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COVID-19 FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Back to Ouachita's COVID-19 Operations Plan.

Personal Health

If you have a fever, cough or trouble breathing and might have been exposed to COVID-19, call your doctor or nurse. You might have been exposed if any of the following happened within the last 14 days:
  • You had close contact with a person who has the virus – This generally means being within about 6 feet of the person.
  • You lived in or traveled to an area where lots of people have the virus – The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information about which areas are affected. This can be found on their website: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.
  • You went to an event or location where there were known cases of COVID-19 – For example, if multiple people got sick after a specific gathering, you might have been exposed.
If your symptoms are not severe, it is best to call your doctor, nurse, or clinic before you go in. They can tell you what to do and whether you need to be seen in person. If you do need to go to the clinic or hospital, you will need to put on a face mask. The staff might also have you wait some place away from other people. If you are severely ill and need to go to the clinic or hospital right away, you should still call ahead. This way the staff can care for you while taking steps to protect others. Your doctor or nurse will do an exam and ask about your symptoms. They will also ask questions about any recent travel and whether you have been around anyone who might be sick. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Symptoms usually start a few days after a person is infected with the virus. But in some people it can take even longer for symptoms to appear. Symptoms can include:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Feeling tired
  • Trouble breathing
  • Muscle aches
  Employees: Employees covered under the Ouachita Baptist University Group Health Plan may want to utilize the services of Teledoc®, which provides access to a board-certified physician 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  For more information, go to https://www.teladoc.com/ or call 1-800-Teladoc (835-2362).   Updated March 16, 2020

Employees with confirmed exposure to the COVID-19 must enter into a 14-day mandated quarantine. These employees will receive up to 14 days of pay without using any accrued sick or vacation time. Employees can find additional details about leave time and insurance benefits on the HR intranet site or by calling HR at 870-245-5410. Updated March 16, 2020

Counseling services will be open for virtual appointments. Call 870-245-5220 or 870-245-5591 to make an appointment. Additionally, here are some resources to help manage your mental health: https://obu.edu/voices/blog/coronavirus-news-related-anxiety/. Updated March 17, 2020

Health Services is now offering telehealth appointments for Ouachita students, faculty and staff. The office is not 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.   Employees: Employees covered under the Ouachita Baptist University Group Health Plan may want to utilize the services of Teledoc®, which provides access to a board-certified physician 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  For more information, go to https://www.teladoc.com/ or call 1-800-Teladoc (835-2362). Updated March 24, 2020

Campus Events & University Operations

Yes, guests may schedule individual campus visits with the Office of Admissions Counseling at obu.edu/visit. The following protocol is in place to protect faculty, staff, students and guests. These may change based on the most recent guidance from the state of Arkansas, CDC and Ouachita’s HMAT.

  • Prior to their visit, all guests must complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire, which will be distributed to them when their appointment is made.
  • Tours are limited to one family at a time, with no more than three families on campus at a time total. These appointment times are available Mondays through Saturdays: 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Everyone in the tour party, including admissions counselors, is required to wear a mask.
  • Discussion times with families will be held in larger spaces (lobby of JPAC, Evans Student Center, etc.) rather than in offices.
  • Faculty and staff must maintain social distance from the families.
  • Appointments with faculty and staff may be conducted in person or via videoconference, at the discretion of the faculty/staff member.
  • Admissions counselors will carry pocket hand sanitizer for use throughout the tour.

Schedule a visit

 

Admissions counseling also are hosting virtual Tiger Day events to allow an introduction to campus from home.

To comply with official guidance on avoiding large gatherings at least through mid-May, Ouachita did not hold Commencement on May 9.

Ouachita’s 2019-2020 Commencement ceremony has been rescheduled for Saturday, October 10, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. The service will take place on the lawn of Cone-Bottoms Hall, weather and health guidance permitting. Commencement rehearsal and a Senior Dinner will be set for Friday afternoon and evening, October 9. Additional details will be available at obu.edu/commencement 

Updated May 12, 2020

Yes, other than limited campus tours, all campus events through June are canceled. This includes previously scheduled Ouachita events, events hosted on campus by external groups, athletics camps and others. Events for July and August are pending.

