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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: Thursday, March 26, 2020.

General Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
  • How can individuals prevent the spread of germs and infection?

    Here are some ways to help prevent the spread of germs and infection:

    • Stay home when you are sick. Stay home for at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever, or symptoms of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and then dispose of the tissue and clean your hands immediately. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow (not your hands).
    • Limit close contact with people who are sick.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • What can I do about cleaning areas and surfaces around me?

    It is important to routinely clean frequently touched surfaces with standard, typically used cleaning materials. This includes your cell phone, computers, laptops, desks, chairs, door handles, light switches, work surfaces, and car surfaces. 

  • Where can I get the most up-to-date information about the status of COVID-19?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides regular updates on the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. and internationally. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) provides updates on the situation in Los Angeles County. Based on these recommendations, the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) will also provide updates for the Otis College community on the website on the Community Health Announcements page. 

  • What is the College’s healthcare advice?

    We follow all of our guidance from both the CDC and the LACDPH. These two resources will be our guide regarding any recommendations for testing, self-isolation, and other important decisions.

  • If I am a student experiencing respiratory illness or COVID-19 symptoms what should I do?

    If you have recently traveled to a country or city with community COVID-19 outbreaks, or have been in close contact with a person with a known case of COVID-19, you should self-isolate and contact the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) immediately at 310-846-5738 during regular business hours (Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.). Please call for further instructions before coming into the center. If you have no known risks for COVID-19, but are not feeling well, please make an appointment for care at the SHWC by calling to schedule your appointment. Notify the front desk of your symptoms upon arrival.

    If you have no known risks for COVID-19 and have a mild illness you should practice standard health precautions, including limiting participation in large group settings, frequent hand washing, and practicing appropriate cough and/or sneeze hygiene (cover your cough/sneeze with a disposable tissue or your elbow).

  • What should I do if I have a friend/roommate with flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath)?

    The first thing to do is to recommend that person to reach out to the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) for evaluation of their symptoms at 310-846-5738. The second thing is to care for your own health while being supportive. This is not the time to discriminate against and/or isolate those who may be sick (and who may be anxious about it).

  • This is a stressful time, what can I do if I am worried about myself, my family, and friends?

    Any student who needs emotional support at this difficult time should contact Student Counseling Services, which is offering virtual support services. An appointment can be made by calling 310-846-5738. Staff and faculty can get assistance in finding counseling support through the Employee Assistance Program, or by contacting Human Resources. The Community Health Announcements page that the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) has created also lists a variety of helpful resources for the Otis community.

  • What are the College’s guidelines for wearing face masks?

    Mayor Eric Garcetti also announced on Thursday, April 9 an order requiring all city residents to wear a face covering when visiting a majority of essential businesses. Accordingly, employees who must be on the Otis campus must now wear face coverings. Face coverings include a mask, bandanna, or other covering of the nose and mouth. If you are required to be on campus and do not have a face covering, the College will issue you a single-use mask; please stop by Campus Safety and Security office when you arrive on campus.

  • I want to get tested for COVID-19, can I come to the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC)?

    As of March 9, 2020, commercial laboratories have the capability to test for COVID-19; this means that testing is more readily available. However, there are strict guidelines put forth by the CDC on who should be tested. The SHWC will follow these guidelines and the recommendations by the LACDPH on who should be tested.

  • What should I do if I have an underlying health condition, am immunosuppressed, or pregnant?

    Those with an underlying health concern, who are immunocompromised, or pregnant, should speak with a medical provider regarding their risk and any further precautions they should be taking.

  • Is there a vaccine or treatment?

    There is currently no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, though tests currently are underway by the healthcare industry, including the first FDA-approved vaccine trial.

  • Does my flu shot protect against COVID-19?

    As it is strongly recommended to get the yearly flu shot, the flu shot will not protect you against COVID-19.

Questions About Residence Life

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Were all on-campus events cancelled?

    All public events for students and the general community have been cancelled. Due to recent CDC guidelines to reduce crowds of 10 or more people—the original restrictions on crowds of 50 or more people were ordered for eight weeks—the Annual Exhibition, Fashion Show and Benefit Dinner, and Commencement are cancelled. These events were not postponed because no timetable exists for this public health crisis. The College is looking with academic leaders and faculty into creative yet impactful ways to celebrate our students and their accomplishments after the culmination of the 2019-2020 academic year. We are also working toward ways to hold a commencement ceremony for our graduating students in the future. As we make decisions for these alternate events, the community will continue to receive updates through Otis email and the COVID-19 Response Hub

  • What if I am unable to return home?

    We do understand that there are students who may not be able to return home. These situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Please email Morgan Brown, Director of Residence Life and Housing at if you have any questions or concerns.

