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Otis Forward

Updated April 7, 2021

Here’s information on what to expect at Otis College for the Fall 2021 semester, based on the latest information and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidelines. To keep updated on operations-related news and announcements, be sure to visit this Otis Forward site. 

Academic Life

  • Classes will return to on-campus instruction for the 2021 – 2022 academic year, with some modifications:
  • Most studio courses will meet either fully on-campus or blended (a mix of on-campus and online class meetings)
  • Class meetings that take place on-campus will be held in physically distanced classrooms of between 8 - 12 students.
  • Fully online classes in Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) will continue for 2021 – 2022.

We anticipate that travel restrictions may be lifted prior to the start of the Fall semester and visa issuance timelines could improve, allowing our international students to participate in the Fall semester on campus. For students unable to enter the U.S. because of visa issues or the continuation of travel restrictions, Otis anticipates being permitted to offer remote learning. See the international students section below for more information. 

Any student who needs accommodations to study online related to a documented disability should contact Dr. Carol Branch at cbranch@otis.edu. 

Residential Life

  • The on-campus Residence Hall and affiliated apartments at Park West will reopen in Fall 2021 at double occupancy (2 students to a bedroom and 4 students to a shared apartment/suite).  
  • Appropriate cleaning in the common spaces of the buildings (hallways, elevators, lounges, etc.) and physical distancing measures are planned to ensure the health and safety of residential students. Students will receive a cleaning kit in order to clean their own suite/apartment. 
  • Rooms have been reserved for quarantine/isolation spaces, as necessary.
  • Additional information regarding housing can be found here

Prevention, Vaccinations, and Testing

As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more available to individuals over the age of 16, students will be required to get the vaccine prior to starting classes in the Fall. More information will be shared as vaccines are available in Los Angeles. Students can be exempt from getting the vaccine based on medical, religious, or philosophical reasons. For information on an exemption form, please contact Student Health and Wellness at studenthealth@otis.edu. 

The Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) will be providing the vaccine to students on an appointment basis. More details regarding when and how to schedule an appointment will be provided at a future date based on the vaccine distribution timeline from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. 

Facilities Maintenance and Campus Safety Measures

Facilities maintains clean and safe spaces at Otis by following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Public Health Departments of California and Los Angeles County. These efforts include:

  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting throughout all campus buildings, including the use of nano-septic self-cleaning elevator buttons and door handles; 
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning measures that include the replacement of high-efficiency air filters to support acceptable air quality and help reduce transmittal of airborne viruses and bacteria;
  • Campus-wide posting of signage to foster social distancing, directional markings for traffic flow, and reminders to wear masks and follow proper hand-hygiene protocols;
  • Protective shields in close-contact areas such as security stations, libraries, administrative office entrances, labs and shops, and equipment check-out stations;
  • Sufficient cleaning and sanitizer supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the campus population.

Campus Safety will manage and monitor social distancing protocols around campus by confirming that individuals accessing campus are adhering to the 6-feet apart signs where clearly marked, wearing masks around campus premises, not congregating in large numbers, and generally being good citizens while showing concern for the community.  It will also be providing one-time use masks in cases where individuals accessing campus do not have one.  

International Students: Visas and Travel to the United States

We anticipate that travel restrictions may be lifted prior to the start of the Fall semester and visa issuance timelines could improve, allowing our international students to participate in the Fall semester on campus. For students unable to enter the U.S. because of visa issues or the continuation of travel restrictions, Otis anticipates being permitted to offer remote learning.

  • Current students with active visas should plan to be back on campus this Fall.
  • Current students without an active visa need to submit documents to the One Stop so that an I-20 can be issued now to apply starting in early May. 
  • New I-20s will be shipped and emailed, so that students have their documents shortly after issuing.
  • New students should complete the I-20 request form and submit all required documents as soon as possible after paying the deposit by the May 1st deadline. 
  • Otis is monitoring embassy re-openings and travel restrictions and remains hopeful for the Fall semester.
  • Please contact the Primary DSO, Alia Saeed, at asaeed@otis.edu with any questions. 

Student Health and Counseling Services 

  • The Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) will remain open and continue to offer services to meet students’ mental and physical health needs in person and remotely.
  • The SHWC will offer free COVID testing to any student who presents with COVID-like symptoms or has been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID. 
  • The SHWC will also be providing free COVID vaccines to all students, faculty, and staff, when available. 
  • Additional information about the Student Health and Wellness Center’s services can be found here.

Please refer to the FAQ section of this site to see more detailed information. 


Otis College continuing students and families are invited to join College administration for a conversation and Q&A about the campus reopening in Fall 2021.  Topics such as student health and safety, COVID-19 campus protocols, on-campus housing, dining services, student activities, course delivery, vaccinations and COVID-19 testing, and much more will be covered during the information sessions.
 
All attendees must sign-up ahead time using the links below.  We look forward to seeing you in April.

Wednesday, April 7th – 6:00 p.m. -7:30 p.m. PT  - Register Here

Friday, April 9th – 11:00 a.m. -12:30 p.m. PT – Register Here
 

Fall 2021 Reopening Information Session Presentation Slides and audio recording