Updated May 12, 2020

Yes, the Great American Conference and NCAA have suspended all practices and competitions indefinitely.

Updated May 12, 2020

Offices are continuing operations with our standard business hours, but faculty and staff are encouraged to work remotely if possible. Those working on campus should use social distancing practices. Faculty and staff will return to campus in phases and with additional health protocols over the summer and into fall.

Guests or students needing services from campus offices should call or email.

Updated May 12, 2020

Yes, a partial room and board credit was issued to students who lived in Ouachita housing in the spring semester and who were required to leave campus due to the COVID-19 crisis. Questions or concerns? Email obustudentfinancialservices@obu.edu. Updated May 12, 2020

CARES ACT RESPONSE: 30-DAY REPORTING

Ouachita Baptist University signed a certification and agreement form with the Department of Education on April 9, 2020, for funding to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Funds were received by Ouachita on April 23, 2020, and in accordance with our agreement, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act will be used to provide Emergency Financial Aid grants to students. 

Ouachita received a total of $672,193 to be used for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

As of May 11, 2020, Ouachita has disbursed $648,797.12 Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004 (a)(1) of the CARES Act.

1310 residential, degree-seeking students were eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.  In accordance with Department of Education guidance, students ineligible for grants include: online degree-seekers, international students, non-FAFSA completers, high-school concurrent students, non-degree seekers, and those who have withdrawn or were enrolled below ½ time status.

All 1310 eligible students as explained above have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant disbursement under Section 18004 (a)(1) released on April 29, 2020 and May 6, 2020.

Ouachita used a combined formula and application-based approach to distribute CARES Act funds, with the majority of the funding being directed to our neediest students who were determined by the Department of Education to be Pell grant eligible.

382 Pell eligible students received grants of a minimum of $400 up to 44% of the spring Pell grant amount in the first round of funds released within one week of our receipt of the CARES Act dollars.  (44% was used to reflect the 7 weeks out of 16 weeks disrupted by the closure of our dorms and move to remote instruction.)   Total disbursed = $370,397.12

928 Non-Pell-grant eligible students were given grants evenly disbursed from the CARES Act funds.  Total disbursed = $278,400

A small pool of CARES Act funds remains to assist students with exceptional expenses caused by the disruption of our residential learning environment due to COVID.  Applications will be accepted to determine exceptional expenses for the time period. 

Ouachita instructed students to use these funds as intended by Congress to cover additional expenses caused by the COVID-19 disruption such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, childcare, and extra travel to/from campus.

Updated May 12, 2020

Academics

Yes, on-campus classes and residential life are planned to resume for fall 2020 with additional precautions in place to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and guests. A Health Monitoring and Action Team is helping develop these protocols.

Updated May 5, 2020

In response to the exceptional learning circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ouachita has adopted atemporary 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.php for the full policy and additional details. Additionally, the withdrawal deadline has been extended to April 30. Updated April 15, 2020

Ouachita’s IT Services staff are working with faculty to offer a variety of options to meet the needs of different courses. Each course instructor will communicate to their students how their specific instruction methods will change during this period of time. Updated March 30, 2020

The first step is to make sure you’ve read all the communication from your instructor. In many cases, that will answer your questions. If you’re still unsure about what to do or how to participate, contact your instructor and ask for clarification. If you know what is required but aren’t sure how to access or use it, contact IT Services at support@obu.edu or call 870.245.5567. Be sure to include a phone number in your email/voicemail in case IT needs to call you back. Updated March 31, 2020

  • Tigermail. Be sure to check your obu.edu account daily. This is where you will find all official university communications.
  • Zoom. As a campus, we will be using Zoom technology for videoconferencing. This software allows our instructors to conduct classes remotely during the scheduled time for the class. In order to be ready for a live class on Zoom, you will need to download the Zoom software. You can find instructions on how to do this at the following link: https://obu.edu/its/learning-continuity-tools-students/#Zoom.
  • Moodle. You are probably already familiar with Moodle, our Learning Management System. Additional course content and assignment submission will occur within your classes in Moodle. If you need help accessing Moodle, please contact support@obu.edu.
  • Library Resources. You can access the library’s electronic resources at obu.edu/library.  If you need assistance from a librarian, you’ll find several ways to get help on the following web page: https://libanswers.obu.edu/ask.
More detailed information for the tools listed above can be found on the following web page: https://obu.edu/its/learning-continuity-tools-students/. Updated March 31, 2020

