400 grant, indicating they’re fully vaccinated – and we know the actual rate is higher.
  • When you combine vaccinated individuals with those who have developed natural immunity from having COVID-19 recently, Dr. Kluck estimates that 86% of all faculty, staff and residential students have some immunity.

When the academic year began, I said we would review our current protocols by tomorrow, September 24. If we can continue to have similar results, we intend to adjust our protocols on October 11, the Monday after Fall Break, in the following ways:

  • Classrooms: Masks will no longer be required in all classrooms; however, individual faculty members may require masks in their specific classrooms.
  • Indoor Public Common Spaces: Masks will be optional.
  • Fine Arts Events: Masks will be optional with some continued limitations on capacity.
  • Chapel: We will continue with the current approach (masks required, half capacity) until further notice.

It’s important to remember that current protocols are still in place; we will give a final word on the change as we approach Fall Break.

Thank you again for your extra effort – please keep it up for the health of our campus. It also will contribute to a great Homecoming Week and meaningful Fall Break – and, hopefully, to an adjustment in our protocols in early October.

September 7, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

 The Return of Tiger Tunes

Message from the President

We’ve said we’re committed to a more typical year, and it’s been energizing to see beloved campus traditions returning to campus, even if they are somewhat adjusted. I loved cheering on the Tigers with you last week for our first football game in two years! Among the main questions I’ve heard over the last few months as we prepared for the semester is, “What about Tiger Tunes?” We’re moving forward with the in-person production but have made a few adjustments in light of the current COVID-19 environment. As always, we’re monitoring the situation and will adjust protocols as needed – whether that’s to become more or less restrictive. Regardless of the circumstances, we’re excited to welcome students back to the Tiger Tunes stage to fund scholarships for their fellow students. Thank you especially to OSF and show leaders for your dedication and flexibility!

COVID-19 Adjustments for Tiger Tunes 2021

  • JPAC seating will be limited to 50% capacity (like chapel).
  • Masks are required of all guests at all times.
  • A second Friday performance has been added (see performance schedule below).
  • Club/group participants will practice and perform in masks (unless practicing outdoors).
  • Shows are exploring small practice groups and outdoor practices to limit spread and quarantines.
  • Guests are encouraged to only attend one show to allow as many as possible to experience the performances.

2021 Tiger Tunes Performances

  • Wednesday, Sept. 29 – 7:30 p.m. // Preview Performance (see details below)
  • Thursday, Sept. 30 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 1 – 5 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 1 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 2 – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 2 – 8:30 p.m.

Ticket Sales Schedule

  • Show participants may purchase two tickets each before tickets go on sale to other groups. These are handled through your show’s directors.
  • Wednesday & Thursday, Sept. 8-9 – Pick-A-Seat Package Renewals ($150 for 4 tickets)
  • Friday, Sept. 10, 1 p.m. – New Pick-A-Seat Packages, Preview Performance ($12 tickets limited to Ouachita students, faculty and staff, as well as local groups using the code “tunespre21”)
  • Monday, Sept. 13 – Individual ticket sales open to alumni and participant parents ($25 per ticket)

Tickets will be available for purchase online at obu.edu/boxoffice 24 hours a day. To purchase tickets in person, visit the Jones Performing Arts Center Box Office or call 870-245-5555 from 1-5 p.m. on weekdays.

See more details at obu.edu/tunes. Questions? Email OSF@obu.edu.

September 3, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

 Campus COVID-19 Updates

Message from the President

Like other universities and schools that are two to three weeks into the academic year, Ouachita is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases. While we hoped to avoid this, we’re also not surprised given the nature of the Delta variant.

What does this mean for Ouachita? We’re committed to the health of our campus and to having a more typical year. In response to the increased cases, there are incremental protections we can all take to control the spread. Read below for an important protocol change, health reminders and campus data. It will get better, and we will continue to take care of one another through our choices. Take care, Tigers, over Labor Day weekend.

Increased mask protocol

Due to the sharp rise in cases, masks are now required in the Ouachita Commons and Evans Student Center any time you are not actively eating. Please keep your mask on in line, while visiting with friends, studying, etc. Keep a mask with you at all times on campus, and be courteous to others.

How you can help

  • Wear your mask indoors and when riding in cars with others; seek to use good judgment.
  • If you are away from campus and receive a positive test result or are exposed to COVID-19, please notify the Office of Health Services at covid@obu.edu or 870-245-5244.
  • If you’re vaccinated, turn in your records through the Vaccine Grant Program to help expedite our contact tracing process – and receive your $400.
  • If you aren’t vaccinated, consider participating in next week’s on-campus vaccine clinic on Friday, Sept. 10, from 1-3 p.m.

BY THE NUMBERS

52 active cases (50 students, 2 staff) // 47 in quarantine

  • These reflect symptomatic people being tested, as well as weekly screenings of unvaccinated student athletes per NCAA guidelines.
  • Compared to last year, there are fewer students in quarantine per active case thanks to many on campus who are vaccinated and not required to quarantine.

Ouachita’s current vaccination rates, according to the state of Arkansas:

  • 55.1% of students have one dose
  • 45.1% of students are fully vaccinated
  • 76.8% of employees have one dose
  • 72.9% of employees are fully vaccinated

Our active cases and quarantine numbers will be posted weekly at obu.edu/coronavirus along with the latest campus protocols.

September 1, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

 On-campus Vaccine Clinic Friday, Sept. 10

Baptist Health Medical Center Arkadelphia will bring its mobile vaccine clinic to Ouachita's campus to administer free, walk-in COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson will be available) for employees and students who either need to start the process or receive their second shot. This is not a booster vaccine clinic. No reservation is needed. This is part of our relationship with Baptist Health, which provided two vaccine clinics on campus last semester.                                                                                                                             

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

Friday, Sept. 10, 1-3 p.m.

Ouachita Street in front of Berry Chapel

Administered by Baptist Health Medical Center Arkadelphia

No reservation needed

What’s the difference in the different vaccines? Read more about the Pfizer, J&J and Moderna vaccines at cdc.gov to inform your choice of vaccine. Baptist Health will return to campus for a second clinic to complete the vaccine series for those who choose Pfizer.

If you are receiving your second shot, bring your vaccination card or record showing the date the first shot was administered. If you previously received Moderna for your first shot, you may not receive a Pfizer or J&J shot as your second shot.

Ouachita’s $400 Vaccine Program deadline has been extended to accommodate the schedule of this clinic. Students or employees who already have completed vaccination may submit their official vaccine record in the Info portal (under the Health Services menu item) to participate in the program. Learn more at obu.edu/coronavirus.

August 27, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

Message from President: As I’ve walked through the campus this week, it’s been so energizing to see your smiles, hear your voices and sense your hopefulness for this semester! Let’s continued to stay focused on our two larger goals this year: to care for the health of our campus community and to have a more typical year. With appreciation for all of you.

Important Health Services Information

Ouachita’s Office of Health Services is an important on-campus resource as we seek to keep our campus community healthy this year. Please read the following updates to services available this year.

Mask Reminder: Remember, masks are required inside all of Ouachita’s academic and administrative buildings, including classrooms and hallways. Please have a mask with you at all times.

Billing Update: Ouachita’s Office of Health Services will still provide services to students by the university nurse, Molly Wallace, and athletic trainers at no cost; however, insurance will be filed through our vendor Vivature. Most insurance companies will send the policy owner an explanation of benefits (EOB) document to show the charges that have been filed. Even if the EOB shows a balance not covered by insurance, you will not receive a bill for that amount from Ouachita. Please bring your insurance card with you on your first visit to Health Services this year.

The exception is if you are seen by a physician (like Dr. Kluck) on campus or at another location for medical services. Then you will receive a bill for costs not covered by the insurance company, and you may be asked to make a co-pay at the time of the visit. This is the same policy as previous years.

What If I’m Sick: Do not go to class or public places if you are feeling sick. Call Health Services at 870-245-5244 to talk through your symptoms. They will help determine next steps, such as an in-person or telemedicine appointment or a COVID-19 test. Employees are encouraged to contact their primary care provider or utilize a telemedicine option like FirstStopHealth, available through Ouachita’s health insurance provider. Walk-ins are accepted but priority is given to those who call ahead for an appointment.

COVID-19 Testing: On-campus, free, rapid COVID-19 testing is available in the Office of Health Services for Ouachita students, employees and employees’ immediate family members. Please call ahead at 870-245-5244 to make an appointment.

$400 Vaccine Program Reminder: Don’t forget to turn in proof of vaccination in your Info Portal to receive $400. If you haven’t begun your series of shots, you must receive your first shot of the Moderna vaccine by Sept. 1 or the first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by Sept. 7. Learn more about the program at obu.edu/coronavirus.

Quarantine Policy Update: Following updated CDC guidance, vaccinated individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 as a “close contact” are not required to quarantine as long as they do not experience symptoms, wear a mask for at least 14 days and receive a negative test on day 7.

August 20, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

Promised news: New apartments!

                                                                                                                                             

First of all, Happy Move-in Day to new students! We are so excited to welcome you to campus.

In a Ouachita Update earlier this month, we teased a big campus improvement coming soon. The news is now out – Ouachita is breaking ground on a new $12.6 million student apartment complex on the southwest edge of campus (near Pediatrics Plus) that will be ready for use next fall.

The new apartments will feature two buildings divided into six houses. Each three-story house includes six apartments with two double-occupancy bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry room, kitchen and dining area open to the living area. The units will be fully furnished for students’ convenience.

This marks phase two of the university’s Project Foresight, an effort to improve the southwest gateway to campus. It also caps 15 years of improvements to on-campus housing, which began with the construction of the Student Village in 2009, construction of Georgia Hickingbotham and Susie Everett Halls in 2010, renovation of Kluck Hillside Apartments in 2018 and renovation of Tatman Corner (formerly Pine Square) apartments in 2021. Ongoing improvements also have been made to Ouachita’s three freshman residence halls.

Read more about the new apartment complex at obu.edu/stories.

More details for students will be released in coming weeks.

August 18, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF 

Dining details: Hours and notes to start the semester     

                                                                                                                                        

Ouachita’s dining services partner, Sodexo, is gearing up to feed the tigers in the Ouachita Commons cafeteria and Evans Student Center retail locations. Check out their regular hours of operation as well as special notes for this semester below. Masks are optional in dining facilities.

Pardon our progress. 

Our new furniture is on its way! The Ouachita Commons is currently upgrading the dining seating areas, including the lobby and Tiger Express. We look forward to serving you with our new look that includes new tables & chairs, booths and banquette seating in the upper and lower levels. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we make progress.

Need your meal To Go?

The Commons will offer To Go meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner (excludes continental breakfast and light lunch). Swipe your card and let the cashier know you would like your meal To Go. If you select to take your meal to go, the dine in option is unavailable.

Remember to dock your dishes.

We kindly ask that all dishes are placed in the dish room chutes prior to exiting the Commons. Dishes cannot be taken outside of the building. If you remove by accident, please return to the Commons. 

 

HOURS: OUACHITA COMMONS

Opens starting Sunday, Aug. 22

 

Ouachita Commons 

7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Mondays – Thursdays

7 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Fridays

11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. BRUNCH Saturdays – Sundays

4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. DINNER Saturdays – Sundays

 

Tiger Express (located downstairs in the Commons lobby)

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Mondays - Fridays

 

 

HOURS: EVANS FOOD COURT

Opens starting Tuesday, Aug. 24

 

Chick fil A

7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Mondays – Thursdays

7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Fridays

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturdays

CLOSED Sundays

 

Sandella’s

11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Mondays - Thursdays

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Fridays

CLOSED Saturdays

5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Sundays

 

Tiger Grill 

11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Mondays - Thursdays

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Fridays

CLOSED Saturdays

5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Sundays

 

Dr. Jack’s Coffeehouse

7:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. Mondays – Thursdays

7:30 a.m. –  5 p.m. Fridays

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturdays

12 p.m. - 11 p.m. Sundays

 

 

 

Questions? Contact Kari Ledford at kari.ledford@sodexo.com.

Dear Students:

As we prepare to begin classes on August 24, I can’t wait to say, “Welcome Home!”

And even with that happy anticipation, I also have the feeling of “here we go again” as we enter our third academic year marked by COVID-19.

This year, we’re aiming for two results to guide us in support of our Christian higher education mission. First, the physical and mental health of students, faculty and staff remains a priority. And a second goal, as much as possible given our first goal, is that we all have a more typical campus experience than last year.

We’ve already updated you regarding many of last year’s protocols, and the major remaining one relates to masks. Currently, the campus is mask optional; however, given the current COVID-19 situation and a strained healthcare system in Arkansas: For the first month of the academic year, we will have an approach where masks are required in some indoor spaces and optional in others. 

Required:

  • Classrooms, laboratories and indoor public spaces (e.g., hallways, auditoriums, etc.).
  • Chapel: We’re planning for in-person Chapel, limited to approximately 50% capacity in JPAC. Students will alternate attending in person one week and the following week completing Chapel online. More details to come.

Optional:

  • Where students live – residence halls and apartments.
  • Where we eat – Ouachita Commons and Evans Student Center.
  • Meetings – where six-foot distancing can be achieved.

Masks are not required in private offices, but should be worn when six-foot distancing cannot be achieved.

Athletic teams will be guided by NCAA and conference protocols.

Masks are not required outside.

This protocol becomes effective tomorrow, August 13.

We’ll continually assess the situation and give an update no later than September 24, a month after the first day of class.

There are some things we can’t control about COVID-19, but our personal actions do matter. 

  • Consider getting vaccinated; click here to review Ouachita’s federally funded grant initiative.
  • Take care, Tigers. Infections and spread happened last year at Ouachita from close, unmasked contact during indoor social gatherings, and this year’s Delta variant is far more contagious.
  • Wear a mask where required, and use good judgment in all settings – on and off campus.
  • Check yourself regularly for symptoms, and take advantage of our same-day, on-campus testing available in Health Services.
  • Pray for our campus.

If any campus can exemplify care for each other, serve one another and experience a more typical year in a pandemic, it’s Ouachita. We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again. So, together, we move ahead. I look forward to seeing you soon!

 

Kind regards, Ben

Ben R. Sells, Ph.D.
President

August 6, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF 

Preparing our college home

Ouachita continues to plan, pray and hope for a more typical year. We are excited for this next semester and look forward to welcoming our students, alumni and friends back to their home away from home. It’s only two weeks until new student move-in day! Watch this 2-minute video to share in our dreams for the semester.

August 5, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS

Getting set for class: Check-in and more

The first day of classes is less than three weeks away! We’re excited to get started, but there are a few boxes to check off before you arrive. Read below for details on completing check-in as well as additional information on quarantine/isolation so that you can plan ahead with confidence.

Online Check-in

Check in for the Fall 2021 semester opens online next Wednesday, Aug. 11, and closes next Friday, Aug. 13. All students who are pre-registered for Fall 2021 classes need to confirm their enrollment at Ouachita by completing online check-in. Students can complete online check-in through their INFO portal.

You will receive an additional email from Susan Atkinson, Ouachita registrar, on Aug. 10. Please note this important information:

  • Your first payment should be finalized before the close of the check-in period. Your pre-bill display is available under the financial section of your INFO portal, and payments may be made online. Student Financial Services is available at 870-245-5570 to assist you prior to the check-in period with any questions regarding your pre-bill charges or financial aid.
  • If you do not complete your check-in, your courses will be dropped.
  • As part of Ouachita’s COVID-19 precautions for the semester, please be aware of two related items included in the check-in process:
  • Quarantine/Isolation Plan: Like last year, students are expected to each have their own plan of action for quarantine or isolation. On-campus housing will not be available for quarantine or isolation, with some exceptions for Ouachita apartments and other extenuating circumstances (see below). See Ouachita’s Fall 2021 quarantine and isolation procedures at obu.edu/coronavirus. Please think through your plan with your family prior to arriving on campus for the fall semester.
  • Health Screening: Before arriving to campus, each student must verify that they do not have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19 and that they have not knowingly been exposed to the virus in the previous 14 days. 
  • All steps must be completed for you to be considered “checked-in.”

COVID-19 FAQs

In response to questions related to COVID-19 protocols released last week, here is some additional information/clarification related to quarantine and isolation.

Accommodation Assistance: While we encourage students to isolate or quarantine at home, we recognize that students who live far from home or who have extenuating circumstances will need additional help with a place to stay off-campus. Ouachita will provide emergency grants on a limited basis to help cover the costs for arrangements at a local hotel or other venue. There will be an application process for these funds, and it will be available online soon. Ouachita also will arrange for meal deliveries from Sodexo for students staying in a local hotel.

Keeping up with Classwork: Zoom is still an option for classes; it’s simply not the mandatory solution for every class. Ouachita faculty have always been known for going the extra mile to help students catch up when they had to miss classes due to illness or other circumstances beyond their control. They will continue to work with students who have to miss class due to quarantine or isolation. Professors have a variety of tools for accomplishing this. Though Zoom is one option, we learned last year that it is not always the best way to keep students engaged. Professors will determine the solution that works best for them and their students, whether providing a Zoom link, sharing access to recorded class sessions, posting notes and assignments on Moodle, or other personalized approaches. Students are encouraged to be proactive in communicating with their professors when they have to miss class.

Continued Connection: While health-related contact tracing is the responsibility of the Arkansas Department of Health this year, Ouachita staff members also will check in with students throughout their absence for additional support. We realize it can be a trying and stressful time to be physically separated from the Ouachita community and intend to continue to connect virtually; students also are encouraged to contact and encourage their classmates who are off campus.

July 30, 2021 • TO ALL RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

Fall 2021 Campus Protocols – Testing, tracing, quarantine and more

Many of the capacities to manage with COVID-19 on campus last year will again be available in a limited way, including on-campus testing and initial contact tracing. Quarantine and isolation procedures have been adjusted to reflect CDC guidance. Read below for details.

COVID-19 Testing: COVID-19 testing is available in the Office of Health Services on request. Testing is recommended for those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Unvaccinated student-athletes will be tested regularly according to current Great American Conference and NCAA protocols. Please call ahead to make an appointment: 870-245-5244.

COVID-19 Vaccines:

  • A vaccine is not required to attend or work for Ouachita, but they are strongly encouraged to strengthen the safety of our campus community.
  • Ouachita is offering a $400 grant for students enrolled on Ouachita’s residential campus for the fall 2021 semester and a $400 bonus for benefits-eligible employees who are working on Ouachita’s residential campus during September 2021. Learn more about the vaccine incentive program here.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are not available on campus but are widely available in the community. See vaccines.gov or the Arkansas Department of Health website to find a vaccination location.
  • The vaccines are proven to be more effective than natural immunity and safer than contracting COVID-19.
  • Becoming vaccinated provides increased flexibility for you on campus – exemption from quarantine and lower chance of isolation and need for COVID-19 testing and freedom from the academic, social and financial impact of those inconveniences.

Contact Tracing: Ouachita’s Office of Health Services with the athletic training staff will conduct initial contact tracing to enforce quarantine and isolation procedures for on-campus students. However, daily check-ins will be the responsibility of the Arkansas Department of Health. Ouachita’s Office of Health Services will validate absences from class.

Quarantine and Isolation Procedures:

  • Quarantine: Those with known exposure to the virus are required to quarantine with the following exceptions:
  • Fully vaccinated individuals who are not experiencing symptoms are not required to quarantine. Proof of vaccination from your state’s Department of Health is required.
  • Individuals who have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days are not required to quarantine. Proof of a positive COVID-19 test is required.
  • Quarantine may be complete following a negative COVID-19 test from day 5-7 since exposure for individuals not experiencing symptoms. You may return to class or work on day 8 following the negative test. Tests must be submitted to the Office of Health Services. Free tests are available at Ouachita’s Office of Health Services.
  • Isolation: Those who test positive for the virus are required to isolate off campus for at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
  • Quarantine and isolation must be completed off campus. On-campus housing will not be available. All students must have their own off-campus quarantine and isolation plan before arriving to campus. Exception: Students living in Ouachita apartments may quarantine there if the roommate is fully vaccinated and agrees for them to stay.
  • No room and board credit or work study credit will be issued for quarantined or isolated students; employees must use their accrued sick time or vacation time.
  • Confirmation from Ouachita’s Office of Health Services is required for students to return to class. A letter of release from Ouachita’s Office of Health Services, the Department of Health or your primary care physician is required for employees to return to work.
  • Zoom will not be a standard option for every class. Students in quarantine or isolation will have to work with their instructors on the best way to make up for missed classes according to their situation.

