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COVID-19 Response Hub

Last Updated: Thursday, May 28, 2020

Read the May 19 letter to the community regarding plans and considerations for the Fall. 

Otis College is prioritizing health and safely as we plan for this fall. As you prepare for your studies with us, we’d like to let you know what we are doing to make sure you have a great fall semester. After a swift, successful, and necessary transition from in-person to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic this Spring, the faculty and staff at Otis College are looking forward to offering flexible options for new and returning students. 

Current Summary of Fall Plans

  • Otis College is planning for an open campus this fall starting on time, with social distancing, face coverings, and strict cleaning protocols firmly in place to support the health and safety of our community, subject to public health guidance.
  • Otis College plans to offer a combination of online, blended, and on-campus classes in order to reduce the density of people on campus. All Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) courses will be held online. 
  • Studio courses will be provided on-campus, blended (a combination of on-campus and on-line delivery) or fully online depending on the course.  
  • Classes held on campus will meet with social distancing guidelines in place and masks will be required on campus. 
  • Labs, shops, and studio/making spaces will also be open to students on a sign-up basis, with extended available hours.
  • Studio workspace, shops, and labs are being reconfigured to allow for additional space between students, and will have standards of use that comply with CDC, city, and state guidelines. 
  • There will be options for students who want and/or need to study remotely. The College will strive to be flexible with students to form a plan for the Fall that will work best for them. 
  • For the safety of our residential community, all on campus housing will be single occupancy in the Residence Hall and Park West. 

Current Planning Efforts for Fall

  • The College is following the guidance put forth by the American College Health Association (ACHA) and recent CDC guidelines related to the reopening of colleges and universities. Health and safety continue to guide our efforts. 
  • Three groups at Otis College are actively working on reopening plans: The COVID-19 Task Force, a special Academic Planning Group, and The Campus Life COVID-19 Task Force. A full plan for the Fall will be published in early June. 
  • The College is partnering with Frederick Fisher and Partners and Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects to undertake a study of our labs, shops, studios, classrooms, technology, food services, Admissions, Student Life Center, and green spaces to help us increase space capacity for social distancing and the safe return of our faculty, staff, and students. 
  • Faculty have been meeting together on Zoom to share the best of what worked well for students during the final six weeks of spring semester and are excited to share new teaching and learning innovations with students this fall.

Otis College continues to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and is working closely with local authorities and our healthcare partners to ensure our community is as informed and prepared as possible. We are following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for higher education institutions to take the necessary steps when a case has been identified to ensure the health and safety of our entire Otis College community.

Further notifications regarding any changes in the College’s operating status will be disseminated via email, with the LiveSafe app as a notification back-up. If you have not downloaded the LiveSafe app, we strongly suggest that you do so now. 

COVID-19 Timeline:

  • May 8: Virtual Annual Exhibition 2020 website and Commencement website launch. 
  • May 4: "Looking Forward" Letter to the Community on plans to reopen for the Fall. 
  • March 30: Spring semester to resume online.
  • March 20: Student Emergency Fund announced. 
  • March 20: Majority of Otis residence students move out of campus housing. 
  • March 19: Mayor Eric Garcetti announces “Safer at Home” emergency order for Los Angeles, tentatively through April 19, and Governor Newsom announces a Stay at Home order for the state of California indefinitely. 
  • March 16: Otis College campus closes. 
  • March 12: Announcement that the remainder of the spring 2020 semester will be conducted online. 
  • March 10: COVID-19 Response Hub is launched on Otis’s website to chronicle updates from the special COVID-19 Task Force and the Senior Leadership Team. 
  • March 5: Special Task Force is convened and the Community Health Announcements page on the Otis website is launched. 
  • March 4: Governor Gavin Newsom declares a state of emergency as a result of the threat of COVID-19 in the state of California.
  • February 6: Extra precautionary measures—additional hand sanitation stations, increased cleaning schedule by janitorial staff, etc.—are taken around Otis College campus. 
  • January 24: First Community Health Notice is emailed to Otis community. 

In shifting to reduce the in-person presence on campus to every extent possible, we will maintain key functions remotely and help the remainder of the students living under our auspices in every way possible. 

This microsite is meant to help answer your questions about Otis College’s response to COVID-19. Please bookmark this page as new information will be posted as available. If there’s a topic that you would like to see covered, please email communications@otis.edu

If you are looking for updates about COVID-19, the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) has established a Community Health Announcements page that contains information and updates regarding the virus that might affect the Otis Community. 

COVID-19 is not bound by race or nationality. Avoid inappropriate blame or hostility toward any specific nation or its people. Please read the CDC anti-stigma guidelines for facts about this illness. If you feel that you are being treated unfairly, discriminated against, or harassed due to concerns around this issue, please complete the online Bias Incident Reporting Form that will be directed to our Bias Incident Response Team.