  • For students who got extensions to move out of housing, what are the steps to check out completely?

    To check out, students must complete one of the two options they can select from: to have a move-out appointment or do an express checkout. Below are details on how to manage each process. 

     Move-Out Appointments 

    1. Schedule your move-out appointment. All appointments must be scheduled at least 4 hours in advance of your desired move-out time. 
    2. Pack all personal items in your room/suite. Be sure to check all drawers, wardrobes, etc. to move all of your belongings out of the space. 
    3. Check your mailbox a final time before you leave. 
      • Don’t forget to update your mailing address with anyone you receive mail from. This may include Amazon, your bank, subscription boxes, etc. 
    4. Call the on-duty RA at 424-527-4655 if you are making any last-minute adjustments to your assigned move-out time (i.e., you finished packing early).  
    5. Once you call Residence Life, a staff member will check your room for any damages, ensure all items are removed from the space, collect keys, and answer any questions.  


    Express Check-Out 

    1. Pack all personal items in your room/suite. Be sure to check all drawers, wardrobes, etc. to remove all of your belongings out of the space. 
    2. Check your mailbox a final time before you leave. 
    3. Don’t forget to update your address with anyone you receive mail from. This may include Amazon, your bank, subscription boxes, etc. 
    4.  Complete the Express Check-Out Form
      • On the form be as detailed as possible as you list the condition of your room, as well as any damages incurred during your stay. Residence Life staff will do a walk-through of your unit after you leave. By completing the express checkout, you are agreeing that any damages found in your room will be added to your student account/taken from your damage deposit. 
  • Will Residence Life and Housing provide any equipment to assist in my move out?

    In order to ensure the health and safety of everyone on campus, Residence Life and Housing is not providing equipment to assist students in moving out, including carts, boxes, dollies, etc. It is in the best interest of everyone on campus to refrain from any possibility of sharing items from person-to-person.  

  • Will Residence Life isolate or quarantine students?

    The Office of Student Affairs is prepared to support students remaining in campus housing, and is actively monitoring the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Residence Life and Housing will assist residential students who are deemed by the L.A. County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) and the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) as being in need of isolation and/or quarantine. Any residential student who is directed to isolate or quarantine will be provided with a room, food, toiletries, trash, and laundry service. The SHWC will continue to monitor students in isolation and/or quarantine frequently. At the time a student is directed to be in isolation and/or quarantined, Residence Life and Housing staff will provide the student with additional details and information. All questions regarding isolation and/or quarantine processes within housing should be directed to or 310-846-2647.

  • What should nonresidential students do if they need to be quarantined or isolated?

    Nonresidential students will be given directions by Otis College’s Student Health and Wellness Center and the L.A. County Department of Public Health regarding isolation and/or quarantine procedures.

  • If I have permission to stay in housing, will College services on campus still be available?

    Since the Otis campus is closed, all labs, shops, and workspaces also are closed. For students who completed an exception form and were granted permission to stay in housing after March 20, limited dining options will be offered. College services, such as Career Services, Academic Advising, and One Stop will continue to remain open through virtual appointments, emails, and phone calls. The Student Health and Wellness Center is open for students’ health care needs, but students seeking either a medical or counseling appointment are asked to please call the center first at 310-846-5738 before coming in. More information about these services can be found at the Student Support Services page of this microsite.  

  • What are the current On-Campus Dining hours?

    Elaine’s is still open and serving take-out and grab and go food options, but only for students who are allowed to remain in campus housing. However, the Rose Hills Foundation Cafe is closed. The meal plan is available for use, and students can also use dining dollars, Owl Dollars, cash, or their debit or credit cards. Please go to this link with specific hours of operation and instructions on take-out food orders.


  • What is Elaine’s doing to uphold the health and safety of food handling?

    Our dining hall has closed all self-service food stations. All dining services employees have been trained on food handling and safety procedures and are maintaining increased vigilance to ensure safe food delivery to customers. Elaine’s Dining Commons will continue to have pre-packaged food for purchase, but only for take-out at this time. Students will not be allowed to eat in the dining hall in observance of health and safety concerns. 

  • Will I get a refund for my housing and meal plan?

    Due to the campus closure, the College wishes to provide financial relief to students who vacated Otis housing by March 20 by prorating applicable housing and meal charges. The prorated housing amount will be based on each student’s residence location (Residence Hall vs. Park West) and room type (shared, triple, private, etc.). Students who bought a meal plan will receive a prorated refund of the balance on their account for the remainder of the semester, post-spring break, based on their purchased meal plan. Unfortunately, dining dollars do not carry over since these were given as a “bonus” to the purchase of a meal plan. Owl Dollars, however, will remain on the student’s One Card and can be used in future transactions at the College once the campus re-opens. Graduating seniors should view the One Card website for Owl Dollar refund criteria.