Campus leaders will continue to monitor the local COVID-19 situation and adjust as needed throughout the semester, whether that’s increasing or decreasing precautions. See Ouachita’s complete and current COVID-19 protocols for Fall 2021 at obu.edu/coronavirus.

July 29, 2021 • TO ALL RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

Fall 2021 Campus Protocols – Ways to “Take Care, Tigers”

Last year, Ouachita implemented many protocols to encourage its students, faculty and staff to “Take Care, Tigers.” Thanks to our community’s collective work and commitment, we were able to continue in-person classes all year. In this year’s improved COVID-19 environment, including widespread access to vaccines, we look forward to fewer mandated restrictions while maintaining our community’s commitment to mutual respect and care. Additional details will be released via email in coming days. 

Masks:

  • At this time, masks and other face coverings are optional throughout campus this year with the exception of the Office of Health Services.
  • Masks are encouraged for those who are not vaccinated or those experiencing cold symptoms or other respiratory issues.
  • All are encouraged to bring masks to campus in case circumstances change and masks are later required for some situations on campus.

Physical Distancing: Classrooms, arts events and athletics events will return to pre-pandemic capacities. Individuals who are not vaccinated are encouraged to maintain at least three feet of distance from others as much as possible.

Sanitation: Hand sanitizers and water bottle-filling stations are located throughout campus and ventilation systems continue to benefit from the improvements made in 2020. Portable HEPA/UV filters also are still available throughout campus common spaces. Individuals are encouraged to wash their hands frequently.

Feeling Sick? Students, faculty and staff should each continue to monitor their own health for symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Those who are experiencing symptoms should use the CDC self-check screening or check with their doctor before returning to class or work. Masks are encouraged if you are experiencing cold symptoms or other respiratory issues.

Campus Guests: Guests are welcome to campus. Masks are optional for all. Masks and social distancing are encouraged for those who are not vaccinated. Please do not visit campus if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Future Restrictions: Campus leaders will continue to monitor the local COVID-19 situation and adjust as needed throughout the semester, whether that’s increasing or decreasing precautions. Mandatory masks, restricted events and other adjustments to protocols are possible if cases rise on campus throughout the semester.

__________________________

Zoom Q&A Reminder: Dr. Wesley Kluck, university physician and vice president for student development, and Dr. Ben Sells, university president, will host question & answer sessions via Zoom for students and parents tonight, July 29, at 8 p.m. and for faculty and staff members on Wednesday, Aug. 4, at 1:30 p.m.

__________________________

More to Come: Additional COVID-19 protocols are now published at obu.edu/coronavirus and will be distributed via email in coming days.

Student Move In Fall 2021

Permission for Early Move-In

  • Football players and managers—Saturday, August 7th, 8:30am-noon
  • Athletic trainers— Friday, August 6th, 1pm-4pm
  • RAs—Thursday, August 12th
  • Women’s Soccer—Friday, August 13, 1pm-4pm
  • Men’s Soccer – Friday, August 13, 1pm-4pm
  • WOW Steering Committee –Saturday, August 14th, 1-4pm
  • Volleyball—Saturday, August 14, 1pm-4pm
  • Cheerleaders—Sunday, August 15, 1pm-4pm
  • Mind of a Tiger Program – Sunday, August 15th, 3pm-5pm
  • Band—Monday, August 16, 9am-noon
  • Campus Ministries Leaders—Monday, August 16, 2pm-5pm
  • International Student Volunteers – Tuesday, August 17th, 6pm-8pm
  • WOW Leaders—Tuesday, August 17th, 6pm-8pm
  • New International Students (for Fall 2021) – Wednesday, August 18th
  • Men’s Track/Cross Country – Thursday, August 19th, 1-4pm
  • Women’s Track/Cross Country – Thursday, August 19th, 1pm-4pm
  • Softball Team – Thursday, August 19th, 1pm-4pm
  • Tiger Tunes hosts and hostesses – Thursday, August 19th 9 am -11am
  • Honors - Saturday, August 21 6pm-8pm

If you are on the list for early move-in and live in a Residence Hall you are not required to sign up for a scheduled move-in.  Your times are already set.

Scheduled Move In Times

Apartments

  • Apartments open on August 19th (There will be a signup genius link for each apartment complex coming soon from your Apartment Manager)

Residence Halls

  • Freshmen & Transfers for Fall 2021 Friday, August 20th 9am-2pm

Transfer students for Fall 2021 will receive information concerning Move-in from Abigail Wendt regarding moving into your residence hall

  • Sunday, August 22nd at 1pm - 5pm
  • Monday, August 23rd 9am- 12pm and 2pm-6pm.  During these times, a Reslife staff member will be available in the lobby to check you into your residence hall.  

Appointments are scheduled in time blocks on each day at specific times and are specific to each residence hall or apartment complex. It’s important that you arrive during your chosen time so that we can minimize the number of people moving through the residence halls at once.   

Locate your specific Residence Hall and follow these directions:

  1. Click on the name of your residence hall or apartment complex
  2. Select one of the available timeslots for your preferred day and time.
  3. Click SUBMIT.
  4. Additional information pertaining to your residence hall or apartment complex will be coming from your Resident Director or Apartment Manager within the next few weeks with specifics for the day of check-in. 

Freshman Residence Halls

Contact Rickey Rogers for sign-up links.

Upperclassmen Residence Halls

Contact Rickey Rogers for sign-up links.

If you have an extenuating circumstance that limits you from being able to move in during your assigned day and time, you will need to submit an Early Arrival Request Form. Please note that the submission of this form does not guarantee approval for early arrival. The Office of Residence Life at Ouachita reserves the right to deny a request for any reason. 

Early Arrival Request form

Early arrival approval is granted strictly via e-mail correspondence with the Office of Residence Life at Ouachita. If approved, you will receive a confirmed move in date/time via e-mail and subsequent billing charges directly to your student account.  

Apartment Complexes (All new apartment residents and students storing items currently must sign-up for a check-in time. Current renters, please do not sign-up)

A sign up link is coming soon with information regarding apartment move-in options.

Apartment-Specific Information 

Utilities: Please review the apartment complex packet you received in April/May. You are responsible for making sure that all utilities are on before you move in. Contact those companies to find out when they are available for you to pay deposits and start services. Students must submit proof that your electricity has been turned on from Entergy before being allowed to officially be checked in. Instructions are included in your apartment complex paperwork received at the end of the Spring 2021 semester.

Storage & Renters: If you are storing this summer, you’ll need to sign up for a move-in appointment in order to get your key. If you are currently renting, you do not need to sign up for a move-in appointment.

Sincerely,

Rickey Rogers
Dean of Students
Director of Residence Life
Ouachita Baptist University

July 28, 2021 • TO ALL RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS

$400 COVID-19 VACCINE GRANT FOR STUDENTS

Message from the President: As I shared in my email last week, we believe a higher vaccination rate gives Ouachita a better opportunity for a more typical year. Additionally, in Arkansas, 98% of COVID patients currently hospitalized and 99% of the recent COVID-19 deaths were people not vaccinated. As a result, and in consultation with campus leadership groups – including students – the university will give a $400 grant to every currently enrolled student who has been vaccinated by October 1, 2021.

A key resource for Ouachita being fully in person last year was having a medical doctor on staff, Dr. Wesley Kluck, who is also vice president for student development. His tireless study of COVID-19, the common-sense wisdom of colleagues and the good will of our campus community have helped us navigate the pandemic. It’s in that spirit that we made this decision to best position our campus to have the kind of college experience that brought each of us to Ouachita.

Dr. Kluck and I will host a Zoom session Thursday, July 29, at 8 p.m. to share additional information and respond to questions for students and parents.

 

How do you participate?

  1. Confirm your eligibility. Only students enrolled on Ouachita’s residential campus for the fall semester are eligible for this program. Returning students may participate immediately. New students must first complete online check-in for the fall 2021 semester; online check-in is open Aug. 11-13. The vaccine isn’t required to attend Ouachita; however, this grant is only available to those who are vaccinated.
  2. Upload your official vaccination record to Ouachita’s Info Portal under the “Health Services” menu item.
    • NOTE: Your vaccination card is not accepted for this program. You may request your official vaccination record from the location where you received the vaccine, your primary care physician or your state’s department of health. Those who were vaccinated in Arkansas may request it from Ouachita’s Office of Health Services by emailing covid@obu.edu.
  3. Wait for verification and payment. Ouachita’s Office of Health Services will verify vaccinations, and the Office of Student Financial Services will credit your student account for $400. Payments will be processed weekly.
  4. Beat the deadline. You must submit proof of two shots of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or one shot of Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Oct. 1, 2021. (The program is retroactive for those who already received a vaccine.)
    • Keep in mind that the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be 3 weeks (or 21 days) after the first shot, and the Moderna vaccine’s second shot should be 4 weeks (or 28 days) after the first shot. To meet the deadline, you must get your first shot of the Moderna vaccine by Sept. 1 or the first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by Sept. 7.

Questions? Meet Dr. Kluck and visit our FAQ.

Join Dr. Kluck and President Sells in a Zoom Question & Answer Session on Thursday, July 29, at 8 p.m. Visit obu.edu/kluck-21-profile to read about Dr. Kluck and how Ouachita managed the pandemic in fall 2020.

See Frequently Asked Questions, including those listed here, on our website. 

Who is Dr. Kluck and why does he recommend the vaccine?

Why does a higher vaccine rate give Ouachita a better opportunity for a more typical year?

Why a financial award?

Why $400?

What is the source of the funds?

What is Ouachita’s current vaccination rate?

Where do I get a vaccine?

How is privacy protected?

Is the university pressuring students to be vaccinated?

What is Ouachita’s response to the CDC statement on July 27 about masks?

Dear Students,

Last week, you received a Ouachita Update, and more updates will be coming as we prepare for you. Understandably, and in ways many didn’t anticipate several weeks ago, people are asking how the rise in COVID-19 cases is affecting our planning for the fall semester. I wanted to email you to share my response.

Ouachita students, faculty and staff were exemplary last year, and we were one of the few universities to have a fully in-person experience. Together, we found ways to have a meaningful campus life by integrating health insights and common sense. Because of our experience and the character of our campus community, we again will be fully in person – and we’re committed to creating the conditions for a more typical year. We’re updating COVID-19 protocols and will begin releasing them later next week. Following is the core of our approach:

  • Take care, Tigers – we again are committed to taking care of ourselves and caring for others.
  • Masks are not required, but we will respect those who choose to wear them. 
  • Receiving a vaccine is strongly encouraged; a higher vaccination rate gives us a better opportunity for a more typical year.
  • Same-day, rapid testing will continue to be available on campus.

Throughout the pandemic, we have communicated frequently and transparently and will continue to do so. We’re all tired of the pandemic and wish the situation were different; it will get better. In the meantime, we will, together as the Ouachita community and by God’s grace, keep finding a way forward. I can’t wait to see you.

Warm regards, Ben

Ben R. Sells, Ph.D.
President

July 16, 2021 • TO ALL RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS

GEARING UP FOR FALL!

                                                                                                                                          

Message from the President: “This is the first email that goes to all students in the undergraduate Ouachita student body on campus for the 2021-2022 academic year. To returning students, I look forward to greeting you with Welcome home!, and to all new students, Welcome to your college home! Welcome to Ouachita’s World (WOW) orientation for first-time Ouachita students begins five weeks from today! Your faculty and staff are busy preparing the campus for you. As we return to a more normal college experience, I believe it’s going to be a super year to be a student at Ouachita. With these updates, we begin previewing the new year with this one focusing on traditions that define our tightly-knit campus community. We can’t wait to see you!” – Dr. Ben Sells, Ouachita President

Semester Countdown:

  • WOW & Move-in – 5 weeks

WOW orientation helps introduce new students to their new life at Ouachita and is a great chance to connect with other freshmen as well as upperclassman leaders. Details forfreshman and upperclassman move-in will be sent in coming weeks. We’re excited to welcome you back to campus!

  • Classes Start – 5.5 Weeks

Faculty and staff have been working hard to prepare both the physical spaces and academic resources for another year of transformational learning at Ouachita.

  • Convocation Chapel – 6.5 Weeks

We can’t wait to meet together as a student body for worship for the first time in more than a year.

  • First Home Football Game – 7 Weeks

These Tigers claimed the three most recent GAC championships and are ready to hit the gridiron. We can’t wait to cheer them and our other student-athletes on from the stands!

  • Tiger Tunes & Homecoming – 11 Weeks

With two years to ideate new shows, we know this year’s Tiger Tunes will be better than ever, and you’re not going to want to miss the Homecoming festivities being hosted the rest of the week, either!

  • Fall Break – 12 Weeks

Yep, breaks are back. Get that R&R.

  • Festival of Christmas – 20 Weeks

Watching arts performances throughout the semester in awe of our talented students is truly a highlight in the Ouachita community. Get ready for some standing ovations!

What about COVID-19?

We will release fall COVID-19 protocols in coming days but do anticipate a much more “normal” semester with fewer restrictions. In the meantime, now is a great time to get your vaccine (if you haven’t already), so that you will be fully vaccinated by the time classes begin. A vaccine is not required to attend Ouachita, but they are strongly encouraged to strengthen the safety of our campus community. Learn more about the safety and effectiveness vaccines online from reputable sources like the CDC. There are several online resources for finding a vaccine provider, including vaccines.gov and your state’s Department of Health.

Summer 2021 Protocols

May 11, 2021 • TO ALL FACULTY & STAFF

SHIFTING TO SUMMER

Message from the President: Thank you again, colleagues, for the extraordinary efforts this academic year which culminated in a meaningful Commencement on Saturday. With the conclusion of on-campus classes and the beginning of summer – and the lack of summer camps, HMAT has recommended and I’ve affirmed adjusting our COVID-19 protocols.

 Adjustments to protocols

  • Masks are no longer required inside Ouachita buildings. Thanks to the work of Dr. Wesley Kluck, Ouachita’s university physician, and local health officials, all Ouachita employees and students have had the opportunity to be vaccinated, and a large percentage have taken advantage of that offer. When interacting with guests to campus, it is considerate to offer to wear a mask according to your guests’ preference or simply to follow their lead.
  • Physical distancing is still encouraged for situations in which not all present have been vaccinated or the vaccination status of those present is unknown.
  • Signage and plexiglass barriers will be removed this week to create a more welcoming campus environment.
  • Portable air filters will remain in place and available to turn on when a room is in use.
  • Employees should continue to monitor their health for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and wash their hands frequently. Those who have not received a vaccine and are experiencing symptoms should use the CDC self-check screening or check with their doctor before returning to work.
  • Screening is no longer required following international travel.
  • Ouachita’s COVID-19 Testing Center now is housed in the Office of Health Services. Testing is available by appointment only. Contact Kristi Seals at covid@obu.edu to make an appointment or for more information.

What about the fall?

We anticipate a “normal” semester this fall, with classrooms returning to their typical locations and with masks optional throughout campus. Testing and on-campus contact tracing will still be available through the Office of Health Services. Hand sanitizer stations will remain in place and stocked, ventilation systems will continue to be maintained and outdoor seating will continue to be available. A COVID-19 vaccine is strongly encouraged but not required for employees and students. Proof of vaccination will be required to avoid the necessity of quarantine after exposure to the virus or for student-athletes to be excused from pre-competition testing. The Health Monitoring and Action Team will meet in July to reevaluate these tentative plans in light of the COVID-19 environment at that time.

Curious about COVID-19 vaccines?

COVID-19 vaccines are readily available locally and throughout Arkansas. Your primary care physician can answer questions about if the vaccine is a good choice for you, and Dr. Kluck also is available to answer general questions. Learn more about the vaccines online from reputable sources like the CDC.There are several online resources for finding a vaccine provider, including vaccines.gov, vaccinespotter.org and the Arkansas Department of Health.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionand Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

April 19, 2021 TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

Tell Your COVID Story

73 weeks. 511 days. 12,264 hours. The amount of time since COVID-19 quickly and dramatically changed life at Ouachita in the spring semester of 2020. We all have very clear memories of the week ending March 13, and in the months since, this global pandemic has touched us all.

As the semester winds to a close at Ouachita, I ask for your help in documenting COVID-19 at Ouachita as part of a university-wide effort to commemorate this unprecedented year. Through the Chronicling COVID-19 at Ouachita website, you can share your stories, photographs, videos, social media posts and other documents to tell YOUR story of the pandemic.

These stories will be collected and permanently housed in Riley-Hickingbotham’s Archives and Special Collections so generations of future Ouachitonians can understand what life was like during the COVID-19 pandemic. All members of the Ouachita community are invited and encouraged to contribute to the site.

Complete your submission now.

If you’d like to write a new reflection for your submission, here are some questions you might consider:

  • What have you learned about yourself and others during the pandemic?
  • What have you done or discovered to be most helpful to your ability to manage stress during the pandemic?
  • How has the pandemic helped you to grow spiritually?
  • How has your faith sustained you during the challenges of the last year?

Whatever your experiences and however you choose to reflect on the events of the last year, your observations and memories will play a vital role in documenting how the pandemic affected Ouachita in 2020-2021. Thank you for your willingness to share your stories with Ouachita and future generations of Tigers!

Sincerely,

Lisa

Lisa K. Speer
Professor and University Archivist
Coordinator of the Public History Program
Riley-Hickingbotham Library

March 30, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

Adjustments & marking progress 

Message from the President: With today’s announcement by Gov. Hutchinson about lifting the state’s mask mandate, below is a summary of what is changing and remains the same at Ouachita through the end of the semester. We’re 80% through the academic year, and you – students, faculty and staff – have been extraordinary; thank you!

In addition to several student life, fine arts, athletics and social events in the coming weeks, there will be three university sponsored initiatives to mark the past year. Look for more details after the Easter break. Thanks to Student Senate and Student Senate President Tyrese Allen for their roles in developing the initiatives.

  • One focuses on remembering, and University Archives will invite you to electronically submit images and memories that will also lead to a display in the future.
  • Another focuses on lamenting, and Campus Ministries will produce a brief video with a biblical reflection on acknowledging the difficulties of these times.
  • And one focuses on celebrating, with Student Development and Sodexo hosting an all-university meal on the grounds the week before final exams.

By my estimation, only 5% of all college students in the country have had a fully in-person experience like Ouachita. It hasn’t been easy. We’re almost there, and it will continue to require focus to finish well in the five and a half weeks that remain. I’m deeply grateful to you.

Adjustments to protocols

  • Masks are no longer required outdoors on Ouachita’s campus. (Maintaining physical distancing is still recommended, and masks are required inside Ouachita buildings.)
  • Indoor performance spaces such as Jones Performing Arts Center will increase capacity while maintaining mask wearing and managing distancing.
  • Dining protocols have been adjusted to increase hours and allow self-service in the Ouachita Commons. Masks are not required while dining.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

Good evening,  Tigers! 

Beginning Monday, March 29, our dining operations will make changes to support the recently updated COVID guidelines set by the Arkansas Health Department.

The following changes will apply to the Commons starting with breakfast tomorrow morning:

  • The Commons will go back to regular hours and be OPEN ALL DAY. You may now enjoy continental breakfast, light lunch, and enter the Commons in between meal sessions until closing. 
  • Self serve will now be available at the salad bar, deli, and bakery. Bakery will relocate  back to the original bakery area.
  • The stanchions and plexiglass in some areas will be removed. 
  • Social distancing and seating capacity at tables will remain in place at this time. 

Retail will remain full service. Our team works directly with Chick-fil-A and will communicate any changes once service changes or policies are approved. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to update our operations to support a safe and comfortable dining experience. 

See you in the Commons!

