COVID-19 Response

Updates

July 22, 2021

This semester, we’ll continue to follow our COVID-19 Operations Plan, adapting it as necessary according to our on-campus transmission rate. Here’s what that means for you as you arrive on campus in August:

  • All students will be required to show proof of vaccination OR a negative test result within 48 hours before arriving on campus. (Guests will no longer be required to show these items.) While OCC does not require the vaccine, it is strongly encouraged as an effective tool to protect the community we love. The vaccine is readily available, and OCC recommends every member of our OCC family be vaccinated.
  • Masks will not be required for fully vaccinated students, employees, or guests. Those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine are encouraged to wear face coverings (in accordance with CDC guidance).
  • In-person classes, gatherings, and activities will continue with social distancing measures in place.

_____________
April 5, 2021

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and the number one tool we have to return to normal on campus. Phase 2 of Missouri's COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan is now open for all higher education employees (including OCC student employees). Phase 3 will open this Friday, April 9, for all Missouri residents. While OCC is not requiring the vaccine, we're encouraging all students and employees to be vaccinated. 

_____________
March 30, 2021

To: OCC Students
From: Academic Dean-Elect Chad Ragsdale
Subject: Fall 2021 Registration

Dear Students,

It’s been a long year. We’ve asked you to do a lot of difficult things this year. We’ve asked you to wear masks and maintain physical distance from each other. We’ve asked you to attend hybrid classes, endure quarantines, and have a cotton swab jammed up your nose. We’ve asked you to wash your hands, but honestly, you should have been doing that already. It wasn’t always popular, but we did all these things and more because it was the right and responsible thing to do. Our long year has been a painful year of loss for many people around the world and in our college family. As we near the end of our long year, it’s good to pause and to pray a word of thanksgiving and a word of comfort. 

Witnessing your hard work and perseverance this year has been inspiring. Under difficult circumstances, you continued to study, to serve, and to worship—often with a James 1 type of joy that only comes in the midst of trials. It could be that years in the future, you will look back on this season with a strange sense of pride in what you and your peers were able to overcome. I’ve never been as proud to be a part of the Ozark family as I am this year.

That said, I think we’re all looking forward to turning the page on this year. Personally, I’m excited to become Ozark’s sixth academic dean next school year. I’m humbled by the example of those who have preceded me, and I plan to continue their legacy in leading our Bible-centered academic programs as we continue in our mission to train men and women for Christian service.

I am also excited for a return to normalcy in the next school year. I’m excited about a return to hugs and handshakes, to serving and worshiping together as one family, to cultivating the type of deep, abiding community that has always been a hallmark of our campus. I’m excited about a return to all the things that make Ozark Ozark. This long year hasn’t changed God’s purposes or his calling on our lives. If anything, our task has never been more urgent and more relevant.

As we anticipate school next year, I want you to put April 5 on your calendar. That is the day fall registration opens for those students who have completed 60 credit hours. All other students will be able to register beginning April 7. We also want every student to meet in person with his or her academic adviser in April—even students who think they will not be returning in the fall. Look for an email from your adviser to set up a time to meet. In the meantime, you can read the fall course schedule here. 

God bless you in your studies this semester!

Chad Ragsdale
OCC Academic Dean-Elect

P.S. Watch "Handshakes Returning" here.

_____________
March 12, 2021
To: Ozark Family
From: Damien Spikereit
Subject: Changes After Spring Break

Dear Ozark Family,

One more week before Spring Break! Just a quick note to tell you two things:

First, thank you! This semester, you’ve continued to handle the inconveniences of masks and social distancing with flexibility and grace. I’ve always been proud of our students’ attitudes, but you all have gone above and beyond during COVID-19. Thank you!

Second, good news! We’ve told you that as coronavirus cases decline across campus, we will begin to relax some of the safety measures we have in place. Out of an abundance of caution, after Spring Break we will continue to require masks on campus. Our classroom desks will remain distanced from one another, too (so that if one student goes into isolation, the rest of the class won’t need to be quarantined). However, while we’ll continue to wear masks, wash our hands, and watch our distance, we’re excited to relax our gathering guidelines. This means that after Spring Break...

  • We will return to one chapel service each week! Beginning Tuesday, March 30, chapel services will be held every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. We’ll ask you to leave an empty seat between you and the person next to you, but we’ll all be back together to worship as one. Chapel services will continue to livestream on Tuesdays at occ.edu/chapellive, and guests will be restricted from attending to allow for 50% capacity.
  • We will return to one meeting day for life and mentor groups—Thursdays only, also at 9:30 a.m.—beginning Thursday, April 1. Your group leader may communicate with you regarding a possible location change for your group.
  • We will resume normal seating and traffic flow in the Dining Hall. Please continue to exercise caution during meal times so that if someone you eat with goes into isolation, you can avoid quarantine.
  • We will resume hosting gatherings on campus, including Women’s Event (April 9-10), Baccalaureate (May 6), and Commencement (May 15). Some safety guidelines will remain in place for those events, but we’re looking forward to welcoming our guests back to campus.  

