COVID-19: Protecting Oxford
Table of Contents
January 15, 2021:
Vaccine Rollout: Oxford, Ohio
Our local Kroger store and McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital have been designated as our local vaccine providers. Please be aware that these vaccines are in limited supply, and will start for those age 80+ first. Additional information is available through the Ohio Department of Health.
Miami University Updates for 2nd Semester
- Will be required to have a COVID test when moving back to Oxford.
- Testing will start on January 11th at Harris Hall, and if they’ve already moved in, they will still need to schedule and report for a test.
- Students will have to produce a card (if asked by MU professors) stating that they’ve had a test.
- For students who have had COVID within the past 90 days, they must enter their positive test result into Med Proctor (an online tool they already use for vaccination reporting) to get their “card”.
- If a student had COVID over 90 days ago, they are required to get re-tested.
- Students will be informed of this requirement today.
- Before moving in, they will be tested at Millett Hall and receive a “card” that they have been tested.
- This will be the same process as last semester.
- Same as above if the student has already had COVID.
Ongoing surveillance/ wide net testing:
- Will continue for the spring semester
- If a student is exposed or tests positive for COVID, they will be required to quarantine for 10 days. (They are not using the 7 days with a test model from the CDC).
Numbers of students returning:
- It’s expected to be very similar to the first semester.
Number of face to face classes:
- They do expect a slight uptick in some face to face class offerings.
- For the spring semester, the requirement for staff to work remotely or report to campus will be determined by the supervisors. By summer 2021, they are expected to be back in offices.
- The Inter-University Council (IUC) of public colleges has medical staff and general counsels making a unified plan for vaccine rollout. The goal is for the rollout is to be similar at every public 4-year school.
- Timeline: By early February they are supposed to propose a plan for vaccine roll out for students, faculty, and staff. This will be reviewed by the University Presidents and each school’s COVID response team before formal adoption.
- The goal adoption of the plan is mid to late February.
December 22, 2020: Wastewater Samples in Oxford Indicate an Increase in COVID-19 Spread
Contact: Butler County General Health District, 513-863-1770
BUTLER COUNTY, OHIO – Three samples taken on multiple days from the Oxford Wastewater Treatment Plant show evidence of increased COVID-19 community spread.
Environmental Health Director for Butler County General Health District (BCGHD) Carrie Yeager says, “The Ohio Department of Health continues to monitor wastewater within communities across the state.”
The Ohio Waste Water Monitory Network has been testing wastewater samples across Ohio to look for gene copies/fragments of COVID 19. “When a community experiences a sustained increase of fragments from the virus, we receive an alert that notifies us,” says Yeager.
The presence of COVID 19 in wastewater is an early indicator of COVID 19 spread in a community. COVID 19 can be found in the feces of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected people. “Wastewater data can be one of the first indicators that notify a community that the risk of getting the disease is high,” concludes Yeager.
“Despite the excitement of vaccine approval, December has been a hard COVID month for Butler County. We shattered daily new case counts on several occasions. Hospitals have sent pleads to ‘stay home’ as they manage ICU occupancy and staffing shortages throughout the region, says Jennifer Bailer Health Commissioner for BCGHD.
“The increase of COVID-19 fragments in the wastewater tells us that spread of the virus is higher than we have previously seen. When notified of such an increase, the public should consistently following public health advice on facial coverings, physical distance and hand washing. During this Holiday season when many have plans to gather and spread of the virus is high, our community should be especially vigilant,” states Bailer.
For more on the Ohio Waste Water Monitory Network visit: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/dashboards/wastewater
Report a Concern
Submit a concern about COVID-19 and current public health regulations. We will take appropriate action on any form submitted with sufficient detail.
For an immediate concern, call 513-524-5237.
For the Oxford Police non-emergency line, call 513-523-4321
Butler County General Health District
- Review the latest Butler County Epidemiology Report.
- Zipcode specific numbers of cases are generally listed on pg 4 of this report.
For the safety of our community, the Oxford City Council passed a face-covering ordinance on July 14, 2020. This new law is effective immediately and will be in place for the duration of the pandemic and/or while the State of Ohio Executive Order 2020-01D is in effect. All business employees and individuals in Oxford must wear facial coverings in public at all times when:
- At an indoor location that is not a residence.
- Outdoors, but unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members.
- Waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, such as a taxi, a car service, or a private car used for ride-sharing.
The order requires only those 6 years old or older to wear a mask. Additional exclusions include:
- Those with a medical condition or a disability or those communicating with someone with a disability.
- Those who are actively exercising or playing sports.
- Those who are officiants at religious services.
- Those who are actively involved in public safety.
- Those who are actively eating or drinking.
Mass Gatherings (Including House Parties)
The Oxford City Council passed an emergency ordinance to limit mass gatherings to 10 individuals.
- “Mass gatherings” means any social gathering, event or convening that brings together greater than ten (10) non-household persons at the same time, to include both indoor and outdoor gatherings.
- “Non-household” means any individuals who do not reside within the same housing unit or dwelling.
Clarification: You may have up to 10 guests to your residence in addition to who lives there.
- A household of 2 may have 10 guests.
- A household of 15 may have 10 guests.
There are exemptions and these include:
- Operations of businesses and schools
- Athletic and sporting events
- Religious gatherings and/or gatherings for the purpose of the expression of First Amendment protected speech, weddings, and funerals.
The Oxford Police Department will enforce the restrictions related to mass gatherings.
We are coordinating with the Miami University Office of Community Standards for off-campus student conduct enforcement. The City sends a weekly report to the University listing students who violated COVID restrictions off-campus. A COVID restriction violation falls under endangering the health and safety of other students under the student code of conduct.
After our report is received, the University will respond to the students. Their office will review each case and either provide a warning and education with the student or apply stricter discipline if needed. This may include probation or suspension based on the severity or frequency of the violation.
Restaurants and Bars
City officials will monitor compliance with public health orders at our local bars and restaurants and report violations to the Butler County General Health District and the Ohio Investigative Unit for enforcement.
To prepare for the Miami Student’s return we hosted a meeting between our bar and restaurant owners, the Butler County Health Department, and our City leadership to review public health orders, share expectations, and review plans. This meeting was well attended and provided a good opportunity for questions and answers. Review the bar owner’s meeting notes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Q: What new efforts have been made to help protect our community?
A: The City of Oxford, Miami University, and local retailers have taken several new steps to protect everyone in Oxford.
- City of Oxford: Increased efforts in promoting COVID-safe behaviors in Uptown areas through our Health Ambassador Program. Volunteers helped patrol the City streets in high-traffic times to reward and recognize those wearing masks, as well as provide masks to those not currently wearing them.
- Local Businesses: Several local restaurants have expanded outdoor seating options, introduced curbside pick-up and encouraged online ordering in an effort to help reduce the number of guests in their stores. Our local Kroger has expanded its “Senior Hours” program to 8:00 — 10:00 a.m. Monday — Friday to help protect those in our community who fall into higher risk categories. The efforts of all our local businesses to protect our community and economy through mask policies and limiting guest numbers have helped reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Oxford.
- Miami University: Has begun a mandatory mask policy for all its campuses effective Friday October 2, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. Masks will be required at all times when on any of Miami’s campuses both inside facilities and outdoors as well. More information about this new policy can be found through the Healthy Together portal. In an effort to reduce student travel to and from Oxford Miami has also removed Spring Break from the Spring 2021 Semester calendar . Instead Miami will offer additional days off from academic classes spread throughout the Spring Semester.
Q: How are you planning a coordinated response to COVID in our community?
A: There are several coordination meetings held each week to help us plan for and respond to COVID in our community.
- Leadership Team: Meets weekly and includes the City, Miami, McCullough Hyde, the Chamber, the Township, Talawanda School District, and the Visitors Bureau. This team reviews Board of Health numbers, hospital capacity, strategies to support our local businesses, and reviews how to support our residents at the highest risk.
- Safe Return to Campus Committee: Meets weekly and includes City of Oxford, Miami University, and Butler County General Health District Staff. This committee reviews how Miami and Oxford need to work together to keep our community safe. The goal of this committee is to help bring students back as safely as we can.
- Oxford has been invited to provide feedback, suggestions, and express concerns during Miami’s planning. Please review Miami’s Healthy Community Page for how they will be handling precautions for on and off-campus students and their employees. We have worked hard to balance the risks and benefits for our community in each decision.