 

Kari Ledford
Sodexo Retail & Marketing Manager

Students,

Just this evening we were able to secure 500 Pizer COVID-19 vaccines for OBU students. We will have a student vaccine clinic this Friday morning from 9:00am – 12:30 pm in the lower courts in SPEC. We also have 500 more vaccines reserved for the second vaccination in 3 weeks.

The vaccines will be given based on you signing up below. If all slots are filled, we will create a Google form waiting list. The vaccines are only good for a certain period of time so don’t sign up if you can’t keep the appointment.

If you make an appointment:

  • Come 10 minutes early
  • Don’t drive to SPEC because of parking limitations
  • Fill out and bring the attached form – front and back
  • Bring your OBU ID, Driver’s License and Insurance Card - if you have insurance
  • Eat a snack before you come

Sign Up:

To Sign Up, email covid@obu.edu for a registration link.

What to expect after getting Pfizer Vaccine:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/pdfs/321466-A_FS_What_Expect_COVID-19_Vax_Final_12.13.20.pdf

Pfizer Fact Sheet:

https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download

If you have any questions, please email or come by the COVID Testing Center in the Student Center - covid@obu.edu

Dr. Wesley Kluck
Vice President for Student Development and University Physician

March 15, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

Beginning to adjust protocols

Message from the President: As we listen to state and national health experts and government leaders, there are several encouraging indicators. This email marks the first incremental change in policy back toward our pre-COVID lives. We’re committed to continuing to communicate quickly and clearly with you in the coming season of adjustments. It’s bound to be a little bumpy, perhaps even awkward, as the norms we’ve adapted to this past year yet again change. We’re grateful for the improving public health situation and the part each of you individually have played in protecting the Ouachita community.

New flexibility for employees

The CDC recently released new guidelines for those who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Because all Ouachita employees have had the opportunity to be vaccinated, we’re able to make the following changes to campus protocols:

  • For employee-only meetings, if all have been fully vaccinated (two weeks after their second Moderna or Pfizer dose or two weeks after their single Johnson & Johnson dose), no masks or distancing are required.
  • For employee-only meetings in which not all present have been fully vaccinated, you may maintain either mask wearing or physical distancing but do not have to do both. If you are leading a meeting and do not know the status of those in the room, we suggest maintaining physical distancing and reminding participants of the option to additionally wear a mask according to their comfort level.
  • Employees are strongly encouraged to remove “call to enter” signs and to re-open offices and suites to walk-in foot traffic.

What hasn’t changed?

  • All classroom and residence hall protocols remain the same.
  • Employees – even if fully vaccinated – should continue following mask and distancing protocols among students and in mixed-use spaces such as classrooms, hallways, Evans Student Center, etc.
  • Students should continue to wear masks and physically distance indoors.
  • Masks are not required outdoors unless physical distancing is not possible.

Vaccine Information

Ouachita employees are eligible to be vaccinated now under the state of Arkansas’ vaccination plan. One resource for finding available vaccine appointments is VaccineSpotter.org. Local options include Arkadelphia’s Walmart Pharmacy and Walgreens. Ouachita students may become eligible for vaccines in coming weeks. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines here.

What’s next?

Arkansas’ governor has indicated that statewide regulations may change in coming weeks if COVID-19 cases continue to decline. We’ll communicate Ouachita’s response to those as they are finalized. In the meantime, we look forward to increased outdoor activities as Spring brings warmer weather. Thank you for your continued diligence to protect your fellow tigers and patience as we navigate the changes to protocols and guidelines. Take Care, Tigers!

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

March 10, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

Student Catch-up Day tomorrow!                 

Message from the President: As we have Student Catch-up Day tomorrow, it’s almost one year to the day that we had to respond to the pandemic. What a year; what a range of experiences and emotions to acknowledge and understand. I estimate that only 5% of all college students in the country are having a fully in-person education like Ouachita. It hasn’t been easy, and your efforts have been extraordinary. It’s my prayer and hope – with the promise of spring, a number of outdoor activities scheduled, continued decline in cases and the character of the Ouachita community – that we might even “finish with a flourish.” With deep appreciation of and admiration for you.

Tomorrow is Student Catch-up Day for residential students!

  • No classes will meet on the residential campus. Online and graduate students will continue their courses as scheduled.
  • Use this day to catch up on academic work, exercise, sleep, friends or other activities.
  • Administrative offices are open, Academic Success Center staff are available and faculty are accessible by email, Zoom or phone.
  • Work-study will continue as scheduled.
  • All other planned Thursday campus activities will continue.

In lieu of Spring Break, we’ll have an extended Easter Break from Friday, April 2, through Monday, April 5.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

February 8, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

Student Catch-up Day! 

Message from the President: As we experience Student Catch-up Day tomorrow, you will have completed 20% of the semester! Thank you again for how well you’re managing life in a pandemic – based on the daily COVID-19 numbers, faculty/staff receiving the vaccine, athletic competitions, Christian Focus Week, Black History Month and a variety of campus activities. We’ll report later this week that the university has its highest spring enrollment in 25 years. All of this and more reflects your commitment and character; I’m so proud of you and Ouachita. I also recognize that there’s a weariness in each of us from almost a year of pandemic life. We continue to ask for God’s grace for you and our campus, and that we might be people of grace and service to one another this semester.

Tomorrow is Student Catch-up Day for residential students!

  • Classes on the residential campus are canceled. Online and graduate students will continue their courses as scheduled.
  • Use this day to catch up on academic work, exercise, sleep, friends or other activities.
  • Administrative offices are open, Academic Success Center staff are available and faculty are accessible by email, Zoom or phone.
  • Work-study will continue as scheduled.
  • All other planned Tuesday campus activities will continue.

In lieu of Spring Break, our next Student Catch-Up Day is scheduled for Thursday, March 11, and we’ll have an extended Easter Break from Friday, April 2, through Monday, April 5.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

January 25, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

Week Two!

It’s week two, and we’re getting back in the swing of things. While it can be difficult re-adjusting to life on campus and less-than-convenient habits, continue to keep our community’s health in mind as you go about your daily routine. Asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 are on the rise nationwide, so even as you are weary, stay diligent.

Reminders for staying safe – and off quarantine:

  • Traveling off campus? Remember your commitment to upholding Ouachita’s health guidelines, even off campus. Be mindful of who you are interacting with, and limit your interactions before and after travel to minimize exposure for yourself and those you come into contact with.
  • Keep masking up! That includes covering both your nose and mouth, and put your mask back on if you aren’t actively eating or drinking in the caf or stu.
  • Avoid large gatherings. We know that Super Bowl party is tempting. Keep it small, and keep your distance.
  • Keep your contact list small. Remember, a “close contact” for quarantine and contact tracing purposes is defined as someone within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer (regardless of face coverings). You’re also automatically a close contact if you hug someone or share food/drinks. Be mindful of what impact you have in your network with your daily interactions.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms. Don’t just assume it’s seasonal allergies. Ouachita’s COVID-19 Testing Center makes it easy to get tested here on campus. Call 870-245-5244 to get an appointment. It is open every weekday from 8 a.m. to noon.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

January 13, 2021 • TO ALL STUDENTS

Here we go: A second semester amid the pandemic

Message from the President: Here we go – one final time, Lord willing. We’re so eager to see you! Students, you made it possible for us to be on campus for the 100-day semester. (Remember, only 20% of the country’s universities did this and probably only 5% of all college students.) Because of your good work in the fall, it gives us confidence for the spring. And, the promise of the vaccine encourages us. Yet, with the virus at its highest levels, we can’t take this 109-day term for granted. I look forward to partnering with you, again, toward a safe and meaningful semester – with a few surprise parties along the way. 😊

What we’ve learned: As we gear up for another semester of on-campus living and learning, we are in a new but still challenging phase of pandemic life. Here are a few tips for managing the virus that we learned from our experiences in the fall.

  • Diligence with mask wearing and physical distancing is incredibly effective. When these protocols are followed, there is very little spread, including in the classroom. Let’s keep sticking it out through the discomfort. No faculty members tested positive as a result of working on campus; thank you for caring for them.
  • Most who tested positive for the virus in the campus testing center only experienced mild symptoms similar to allergies or a sinus infection. If you are having any symptoms that can be attributed to COVID-19 (such as cough, fever, sinus congestion, aches, headache, sore throat, fatigue, nausea/diarrhea, loss of taste/smell), call Health Services at 870-245-5244 for guidance.
  • Nearly 23% of people identified as “close contacts” on campus in the fall eventually tested positive for the virus. It is important that we minimize close contact with friends for their safety and your own. Don’t ride in cars together; abide by quarantine protocols; avoid gathering closely indoors.
  • Our campus community is resilient. Even with more than 200 in quarantine at a high point in the fall, you soldiered on, utilizing Zoom, maintaining safety protocols and caring for your fellow Ouachitonians. We are proud of you and know you can do it again.

Review more information on Spring protocols at obu.edu/coronavirus.

Recent questions

What about the CDC’s new, shorter quarantine options? Ouachita and most colleges in the state are keeping the original 14-day quarantine period to remain as cautious as possible due to our tight-knit residential campus.

When will the vaccine become available to us? At this point, we know that Ouachita faculty and staff are in the 1-B vaccinations group and will gain access to the vaccine starting next week. Ouachita’s residential students are included in the 1-C vaccination group, which should gain access to the vaccine later in the spring, perhaps April. We do not know more at this time about how and where the vaccine will be distributed to our community. Receiving the vaccine will be each individual’s choice.

Ouachita’s Community COVID-19 Pledge

We invite all students, faculty and staff to recommit themselves to the Community COVID-19 Pledge that was established in the fall:

Respect for SelfRespect for Others and Respect for Ouachita’s Christian Mission define how our community learns, works and lives together in ordinary times – and even more so in the extraordinary pandemic context. Reflecting Christ’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves, our unique calling as an educational community and our understanding of the risks and challenges of COVID-19, we pledge together to follow the guidelines below.

We pledge to

  • Follow federal, state and local guidelines and directives;
  • Wear a face mask in common spaces indoors and wherever social distancing is difficult to maintain outdoors, or as otherwise mandated by governmental authorities;
  • Observe physical distancing of 6 feet or as guidelines permit;
  • Practice frequent handwashing and use hand sanitizer;
  • Not gather in groups larger than Arkansas Department of Health or CDC limits (currently 10 people indoors);
  • Observe personal hygiene and respiratory etiquette, such as coughing into my elbow;
  • Immediately contact Health Services if I experience symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed, and to follow all university directives for isolation and quarantine;
  • Immediately notify Ouachita Health Services if I test positive for COVID-19;
  • Complete Ouachita’s online education program for COVID-19.

I recognize that being part of the Ouachita community means my behavior affects everyone else on campus and the people of Arkadelphia. Therefore, I pledge to strive to exercise healthy discretion in my behaviors and habits and follow all of the guidelines for a healthier college environment for others and myself.

 

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

 

2020

Dear Students,

You did it: 100 days on campus plus finals! Even with the challenges, frustrations, disappointments and weariness, you finished.

As shared earlier, only 20% or so of all universities were fully in-person this fall; however, because most of them are similar in size to Ouachita, I imagine only 5% of all the college students in the country had a fully in-person semester. So, what you accomplished is all the more amazing.

Here’s another amazing fact about you.

When Dr. Kluck charted out all our positive cases from 1,000+ tests, Ouachita’s trendline was flat for the semester. (Yes, there were days of a higher number of cases, but many days with few or no cases.) However, when one looks at the chart for all of Arkansas’ positive cases (and most of the country), the state’s trendline increased for the semester – and continues to do so.

In other words, the initiative you took to test, the quick contact tracing (much of which was done by your peers) and the quarantining (which was disruptive but stopped the spread) – you, working with other students, faculty and staff – made it possible.

You’ll hear from me and others during the Christmas Break, and there may even be a surprise coming to you!

 

Proud of you,

Ben

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University
@OuachitaPrez

Good morning, students.

We’ve declared today as Student Catch-up Day!

  • Classes are canceled.
  • The purpose of Catch-up Day is to help you catch up, whether that’s academic work, exercise, sleep, friends, or other activities.
  • Administrative offices are open, Academic Success Center staff are available, and faculty are accessible by email, Zoom, or phone.
  • Work-study will continue as scheduled.

All other planned Friday-Sunday activities continue. And today, the Ouachita Commons will have a special “Ketch-up” Bar with a variety of fun fries during lunch.

Take care, Tigers, and resist COVID-19 fatigue to stay healthy, protect one another and our faculty/staff, and finish the semester on-campus.

 

Sincerely, Ben

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University
@OuachitaPrez

Student catch-up day

Dear Students;

Due to the ongoing uncertainty and challenges of traveling and living abroad, and in order to provide clarity for you to plan academically and socially for the spring and summer of 2021, a decision has been made to cancel study abroad opportunities for those terms.

We understand that this will be disappointing, and we regret the necessity of this unwelcome decision, but your safety and health remain our top priority.  

It is our hope to open study abroad opportunities starting in the fall of 2021. 

 

Sincerely, Ian Cosh

Ian R. Cosh
Vice President for Community & International Engagement

Dear Students,

Thank you for your ongoing efforts that allow Ouachita to continue on-campus and in-person learning. Based on our experience to date, I have growing confidence we will be on campus all fall semester and all spring semester.

Because we anticipate most of the current health protocols will be in place the entire academic year, we need to make an important change for the spring. To help guard against an outbreak that could necessitate a transition to remote learning, we will condense the spring semester with a later start date than originally scheduled and a four-day Easter holiday in place of a longer Spring Break. Many universities are taking similar actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please note the following:

Residence Hall Move-in – Saturday, January 16, and Sunday, January 17
Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday – Monday, January 18
First Day of Class – Tuesday, January 19 
No Spring Break 
Easter Break – Friday, April 2, through Monday, April 5
Finals Week – Monday, May 3, through Friday, May 7
Commencement – Saturday, May 8

Thanks, students, for your continued care and goodwill. While I regret changing Spring Break for all of us, this better positions us to be on campus all year. We’ll endeavor to make it the best possible spring.

 

Kind regards, Ben

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University
@OuachitaPrez

Dear Students,

Tomorrow is Day 50! Let’s celebrate another milestone. Listen for the “Ice Cream Truck” that will be at the Tiger on Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. See you soon!

 

Kind regards, Ben

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University
@OuachitaPrez

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Day 25

From 1:00-1:45 p.m. today, near the Tiger, I’m handing out a Chick-fil-A cookie to the first 500 students, faculty, and staff to celebrate Day 25 of our 100-day journey. Wear your mask. Physical distance. Enjoy. See you soon!

Expansion of Testing

As you probably already know, the Great American Conference has suspended all intercollegiate competitions for the Fall 2020 semester. Read more about that announcement here. While Tiger athletic teams are currently working out, the GAC has not allowed for practices with contact and intra-squad scrimmages; however, this is expected to change. (Watch for more information from Ouachita Athletics on the possibility of attending scrimmages or practices to cheer on the Tigers.)

I’m writing to give an update on three additional measures Ouachita is taking to approach this new phase of athletics with caution both for the sake of our student-athletes and the rest of the campus community:

  1. Blanket testing of student-athletes, coaches, athletics’ leadership and support personnel, and cheer squad. Because these students and staff will have closer contact, we will test them all starting today to identify both symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19. The state of Arkansas is providing for these PCR tests to be conducted on our campus. This means around 25% of our student body will be tested in the next couple of days. (Ouachita will likely lead the universities in the state in percentage of students tested.) This will increase our numbers of positive cases identified in the campus community, as well as the number of students who must quarantine. Do not be alarmed that there has been an “outbreak” on campus; this aggressive testing will, rather, help seek out asymptomatic individuals who otherwise would not have been tested. The step is a precursor to contact practices and a proactive health measure for our campus.
  2. Sports practice protocols following health guidance. Each team will have a plan in place for conducting contact practices that follows CDC, Arkansas Department of Health and NCAA protocols. These will each be approved by Ouachita’s Health Monitoring and Action Team.
  3. Follow-up health exams for athletes who have had COVID-19. Because new research has indicated that COVID-19 elevates a person’s risk for heart-related issues, all athletes who test positive for COVID-19 will have to clear additional screenings before returning to athletic activity. They will be closely monitored by their coaches, athletic training staff and the university physician.

For the physical, relational and mental health of our student-athletes, moving forward with contact practices is a positive step.

As we conclude Week 4, thank you Ouachita students, faculty, and staff for your commitment. And, thank you to Tiger athletics for your efforts. By our preparations over the summer, same-day testing combined with rapid contact tracing, and your precautions, we continue to develop our capabilities to help our university navigate a pandemic. This expansion of testing is a natural next step.

 

Take Care, Tigers! Ben

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University
@OuachitaPrez

September 7, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

An Update on Testing   

So far, COVID-19 testing on campus has gone smoothly, and positive cases remain very low and contained. An important update on our testing and isolation protocols follows.

Following guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health, negative test results from our on-campus antigen tests must now be verified by a PCR test. We can conduct these tests at our on-campus clinic immediately following any negative antigen test results, but the PCR test must be sent to an off-campus lab for results, which should return in 24-48 hours.

What does this mean for you?

  1. If you receive a negative rapid response antigen test in our on-campus testing center, we will administer a PCR test right away.
  2. While you are waiting on your PCR test results (anticipating 24-48 hours), you must temporarily isolate. You may do this in your residence facility (students) or home (employees or students who live nearby). Stay away from your roommates and family as much as possible; other members of your student family group are not required to quarantine unless your PCR test results are positive. Roommates may choose to stay with a suitemate if they prefer not to stay in the same room. For students living in residence halls, your meals will be delivered to you.
  3. If you are feeling able, please continue your classwork or office work remotely. This change will increase the use of remote learning and working options, so be prepared to be flexible.
  4. If your result comes back negative, you may return to normal life. So far, every time we have run a PCR test following a negative antigen test, it has confirmed the negative result.
  5. If your result comes back positive, you must leave campus to complete isolation until released to return to campus.

Why the change?

The Department of Health has issued this directive in an abundance of caution due to some limits to antigen testing. For example, antigen tests vary in reliability depending on the kind used and aren’t as reliable for individuals who aren’t experiencing symptoms. However, the test we are using on campus is 96.7% accurate, nearing the 98-99% accuracy of PCR tests. While we are confident in the results our antigen tests provide, we want to comply with the leadership of the state as we all seek to navigate this complex semester.

Dear students, faculty and staff,

At the end of this week, we’ll have completed 20% of our on-campus time together for the semester – congratulations!

As the national news has focused more on college students and a spike in that demographic’s COVID-19 cases (even in Arkansas), that’s not our story at Ouachita. We’re proud of your efforts to follow safety protocols, protect your fellow Tigers and keep us living and learning on campus together.

As we enter another weekend on campus, I want to express extra appreciation for how you have responded with flexibility and positive attitudes to the adjustments we’ve all had to make this semester. Next Monday may likely be the first time you’ve had class on Labor Day. It is another in a long line of sacrifices we’ve asked of you, and we thank you.

RecLife and Student Life have worked hard to provide some options for outdoor fun this weekend. It includes me in a dunking booth – take out your pandemic pressures on your president! Sunday also is Founders’ Day, Ouachita’s “birthday,” marking 134 years dedicated to our mission of Christian higher education. Have fun, stay safe and Take Care, Tigers!

Warm regards, Ben

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University
@OuachitaPrez

Dear Students,

Below is a link to a news release we’re about to distribute sharing some encouraging news – you’re part of the highest overall enrollment at Ouachita since 2000! We’re so glad you’re here!

https://obu.edu/stories/news/2020/09/ouachitas-fall-2020-enrollment-grows-amid-pandemic-highest-since-2000.php

This is Day 17 of our 100-day journey, and I’m grateful for how you continue to respond that allows us to be on campus. Only about 20% of universities are fully on campus and not many have reported enrollment gains. You’re making history – keep it up!

Gratefully, Ben

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University
@OuachitaPrez

Dear Students,

Thank you for the efforts you’re making! The campus testing center positivity rate is 0%.

It’s a tribute to the preparation by your faculty and staff, but it especially reflects your actions and attitudes. Keep working on establishing and maintaining new patterns, and there are opportunities to improve and be more consistent. We continue to refine the dining experience and classroom technology as well as create outdoor activities; appreciate your patience.