One more thing: it was one year ago today that we “extended” Spring Break by one week...which of course became the rest of the semester as we finished classes online. What a year it has been! Thank you again for your perseverance. And most of all, “thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14).

We're proud of you, Ambassadors!

In Christ,

Damien Spikereit
Executive Vice President of Administration

P.S. Just a reminder...as you know, OCC is not requiring students or employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. However, we do strongly encourage you to be vaccinated when you’re eligible. Click here for a list of current eligibilities in Missouri. After your vaccination, email [email protected] (for students) or [email protected] (for employees) with the date of your completed dosage. 

_______________
January 25, 2021
To: OCC Residential Students
From: Student Newsletter
Subject: COVID-19 Vaccine

The State of Missouri is currently offering COVID vaccinations for Phase 1A and Phase 1B (Tiers 1 and 2). This includes vaccinations for people with weakened immune systems, heart conditions, and more.

________________
December 31, 2020

To: OCC Residential Students
From: Vice President of Student Affairs Andy Storms

Happy New Year, Ambassadors! I hope you’re having a restful break, and I’m looking forward to another great semester together. In addition to the information Damien Spikereit already communicated earlier this month, let me give you a few details of what we’re requiring, requesting, and preparing as the semester begins.

Two Requirements

  1. This spring, we’ll ask all students to continue to adhere to our COVID-19 Operations Plan. Our quarantine and isolation policies and our mandatory mask policy will remain in place. As the CDC says, the more consistently and correctly we wear our masks, the more our community will benefit.  
  2. Residence halls open on Saturday, January 9, at noon for Winter Session students and Saturday, January 16, at noon for all on-campus students. Before returning to campus (whether Winter Session or regular classes), all students must choose one of the following options—either:
  • take a free nasal-swab COVID-19 test on campus at the designated times, or
  • provide verification of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days prior to moving into the dorms (on-campus students) or the first day of class (off-campus students), or
  • provide verification of a positive COVID-19 test taken within the past three months

Submit this form to let us know which of the above options you choose. Any student who is unwilling to abide by these requirements must contact the Student Affairs Department.

Two Requests

  1. Before the semester begins, will you please limit outside contact with others for the next few weeks? Self-imposed quarantines will help us begin the semester with minimal exposure.
  2. Once the semester begins, will you please plan to stay on campus as much as possible through the month of January? We request that you not travel home for the first few weeks of the semester. When you do leave campus for church or work, please continue to wear a mask at all times. 

Coming This Spring
This semester, OCC Health Services will provide on-campus rapid testing for symptomatic students and employees. These tests will let us quickly identify those who are sick so we won’t need to quarantine as many people in our community. OCC Student Affairs is also planning several on-campus activities for you, including fun events during Welcome Back Week. And, we’ve adjusted our classroom schedules so that all classes will be held in person and no classes will be held in the MPB.

Be sure to submit this form to let us know your plans regarding our mandatory COVID testing.

We are praying for you as 2021 begins! It’s our honor to be a part of your training for Christian service, and we’re excited for what God has in store this spring. Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can serve you in any way. 

In Christ,
Andy Storms
Vice President of Student Affairs

P.S. Don’t forget! This Tuesday, January 5, is the deadline to pay for the spring semester in full or to sign the Payment Plan Agreement here. Contact [email protected] if you have any questions. We’re proud of you, Ambassadors! See you soon.

________________
December 14, 2020

To: OCC Residential Students and Personnel
From: Executive Vice President Damien Spikereit

Last week, most of you took your final exams and officially finished the fall semester. Well done! Now, we’re excited to turn our attention toward the spring semester and having you back on campus soon. When classes begin in January, we will still be at Level 2 in Ozark’s COVID-19 Operations Plan, which means we’ll still observe many of the protocols we followed in the fall. We’ll have a few additions, too, including required testing for students in January.

Read the main points of our spring semester plans below (and read the entire COVID-19 Operations Plan here). We look forward to having you on campus in January as you train for Christian service!

Academics and Activities

  • OCC’s 2021 spring semester academics calendar will continue as planned. Winter Session begins Monday, January 11, and regular semester classes begin Tuesday, January 19. Spring break will be held Monday-Friday, March 22-26, and our 2021 Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 15.
  • We’ve adjusted our classroom schedules so that classes will not be held in the MPB this semester. Also, all students will attend class in person, rather than the hybrid model some classes observed in the fall. 
  • Chapel services will be held twice a week—alternating with life/mentor groups on Tuesdays and Thursdays—to allow for social distancing. To begin the semester, life groups will meet on campus in assigned locations. OCC chapel services will remain closed to the public this semester.
  • OCC men’s and women’s varsity basketball teams will play as scheduled, with regular testing and additional precautions for players and coaches.
  • We’re also planning several campus activities for you, including some fun events during Welcome Back Week in January.