  • How will I receive my refund? 

    Prorated refunds for students leaving by the March 20 deadline and whose move-out has been confirmed by Residence Life and Housing will be reflected in our accounting system by Tuesday, March 24, 2020. For students who have had a deadline extension to the March 20 housing move-out deadline, their prorated refund will be calculated based on their revised move-out date, and move completion. Students who received an exemption from moving out of campus housing for the spring semester will not receive any refunds.

    It is important to note that if a student has an outstanding account balance with the College, the housing/dining prorated refunds will be applied towards that balance. If students have no outstanding balance, the combined prorated refund will be disbursed through the refund preference noted on the student’s account.
    After refunds are processed by the Student Accounts Office and applied to the student account, it takes approximately 2-3 business days for BankMobile to transfer funds to the student’s bank if the student has selected the electronic refund preference. For students who have not selected a refund preference BankMobile will generate a paper check that will be sent to the student’s mailing address. This process may take approximately 14 business days.

  • What if I made arrangements to leave my belongings until May 6? 

    Students who have made arrangements with Residence Life and Housing regarding their belongings remaining on campus will be contacted by Residence Life and Housing to discuss this further; please continue to check your Otis College email for updates.

  • If I live in Park West, what happens to my damage deposit? 

    Park West residents who have paid a damage deposit should allow 30 days for Residence Life staff to review each resident’s check-out form and inspect each apartment. Once complete, damage deposits will be returned to the student’s preferred refund selection through BankMobile. If there are damage charges, those charges will be deducted from your damage deposit.

  • I am unable to return to pack up my belongings to vacate housing. What should I do?

    Due to not knowing when Otis’s campus, public spaces, and housing can reopen, we are encouraging all students to do their best to return to campus after spring break to pack their belongings. If you have a family member or friend who can pack your items, Residence Life and Housing will work with you to grant access for them. Please contact us directly at to make these arrangements. If you need to leave your belongings at Otis since you cannot return to campus, please complete this form updating us with this information. 

  • Is there storage available if I cannot take everything home?

    If you plan to return to campus housing in the Fall, Campus Storage is available. Campus Storage is a company that picks up and stores your belongings. When Fall move-in day approaches, they will deliver your items directly to your room. To get started, you will need to register online. Use the promo code Flyer50 to get 50% off your first month of storage. All of your items must be packed and ready to go, but you are not required to be present for their pick-up. 

Questions About Teaching and Learning

Frequently Asked Questions For Faculty
  • What are my first steps to get ready for online teaching?

    First do an audit of what you need and what you already have or can access that will help you teach your course.

    • What supplies do you have available to you?  
    • Do you have wifi, a laptop, a phone? 
    • If you don’t have a laptop or desktop or access to one, please contact your department chair so that they can submit an IT request for you. 
    • Attend one of the TLC workshops on remote teaching. The schedule is available on the Faculty/Instructor Dashboard ( under Approaching Deadlines. 
    • Look for emails from your Chair or Assistant Chair that will provide specific direction for your program. 
    • Start to develop a plan for finishing the semester by teaching remotely. Reach out to your Chair, Assistant Chair, and other faculty to share ideas. 
    • Attend one of the webinars about getting ready to take classes online. The dates, times, and Zoom links are listed on the Faculty/Instructor Dashboard ( under Approaching Deadlines.
  • What should I do to prepare to resume my courses online March 30?
    • Communicate with your Department Chairs and Assistant Chairs if you haven’t already done so (most of you have).  Let them know how it’s going as you move your courses online.  Do you need help?  Let your Chair/Assistant Chair know, and let Jean-Marie Venturini know by emailing her at at Jean-Marie has lots of ideas to share. 
    • Connect with your students if you haven’t already. Check in about how they are doing.  Say hello.   Let them know how you will communicate as a class once the course resumes.   
  • Are the TLC Workshops, “Going Online with Instruction,” recorded?

    The TLC Workshop, “Going Online with Instruction,” is available to watch online for those unable to attend any of the workshop sessions. 

    Part 1: Instructional Continuity provides an overview of what to consider making while this transition and offers examples of how to organize your class online.

    Part 2: Going Online Tools focuses on how to use the recommended tools to communicate with your students and share content. The tools include email, O-Space, the Nest (first year classes only), Google Drive and Zoom.