My sense is that there was a good-faith effort over the weekend, and time will tell. Across the country, it seems like every university story is negative. But, that isn’t and doesn’t have to be Ouachita’s story. Here we go, Week 2!

Warm regards,

Ben

Ben R. Sells, Ph.D.
President
Ouachita Baptist University

August 21, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

Good, clean fun    

We’re so proud of everyone’s efforts this week to adjust to the new normal across campus. We’re making additional resources available and making adjustments to processes to seek to improve life on campus, as well. For example, the large tents up near the International Flag Plaza and Student Village are for you! We’ll keep them up as much as possible through the semester as a shady spot for class, dining or just hanging out. Additional touchless water bottle filling stations will be installed across campus in the next few days. And dining processes are continuing to be optimized.

But what about your time outside of the classroom or office? As we go into the first weekend, here are some blogs with ideas you can try while remaining physically distanced.

Keep in mind some of these resources were created pre-pandemic. Use your judgment to adjust for physical distancing, and we advise you call ahead to any off-campus sites to verify any special hours or protocols due to COVID-19.

On campus activities

  • Catch the outdoor movie – plus free shaved ice – on the Cone-Bottoms lawn on Saturday, August 22, starting at 8 p.m.
  • RecLife also has intramural and outdoor rec options coming up. Learn more at obu.edu/reclife and watch for RecLife emails!
  • Your ResLife staff are cooking up fun ideas for hanging “at home” in the residence halls, so be on the watch for those as the semester continues.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

Dear Students,

One of you said to me, “I’ve worn a mask more this week than all summer.” Establishing new patterns for the pandemic takes work and can be weary – and you’re off to a good start: thank you!

We’ve studied universities who are one week ahead of us – and they struggled in week two because on the first weekend students gathered off-campus in large and mid-size groups – for dinners, parties,  movies and more – often without masks. As a result, they had a COVID-19 flare-up. Campuses responded by either stopping on-campus learning or by sending lots of students home for isolation and quarantine.

The challenge is to find ways to meet our God-given socialization needs this weekend without compromising our health and our on-campus semester. Please remember –

  • Avoid large groups of any sort – more than a few people is too many.
  • Outdoor interactions are safer than indoors. Take advantage of our beautiful campus and surroundings.
  • When riding in a car, wear a mask unless you’re only with your family group. Avoid longer than across town trips with those outside of your family group.
  • Keep physical distancing – it’s key to our being able to continue on-campus learning.

We’re making progress! With the goal of being on campus all semester, we can do this for 96 more days.

 

Take care, Tigers!  Ben

 

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University
@OuachitaPrez

Dear Ouachita Students,

It’s Day 2 with 98 days to go, and periodically I’ll share a message directly with you.

A student said to me yesterday that she had one request: “Don’t send us home early.” (Interestingly, the comment was made just after I read about a university, after only one week on campus, sent everyone home.) My reply: “I don’t want to send students home.” Based on what we know, our ability to remain on campus for 98 more days largely depends on you.

You’re reuniting with old friends and making new friends. You’ve told me many times how good it is to be back on campus – I can see it in your eyes! Your faculty/staff are so glad to see you; you bring campus to life! We want you to experience as much Ouachita community as possible in the midst of a coronavirus.

We want you here all semester for your benefit. But, I have one more reason. Your faculty/staff worked all summer, sometimes on weekends, and often using less of their vacation time, to give you the best opportunity to be here all semester. I want to honor their service.

We can tell you’re trying. We’re not perfect, but we’re making progress. My preference is to be more of an encourager than an enforcer – to invite you to live up to the Pledge we’ve all affirmed. Masks and physical distancing make a difference. When they aren’t used, like what happened at another university, it can lead to a virus outbreak and students being sent home early.

So, keep it up. Some need to be more intentional. We’re looking for ways to help. We want you to be healthy. And, we want you to be on campus 98 more days. I believe in you.

Warm regards, Ben

Ben R. Sells, Ph.D.
President
Ouachita Baptist University

August 17, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

Day 1!

Current COVID-19 Data

Starting today with the first day of classes, we are publishing numbers of positive on-campus cases and the other data below at obu.edu/coronavirus. We hope this transparency will be an encouragement as we seek to each do our part to reduce the spread on campus.

These reflect members of our residential student population as well as on-campus faculty and staff. For fewer than 20 cases, the specific number will be suppressed for privacy purposes (20 reflects a public health privacy standard as well as roughly 1% of our total campus population). For the protection of our campus community, individuals may not remain in on-campus housing for quarantine or isolation, unless living in a Ouachita apartment, and they must receive approval from Ouachita Health Services to return.

August 17, 2020

Active Cases: fewer than 20
Cumulative Cases: fewer than 20
Currently Quarantined: fewer than 20
Cumulative Recoveries: fewer than 20

Keep in mind that these are known cases. Due to asymptomatic spread, others could have the virus. Please remain vigilant in practicing hygiene, face coverings and physical distancing. A good rule of thumb as you go about your daily routines is to assume you and others you interact with have COVID-19 but don’t know it.

 

Health Reminders

We know keeping your distance from others and wearing masks is a difficult habit to build, especially as we are all so excited to see one another after many months apart. However, these simple actions are the best things you can do to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Here are a few reminders based on questions we’ve received across campus:

  • Your nose should not be exposed above your mask.
  • You still need to wear a mask in public spaces on campus, even if you are with your student family group or significant other.
  • Mask and distancing guidelines apply in both the residence halls and apartments. Put on a mask any time someone who does not live with you stops by.
  • After you are finished eating, you should put your mask back on.
  • Wear a mask outside any time you are within 6 feet of others (if you can touch fingertips, that’s about 6 feet), even walking down the sidewalk.
  • We know those first day of school pics are a must, but please remember to keep up the physical distancing!

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

Good morning,

This semester Ouachita’s chapel program will be online. Chapel starts next week, Aug 25th. Below are answers to frequently asked questions:

 

Where is chapel?

Chapel will be on Moodle. If you are enrolled in chapel, you will be added to the Moodle course where you can find more information, links to weekly chapel videos, and the weekly quiz. If you are registered for chapel and do not see this course on your Moodle home page, contact me at taylorja@obu.edu this week. 

Wait, there’s a quiz?

Yes! To register attendance, you will have to take a short quiz based on the video. The videos will be available each Tuesday morning. You will have from 10am Tuesday until Thursday at 11:59pm to take each quiz. One question will always be agreeing with a statement that you watched the video. Two questions will be related to the video content. You must answer all three questions correctly to register your attendance. You may retake each quiz once. 

What about absences? How many chapel sessions do I need to complete?

This is different than previous semesters. There will be a total of 10 chapel programs and you must complete 8 of the 10 to receive your semester chapel credit. No late quizzes will be allowed.

What should I expect in the videos?

We will include guest speakers, Ouachita Worship leading music, and students and faculty sharing scripture and prayers. They will be shorter than a normal chapel service, usually 20-25 minutes total. 

What if I’m quarantined or isolated?

The online program and the three day window for quizzes are intended to address these situations so you can continue chapel wherever you are. If you have significant health issues that impact your coursework, contact your instructors. You also have to complete 8 of the 10 programs, so you should save the two allowed absences for these potential situations.

Please let me know if you have other questions,

 

James Taylor
Director of Campus Ministries
Ouachita Baptist University

August 14, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment. Follow @Ouachita’s stories on Facebook and Instagram to see and hear more about the day’s topic and how it is practically implemented on campus.

Pro Tips: Last-minute reminders for getting started

With classes beginning on Monday, here are a few reminders of things that will be different as you navigate everyday life on campus. We’re excited to see you back!

  • Review your class locations: Your classes may not be in the locations you would expect, as we have utilized spaces across campus as broadly as possible to maximize physical distancing. See a campus map here to identify unknown buildings. Campus buildings also have specific instructions for traffic flow to maximize distancing, like one-way stairwells or hallways. If you have time, do a walk-through of your schedule before Monday to find your classrooms, check out unusual traffic flow and estimate how much time you’ll need to get from place to place between class.
  • Plan for extra time for meals: While dining services has planned to optimize processes as much as possible, with seating restrictions, no self-service stations and physical distancing in lines, there may be delays as we adjust to these new procedures. Tiger Express will increase capacity and has moved to the Walker Conference Center lobby nearest the caf if you want a grab-and-go option.
  • Take advantage of outdoor spaces: Keep an eye out for new outdoor seating options on campus, like new picnic tables in the middle of campus, tables under the Walker Conference Center portico and large purple tents in various locations throughout the semester.
  • Keep it clean: New touchless hand sanitizers have been installed throughout campus for your convenience. New touchless water bottle filling stations (like the ones in the student center) will be installed around campus soon; traditional water fountains are currently out of service.
  • Use your breaks wisely: As you go from class to class, you may need extra time to account for traffic flow issues or walk to a different building. Please don’t visit in the hallways with friends as we seek to avoid tight groups in small, high-traffic spaces. Additionally, you’ll want to arrive to your next class early to have time to wipe down your work space with the provided sanitation supplies.
  • Masks, masks, masks: From all that we know, masks make a significant difference in reducing the spread of COVID-19. We know it’s a nuisance, and we’re all adapting. Go put an extra mask in your backpack right now; get a lanyard if you’re forgetful. Masks are required in all campus buildings, and you will not be allowed to remain in class without one. Even outdoors, masks are required in large groups or if you aren’t at least 6 feet apart (we recommend being 6 feet apart as much as possible).
  • A new guidance on face coverings: Bandanas and gaiter-style face coverings are not approved face coverings in Ouachita buildings. They may be used with 6-foot distancing outdoors. Recent research from Florida Atlantic and Duke Universities has shown that bandana and gaiter face coverings may not be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. We know this is a late change; thank you for adjusting as we respond to the latest evidence.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

August 13, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment. Follow @Ouachita’s stories on Facebook and Instagram to see and hear more about the day’s topic and how it is practically implemented on campus.

Minimizing uncertainty: On-campus COVID-19 testing & contact tracing        

Even with the many health protocols in place, we do expect to have positive cases of COVID-19 on campus this semester. To help us make fast and well-informed decisions to contain the spread of the virus, Ouachita has developed the resources to conduct on-campus COVID-19 testing and to complete internal contact tracing to expedite the process of isolating and quarantining individuals as needed.

  

On-campus COVID-19 Testing

  • Where: Ouachita’s on-campus COVID-19 testing site is in Evans Fitness Center, found on the main floor of Evans Student Center near the Office of Health Services. (The fitness center will not be used for workouts this semester.)
  • What: Ouachita is using the Sofia2 antigen test, a rapid-result swab that has an 87% sensitivity rate (reflects low rate of false negative) and 95% specificity rate (reflects low rate of false positives). This is among the most reliable tests available. For comparison, flu tests are typically about 70% accurate. Results are available within 15-20 minutes while you wait.
  • Who: All on-campus Ouachita students, employees and family members living with students or employees are eligible for testing at Ouachita. Testing will only be administered to individuals who have active symptoms and who have a doctor’s order. Students who need a doctor’s order may call the Office of Health Services to schedule a telehealth consultation. Employees should contact their primary care physician.
  • When: The testing center is open starting today, Aug. 13, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon each weekday.
  • How: Health insurance will be taken, but you may receive a test even if you have no insurance. You will not receive any bill or charges for the testing.
  • What else? If you receive a positive test off-campus, please report the results of your test to the Ouachita COVID-19 Testing Center at covid@obu.edu so that we can include you in our internal contact tracing efforts.

 

On-campus Contact Tracing

  • Collaboration: Ouachita has an internal team of about 40 contact tracers that are working closely with and under the direction of the Arkansas Department of Health and UAMS to provide contact tracing support for the campus community. Our on-campus team will focus primarily on residential students, although employees who have been exposed through a Ouachita connection also will be notified by the Ouachita team. UAMS contact tracers also will follow up with cases in the Ouachita community as schedules permit. The ADH will serve as primary contact tracers for employees.
  • Support: Our internal contact tracers will provide guidance and support to those who test positive for COVID-19 or who need to be quarantined for exposure to COVID-19. We know it’s a stressful time, and they will be able to guide individuals through the process calmly and clearly. They will call Ouachita students who are in isolation or quarantine daily to check in on them.
  • Speed: Our internal contact tracers will be able to act quickly following our rapid on-campus testing to isolate or quarantine individuals to limit spread of the virus as quickly as possible. Close contacts of positive cases will be contacted right away as individuals receive positive tests on campus.
  • Confidentiality: Any personal health information will be kept confidential by Ouachita’s professional health services staff. Positive cases will not be identified in contact tracing calls, and both student and staff member contact tracers have been trained on the importance of respecting the privacy of individuals who are involved.

 

Who is doing all of this?

  • Dr. Wesley Kluck, MD, is the university physician supervising and leading these efforts.
  • Molly Wallace, RN and director of the Office of Health Services, will provide general health consultation and help individuals determine if they need to be tested.
  • Kristin Kesterson, RN, will administer the tests. She has served 9 years as an RN in the Arkadelphia Clinic for Children and Young Adults. We welcome her to serving campus in this important way this semester.
  • Kristi Seals is serving in an administrative role to assist with testing and will coordinate the contact tracing team. We’re grateful for her background in medical data entry as she joins us in these efforts.
  • Ouachita’s contact tracing team includes all ResLife RDs and RAs as well as several natural sciences students. Additionally, Ashleigh Harris, head athletic trainer, will coordinate efforts relating to Ouachita’s student-athletes as needed.

 

How can you keep track of how Ouachita is doing?

We will begin publishing numbers of positive on-campus cases and other data at obu.edu/coronavirus next week with the beginning of classes; numbers will be updated there frequently. (For fewer than 20 cases, the specific number will be suppressed for privacy purposes.) We hope this transparency will be an encouragement as we seek to each do our part to reduce the spread on campus.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

Dear Students,

Since March, we’ve looked forward to and prepared for this week – to seeing and being with you!

Now, here we go! Please take a moment and watch this message from me to you: 

See you soon! Take Care, Tigers.

Ben

 

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University
@OuachitaPrez

Fall 2020 Protocols

Hello, Tigers! We hope you had a great summer. Our team is excited to welcome you back on campus. As you begin to prepare your return to campus, I wanted to provide you with some helpful dining information to ensure you have a great start to the semester and a positive dining experience.

  • The Commons will OPEN for the campus Thursday, August 13th at LUNCH (11am).
  • You will be asked to sanitize your hands and swipe your card as you enter. 
  • Must have your mask on prior to entering and placed back on anytime you are not actively eating or drinking.
  • Physical distancing signage has been posted to help guide you through the lines for all stations.
  • Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the Commons, including the entrance/exit doors.
  • Our management team members will be available during all meal sessions to help guide you through and answer questions.
  • Retail Dining (Chick-fil-A, Sandella’s, Tiger Grill, and Dr. Jack’s) will open Monday, August 17th.  
  • Please review the hours of operation included in this email for opening times at each location.​
  • Stay Connected! Follow OBU Campus Dining on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  Keep up with our dining news, updates, events, specials, giveaways, and much more!

 

Hours of Operation – The Commons and Tiger Express:

THE COMMONS Monday - Friday Saturday - Sunday
Breakfast 7 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. *Brunch 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  *Closed for additional sanitation 9:30-11 a.m.  
Lunch 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.  
  *Closed for additional sanitation 1:30-4:30 p.m.  
Dinner 4:30-7 p.m.; *Friday 4:30-6:30 p.m. 4:30-6:30 p.m.

 

   

TIGER EXPRESS (Now located in Walker lobby)

Monday - Friday Saturday - Sunday
  11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. CLOSED

 

Hours of Operation – Retail:

CHICK-FIL-A Monday - Thrusday Friday Saturday Sunday
Breakfast

7:30-10:30 a.m.

 

7:30-10:30 a.m. 

 

Not serving breakfast CLOSED
Lunch/dinner 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m 11 a.m.-3 p.m. CLOSED
         
SANDELLA'S FLATBREAD CAFE Monday - Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Lunch/dinner 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. CLOSED 5-9 p.m.
         
TIGER GRILL Monday - Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Lunch/dinner 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 5-9 p.m.
         
DR. JACK'S COFFEEHOUSE Monday - Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
  7:30 a.m.-11 p.m. 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 12-11 p.m.

 

If you have any questions, feedback, or specific dietary needs, please feel free to contact me. Wishing you all a great semester.

Take care, Tigers. See you in The Commons!

 

Kari Ledford
Marketing & Retail Operations Manager
Sodexo Dining Services, Universities
Ouachita Baptist University

August 12, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment. Follow @Ouachita’s stories on Facebook and Instagram to see and hear more about the day’s topic and how it is practically implemented on campus.

Breathe easy: Air quality on campus

Because COVID-19 spreads through airborne droplets, Ouachita has consulted with HVAC and air science specialists to make adjustments to Ouachita’s indoor air flow to reduce the airborne spread of the virus above and beyond on-going measures like cleaning filtration systems and air quality tests. Beyond the advantages these changes bring against the spread of COVID-19, they also will help reduce the spread of other particles, such as other diseases or allergens.

  • More fresh air: Several research efforts have shown a significant benefit of more outside fresh air into buildings. When possible, safe and not distracting, windows and doors will be opened to increase fresh air flow. Additionally, when possible, HVAC units in some facilities are being adjusted to pull in more outside air.
  • Additional building-wide filtration: HVAC units across campus will feature new iWave filters that clean the air for the whole building using bi-polar ionization. They have been shown to reduce particles related to COVID-19 by up to 99.4% depending on how long the air is in the chamber.
  • Optimized HVAC settings: Higher temperature and humidity decrease the spread of COVID-19 particles. As possible, temperature and humidity settings in campus buildings will be increased within comfortable and healthy limits.
  • More UV light: Ultraviolet light has been shown to decrease the lifespan of COVID-19. You may see more open windows or outdoor classes and activities this semester.
  • Physical barriers: Barriers such as air flow dispersers on air units that blow horizontally through a room or plexiglass shields in high traffic areas will help minimize air flow from person to person.
  • Supplemental filters for small rooms: Portable units including HEPA filters and UV-C light are available in every classroom and many other office or meeting spaces throughout campus. (If you are interested in purchasing one for your individual dorm room, apartment or home, we recommend an air purifier designed for small rooms with a “True HEPA filter,” which are typically $80-150. The unit we are using for offices is GermGuardian AC4825, but numerous other reliable brands include: InvisiClean, VAVA, Airthereal, Oion, Eureka, Honeywell, Levoit, TruSens and others. You can purchase these online through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Home Depot and others.)

These efforts don’t supersede the need for individuals wear masks and maintain physical distancing. They can help purify the air overall but don’t draw away particles quickly from unexpected coughs, sneezes or the like.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

Aug. 10, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment. Follow @Ouachita’s stories on Facebook and Instagram to see and hear more about the day’s topic and how it is practically implemented on campus.

 

In the office: Administrative & academic office protocols

Many faculty and staff already have been working on campus over the summer using the following protocols, so these may be familiar to many of you. For students, keep these in mind as you enter administrative or academic offices or complete work study assignments.

 

Personal Health & Safety Practices

  • Symptom Monitoring: Employees and students must conduct symptom monitoring every day before reporting to campus. You must be free of new, sudden onset symptoms potentially related to COVID-19. If you are experiencing any symptoms, you must be cleared by your physician (or for students, Ouachita’s Office of Health Services) before reporting to work or class on campus.
  • International Travel: Employees and students returning from international travel must complete the health screening at obu.edu/covid19screening before returning to campus. (All non-essential Ouachita-sponsored trips through December 2020 are canceled. Individuals planning personal travel are encouraged to exercise caution and follow CDC and Arkansas Department of Health recommendations for travel.)
  • Face Masks/Cloth Face Coverings are required in all campus buildings unless you are working alone in an office. Masks are not required outdoors unless social distancing is difficult to maintain. Important: A mask is not a substitute for physical distancing. Disposable masks may be worn until soiled and then must be placed in the trash. Cloth masks should be laundered after each use.
  • Physical Distancing is one of the best tools to avoid exposure or slow the spread of COVID-19. Stay at least 6 feet from other people at all times, do not gather in groups and avoid mass gatherings or crowded places.
  • Handwashing should be done often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Additional hand sanitizer stations are available throughout campus.
  • Personal Disinfection of commonly used surfaces (e.g. copiers, printers, coffee makers, light switches, door knobs) should be completed by wiping them down with the provided supplies. Facilities staff will focus on common spaces, not individual offices for disinfecting routines. We recommend disinfecting your own office space when you begin to work and prior to leaving any room in which you have been working.