General COVID-19 Policies

  • Our quarantine and isolation policies for students and employees (outlined fully in our COVID-19 Operations Plan) will continue to follow the guidance of our local health department and federal, state, and local authorities.
  • While campus remains at Level 2, our mandatory mask policy will remain in effect in public spaces, classrooms, offices, or where it is not practical or feasible to socially distance.
  • We will also continue to observe our student and employee gathering conditions for Level 2, which include guidelines on social distancing, masks, travel, food, and guests at gatherings and events. These gathering conditions will also mean changes to The Event (scheduled for March 19-20) and OCC’s Women’s Conference (April 9-10). See occ.edu/events for details. 
  • Non-personnel and non-students are restricted from campus facilities, including the MPB, Student Center, dorms, Dining Hall, Chapel, and classroom buildings. Off-campus guests will be allowed to visit the bookstore and library, participate in designated campus tours, and attend athletic events. All visitors will be required to wear masks in accordance with campus mask policy and maintain appropriate social distancing.
  • Our OCC custodial crew will continue to take extra measures for us as they keep our campus clean. In everything, OCC will continue to practice our three most important guidelines: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.

Testing and Vaccination Policy
Before classes begin in January (whether Winter Session or regular classes), students will be required to do one of three things—either:

  • take a free COVID-19 test on campus, or 
  • provide verification of a negative COVID-19 test within three days prior to moving into the dorms (on-campus students) or the first day of class (off-campus students), or
  • provide verification of a positive COVID-19 test within the past three months

Watch your student newsletter for details on testing and dorm arrival times. OCC also encourages all students and employees to be vaccinated for both influenza and COVID-19. Read more about our testing guidelines and vaccination policy in the COVID-19 Operations Plan.

A Community that Cares
At OCC, we’re a community that cares for one another. It’s important that we all—faculty, staff, and students alike—take responsibility for our own health and safety. It’s also crucial that we respect and protect each other. With this in mind, we’re asking all students and employees to follow our campus COVID-19 policies together, for the good of our whole community.

I’ve overloaded you with information! Do take time to rest and enjoy your break. We’re praying for you to be healthy and encouraged this Christmas, and we’re excited for what God has in store for you this spring as you train for Christian service. We’re proud of you, Ambassadors! 

In Christ,

Damien Spikereit
Executive Vice President of Administration

P.S. Watch your student newsletter for more details, and don’t forget to read the COVID-19 Operations Plan.

COVID Dashboard

Fall 2021 COVID Operations Plan

Ozark Christian College looks forward to continuing in-person instruction and on-campus activities in the fall of 2021, thanks to the availability of free, safe, and effective COVID-19 vaccines for all Ambassadors. While we cannot eliminate the possibility of contracting COVID-19, we can minimize the risk of infection and transmission. The following guidelines will be in effect for all OCC employees, students, and participants in OCC-sponsored events. Together, we will take steps to protect the community we love.

  1. Masks are not required but are recommended by the CDC in public indoor places in areas of substantial or high transmission.   
  2. Vaccinations are encouraged but are not required. Individuals who choose not to be vaccinated assume a significant risk of contracting COVID-19.
  3. Students: 
    • Students who have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 should isolate at home or in their dorm room and email [email protected] for further instructions. Students with a positive COVID-19 test will be required to isolate for 10 days as instructed by the Student Affairs Department.
    • Those who have been identified as being in close contact with a positive case will be notified by the Student Affairs Department and informed of their options as outlined in this Quarantine Guidelines communication. 
  4. Non-student employees:
    • Employees who have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 should remain off campus and email [email protected] for further instructions. Employees with a positive COVID-19 test will be required to isolate for 10 days as instructed by the Human Resources Office.
    • Unvaccinated employees who have significant exposure to COVID-19 may be required to remain off campus for 7-10 days or as instructed by the Human Resources Office. 
    • Vaccinated employees who have significant exposure to COVID-19 will not be required to quarantine. The CDC recommends testing at least 3-5 days after exposure and wearing a mask indoors in public areas for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result.  
  5. Students and employees (paid or volunteer) who are not fully vaccinated and are facilitating or participating in a college-sponsored event or off-campus class/seminar (including athletes, student employees, and event volunteers) may be required to receive a negative COVID-19 test result within 48 hours of the start of the event.
  6. All OCC events will follow the current OCC COVID-19 guidelines, and any additional protocols will be announced to the event attendees. 
  7. Classrooms and campus activities may reduce capacity to minimize transmission. Unvaccinated students are encouraged to wear masks in classrooms, the chapel, and small group settings since social distancing will be difficult. 