If you are concerned about internet access, see https://obu.edu/its/learning-continuity-tools-students/ for possible solutions, or contact IT Services at support@obu.edu or 870.245.5567. Tip: Be careful about using cellular phone service to access course materials, since this could use up your data limit and incur additional charges. Updated March 31, 2020

Contact IT Services at 870-245-5567 or email support@obu.edu to determine the best way to access the resources that are needed. Updated March 16, 2020

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. The library's physical location is now closed to in-person patrons. For additional needs, contact the librarian on duty at 870-245-5119 for special arrangements. Additionally, the Ouachita Campus Store has partnered with VitalSource Bookshelf to make many e-textbooks available for free. Learn more here. Updated March 30, 2020

No, we will make sure you are not penalized for overdue library books as a result of the COVID-19 measures. Renew any checked-out materials by contacting Kristi Smith at smithk@obu.edu or 870-245-5119. If you receive an overdue notice, contact Ms. Smith using the information on the notice. Updated March 16, 2020

The Ouachita Campus Store has partnered with VitalSource Bookshelf to make many e-textbooks available for free. Learn more here. Updated March 30, 2020

Ouachita’s bookstore partner, BBA Corp., wants to make it as convenient as possible for you to return rental textbooks and to complete buybacks on purchased textbooks. Below are several options. Additionally, we’re extending the rental due date from Friday, May 8, to Friday, May 22.
 
Drop Box (24 hours)
On Monday, May 4th, there will be a rental return drop box right outside of the bookstore and Evans Student Center by the spiral staircase. Before placing in drop box please make sure that any loose-leaf books are in a binder or rubber banded together. Additionally, please make sure that your name is legible on the rental sticker on the back of the book.
 
Drive Thru
We will be open 9:00 am - 4:00 pm, May 4th through 15th, during Finals week. Please call us at 870-245-5299 to meet you outside. Your textbooks will be placed into a bag with your name to assure a no-contact transaction.
 
Mailing In
You are able to print a label from our website here to return your rental textbooks by mail. Please note that only one label may be requested per customer, so we suggest that you return all textbooks at the same time. This is a prepaid USPS label, so you can box up your books and either drop off at your local post office or leave in your mailbox for your postman to pick up.
 
Buy Out
If you are unable to return a rental textbook or would like to keep it, you will need to buy out the textbook by paying the difference in rental price and purchase price. You may call us at 870-245-5299 to provide card information or email us at bookstore@obu.edu to use the card you have on file.
 
Online Buyback
Please fill out our Online Buyback quote form here if you have purchased books that you would like to sell back. We will respond with a buyback quote within 24 hours. If you would like to sell them back for the quoted amounts, you may print a prepaid USPS label here to mail them to us. Please note that only one label may be requested per customer, so we suggest that you return all rental and buyback textbooks at the same time.  Upon receipt and verification of the textbooks, we will send you an online payment using Zelle or PayPal. If you do not have a Zelle/PayPal account, they will send you a notice about your payment and ask you to register. You will receive your money within three business days after registering with Zelle/PayPal or within minutes if you already have an account.
 

Questions? Email bookstore@obu.edu or call 870-245-5299

Updated May 5, 2020 

Travel & Study Abroad

Summer study abroad programs are canceled. Fall study abroad programs are pending a final decision, which will be made together with the host institutions. We will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation and communicate directly with students approved for programs planned in those semesters.

Updated May 12, 2020

Ouachita-sponsored trips through the end of 2020 are canceled until further notice, with exceptions approved by a vice president or dean.

Individuals planning personal travel are encouraged to exercise caution and follow CDC and Arkansas Department of Health recommendations for travel.

Updated May 12, 2020

Staff members of the Grant Center for International Education are available to answer questions or concerns for your specific situation. Contact them at 870-245-5197. Updated March 16, 2020

 

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