 

Office Guidelines

  • Offices/Office Space should allow for at least 6 feet of distance between co-workers. Wear a face mask while in a shared work space. No more than one person should be in the same room unless 6 feet of distance can be consistently maintained. Masks should be worn by any employee in a reception/receiving area. Masks should be used in narrow hallways, conference rooms and other meeting locations. The university will provide one cloth mask for each employee; we recommend having at least three masks and cleaning them after each use.
  • Departments should assess all work areas, including meeting rooms, to institute measures to physically separate and increase distance between employees, other coworkers and students, including visual cues/signage to encourage physical distancing and control traffic flow.
  • Restroom occupancy should be limited to ensure at least 6 feet distance between individuals, except when in separate stalls.
  • Elevators should not have more than one person in them at a time.
  • Meeting Rooms should not exceed the posted "COVID capacity," assuming individuals can still maintain 6 feet of separation. Remove or rearrange chairs or tables to support social distancing. Visual cue marks may also be used. Masks are required.

In general, be respectful: As a reminder, be respectful of individuals’ varying comfort levels or health concerns in office spaces across campus. Pay attention to special instructions that are posted for various offices; do not enter a faculty or staff member’s office without asking; and call or email ahead to schedule meetings rather than popping in unannounced.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

Aug. 7, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS

These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment. Follow @Ouachita’s stories on Facebook and Instagram to see and hear more about the day’s topic and how it is practically implemented on campus.

 

COVID-19-related packing tips

As you are gearing up for returning to campus, whether that is living in a residence hall or apartment, here are a few extra packing tips to keep in mind this year.

  • Pack light this year. Less clutter in your room or apartment will make it easier to keep clean. While we have every intention of remaining on campus this semester, packing light will also ease any unexpected transitions back home, whether that is for a short time or several weeks.
  • Coordinate with your roommates before you arrive on campus to avoid duplicate items, especially appliances like microwaves and refrigerators.
  • Shop before you come. While Arkadelphia does have a Walmart and other stores in town, the influx of students to town can create shortages on top of the existing shortages due to COVID-19.

See our other typical packing tips here.

 

COVID-19-related Items

While it’s always helpful to have basic health and wellness supplies with you, COVID-19 makes these items more important than ever. Ouachita will supply each student with one cloth face mask, a travel size hand sanitizer and a digital thermometer. Other suggested items to bring include the following. Note that some of these items are in short supply nationwide.

  • Additional cloth face coverings (bring at least two to add to the one Ouachita provides)
  • Additional personal hygiene supplies: hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content), antibacterial soap, face tissue (like Kleenex)
  • Over-the-counter medicine: acetaminophen, ibuprofen, cough medicine, throat lozenges, cough drops, anti-diarrheal medication, antacids, laxatives
  • Prescription medication (keep on hand at least a 3-week supply)
  • Your health information, including: health insurance card, list of your allergies, and contact information for your primary health care provider
  • Cleaning supplies (See CDC recommendations on cleaning and disinfecting.)
  • Room-size HEPA or ultra-violet filter (We are supplementing HVAC air quality efforts across campus with small HEPA filters in classrooms and office spaces. You may want to consider purchasing one for your individual dorm room or apartment. We recommend an air purifier designed for small rooms with a “True HEPA filter,” which are typically $80-150. The unit we are using for offices is GermGuardian AC4825, but numerous other reliable brands include: InvisiClean, VAVA, Airthereal, Oion, Eureka, Honeywell, Levoit, TruSens and others. You can purchase these online through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Home Depot and others.)

 

Prepare a COVID-19 Emergency Bag

In the event that you must leave campus to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19, we recommend preparing an emergency bag ahead of time to ease stress during that transition. Be prepared to spend about 10 days in isolation or 14 days in quarantine. Once you leave campus, you may not return to your room to retrieve personal items until you are cleared by a physician in order to protect the campus community from exposure. (See more on Ouachita’s quarantine and isolation plan here.) In addition to typical items like clothing, toiletries and other personal hygiene items (feminine products, contact lens solution, etc.), make sure you include:

  • Important papers, such as your ID and insurance information
  • Cloth face coverings
  • Over-the-counter and prescription medications (see suggestions above)
  • Thermometer and first aid kit
  • Soap, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes
  • Items needed for classwork: computer, books, notebooks, chargers for electronic devices, etc.
  • Paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Entertainment: books, games, puzzles, electronic devices, etc.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

Aug. 6, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

 
A Letter from Ouachita’s Health Monitoring and Action Team

Ouachita’s Health Monitoring and Action Team (HMAT) is convinced the university is prepared for the potential of a successful fall 2020 residential semester.

HMAT has researched and collaborated with national and state health institutions, peer universities,  national research institutions and infectious disease experts to develop the protocols and recommendations to be used this semester on campus. Over the summer months, we completed a 627-item Safe Return to College checklist, developed and approved unanimously 70 campus protocols and worked closely with many staff, faculty and students in hands-on work and analytic programs.

We know the semester can be successful if, from the first day together on campus, the entire Ouachita family strives to follow the Four Pillars of Protection: face coverings, physical distancing, personal hygiene and disinfecting.

We even tested these pillars on campus with about 100 students who were here this summer for natural sciences research or football. The researchers had zero infections. The football players were all tested for COVID-19 before arriving on campus. One player developed a COVID-19 infection a few days later and went home, but zero other football players were infected because of their stringent following of the four pillars.

HMAT acknowledges that Ouachita will have active cases of COVID-19 this fall on campus; however, we also acknowledge and firmly believe we can contain the infection and keep an outbreak from occurring if everyone works together. Our ability to do on-campus rapid result testing and internal contact tracing will provide key strategies for a quick response to infections with immediate isolation and quarantine.

Our main word of caution to us all is to approach the semester with an attitude of service and selflessness. When seeking to keep our community safe from COVID-19, don’t look for loopholes; instead, go above and beyond in meeting safety guidelines.

We are optimistic about success, because we know the ability, strength and good will of the Ouachita community. Thank you all for joining with us as we approach this challenging semester with humility, courage and optimism.

Take care, Tigers!

HMAT Signatures

Ouachita Baptist University’s Health Monitoring and Action Team

Dr. Wesley Kluck, vice president for student development and university physician – chair

Tyrese Allen, Student Senate president

Dr. Byron Eubanks, chair of the Department of Philosophy and director of the Sutton Center for Integrity

Tim Harrell, director of student life

Caitlin Hetzel, director of housing and assistant director of residence life

Dr. Tim Knight, dean of the Patterson School of Natural Sciences

Missy Lewis, compliance officer and IT Services project coordinator

Sherri Phelps, director of human resources

Rickey Rogers, dean of students and director of residence life

David Sharp, director of athletics

James Taylor, director of campus ministries

Molly Wallace, director of health services

Brooke Zimny, assistant to the president for communications & marketing – ex officio

Aug. 5, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment. Follow @Ouachita’s stories on Facebook and Instagram to see and hear more about the day’s topic and how it is practically implemented on campus.


In the Classroom

Ouachita is fortunate due to the size of its physical campus and student population, as well as low student/faculty ratios and location, to be able to offer most of its classes in person on the typical schedule. However, your daily classroom experience will look a little different as we seek to keep our community safe this semester.

 

Physical Distancing

  • All classrooms will have adjusted layouts to allow physical distancing of 6 feet. This not only helps protect each individual’s health but also minimizes the need for quarantine should someone in your class become infected with COVID-19. Even if you are in the same room with an individual who is contagious, if you observe physical distancing, you are not considered a “close contact” who is required to quarantine. You’ll see tape on the floor to mark where furniture should be placed. Do not adjust room layouts, as they have been carefully evaluated for this purpose.
  • Each room on campus has a reduced “COVID capacity” to help ensure physical distancing. This means some of your classes may be held in rooms that aren’t typical to accommodate the number of students in your section. Most of Ouachita’s large event venues, such as Walker Conference Center, Verser Theatre and others, will be used this semester as classrooms to accommodate large classes and still maintain physical distancing. Don’t worry, the number of students in your class hasn’t increased; you still won’t experience a large lecture-hall style class at Ouachita. We’ll just have more space around each person than usual.
  • For specialized classes like labs and music performance, instructors in those areas will adjust to meet health protocols while maintaining the hands-on learning you expect at Ouachita.
  • We’ll be careful entering and exiting classrooms. Instructors may develop protocols to minimize close contact, and campus buildings will have signage noting one-way traffic. Please don’t congregate in the hallways between classes; keep moving toward your next destination.

 

Other Health Measures

  • Face coverings are required in classes for students and instructors. Each instructor will have personal amplification units to help mitigate the challenges of hearing and speaking through a mask. Face shields are not currently approved face coverings.
  • Facilities staff will give extra attention to high-touch common areas throughout campus. Because it is not practical for them to clean every classroom between classes, sanitation supplies will be available in each classroom for students and instructors to use. Additionally, each classroom will be sanitized with an electrostatic fogger each night.
  • Each student, faculty and staff member will receive their own travel-size hand sanitizer from Ouachita for the fall, and more than 250 touchless hand sanitizer stations will be available across campus.
  • We will avoid having several people touch papers or other items in class.
  • More classes may be held outdoors, taking advantage of our beautiful campus and setting in the natural state.
  • Small HEPA filters will be present in each classroom, in addition to system-wide air filtration and HVAC optimization in each building.
  • Typical water fountains will be out of service, but several new touchless water bottle filling stations will be available across campus.

Remote Technology

  • If students are unable to attend class due to illness or quarantine, a variety of remote learning solutions will be used to help them keep up with their class work. Options include use of a mobile flexible learning – or “Mo-Flex” – unit, which allows students to remotely participate in class with live video conferencing technology, or the use of Moodle, recorded lectures or other technology. Faculty members have been working throughout the summer to prepare for a variety of scenarios.
  • IT Services is available to help you troubleshoot problems that come up during remote learning – should that be a short-term or long-term need. Call 870-245-5567 or email support@obu.edu to get help.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

Aug. 3, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment. Follow @Ouachita’s stories on Facebook and Instagram to see and hear more about the day’s topic and how it is practically implemented on campus.

 

Staying Social while Physical Distancing: Events

Maintaining community and traditions in a social-distance environment will be a challenge, but Ouachita is committed to reinventing some of your favorite Ouachita experiences within COVID-19 guidelines and coming up with new ones to make the year memorable and significant. We invite you to do the same! Here’s how some of our typical large gatherings will be reimagined this year.

 

Chapel and Campus Ministries

  • Chapel will be online this fall. Students will be enrolled in a Moodle course where videos will be shared. Each week we will produce a chapel video made especially for the Ouachita community. Students will record their attendance by completing a short quiz after they watch the video.
  • Refuge and Noonday will still be important times of student-led worship for our campus. Locations will change and seating will often be limited. Students will need to wear masks and distance themselves 6 feet. We will livestream Refuge whenever possible. Some Noonday meetings may take place at night, as we begin a new tradition of “Moonday.” Follow Campus Ministries on Instagram @obucm to stay up to date on changes.
  • Other CM programs: Each ministry, from Backyard Bible Clubs to Life Groups, will make adjustments that fit their ministry and new guidelines. We intend for Life Groups to be a key part of our spiritual community this year, as small groups will have more flexibility and less risk than large groups. Most groups will meet in person, but we will offer some online Life Groups for those who are not comfortable with those settings.
     

Fine Arts Events

  • In-person seating at arts performances will be limited to allow for physical distancing; however, events will be livestreamed at livestream.com/obu. Students will have first priority for in-person tickets. Some performances, like the opera, may be recorded only.
  • Distancing, sanitation and face covering guidelines will be followed by performers and crew members in addition to those in the audience.
  • The Division of Music will present a series of outdoor concerts to be held in the Rachel Fuller & Ouachita Singers Memorial Amphitheater, on the steps of Mabee Fine Arts Center and the steps of Cone-Bottoms Hall. These free events will allow groups of student performers or small ensembles more opportunities to perform for the campus community and bring a festive feel to life on campus.
     

Tiger Tunes

  • Our traditional in-person Tiger Tunes experience is “on pause” for this fall, and the Ouachita Student Foundation will host an online “Tiger Tunes Rewind” experience streamed live online Saturday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m.
  • The show will feature a “best of” selection for each club or group that was slated to perform this fall, and the winner will be chosen in a live text-to-give format. The 2020 hosts and hostesses will perform between club shows from JPAC.
  • OSF hopes to host a live Tiger Tunes weekend on campus in Spring 2021 if health guidelines allow.
  • See more details at obu.edu/tunes.
     

Student-organized Events

  • If your meeting or activity can be conducted remotely, we encourage continued use of Zoom or other remote technology. This will be the safest way to manage large groups for the semester. Get creative by hosting a virtual coffee break or Netflix party, play or create virtual board games or trivia nights, or build a tournament bracket for your group to compete in.
  • Clubs, organizations or individuals planning events for the fall should keep in mind that they must follow current CDC, Arkansas Department of Health and Ouachita guidelines for gatherings, and all events must be approved through the Office of Student Life. Complete the proposal form here: https://obu.edu/studentlife/event-proposal-form.php.
  • Special considerations to keep in mind include things like: reduced capacity of rooms and venues to allow for physical distancing, new cleaning protocols for event coordinators, attendance tracking for contact tracing purposes, restrictions on food and drinks (no self-service) and limited activities during events due to distancing guidelines (non-contact games/activities only). Complete information will be available at obu.edu/studentlife as the semester begins.
  • Be creative! Ouachita is rich in traditions and events, which is part of what makes Ouachita, Ouachita. Each of those traditions had a starting point, many coming from student creativity. While it is okay to regret that typical activities need to be postponed or changed, let’s reimagine!

    ________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

July 31, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS

These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment. Follow @Ouachita’s stories on Facebook and Instagram to see and hear more about the day’s topic and how it is practically implemented on campus.

Care and commitment: We’re all in this together

Even with all the precautions and resources in place for the Fall 2020 semester, the success of our efforts are up to each individual in our campus community. Our collective commitment to physical distancing, face coverings, hygiene and more is imperative to help control the spread of COVID-19.

The three items below are required before each student completes online check-in next week, Aug. 5-7, which confirms your class schedules.

COVID-19 Education: “Take Care, Tigers” Tutorial

All students, faculty and staff must complete the “Take Care, Tigers” Tutorial via Moodle prior to classes beginning. It should take less than half an hour and have you up-to-speed on expectations before arriving to campus. 

 

Health Screening Prior to Arrival to Campus

Before arriving on campus, each student, faculty and staff member must verify that:

  • I have not been determined to be actively infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • I do not have a fever, cough or other symptoms of COVID-19 as listed on the CDC website.
  • I have not been in close contact with anyone known or suspected to have tested positive for COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to arriving on campus.
  • I have not, in the 14 days prior to arriving on campus, returned from travel or traveled through an area with state or local travel restrictions that mandate quarantine on arrival home.

 

Community Pledge

Additionally, we invite all students, faculty and staff to dedicate themselves to maintaining a safe campus community with the following pledge.

Ouachita Baptist University Community COVID-19 Pledge

Respect for Self, Respect for Others and Respect for Ouachita’s Christian Mission define how our community learns, works and lives together in ordinary times – and even more so in the extraordinary pandemic context. Reflecting Christ’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves, our unique calling as an educational community and our understanding of the risks and challenges of COVID-19, we pledge together to follow the guidelines below.

 

I pledge to

  • Follow federal, state and local guidelines and directives;
  • Wear a face mask in common spaces indoors and wherever social distancing is difficult to maintain outdoors, or as otherwise mandated by governmental authorities;
  • Observe physical distancing of 6 feet or as guidelines permit;
  • Practice frequent handwashing and use hand sanitizer;
  • Not gather in groups larger than Arkansas Department of Health or CDC limits;
  • Observe personal hygiene and respiratory etiquette, such as coughing into my elbow;
  • Immediately contact Health Services if I experience symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed, and to follow all university directives for isolation and quarantine;
  • Immediately notify Ouachita Health Services if I test positive for COVID-19;
  • Complete Ouachita’s online education program for COVID-19.

I recognize that being part of the Ouachita community means my behavior affects everyone else on campus and the people of Arkadelphia. Therefore, I pledge to strive to exercise healthy discretion in my behaviors and habits and follow all of the guidelines for a healthier college environment for others and myself.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

July 30, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment. Follow @Ouachita’s stories on Facebook and Instagram to see and hear more about the day’s topic and how it is practically implemented on campus.

Watch our latest video overview of what fall will look like on campus.

Managing Illness, Quarantine & More

Even with the many health protocols in place on campus, we expect there will be positive cases of COVID-19 within the campus community.​ Here’s what to know if you or someone close to you contracts the virus. While this email is lengthier than our previous messages, please read it completely. First, let’s learn some lingo.

 

What do you mean, “quarantine”?

  • Quarantine: Separating yourself from others because you have been in close contact with someone who has had COVID-19. Quarantine lasts 14 days from your last close contact with someone who has COVID-19. People in quarantine should stay home, social distance from others in the household and monitor their health. Learn more about quarantine from the CDC.
  • Isolation: Separating yourself from others because you are infected with COVID-19 or because you are waiting on a COVID-19 test result. People in isolation should stay home away from others. (Consult with your physician about additional care if illness is severe.) Isolation lasts at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, at least 24 hours with no fever (without medication) and should be exhibiting no symptoms. For asymptomatic individuals, isolation lasts 10 days since the date of the positive test. Learn more about isolation from the CDC.
  • Contact Tracing: Contact tracing is a public health strategy that identifies and monitors individuals who have come in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 to educate them on best practices for quarantine. When executed quickly, this helps prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Asymptomatic: To have COVID-19 but not exhibit any symptoms of the virus. Asymptomatic individuals are still contagious, which is why masks, distancing, hygiene and quarantine measures are in place for even those who feel well.
  • Close Contact: A close contact for quarantine and contact tracing purposes is defined as being within 6 feet of an individual for 15 minutes or longer (regardless of face coverings). For Ouachita students, this automatically includes your Student Family Group (roommates, suitemates or hallmates, depending on your residence hall). Athletics teams who engage in close contact also are included. Others also are considered close contacts if they cross the 6-feet + 15-minute barrier. If you follow the new spacing requirements for seating in classes, you are not considered a close contact of your classmates.

 

Where do I go for quarantine or isolation?

No one wants to be quarantined or isolated for COVID-19. However, we must have contingency plans to prepare for that possibility. Because residence facilities at universities were not built to meet CDC guidelines for quarantine/isolation, students are expected to have their own plans of action for quarantine or isolation. Please think through this plan with your family prior to arriving on campus for the fall semester. For the protection of our campus community, students may not remain in on-campus housing for quarantine or isolation, unless living in a Ouachita apartment, and must receive approval from Ouachita Health Services to return. Exceptions may be granted to students unable to return home due to distance or other factors based on availability on campus. Appeals for exceptions will not be accepted in advance. For questions about the exemption process, contact Caitlin Hetzel, director of housing, at hetzelc@obu.edu. Review CDC recommendations on caring for someone who is sick here.

 

What do I do if I am sick? (View a flowchart here.)