    You can access these workshops and more at this link:

  • What is being organized in support of faculty teaching online?
  • What are best practices for keeping your students up to date as your instructional plans change?
    • Don’t assume students are on email all the time—or at all. Explicitly establish a shared expectation about when and where students should check for announcements or other communications. 
    • You will be using Otis email, the Nest, or O-Space as your main communication platforms.  
    • Do an initial check-in with students to make sure they are receiving your communications. 
    • If you are at all comfortable, use O-space or the Nest announcements to communicate with the whole class for the most effective results. The announcements will be collected all in one place, as well as emailed out through these vehicles. If you are not comfortable with the Nest or O-space, then of course, use email to communicate with your class. 
  • What is the Attendance Policy during this period of remote instruction?

    Effective March 30, 2020

    The Interim Attendance Policy remains in effect, and students are required to attend the course according to how each instructor defines attendance in their on-line course syllabus. There are no "excused" online class meetings or coursework activities in any College course when courses are online.  In the virtual environment, attendance is based on some form of weekly contact between you and your faculty and/or the completion of your assigned coursework each week by the assigned date. Faculty will clearly communicate what counts as participation and attendance.

    *Instructors will communicate what type of online contact (e.g., synchronous or asynchronous, ZOOM participation, the completion of coursework each week by a specified due date, or another form) will count as attendance in their course.*

    Contact your instructor immediately, and ideally in advance, if you are not able to attend a synchronous class or meet the week’s assignment.

    If you become ill or for any other emergency reason are unable to complete your assignments by the deadline, please contact your instructor immediately. No doctor’s note or evidence of emergency is needed, but you must contact your instructor, preferably in advance.

  • Can I retrieve items I need from campus?

    If you need access to your materials/belongings after the March 20 campus closure date, please email Interim Provost Kim Russo at


  • Can students retrieve items they need from campus?

    If students need access after March 20th, please ask them to email Interim Provost Kim Russo at

  • Can students leave items behind in their studios?

    Yes, although we can’t guarantee their safety. Students should remove items of value or importance whenever possible. 

  • How can I support students in any of their needs for remote learning?

    Students who are having financial hardship are encouraged to call or email the One Stop and fill out a hardship form. 

    Students who do not have a laptop or desktop at home can contact the Helpdesk at or call 310-665-6803 for help with their tech needs for remote coursework. 

    Students who are having difficulty accessing online tools (student email, O-space or the Nest, Zoom or Google Drive) should fill out this form:

    Students who need wifi should consider these options: 

    • Charter Communications and Comcast announced that they will offer 60 days of complimentary  broadband internet to homes with K-12  or college students in Los Angeles. (Installation is required, so students should try to get this set up quickly.) 
    • To enroll for Charter’s service, students can call 844-488-8395; for Comcast’s, the number is 855-846-8376 for English speakers or 855-765-6995 for Spanish speakers. Students can also visit
    •  Xfinity wifi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free—including non-Xfinity internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity wifi hotspots, students can visit Once at a hotspot, users should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser window. 


    Students who are having difficulty with online tools: 

  • Has the course withdrawal deadline changed?

    The deadline for students to withdraw from a course has been changed to Friday, April 10. Please keep that date in mind as you move through the end of the semester. Notify your Chair, and the student through an Academic Alert, if you recommend a student’s withdrawal due to the high likelihood of failure.

  • How do I use Zoom?

    For complete instructions on how to use Zoom, see the Teaching Learning Center page on video conferencing:

  • I heard free software is available for download from Adobe Creative Suite and other vendors. How do I gain access?

    Several software providers are generously offering free software licenses available for use from your personal computer in order to help you complete your class requirements for the remainder of the Spring semester.  Some like Adobe Creative Cloud require activation through Otis by emailing, others are available as free trial downloads directly from the vendor.  Please follow these instructions.

  • Is there a Pass/No Pass grading option for undergraduate students?

    Otis College of Art and Design has adopted a temporary Pass/No Pass grading option for courses impacted by the transition to on-line instruction, effective immediately for the spring 2020 semester.  Students may elect to change their method of final grading to Pass/No Pass (P/NP) through the last day of the term, which is May 5. They may choose to take none, some or all of their courses as P/NP this term only.

    For a faculty guide about the Pass/No Pass policy for undergraduate students, click here.

  • Is there a Pass/No Pass grading option for graduate students?

    Otis College of Art and Design has adopted a temporary No Pass grading option for graduate courses impacted by the transition to on-line instruction, effective immediately for the spring 2020 semester.  Students may elect to change their method of final grading to No Pass (NP) instead of Fail (F) through the last day of the term, which is May 5. Students may choose to take none, some or all of your courses as NP instead of F this term only.

    For a faculty guide about the No Pass policy for graduate students, click here.