OCC will continue to monitor the status of the pandemic and will update these policies as needed. We’re thankful for another semester to live, learn, and serve together as we take care of our OCC community. 

CARES Act

In compliance with the Higher Ed Emergency Relief Fund reporting requirements:

Ozark Christian College signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement. OCC has issued 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Ozark Christian College received $500,000 from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

OCC has designated $244,732 of Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission.

OCC estimates that 462 students are 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.

As of October 1, 354 students have received a total of $243,302 in Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

OCC determined which students received Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act based on a calculation of need determined through the FAFSA and student enrollment status. 

Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants.

Students received an email notification from the Executive Vice President letting them know that we have received funds for Emergency Grants.

Student Financial Services emailed a notice of award to eligible students that included what the funds could be used for as well as instruction for acknowledging that they had experienced expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.

Click here to view the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Report.

HEERF II

In compliance with the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) (HEERF II) reporting requirements:

Ozark Christian College certified with the Department  of Education in January, 2021 receipt of funding for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under CRRSAA. 

Ozark Christian College received $244,732 from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

OCC estimates that 448 students are 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.

As of June 30, 364 students have received a total of $234,200  Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

Allowable uses of funds are more flexible than in the CARES Act. Students may use the grants toward:

  • any component of their cost of attendance
  • emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as:
    • tuition
    • food
    • housing
    • health care (including mental)
    • child care

Unlike the CARES Act, the CRRSAA requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Federal Pell Grants.

EFC will be used to determine exceptional need. Those with an EFC of $15,000 or less will be considered to have need with Pell eligible students considered the most in need.

Pell Eligible Students

  • Currently enrolled in 2 or more credit hours
  • EFC on FAFSA between $0 - $5,711 
  • Award amount: $800 
  • Funds given towards the housing component of the COA
  • Acknowledgement of use of funds required by student
  • Option to have funds applied to student account if desired

Non Pell Eligible Students with EFC up to $15,000

  • Currently enrolled in 2 or more credit hours
  • EFC on FAFSA $5,718 - $15,000
  • Award amount: $500
  • Funds given towards the housing component of the COA
  • Acknowledgement of use of funds required by student
  • Option to have funds applied to student account if desired

Students with EFC over $15,000 or that have not completed a FAFSA and that are enrolled in 2 or more credit hours can request funds via application.

Students received an email notification from the Executive Vice President letting them know that we have received funds for Emergency Grants.

Student Financial Services emailed a notice of award to eligible students that included what the funds could be used for as well as instruction for acknowledging that they had experienced expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus.

 

HEERF III - American Rescue Plan

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 included supplemental COVID-19 relief funds. This new COVID stimulus bill included $36 billion for higher education institutions and students. 

Ozark Christian College certified with the Department of Education on May 24, 2021, receipt of additional funding for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students under the ARP.

Ozark Christian College received $768,141 from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

Eligible Students

Similar to the HEERF II funds, the HEERF III funds include no student eligibility requirements either. The HEERF III funds can be awarded to online students as well. Eligible student groups include citizens, permanent residents, international students, refugees, asylum seekers, DACA recipients, other DREAMers, and similar undocumented students.

Allowable Uses

Allowable uses of funds are more flexible than in the CARES Act. Students may use the grants toward:

  • any component of their cost of attendance
  • emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as:
    • tuition
    • food
    • housing
    • health care (including mental)
    • child care

Unlike the CARES Act, the ARP requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Federal Pell Grants.

OCC estimates that 559 students are eligible to receive Emergency Grants under the ARP.

As of October 1, 2021, 480 students have received a total of $692,300  Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under the ARP program.

Process for Awarding

EFC will be used to determine exceptional need. Those with an EFC of $15,000 or less will be considered to have need with Pell-eligible students considered the most in need.

  • Pell Eligible: 219 students; $1,900 awarded: $416,100 total
  • EFC $5,847-$15,000: 90 students; $1,500 awarded; $135,000 total 
  • EFC above $15,000: 147 students; $1,000 awarded; $147,000 total
  • No FAFSA: 103 students; $800 awarded; $82,400 total

Any remaining funds will be awarded first to Pell-eligible students and then to any student using an application process. 

OCC's Student Financial Services emailed a notice of award to eligible students that included what the funds could be used for as well as instruction for acknowledging that they accepted the funds. Students were also given the choice of receiving the funds as a credit on their student account, via direct deposit, or by paper check.

Learn More

Accreditation

Ozark's accreditation with ABHE and HLC.

Accreditation
Scroll To Top