  1. Evaluate if you need to be tested for COVID-19 by contacting Ouachita’s Office of Health Services (OHS) at 870-245-5244, your resident director, apartment manager or resident assistant. You may also use the CDC’s online Self-Checker (report your screening result to OHS).
  2. Do not go to class or public spaces if you are sick, even if you test negative for COVID-19; you could test positive later.
  3. If testing is recommended, isolate until you have results.
  4. If testing is not recommended, take care at home or in your residence facility until you are better.
  5. If you test positive for COVID-19:
  6. Report your test results to OHS at 870-245-5244 and to your RD/apartment manager (students) or supervisor (employees).
  7. Isolate at home away from others until released (typically 10 days).
  8. Cooperate with contact tracers by keeping a log of your symptoms and temperature and providing information about those you’ve been in close contact with. Please answer phone calls from unrecognized numbers.
  9. Continue class/work remotely if your symptoms aren’t severe. Contact your instructors/supervisor to work out the details of remote learning/working. Student Development also will verify students’ absence with instructors.
  10. Do not return to campus without a release. Contact OHS at 870-245-5244 or covid@obu.edu to obtain a release or to submit a release obtained from another source. Employees should receive a release from the Arkansas Department of Health or their physician. Be sure to bring a copy of your release with you to campus to show your supervisor or others who request it.
  11. If you test negative for COVID-19: Take care at home or in your residence facility until you are symptom-free.

 

What do I do if I’m exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19? (View a flowchart here.)

  1. Evaluate if you are considered a close contact with the individual. For students, this includes your Student Family Group and possibly your athletic team. For everyone, this includes being within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more of the positive individual. See the CDC’s definition of a close contact.
  2. If you are not a “close contact,” carry on as usual and continue monitoring your symptoms.
  3. If you are a “close contact,” quarantine immediately.
    • If you develop symptoms, get a COVID-19 test immediately.
    • If you do not develop symptoms, get a COVID-19 test 3-5 days after exposure.
    • If you test positive, refer to the process above. (What do I do if I am sick?)
    • If you test negative, remain in quarantine for the complete 14 days; the infection can begin any time in the 14 day period, even after your negative result.
  4. Report your exposure to OHS at 870-245-5244 and to your RD/apartment manager (students) or supervisor (employees).
  5. Quarantine for 14 days since your last exposure and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
  6. Get tested for COVID-19.
  7. Cooperate with contact tracers as they check in on your symptoms and temperature. Please answer phone calls from unrecognized numbers.
  8. Continue class or work remotely. Contact your instructors/supervisor to work out the details of remote learning/working. Student Development also will verify students’ absence with instructors.
  9. Do not return to campus without a release. Contact OHS at 870-245-5244 or covid@obu.edu to obtain a release or to submit a release obtained from another source. Employees should receive a release from the Arkansas Department of Health or their physician. Be sure to bring a copy of your release with you to campus to show your supervisor or others who request it.

  

What else will help us manage the spread?

  • On-campus testing: Ouachita will offer on-campus testing for COVID-19 with same-day results. Testing will be available for students, faculty, staff and employee family members, and health insurance will be taken. Quick results will help us make fast and well-informed decisions about quarantine and isolation. More details on where on-campus testing will be located and protocols for getting a test are forthcoming.
  • Internal contact tracing: Ouachita is working closely with and under the direction of the Arkansas Department of Health and UAMS to provide contact tracing support for the on-campus community. Approximately 30 trained Ouachita students and staff members, including all residence hall directors will form our campus team and will treat all information exchanged confidentially. They will call to inform, educate and check in on anyone directly connected to a COVID-19 case. It’s important that you notify Ouachita Health Services if you test positive for COVID-19 so that our internal team can handle contact tracing for your case as efficiently as possible.
  • Personal responsibility: Even with all the precautions and resources in place, the success of our efforts are up to each individual in our campus community. Our collective commitment to physical distancing, face coverings, hygiene and sanitation is imperative to help control the spread of COVID-19.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

July 23, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

 These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment.

 

Student Move-In Fall 2020

New students, we could not be more excited to welcome you to residential life on campus! And returning students, it’s been unusually long since we last saw you! As you prepare, please know the move-in process this year will look slightly different and is intended for a smooth transition and your continued safety.

Below are the precautions we will take during move-in for Fall 2020. This information will provide an opportunity for you and your family to schedule a move-in time and start making plans for that date and time.

If you have general questions, contact Rickey Rogers. For questions about apartment move-in, specifically, contact Caitlin Hetzel. You can also find additional information about move-in based on your classification here:

New Student Move-in
Upperclassman Move-in

 

Scheduled Move-In Times

Appointments are scheduled in 3-hour blocks each day August 13-August 15 and are specific to each residence hall or apartment complex. It’s important that you arrive during your chosen time so that we can minimize the number of people moving through the residence halls at once. This system allows us to keep the number of students moving in at less than 8 students per hour per facility throughout the weekend.

Special protocols will be in place for move-in this year in light of COVID-19. Policies and plans are subject to change as guidance regarding COVID-19 is updated to reflect the current situation in Arkansas and Clark County. All activities will follow the most current standards for health precautions, including such measures as physical distancing, frequent hand sanitation and face coverings. 

In an effort to honor physical distancing we have opened additional move-in times for new students to include Thursday afternoon and Thursday evening.

Locate your specific residence hall and follow these directions:

  1. Click on the name of your residence hall or apartment complex, and that will link to your specific residence sign-up.
  2. Click one of the available timeslots for the specific day and time to register for your sign-up appointment.
  3. After you click submit, you are set.
  4. Additional information pertaining to your residence hall or apartment complex will be coming from your Resident Director or Apartment Manager within the next few weeks with specifics for the day of check-in. 

Freshman Residence Halls

Frances Crawford - East
Frances Crawford - West
Flippen-Perrin
O.C. Bailey

Upperclassman Residence Halls

Gosser Hall
Anthony
Susie Everett
Maddox
Georgia Hickingbotham
Tollett

​Apartment Complexes (All new apartment residents and students storing items currently must sign up for a check-in time. Current renters, please do not sign up.)

Caddo Place
Kluck Hillside
Lancelot
Pine Square, Kelly House, & Speights House
Starlite
Stone

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

July 22, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment. Follow @Ouachita’s stories on Facebook and Instagram to see and hear more about the day’s topic and how it is practically implemented on campus.

What to do when you feel sick

We know every cough or bout of congestion can be cause for alarm these days, and we want you to be more in tune with your wellness than ever and help you discern the best path forward. Not only will this help your own personal health but will help protect the Ouachita community as a whole. Additionally, while we have all gone to work or class not feeling our best before, we encourage you to stay home or in your room/apartment and use remote working and learning tools if you are sick.

 

Monitor Your Symptoms for COVID-19

​​Throughout the semester, every member of the campus communit​y is expected to monitor their own symptoms daily for COVID-19. Students, as well as faculty and staff, will each receive a digital thermometer in addition to a face mask and hand sanitizer. RDs and apartment managers also have thermometers on hand. Keep in mind that a fever is only one thing to watch for. The following symptoms all are associated with COVID-19:

  • Coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever/chills
  • New sinus congestion
  • Generalized muscle aches
  • Unusual, sudden-onset headache
  • Fatigue
  • New gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. diarrhea) 
  • New loss of taste or smell

If you experience any of these symptoms: 

  1. Complete the Symptom Self-Checker on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html​. This screening will guide you on next steps, such as the need for a COVID-19 test, consultation with a medical professional or self-quarantine.
  2. Contact Health Services to inform them of your screening results. If needed, a telemedicine or in-person visit will be scheduled. 
  3. Ouachita will have on-campus testing for COVID-19 through the fall. If you need to be tested for COVID-19, Health Services can help guide you through that process. (More information about testing, what happens if you contract COVID-19 and quarantine procedures is coming soon.)

 

Health Services

  • Walk-in services are temporarily unavailable to maximize physical distancing and minimize interactions among sick individuals. Call before stopping by: 870-245-5244.
  • Increased telemedicine appointments will be available using secure software that can be accessed via a PC, phone or other mobile device. 
  • In-person appointments will be available as needed following initial phone or telemed screening.
  • There will be designated times for well visits that cannot be accommodated via telemedicine, such as allergy shots, TB screening and flu shots.
  • Keep in mind that the majority of illnesses that occur after hours can be seen the next day. Do not go to the Emergency Room if you think you have been exposed to or have symptoms of COVID-19 unless you are having emergency medical symptoms (trouble breathing and pain or pressure in your chest). If you have questions about what to do after hours, check first with your RA and RD.

 

Counseling Services

  • The pandemic has been an unusually stressful time for everyone. We are here to help. Counseling Services now has five counselors available to meet your needs.
  • See online resources by Counseling Services on the Ouachita Stories Blog.
  • In-person counseling sessions will continue with physical distancing and masks in place. Request an appointment at obu.edu/counseling
  • Telecounseling also will be available. Ask for this service when you request your appointment.

 

Health-related Accommodations

  • We recognize that certain individuals are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or have health conditions that will make following COVID-19 guidelines difficult. Read more online about our Accommodations for Residential Students.
  • Students who do not qualify for accommodations for health reasons but believe their circumstances warrant a COVID-19-related exception to the policy requiring their return to campus may submit a written request to their dean via email. See "Other Exceptions" on the Accommodations for Residential Students webpage.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

July 20, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment. Follow @Ouachita’s stories on Facebook and Instagram to see and hear more about the day’s topic and how it is practically implemented on campus.

Masks and more: Face coverings

Face coverings can be hot and uncomfortable. We get it. However, we also know that consistent use of masks and other face coverings is one of the best things we can do to protect members of our community from COVID-19. Because the virus spreads mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, masks help keep those droplets from getting to nearby people. A cloth mask may only offer partial protection to the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others. Because we can spread the virus even while we are not experiencing symptoms, we all should wear them to protect each other. Ouachita prides itself on its sense of community and selfless service, and we're counting on you to live that out this semester. 

 

What kind of face coverings should I wear?

  • ​​Cloth masks with more than one layer and that are washable are ideal, although disposable paper or surgical masks are acceptable. 
  • Face shields are not currently approved as they are not proven to protect those in proximity of the wearer.
  • Every student, faculty and staff member will receive one Ouachita face mask at the beginning of the semester. 
  • We encourage you to have 3-7 washable masks on hand to have an ample, rotating supply to keep them clean.
  • Learn from the CDC how to make your own cloth face covering.

 

When do I wear my mask?

 

When may I remove my mask?

  • ​​When you are alone in your private office or workspace. If someone enters the space, you should put your mask on.
  • Outdoors when you are able to maintain 6 feet of physical distancing.
  • When you are actively eating or drinking. Please put your mask back on during or after meals when you are visiting with friends.
  • When giving a presentation or teaching inside, your mask may be removed for a short period of time if needed for a demonstration.
  • When singing or performing inside, a covering is not required if a 12-foot distance can be maintained.
  • In your residence hall or apartment when you are with only your roommate or suite mates (or for O.C. Bailey, Susie Everett and Georgia Hickingbotham residents, your hall mates). We will call this your Student Family Group this semester.

 

How do I wear my mask?

  • Wash your hands before and after handling a mask.
  • Place the mask snugly over your nose and mouth and against the sides of your face.
  • You should be able to breathe normally with your mask on.
  • Don't put the mask around your neck or up on your forehead.
  • Remove the mask by holding the strings, and fold the outside corners in to "close" it when it's removed.
  • Wash your cloth mask after every wear with your regular laundry and on the warmest appropriate setting. Dry completely. To air dry, place the mask in direct sunlight, if possible. See more from the CDC about washing your mask.​

Remember, while wearing masks is a good measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19, physical distancing and​ frequent, thorough handwashing are still the best ways to avoid getting the virus. See more on face coverings from the CDC.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

July 17, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment. Follow @Ouachita’s stories on Facebook and Instagram to see and hear more about the day’s topic and how it is practically implemented on campus.

Grabbing a bite: Campus dining   

Our various campus dining options will follow the most recent guidelines by the CDC and Arkansas Department of Health, which are subject to change. Signage and campus dining staff will be available in each venue to help you navigate as things may change.​

 

Getting Food

  • Buffet-style stations will be converted to staff-served or to-go options, and Dr. Jack's drip coffee will be served at the counter.
  • To-go options will increase, including moving “Tiger Express” to the lobby of Walker near the Commons for easier access.
  • Selections in Evans Food Court will be streamlined to expedite service to minimize crowds, including the addition of combo meals at Chick-fil-A and Tiger Grill and a limited menu at Sandella's.
  • Single use utensils and plates will be made more available, and reusable utensils will be pre-wrapped for each individual.
  • Simple Servings and options for special dietary needs still will be available.
  • Traffic flow has been re-routed to allow for physical distancing while you wait in line, as you choose your meal and as you exit. 
  • In Evans Student Center, additional registers will be available to minimize wait times. 
  • Signage and extra staff will be available to help you.

 

Seating

  • Seating in Ouachita Commons will be reduced to meet current Arkansas Department of Health guidelines. Currently, that means 6 per round table and reduced booth seating. 
  • In Evans Student Center, all tables will be removed from the food court to improve traffic flow. 
  • Tables will replace the couches near Dr. Jack’s Coffeehouse, and plexiglass barriers are being installed between booths.
  • Use of outdoor spaces for dining will be encouraged, such as the existing Evans Student Center overlook balcony and Neighbor’s Table and new picnic tables being installed across campus.

 

Sanitation

  • Dining Services staff will wear recommended PPE and will execute elevated cleaning protocols, including cleaning and disinfection after each table is used.
  • Additional plexiglass barriers will be in place throughout the dining facilities, and touchless ID card scanning will be available.
  • Self-serve sanitation supplies also will be available to individuals in the dining facilities.
  • Diners are required to wear masks in the dining facilities any time they are not actively eating or drinking.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

July 27, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY & STAFF

These emails dive in on topics of importance as we prepare for the fall semester in the COVID-19 environment. Follow @Ouachita’s stories on Facebook and Instagram to see and hear more about the day’s topic and how it is practically implemented on campus.

 

Keep your distance: Physical distancing

It’s in the Ouachita DNA to be social, but how does that happen in a social-distance environment? We prefer to use the term "physical distancing" because we still believe our social connections can and will be alive and well this semester. However, because limiting close face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19, physical distancing will be a part of virtually every aspect of campus this semester. We will follow the CDC's recommended 6 feet of distance between individuals (about two arms' length). This distance helps avoid the spread of respiratory droplets when we cough, sneeze or talk. As COVID-19 primarily spreads from person-to-person contact, keeping our distance is especially important.

 

How we'll keep our distance

  • Reminder "Take Care, Tigers!" signage will be​ placed around campus on doors, floors and more.
  • Certain spaces will have adjusted traffic flow, such as one-way stairwells or hallways.
  • Every room on campus will have an adjusted "COVID Capacity," which will be posted outside the room. This includes bathrooms, so be sure to knock and wait your turn using physical distancing. (Keep this reduced capacity in mind as you consider restroom breaks in your schedule; lines may move more slowly.) Elevators also will be single capacity.
  • Classroom seating will be spaced out, and larger rooms will be used as classrooms that don't typically serve that purpose (like Tiger Den or Verser Theatre).
  • Visitation guidelines will change in the residence halls. (More on this to come.)
  • Because there will be reduced capacity in places like the student center and residence halls, additional spaces will be made available for students to safely gather (like Walker Conference Center).
  • Some offices on campus will have appointment policies rather than their typical walk-in options. Just call ahead to make sure you aren't arriving at a busy time.  

 

What you can do to help

  • ​Don't hug or handshake. We're a friendly campus, but let's use non-contact greetings for now.
  • ​Simply be aware and respectful of your distance from others. Remember that people have various comfort levels and anxiety about the pandemic. If you feel someone is crowding you, don't be shy to ask for more space. 
  • Be respectful of faculty/staff office spaces. Ask before entering, conduct your conversation from the doorway or move your meeting to a larger space. 
  • Watch for signage across campus. Each office could have slightly different approaches to how they manage their area based on personal needs or the physical limitations of the space.
  • Don't congregate in hallways. Before and after class, keep the traffic flow moving, and visit with friends outdoors or in larger spaces where distancing is easier to achieve.
  • Continue to practice physical distancing off campus. Limit your contact when running errands or choosing social activities. Avoid crowded places, and wash your hands any time you've been to a public area. Take advantage of the many beautiful outdoor recreation areas for fun and exercise.

 

Exceptions

  • ​​You do not have to practice physical distancing with other students in your residence life Student Family Group (roommates, suitemates). You'll get more tips for distancing in residence facilities from your resident directors when you move in.
  • ​In certain spaces, like hallways, distancing could be difficult to achieve. In these instances, simply keep moving to minimize the time spent in close quarters with others.

 

Maintaining Social Connections

  • ​​Just because we are physically distant this semester, we still encourage you to be socially connected. We will have creative ways you can still enjoy social life at Ouachita and encourage you to engage your imagination, as well. 
  • If you are struggling with this new environment, please reach out to your RA or RD or to Counseling Services.

________________________________

Ouachita follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health. Additional information on Ouachita’s COVID-19 response is available at obu.edu/coronavirus​.

Dear students, faculty and staff: 

I hope you’re finding ways to enjoy the advantages of summer even in these times. Your university is diligently working to prepare for on-campus classes in this COVID-19 environment with two overarching goals in mind: supporting the health and safety of our Ouachita community and facilitating the kinds of relational experiences that make Ouachita, Ouachita. I’m writing to share an important update.

The Health Monitoring and Action Team, charged with planning for the fall, has researched options and proposed a revised academic calendar in consultation with various leadership groups (i.e., Administrative Council, Deans Council, University Committee, Student Senate and a parent advisory group). The consensus among these groups is that the fall calendar should be adjusted to begin classes on Monday, Aug. 17, eight days earlier than previously scheduled; compress the time we are together on campus; and not return to campus following Thanksgiving.

Here are the details that we know at this time:

  • Move-in for all students will be Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 13-15, on a staggered schedule to minimize crowds.
  • Classes begin on Monday, Aug. 17.
  • Classes will meet on Labor Day, Sept. 7, and Fall Break, Oct. 8-9.
  • In-person classes end Tuesday, Nov. 24.
  • Final exams will be administered remotely Nov. 30-Dec. 4.
  • Online Fall Term 1 classes will run from Monday, Aug. 17, through Sunday, Oct. 11; Online Fall Term 2 classes will run from Monday, Oct. 12, through Sunday, Dec. 6.

This plan maintains the number of class days needed in the semester while minimizing remote learning and is similar to alternative schedules announced at other universities in Arkansas and across the nation. We know from our own campus data that instances of the flu typically increase in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and COVID-19 could spread in a similar way.

We realize this change raises questions about move-in, social life, the classroom environment, athletics and many campus events. We are working to provide answers for these questions and will communicate with you throughout the summer; thanks for your patience. We will send details about move-in later this month so that you can make your travel plans.

While this semester will not be normal, we are committed to making it meaningful. The challenges presented by COVID-19 give us the opportunity to be innovative and imaginative while also making careful preparations. 

I begin each day by praying for Ouachita, especially that our individual lives will be marked by an uncommon level of service to one another for the common good of our campus community. Please join me in this prayer and commitment. Thank you.

Kind regards, Ben 

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University

June 4, 2020 • TO ALL STUDENTS

In an effort to keep the campus community informed as we navigate the summer and prepare for the fall semester, we will use this email format to release information about​plans to resume classes in the fall and other related updates. Much of this information also will be posted online at obu.edu/coronavirus.

Message from the President: On Tuesday of this week, a returning student stopped by my office; I was so excited to see and greet a Ouachita student! Your faculty and staff, your president, serve here because we care deeply for college students – for you. Lisa and I can’t wait to see all Ouachita students! Our entire campus is focused on preparing to safely welcome new and returning students for on-campus classes and residence life in August. Beginning with this email, you will be sent frequent updates. As you’ve already learned the past three months, life changes quickly, and it requires us to be adaptive and flexible. Based on my first four years at Ouachita, I’m confident that our campus community will rise to the occasion. While the fall semester won’t be normal, we can make it meaningful. I will do my utmost to make it so for you and ask that you join with me in making this commitment. Here’s my prayer for Ouachita, taken from Ephesians 3:20: "God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us." (The Message).