- Miami does have its own jurisdiction, funding, and responsibilities for its students and employees. However, they cannot ban off-campus students from returning to Oxford. These students have signed leases and are residents of the City of Oxford. As for sophomores being allowed to move off-campus, this was a decision made to allow for more distancing in housing on campus. To date, there are close to 8,000 students living off-campus, this is about 20% less than in a “normal” year.
Q: How are you coordinating enforcement of COVID restrictions?
A: The City of Oxford has passed both a face covering and mass gathering ordinance.
- The Oxford Police Division is enforcing both of these emergency ordinances. Tickets written to off-campus students are reported to the Miami Office of Community Standards for discipline. To understand more about the Miami discipline process, watch Dr. Brownell’s presentation to City Council on August 18th.
- Our officers are dispersing mass gatherings that violate the city ordinance. Citations are being issued for violations and fines range from $150 for facial coverings to $500 for mass gatherings. We have asked the Miami University Police Department to help us patrol on busy evenings and weekends and they have agreed to help do this. It’s important to remember that if there is a house that is home to more than 10 individuals or if there is a gathering of fewer than 10 individuals, they are not in violation of the ordinance.
- For face coverings, our approach has been to work with business owners for indoor enforcement. The ordinance allows for individuals to be outside without a mask if they can maintain 6’ distance from a non-household member.
- Both Miami and the City have online reporting tools for COVID violations. We use these reports to track risk areas and respond appropriately.
Q: What else are you doing to keep Oxford safe?
A: We are taking many additional actions to keep our community healthy
- The City of Oxford has received portable hand sanitizing stations from the Butler County EMA. These have been installed in all public facilities and in any business that requests one.
- We are providing starter kits of masks to businesses that request them.
- We have increased picnic tables and seating in public parks.
- We’ve allowed businesses to expand on to sidewalks and alleys to increase patio dining.
- Miami University is making changes to their dining facilities, classrooms, and residence halls. Check out their Healthy Community Page.
Q: What about testing?
A: Miami plans to test every student as they arrive and has a broad testing program for both on and off-campus students.
- Miami is conducting tests on students who are symptomatic and also doing wide net and surveillance testing. Wide net testing is anyone a student may potentially come in contact with (ie a frat house). Surveillance testing is a random sample of students. This aggressive testing outreach has led to an increase in reported positive cases. You can view the Miami positive cases on their dashboard.
- However, these positive cases are not resulting in hospital stays. Our local hospital continues to have the capacity to serve our region.
- Testing for Oxford year-round residents (non-Miami students) is under the jurisdiction of the Butler County General Health District. The City of Oxford is actively working with the Health District to research community COVID testing options for Oxford residents. Butler County Health District COVID cases (including a breakdown by zipcodes) can be tracked on their dashboard.
Q: What kind of Education Campaign have you created?
A: We are working together to make sure our messaging is complementary. Miami is taking the lead to educate their students and the City of Oxford is working to educate residents.
- We have created a Let’s Stay Healthy Together video and a mini video series that will be shown on social media.
- There is signage around town on business doors and a High Street banner that is branded Please Wear A Mask, Don’t Make Us Ask.
- Coming soon, electronic signage boards will be placed in high traffic areas stating Masks Required. (These signs have been ordered; we are patiently waiting for them.)
- This COVID page of the City Website is updated regularly.
- Miami University Student Life is educating students and has a strong messaging campaign on their Instagram page. Follow @Miamioh_studentlife. This content is created by student leaders.
Q: How is Oxford supporting those most in need?
A: $643,296 in CARES Act funding will be used to support our local nonprofits and support public health.
- The Oxford City Council will vote on the proposed distribution of CARES Act funding. It is being proposed that funds be given to the following organizations:
- Basic Needs:
- Talawanda Oxford Pantry & Social Services
- Oxford Family Resource Center
- Talawanda School District
- Public Health:
- Oxford Senior Center
- Oxford Butler Behavioral Health
- Educational Assistance:
- Talawanda School District
- Oxford Community Arts Center
- Economic Sustainability
- $200,000 in gift cards have been purchased from local businesses by the Oxford Community Improvement Corporation.
- Additional Economic Sustainability efforts are pending based and will be determined after City Council’s first round of CARES Act allocations.
- Basic Needs:
Q: How many Miami students are in Oxford this year?
A: There are approximately 8,000 students living off-campus in Oxford and we expect about 4,000 students to move in on campus.
- The on-campus density is down by 40%, the overall student population in Oxford is down 20%.