What’s New on Campus: In the weeks and months since you were last on campus, faculty and staff also have been largely working from home, adjusting their classes and service to the remote environment. This week marked the first step back toward the return to campus in the fall, with many staff returning to their campus offices. Through June and July, staff members are working on an adjusted schedule, working on campus Mondays through Wednesdays and remotely on Thursdays; offices are closed on Fridays with some exceptions.

Even as employees are returning to work in this way, many additional protocols are in place to ensure the safety of our campus community. For example, social distancing, increased disinfection and lower room occupancies are being observed. Masks are expected in common spaces, and many meetings are still being conducted via Zoom. 

If you need help from a Ouachita office this summer, please call or email before dropping by. Some offices are closed to in-person visitors to protect the health of employees. Additionally, guests to campus are required to complete a screening form before entering buildings. If you plan to stop by campus to conduct business or visit a faculty or staff member, please complete the screening at obu.edu/covid19screening and communicate your plans with your host.

Check @ouachita's Instagram story this summer for updates and to get a peek at what life is like on campus in this unusual time.

Health Monitoring & Action Team: The Health Monitoring & Action Team, chaired by Dr. Wesley Kluck, university physician and vice president for student development, has been meeting frequently to develop guidelines for our return to work and classes on campus. Members of the team include faculty and staff from across campus, as well as Student Senate President Tyrese Allen. Many plans are in progress, and information will be released to you here and posted at obu.edu/coronavirus as it is available.

Dear students, faculty, staff and extended Ouachita community, 

As we near the end of a semester marked with unprecedented challenges for our university, our people and the world, we also look to the future with calculated optimism. I write to confirm that we plan to resume on-campus classes and residential life for fall 2020.

As always, the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and guests continues to lead our decision-making. As we monitor the COVID-19 situation, it is especially informed by guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Arkansas Department of Health. 

I’ve appointed Dr. Wesley Kluck, who serves as Ouachita’s university physician and vice president for student development, to lead a Health Monitoring and Action Team. They will help us develop protocols to prepare to return to campus safely – staff and faculty over the summer and students in the fall. The team is already at work, engaging with campus leadership groups, academic schools, administrative departments and athletics leadership to think through necessary details for a variety of scenarios. I am confident we can adapt, as needed, to deliver Ouachita’s distinct education and experience and deliver on our mission.

Similar to other universities, there are a host of issues and questions to address. With the benefit of time, data, wisdom and innovation, along with the cooperation of the campus community and God’s grace, I know that Ouachita will rise to the challenge.

I’m so proud of you, our students, faculty and staff, for your exemplary attitude and effort that have marked Ouachita’s response to COVID-19. Thank you again! 

We will continue to communicate with you during the summer months via email and at obu.edu/coronavirus as more specific plans for fall are confirmed. For now, congratulations on concluding this historic academic year; we look forward to seeing you again – in person – in the coming weeks.

 

Sincere regards, Ben

Ben R. Sells, Ph.D.
President
Ouachita Baptist University

“The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” (Psalm 118:14, CSB)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Message from the President: Students, we miss you! This morning, I prayed Psalm 118:14 for you: “The Lord is my strength and my song, and has become my salvation.” May this be true for you today, and in all your days to come.

Yesterday, I hosed a virtual forum for our employees to provide a university update. I devoted significant time to sharing insights from your responses to surveys the past three weeks. One of my roles, especially as you’re away from campus, is to speak on your behalf to help faculty and staff better serve you. Following are some of my comments, informed by your feedback.

On a positive note, students:

  • Recognized the unique challenges of the current environment.
  • Applauded the efforts made by faculty and staff.
  • Affirmed the adjustments in the grading and class withdrawal policies.
  • Complimented the room and board credit.
  • Appreciated the process for moving out of residence halls.

Students also consistently cite these challenges:

  • Some of them describe their learning environments as difficult, even grim. This is due to their technology challenges, limited space, presence of siblings, expectations of their parents in regards to helping at home – including the necessity of working to help support the family, and economic uncertainty.
  • Many commented that in the absence of face-to-face instruction, they feel that instructors are adding extra assignments and assessments that make it difficult to manage all their course work under the circumstances.
  • Students report missing the benefit of personal interaction with their instructors, especially in those classes where they have not been able to see the faces and hear the voices of faculty and classmates.

I concluded my comments about students in this way:

We’re all trying to make the best of a bad situation. As we conclude this semester, one we hope to never repeat, it’s interesting to consider what students will reflect on this summer and in the years to come about their “Ouachita pandemic experience.” I think what will mean the most to them is the extent to which they believe each of us personally invested in them and walked with them through these weeks.

Students, for those of you who continue to feel that you’re struggling academically and/or personally during this time – and need additional assistance but not sure where to turn – I encourage you to reach out to your RD or to Dean Rickey Rogers. They will work with you and others on campus to do whatever we can.

Graduating seniors, we will communicate plans for Commencement early next week. Returning students, we’re at work preparing for your return to campus for the fall semester.

I closed my remarks to faculty and staff, and want to share with you, the image below which is the cover of a card recently given to me by one of my adult daughters. I look at it each morning and evening because it conveys hope and opportunity. It reflects the perspective I try to carry throughout the day. The Lord is our strength, song, and salvation. In the midst of this pandemic, better days are ahead for you and for the Ouachita community.

  • Integrity Project Award Winners: Congratulations to the following award-winners for this year’s Integrity Project, coordinated by Ouachita’s Sutton Center for Integrity, with the theme “honesty.” The winning entries will be posted on obusignal.com.
    • Essay Winners: 1st Place – Rylee Roberts, $400; 2nd Place – Samantha Boyd $200
    • Video Winners: 1st Place – Rachel Mills $600; 2nd Place – Abby Putterill $300

  • Campus Ministries Resources: Chapel Podcast on Apple Podcasts & Soundcloud • New episodes available each Tuesday // Noonday via Instagram Live: @obucm • Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays • 12 noon // Weekly recommendations on the CM Blog

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humanity. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in nobles.”
(Psalm 118:8-9, CSB)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Message from the President: Thank you for your responses to our weekly survey! I shared the results from the two questions with all faculty and staff, and several of us read every comment. Your feedback helps us serve you. For example, it directly influenced our decision to adjust the grade policy that was announced earlier this week. Over 600 students participated in each survey, and I invite you to respond again by answering two questions by following this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WeekThreeOuachita. Thank you!

Chicago Semester: Sara Chiang from Chicago Semester will hold a virtual info session specifically for Ouachita students on Tuesday, April 21, from 4:30-5 p.m. Learn about internships, costs, housing and the Ouachita credits that Chicago Semester fulfills. Learn how you could receive an internship with organizations such as Chicago Fire FC like Ouachita communications student Kyle Sharp. Sign up for the session here. // Questions? Contact Sara Chiang at sara.chiang@chicagosemester.org or Doug Sonheim at sonheimd@obu.edu.

“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;  but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31, ESV)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Temporary Grade Designation Policy: In response to the exceptional learning circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have adopted a temporary alternate grade designation policy for this semester. It is available for students enrolled in Spring 2020 residential classes and Spring Term 2 online classes. Simply put, after final grades are posted, students may request to change letter grades to “Pass,” “Low Pass” or “No Credit” on a course-by-course basis. See https://obu.edu/registrar/special-policies-spring-2020/ for the full policy. Additionally, the withdrawal deadline has been extended to April 30.

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22-24, CSB)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Message from the President: Seniors on Student Senate met by Zoom today to discuss a date for Commencement. We anticipate announcing the rescheduled date before the end of this month.

Message from the President: I want to hear from you about Week One. In an earlier message to you, I wrote, “we’ve worked hard to prepare and anticipate the challenges, but we know we’ll have to continually assess and adjust – and we will.” In that spirit, would you take a moment and answer four questions? Your feedback will help me and others continue to serve you as we prepare for Week Two. Complete the brief survey here. Thank you!

  • Tiger Serve Day is still on for this Saturday, April 4! We are asking all volunteers to serve their families at their homes or at outdoor projects at their neighbor’s homes respecting social distancing and following CDC and local guidelines. Wear your TSD T-shirt on Saturday and post a picture of your work site to Instagram, tagging @obuelrodcenter #DoingGood. A word on safety:
    • If you’re under “shelter in place,” serve within the context of your immediate family at home.
    • If you can serve a neighbor by working in the yard, call to ask first and then refrain from making face-to-face contact.
    • This year, you can especially serve people by making a phone call, writing a letter, or emailing/texting.
    • To ensure safety, serve individually or with your family but not with a friend.​
  • Residence Hall Applications are due by this Sunday, April 5, at 11:59 p.m. Apply in your INFO Portal. Learn more at https://obu.edu/reslife/house-process-information/. Questions? Contact Caitlin Hetzel, director of housing: hetzelc@obu.edu, 870-245-5225.

  • Ouachita’s monthly student account balance statements will be delayed until Monday, April 6. Please be patient as our staff finalizes the posting of Board of Trustee-approved partial room and board credits for students who were required to leave campus and for the payment of remaining work-study allocations. Greater detail will be provided with the statements to all current students on Monday. Payment due dates also will be extended to April 30 and May 29 for any account balances remaining due.

  • Pre-registration: The Summer and Fall 2020 course schedules are now available in your INFO Portal (Academic Information>Course Schedule). The pre-registration schedule is below. Your advisor will contact you about scheduling an appointment. In the meantime, use the Pre-registration Schedule Worksheet to prepare a tentative schedule. See more details in this week’s email from Dr. Stan Poole. Additional resources are available the Student Advising web page.

 

Seniors

89 or more projected hours

April 6 & 7

Monday & Tuesday

Juniors

59 or more projected hours

April 8, 9, & 10

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday

Sophomores 

29 or more projected hours 

April 13 & 14

Monday & Tuesday

Freshmen  

all other students

April 15, 16, & 17

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday

 

  • Summer School Enrollment: If you plan to enroll in summer courses at Ouachita, please see our Summer 2020 Registration Procedures for important information and deadlines. // If you plan to take a summer course at another institution, you must complete and submit a Course Substitution Form prior to taking the course. If you do not do this, we cannot guarantee that the course you take will be accepted for credit toward your Ouachita degree requirements. Course Substitution Forms are available in your INFO Portal under “Forms.” // Questions? Contact your dean’s office, your advisor or the Office of the Registrar: registrar@obu.edu or 870-245-5580.

  • Online Summer Spanish Courses: The following options are available to take Elementary Spanish online this summer:
    • 8-Week Summer Term (June 1-July 26): Both Elementary Spanish 1 (SPAN 1013, seq. #440) and Elementary Spanish 2 (SPAN 1023, seq. #442) will be offered
    • 11-Week Full Summer Semester (May 11-July 26): Elementary Spanish Summer Intensive (SPAN 1016, seq. #116) will be offered. In this NEW offering, students earn credit for both SPAN 1013 and 1023. Residential students must have at least 59 hours to take this course.

“He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; you were called by him into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:8-9, CSB)

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Withdrawal Deadline Extended: In recognition of our changed circumstances, we are extending the withdrawal deadline for all courses currently in progress to Thursday, April 30. See today's email from Dr. Stan Poole for details.

You will keep in perfect peace  those whose minds are steadfast,  because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever,  for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” (Isaiah 26:3-4, NIV) 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS 

  • Ouachita’s monthly student account balance statements will be delayed until Monday, April 6. Please be patient as our staff finalizes the posting of Board of Trustee-approved partial room and board credits for students who were required to leave campus and for the payment of remaining work-study allocations. Greater detail will be provided with the statements to all current students on Monday. Payment due dates also will be extended to April 30 and May 29 for any account balances remaining due.

  • Pre-registration: The Summer and Fall 2020 course schedules are now available in your INFO Portal (Academic Information>Course Schedule). The pre-registration schedule is below. Your advisor will contact you about scheduling an appointment. In the meantime, use the Pre-registration Schedule Worksheet to prepare a tentative schedule. See more details in today’s email from Dr. Stan Poole. Additional resources are available the Student Advising web page.

Seniors

89 or more projected hours

April 6 & 7

Monday & Tuesday

Juniors

59 or more projected hours

April 8, 9, & 10

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday

Sophomores 

29 or more projected hours 

April 13 & 14

Monday & Tuesday

Freshmen  

all other students

April 15, 16, & 17

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday

 

  • RecLife Intramural Esport Survey: For those who would like to stay connected to Reclife and to one another during this time, Reclife will be offering intramural Esport seasons! We plan to offer competitive and casual seasons for both individuals and groups to participate in. Before we open up signups next week we want to hear from you on what games you would be interested in competing on. If you are interested in participating in a Reclife Esport season, please take a couple of minutes to complete this survey (https://forms.gle/fUNjm4bbzKsKCuMB7) so that we can get a better idea of you want to play! Thanks in advance.

“Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth we are absent from the Lord – for we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NET) 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Message from the President: I love walking across campus – seeing you, hearing you, saying “hello” to you. So today, I especially missed being with you in Chapel. While we’ve very focused on remote instruction and helping you achieve your academic goals these six weeks, we’re also focused on reimagining the Ouachita experience outside the classroom. I know some social clubs met by Zoom last night – that’s great! We encourage groups and friends to engage virtually. Chapel is different in these times, as communicated earlier, but we can participate by listening via podcast for messages crafted especially for you, for us, in these days. The first comes from Dr. Scott Duvall and is available on Apple Podcasts & Soundcloud. He shares thoughts from Psalms 46, speaking to the craziness of the world and the steadfastness of God. As I listened to him this morning, it seemed as I was hearing not just from a teacher, but from a shepherd and a pastor. I needed that, and perhaps you do too. We go forward, even as we’re apart, together. 

  • Tiger Serve Day is still on for this Saturday, April 4! We are asking all volunteers to serve their families at their homes or at outdoor projects at their neighbor’s homes respecting social distancing. Wear your TSD T-shirt on Saturday and post a picture of your work site to Instagram, tagging @obuelrodcenter #DoingGood. 

  • Residence Hall Applications are now open in your INFO Portal through April 5 at 11:59 p.m. Learn more at https://obu.edu/reslife/house-process-information/. Questions? Contact Caitlin Hetzel, director of housing: hetzelc@obu.edu, 870-245-5225.

  • Academic Resources: 
    • Speer Writing Center is offering synchronous sessions via Zoom. Email OBUSpeerWritingCenter@gmail.com to make an appointment (specify 15-minute or 30-minute session) or for more information. Or see the center’s website or follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
    • Riley-Hickingbotham Library’s physical location is now closed to in-person patrons. Many library resources are available online at obu.edu/library and are most easily accessible by use of the proxy server. Librarians can help you utilize these tools. Get help from a librarian here: http://libanswers.obu.edu/index.php. For additional needs, contact the librarian on duty at 870-245-5119 for special arrangements.
    • Textbooks: The Ouachita Campus Store has partnered with VitalSource Bookshelf to make many e-textbooks available for free. Learn more here.
    • Academic Success Center: Ouachita’s ASC is offering services remotely. See details at obu.edu/success.

  • Health Services will now offer telehealth appointments for Ouachita students, faculty and staff to address non-urgent medical concerns. Contact Molly Wallace, RN, director of health services, at wallacem@obu.edu to request an appointment. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, we ask that you notify Nurse Molly at wallacem@obu.edu or 870-245-5244; it is not mandatory but encouraged.

  • Campus Ministries Resources: Chapel Podcast on Apple Podcasts & Soundcloud • New episodes available each Tuesday // Noonday via Instagram Live: @obucm • Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays • 12 noon // Weekly recommendations on the CM Blog

“Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9-10, ​NIV)

Here are some resources, updated weekly, from Campus Ministries to encourage your faith:
https://obu.edu/campusministries/cms-weekly-recommendations-3-30/

Here’s a message from Dan Jarboe, university counselor, to help you manage your mental health:
https://obu.edu/voices/blog/coronavirus-news-related-anxiety/

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Message from the President: When you can’t see very far ahead, go as far ahead as you can see. That advice, given to me by a mentor 20 years ago, came to mind this morning in thinking about you and your first day of remote instruction. In normal times, the last six weeks of a semester, in which classes meet 10 or 15 times each plus for a final, is relatively short. But, these aren’t normal times; a day may feel like a week. Sometimes, when I think about the next six weeks or six months or even the next six years, there are so many unknowns and uncertainties that it can be daunting. I can’t see that far ahead! But, the truth is, I couldn’t see that far ahead even in pre-COVID-19 times. In this unusual season, when we really feel we can’t see very far ahead, let’s just go as far ahead as we can see – in most cases, one class and one day at a time. Your faculty and staff are on this journey with you. I was encouraged this morning by Psalm 145:8, “The Lord is near to all those who call upon him.” We go forward, even as we’re apart, together. 

While we’ve emailed you about several resources for a successful start, we believe these three are especially helpful:

Tools for Remote Learning
Zoom EDU: Zoom for Students
Request individual support: support@obu.edu or 870-245-5567

  • Tiger Serve Day is still on for this Saturday, April 4! We are asking all volunteers to serve their families at their homes or at outdoor projects at their neighbor’s homes respecting social distancing. Sample projects serving your parents could include spring cleaning, organizational work and outdoor work. Sample projects serving a neighbor could include trimming bushes, cleaning pollen off decks and porches, washing cars, cleaning out gutters, weeding flower beds, mowing and weed-eating. There is a lot a work to be done at our homes and in our neighborhoods! We hope all of you will use this opportunity to “do good”  wherever you are! Wear your TSD T-shirt on Saturday and post a picture of your work site to Instagram, tagging @obuelrodcenter #DoingGood. Let’s keep the spirit of service alive in our communities on April 4 – and invite Ouachita alumni to join in, as well!

  • Speer Writing Center is offering synchronous sessions via Zoom. Email OBUSpeerWritingCenter@gmail.com to make an appointment (specify 15-minute or 30-minute session) or for more information. Or see the center’s website or follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

  • Riley-Hickingbotham Library’s physical location is now closed to in-person patrons. Many library resources are available online at obu.edu/library and are most easily accessible by use of the proxy server. Librarians can help you utilize these tools. Get help from a librarian here: http://libanswers.obu.edu/index.php. For additional needs, contact the librarian on duty at 870-245-5119 for special arrangements.

  • Textbooks: The Ouachita Campus Store has partnered with VitalSource Bookshelf to make many e-textbooks available for free. Learn more here.

  • Academic Success Center: Ouachita’s ASC is offering services remotely while classes are online. We know you may be excited, scared, or nervous about what’s in store for you and your academic progress the next few weeks. We are praying for you and here to help. // Questions about tutoring? Contact Lyndi Greenwich at greenwichl@obu.edu.

  • Tutoring will be available via Zoom starting Monday, March 30, by request. Request tutoring: http://bit.ly/ASCtutorrequest. (Help video: http://bit.ly/Tutorregistration)

  • ASC video resources are available on YouTube: http://bit.ly/youtubeASC.

  • Math tutoring with Lyndi Greenwich will take place via Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. starting Tuesday, March 31: http://bit.ly/obumathhelp1. She will assist with Intro. to Problem Solving, College Algebra, and Math of Liberal Arts.

  • Student success coaching sessions are available with staff members if you are concerned about your academic progress. Email academicsuccesscenter@obu.edu to request a meeting.

  • Chapel: Each Tuesday a chapel podcast will be available via Apple Podcasts. No attendance will be taken during the period this online chapel policy is in place, but students are strongly encouraged to listen and enjoy hearing from faculty and staff who will be the speakers. Students who missed four or fewer Chapel services this semester while on campus will receive a credit for the semester. Those who have already missed five or more Chapel services will not receive credit for the semester.

  • Health Services will now offer telehealth appointments for Ouachita students, faculty and staff. The office is no longer open for walk-in appointments or questions. Contact Molly Wallace, RN, director of health services, at wallacem@obu.edu to request an appointment. These telehealth appointments are available to address non-urgent medical concerns. Nurse Molly cannot diagnose or send in prescriptions but can recommend home care or direct you to additional medical care. For serious or urgent medical concerns, contact your local healthcare provider or visit an urgent care center or emergency department. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, we ask that you notify Nurse Molly at wallacem@obu.edu or 870-245-5244; it is not mandatory but encouraged.

  • Residence Hall Applications are now open in your INFO Portal through April 5 at 11:59 p.m. Learn more at https://obu.edu/reslife/house-process-information/. Questions? Contact Caitlin Hetzel, director of housing: hetzelc@obu.edu, 870-245-5225.

  • Noonday via Instagram Live: @obucm • Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays • 12 noon

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15, NIV)

Here are some resources, updated weekly, from Campus Ministries to encourage your faith:
https://obu.edu/campusministries/cms-weekly-recommendations-3-23/

Here’s a message from Dan Jarboe, university counselor, to help you manage your mental health:
https://obu.edu/voices/blog/coronavirus-news-related-anxiety/

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Tech Help: These resources will help you jump into remote learning next week, including helpful links, resources for internet access, Zoom tutorials and more: Tools for Remote Learning // Request support: support@obu.edu or 870-245-5567 (Leave a call-back number if a representative is not immediately available.

  • Help us help you adjust to remote learning: Please complete this brief survey to help us assess your needs and concerns regarding the remote learning environment that will begin next Monday, March 30.

  • Move out for students to retrieve their belongings left in campus housing will take place Thursday, March 26, through Sunday, March 29. See the FAQ webpage for details.

  • U.S. Census: If you normally live in university housing (disregarding the COVID-19 situation), you will complete the U.S. Census through Ouachita. We will send additional information on how to do this as it is available. If you are a commuter, you or your parents should complete the census on your own at https://2020census.gov/. // Questions? Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4Ee8ol_LxY.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, CSB)

Here are some resources, updated weekly, from Campus Ministries to encourage your faith:
https://obu.edu/campusministries/cms-weekly-recommendations-3-23/

Here’s a message from Dan Jarboe, university counselor, to help you manage your mental health:
https://obu.edu/voices/blog/coronavirus-news-related-anxiety/

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Help us help you adjust to remote learning: Please complete this brief survey to help us assess your needs and concerns regarding the remote learning environment that will begin next Monday, March 30. As a reminder, you can email support@obu.edu or call 870-245-5567 to reach IT Services for tech support. Be sure to leave a call-back number if a representative is not immediately available.

  • Move out for students to retrieve their belongings left in campus housing will take place Thursday, March 26, through Sunday, March 29. See the FAQ webpage for details.

  • Mail: The Ouachita Post Office will begin forwarding your mail to the address in your Info portal starting March 30. Please check your portal to verify that we have the most up-to-date address. We will forward packages and USPS mail except “junk mail.”

  • Textbooks: The Ouachita Campus Store will send information soon on how to ship your rental textbooks back at the end of the semester and about a drop box if you are local. They also will send information about eBook access to textbooks for the remainder of the semester.

  • Health Services will now offer telehealth appointments for Ouachita students, faculty and staff. The office is no longer open for walk-in appointments or questions. Contact Molly Wallace, RN, director of health services, at wallacem@obu.edu to request an appointment. These telehealth appointments are available to address non-urgent medical concerns. Nurse Molly cannot diagnose or send in prescriptions but can recommend home care or direct you to additional medical care. For serious or urgent medical concerns, contact your local healthcare provider or visit an urgent care center or emergency department. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, we ask that you notify Nurse Molly at wallacem@obu.edu or 870-245-5244; it is not mandatory but encouraged.

  • Prescription Tip from Health Services: Many students have established care with a healthcare provider in the Arkadelphia area. If you are out-of-state and need a prescription for medications that your provider cannot prescribe across state lines (e.g. medications for ADD), we suggest contacting your provider prior to moving out of your residence facility to make arrangements for picking up the prescription and getting it filled prior to leaving the state. Make these arrangements prior to coming to campus. The Office of Health Services will not be open for appointments or questions.

  • Tiger Serve Day is still on for spring 2020! While we are not on campus together, our Elrod Center staff and student leadership team will host a virtual Tiger Serve Day on Saturday, April 4, with the Ouachita community serving in our own unique places. Start thinking creatively about acts of service that respect social distancing. This may look like serving a family member with a project around the house or serving a neighbor nearby; we also will provide a list of ideas. Then in April we’ll share photos on social media of Ouachitonians serving far and wide in their unique ways. We’re excited for the opportunity to still serve as a community!

  • Residence Hall Applications are now open through April 5 at 11:59 p.m. Learn more at https://obu.edu/reslife/house-process-information/. Questions? Contact Caitlin Hetzel, director of housing: hetzelc@obu.edu, 870-245-5225. Instructions for applying:
  1. Go to your INFO portal.
  2. Select “Student Development”
  3. Select “Housing – Application for Fall Semester”
  4. Follow the directions on the page. 

Move out for students to retrieve their belongings left in campus housing will take place Thursday, March 26, through Sunday, March 29. See the email from Rickey Rogers this afternoon for details.

“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2, CSB)

Here are some resources, updated weekly, from Campus Ministries to encourage your faith:
https://obu.edu/campusministries/cms-weekly-recommendations-3-23/

Here’s a message from Dan Jarboe, university counselor, to help you manage your mental health:
https://obu.edu/voices/blog/coronavirus-news-related-anxiety/

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Help us help you adjust to remote learning: Please complete this brief survey to help us assess your needs and concerns regarding the remote learning environment that will begin next Monday, March 30. As a reminder, you can email support@obu.edu or call 870-245-5567 to reach IT Services for tech support. Be sure to leave a call-back number if a representative is not immediately available.

  • Move out for students to retrieve their belongings left in campus housing will take place Thursday, March 26, through Sunday, March 29. See the FAQ webpage for details.
     

Ouachita will not resume on-campus classes this semester; remote instruction will continue through Finals Week. Please see the email Dr. Sells sent this afternoon for further details about this decision.

“Lord, you have been our refuge in every generation. Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, you are God.” (Psalm 90:1-2, CSB)

Here are some resources from Campus Ministries to encourage your faith:
https://obu.edu/campusministries/cms-weekly-recommendations/

Here’s a message from Dan Jarboe, university counselor, to help you manage your mental health:
https://obu.edu/voices/blog/coronavirus-news-related-anxiety/

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS               

  • Residence Hall Applications are now open. The deadline to complete the application is April 5 at 11:59 p.m. Only one person from each suite needs to fill out the application. Anyone not included on an application will not be housed for Fall 2020. Learn more about the process at https://obu.edu/reslife/house-process-information/. If you need help finding a roommate or suitemate, reach out to your RD or Caitlin Hetzel, director of housing: hetzelc@obu.edu, 870-245-5225. Instructions for applying:
  1. Go to your INFO portal.
  2. Select “Student Development”
  3. Select “Housing – Application for Fall Semester”
  4. Follow the directions on the page.
  • Email access: Remember to check your OBU email account regularly during this time off campus and keep your mailbox open. This is the primary way faculty and staff will contact you.

  • eBook Access: BBA and the Ouachita Store are offering free access to eBooks while we are in this remote learning environment. An email from BBA is forthcoming with additional details.

  • Noonday via Instagram Live: @obucm • Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays • 12 noon

  • Academic Success Center: Ouachita’s ASC will offer services remotely while classes are online. We know you may be excited, scared, or nervous about what’s in store for you and your academic progress the next few weeks. We are praying for you and here to help. // Questions about tutoring? Contact Lyndi Greenwich at greenwichl@obu.edu. 

  • Tutoring will be available via Zoom starting Monday, March 30, by request. Request tutoring: http://bit.ly/ASCtutorrequest. (Help video: http://bit.ly/Tutorregistration) 

  • ASC video resources are available on YouTube: http://bit.ly/youtubeASC. 

  • Math tutoring with Lyndi Greenwich will take place via Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. starting Tuesday, March 31: http://bit.ly/obumathhelp1. She will assist with Intro. to Problem Solving, College Algebra, and Math of Liberal Arts.

  • Student success coaching sessions are available with staff members if you are concerned about your academic progress. Email academicsuccesscenter@obu.edu to request a meeting.

  • Exercise Tips on Staying Active During the Coronavirus Pandemic // Questions? Contact Dr. Terry DeWitt at dewittt@obu.edu.

  • Find your 1098-T “Tuition Statement” IRS Form on your INFO Portal under Forms>1098-T Form>Select a 1098-T Year. Questions? Contact Kristi Clay, director of business services: clayk@obu.edu, 870-245-5417.

Dear Students,

Truly, I can hardly bear to write these words – the hardest thing to tell you in my four years: we will not be resuming on-campus classes this semester. As a result, remote instruction will continue through Finals Week.

This decision is based on these three primary considerations:

  • A confirmed COVID-19 case in our county, along with multiple cases in the many cities and towns where students reside, makes it too risky to bring 1,500 students back to Arkadelphia.
  • Guidance from the CDC and the state of Arkansas limits the size of groups and prohibits serving food to groups in the cafeteria.
  • The decision will bring clarity for all of us in how we finish the semester.

I’m so sorry for you, for us, for Ouachita. We recognize the real disappointment. More than anything, we want you and those you love to be safe and healthy.

This decision raises a number of questions including:

  • When and how can students return to campus to collect their belongings? Given the nature of COVID-19, we need to develop plans that reflect appropriate health and safety precautions. We will provide updated information on Monday, March 23. Please wait for further instruction before returning to campus for your belongings.
  • What if, under these new circumstances, a student’s current location and living arrangements are not suitable for completing the semester?  To request an exception to be housed on campus, fill out the form at https://form.jotform.com/200796637578168 starting Monday, March 23.
  • Will students get a refund? We remain committed to passing on any net room and board savings to students to the extent possible.
  • What does it mean for Commencement? To comply with official guidance on avoiding large gatherings at least through mid-May, Ouachita will not hold Commencement on May 9. However, I will work with a group of graduating seniors, faculty, and staff to develop a plan to honor and celebrate the class of 2020 – the class I started with.

We know there are more questions, we are attending to them, and we will continue to communicate with you.

Your faculty have been working non-stop, racing to be ready to launch remote instruction on March 30. The effort they have put forward to reconfigure their classes has been inspiring. Staff have mobilized with the same intensity to reimagine how they can best serve you from a distance. Expect an email on Tuesday with “next steps” for starting on March 30.

For a season, Ouachita is scattered. This is temporary. It will eventually get better. And at some point, we’ll be together again. For the balance of this semester, I commit to you that your faculty and staff will put forth an extraordinary effort. And, I ask that you do the same.

None of us will ever forget this semester. Because we’re people of Christian faith and Ouachitonians, I believe we will someday look back and say: “I’m a better person – it gave me the opportunity to become the person God intended me to be in ways I didn’t want or anticipate but that I don’t regret.”

That’s my prayer. May it be so.

 

Kindest regards, Ben

Ben R. Sells, Ph.D.
President
Ouachita Baptist University

“God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1, CSB) 

Here are some resources from Campus Ministries to encourage your faith:
https://obu.edu/campusministries/cms-weekly-recommendations/

Here’s a message from Dan Jarboe, university counselor, to help you manage your mental health:
https://obu.edu/voices/blog/coronavirus-news-related-anxiety/

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS         

  • Residence Hall Applications open TOMORROW, Friday, March 20. The deadline to complete the application is April 5 at 11:59 p.m. Only one person from each suite needs to fill out the application. Anyone not included on an application will not be housed for Fall 2020. Learn more about the process at https://obu.edu/reslife/house-process-information/. If you need help finding a roommate or suitemate, reach out to your RD or Caitlin Hetzel, director of housing: hetzelc@obu.edu, 870-245-5225. Instructions for applying:
  1. Go to your INFO portal.
  2. Select “Student Development”
  3. Select “Housing – Application for Fall Semester”
  4. Follow the directions on the page.
  • Email access: Remember to check your OBU email account regularly during this time off campus and keep your mailbox open. This is the primary way faculty and staff will contact you.
  • eBook Access: BBA and the Ouachita Store are offering free access to eBooks while we are in this remote learning environment. An email from BBA is forthcoming with additional details.
  • Noonday via Instagram Live: @obucm • Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays • 12 noon
  • Academic Success Center: Ouachita’s ASC will offer services remotely while classes are online. We know you may be excited, scared, or nervous about what’s in store for you and your academic progress the next few weeks. We are praying for you and here to help. // Questions about tutoring? Contact Lyndi Greenwich at greenwichl@obu.edu.
  • Tutoring will be available via Zoom starting Monday, March 30, by request. Request tutoring: http://bit.ly/ASCtutorrequest. (Help video: http://bit.ly/Tutorregistration)
  • ASC video resources are available on YouTube: http://bit.ly/youtubeASC.
  • Math tutoring with Lyndi Greenwich will take place via Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. starting Tuesday, March 31: http://bit.ly/obumathhelp. She will assist with Intro. to Problem Solving, College Algebra, and Math of Liberal Arts.
  • Student success coaching sessions are available with staff members if you are concerned about your academic progress. Email academicsuccesscenter@obu.edu to request a meeting.
  • Exercise Tips on Staying Active During the Coronavirus Pandemic // Questions? Contact Dr. Terry DeWitt at dewittt@obu.edu.
  • Find your 1098-T “Tuition Statement” IRS Form on your INFO Portal under Forms>1098-T Form>Select a 1098-T Year. Questions? Contact Kristi Clay, director of business services: clayk@obu.edu, 870-245-5417.

In this unusual time apart, Ouachita will provide regular updates from across campus in this email format. The most current information also is available at obu.edu/coronavirus.

Current Operational Plan:

No classes/Offices open March 16-25
No classes/Offices closed March 26-29
Classes online/Offices open March 30-April 10
On-campus classes resume April 13

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
(1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Here are some resources from Campus Ministries to encourage your faith:
https://obu.edu/campusministries/cms-weekly-recommendations/

Here’s a message from Dan Jarboe, university counselor, to help you manage your mental health:
https://obu.edu/voices/blog/coronavirus-news-related-anxiety/

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Good afternoon, Ouachita students!

What an extraordinary past few days in the life of our campus and country. During lunch on Friday, I was hanging out in the caf and stu wanting to see you and be around you, and I wish I could have talked to each of you. Even as this change in plans is for our health and safety, I so regret the disruption to your Ouachita experience. In all my interactions with you on Thursday and Friday, I so appreciated your spirit and attitude in the midst of so many changes and emotions.

This is temporary. It will eventually get better. And we’ll be together, again.

Until then, we’ll endeavor to provide timely, clear, and helpful information – and to be available for you. There are questions that have been addressed and questions to answer. We won’t think of everything, so ask questions. Find the most updated information at: www.obu.edu/coronavirus. We also will start sending a “Ouachita Update” each afternoon as information is available. Watch for those emails coming from update@obu.edu, with consolidated information relevant to our entire student body.

All faculty and staff are preparing this week to help you successfully start classes again on March 30. While you can’t walk into their office to talk, you can contact them by phone or email, and I encourage you to do so.

If you’re unsure of who to contact about something, I’m giving you my cell phone: #######. Start with a text, provide your name, and explain the situation, and I’ll do what I can to assist you. I’m confident in God, you, and the Ouachita community.

 

Love, Ben

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University
@OuachitaPrez

 

P.S. I’m reading through Psalms each month for my daily devotions. During these extraordinary days, I was drawn this morning to Psalm 81:9-10: There shall be no strange God among you, neither shall you worship any other God. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and I shall fill it. “Lord, I ask that you give us Spirit-led wisdom and agility in all areas of our lives.”

Dear Ouachita students:

We have prayerfully sought wisdom about how our campus community should respond to coronavirus (COVID-19) to best protect our students and the broader community. While there currently are no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in the Arkadelphia area or at Ouachita, we believe the following precautionary measures are the responsible path we must take.

  • Ouachita’s Spring Break will be extended, with classes canceled from Monday, March 16, through Sunday, March 29. (Offices will be open Monday, March 16, through Wednesday, March 25.) Classes will resume in online formats from Monday, March 30, to Sunday, April 12. Course instructors will communicate to their classes how their specific instruction methods will change during this period of time.
  • At this point, on-campus instruction is planned to resume on Monday, April 13. (Note that this day previously was scheduled as a holiday for campus.) We will continually monitor the public health situation to assess if this online instruction period should be extended beyond April 13.
  • Students living in Ouachita housing must leave campus by Sunday, March 15. Exceptions will be granted to students who have no other housing options, including international or third culture students, married students or those with other extenuating circumstances. Contact your RD if you need on-campus housing and dining services.
  • Ouachita’s campus will maintain its daily operations, with faculty and staff continuing their good work of educating and serving our students while following health protocols from the CDC.
  • Campus events from March 16 to April 12 are canceled, as are university-sponsored trips. Additional information about events planned for later in the semester is forthcoming.

I understand that these measures are incredibly disruptive to your lives and this campus, and we have not made these decisions lightly. I am truly sorry for the impact it has on your Ouachita experience. We have learned from global public health leaders the importance of slowing the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing to mitigate the impact of the disease, which has now been labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Combined with the timing and widespread travel associated with Spring Break, we believe taking this course of action now may prevent more drastic measures later in the semester.

I recognize this decision raises many questions and issues which we will address as we can. In this unusual time, let’s endeavor to extend grace and understanding to one another. We will continue to update you via email and post updates and FAQs on our COVID-19 webpage.

Ouachita is a tight-knit – and resilient – community: I have great faith in you and us. Together, with wisdom from the Lord, we will navigate this season. Following is a prayer, from “The Daily Prayer App” that has meant much to Lisa and me today – and is our prayer for you.

“Most loving Father, whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things, to fear nothing but the loss of you, and to cast all our care on you who care for us: Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which you have manifested to us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”

Kind regards,

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University
@OuachitaPrez

  • Dr. Wesley Kluck, vice president for student development and university physician – chair
  • Ian Cosh, vice president for community and international engagement
  • Ethan Dial, Student Senate president
  • Jon Fitzgerald, general manager of Sodexo dining services
  • Dr. Monica Hardin, associate vice president for graduate and professional studies
  • Tim Harrell, director of student life
  • Caitlin Hetzel, director of housing and assistant director of residence life
  • Kari Ledford, marketing and retail operations manager of Sodexo dining services
  • Bryan McKinney, university counsel and dean of the Hickingbotham School of Business
  • Bill Phelps, assistant to the president for IT services and facilities management
  • Sherri Phelps, director of human resources
  • Brooke Zimny, assistant to the president for communications and marketing

The Coronavirus Task Force is no longer an active committee.

Dear Ouachita students:

I’m writing to provide a further update on coronavirus (COVID-19) since my email on Monday. Universities across the state and nation are making plans to manage the situation, and Ouachita is no exception.

At this point no decision has been made to suspend on-campus classes. However, we’re taking steps to transition to online or alternate delivery formats for current classes if it becomes necessary.

In today’s environment, it’s natural for rumors to develop. You will continue to hear the most up-to-date and official information from me and other university officials, along with information on our website at obu.edu/coronavirus.

Knowing the character of the Ouachita community, and with wisdom that comes from the Lord, together we will navigate well this unusual season.

 

Kind regards,

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University
@OuachitaPrez

As Spring Break quickly approaches and the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, we have developed the following guidelines for travel.

Ouachita-sponsored trips outside the United States:

These trips are suspended until further notice, with the exception of the Biblical Studies trip to Israel, which is still tentative.

Ouachita-sponsored trips inside the United States:

Trips are suspended to “hot spot” locations where COVID-19 has been confirmed in large numbers. States currently affected include California, New York, Oregon and Washington.

Guests visiting Ouachita:

Guests to campus traveling from a country with a Level 2, 3 or 4 advisory related to COVID-19 or to a U.S. hot spot (see current CDC andState Department guidelines) may be required to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to coming to campus.

Personal travel:

Your personal travel is discouraged to another country with Level 2, 3 or 4 advisory related to COVID-19 or to a U.S. hot spot. A self-quarantine at home may be required before returning to campus for those who travel to these locations or on a cruise ship where COVID-19 is confirmed. For students, this could affect the timely completion of classes for the spring semester.

We believe these are responsible and proactive steps to protect our campus community. We also recognize that these actions disrupt educational and personal plans as well as create stress.

We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our approach, sending email updates as needed. Current campus recommendations also will be posted at obu.edu/coronavirus.

 

Sincere regards,

Ben R. Sells, PhD
President
Ouachita Baptist University
@OuachitaPrez

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