COVID-19 concerns prompt schedule changes at OSU, U of O

Oregon State University and the University of Oregon on Wednesday both announced some changes to operations to protect students and staff from the potential spread of COVID-19.

At OSU, campuses and facilities will remain open, but winter term finals will be delivered remotely where possible. The plans include the OSU-Cascades campus in Bend.

More details from OSU Provost and Executive Vice President Edward Feser are below:

Effective March 14, 2020:

  • Campuses and OSU facilities and operations statewide will remain open.
  • Winter term finals week exams and activities will be delivered remotely where possible. Where remote teaching, coursework and testing is not possible, maximum social distancing measures will be utilized.
  • University academic and remote meeting tools, including Canvas and Zoom, will be used to minimize in-person meetings.
  • All non-essential OSU-sponsored travel will be suspended.
  • All OSU employees will be encouraged to work remotely where work responsibilities and duties allow.
  • All OSU students, faculty and staff are encouraged to avoid personal travel over spring break. Students should instead consider remaining at our campuses in Corvallis and Bend.
  • We are taking these immediate steps while OSU employees and students prepare to take expanded public health measures at the start of spring term.

Effective March 30, 2020:

  • All of the above actions are maintained.
  • All spring term courses, labs and exams will be delivered remotely, where possible. Where remote teaching, coursework and testing is not possible, maximum social distancing measures will be utilized.
  • Until at least April 30, no non-essential OSU-sponsored events of more than 50 attendees will be permitted. All events with fewer than 50 attendees will be held with maximum social distancing.

The status of these measures will be evaluated every two weeks.

To read the remainder of the statement visit: https://leadership.oregonstate.edu/coronavirus.

In Eugune, the changes include no in-person final exams for the winter term and the spring term will begin with three weeks of remote classes only.

Schill’s full letter is below:

March 11, 2020

Dear University of Oregon community,

For some time now, the UO has been monitoring the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and preparing contingency plans as the virus spreads across the state of Oregon, our nation and the world. At this time, there are still no known cases of COVID-19 in Lane County, but with spring break quickly approaching, we believe it is time to enact active measures to increase social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus and protect students, faculty, staff and the broader community. The UO will take the following steps:

  • Effective Sunday, March 15, the UO will cancel nonessential events and gatherings of more than 50 people. For information and guidance about events or to seek a waiver, please use this web form. In addition, attendance at all UO home athletic events will be restricted primarily to participating student-athletes, essential personnel and credentialed media. The UO Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will communicate directly with ticket-holders about refunds.
  • No final exams will be offered in-person for winter term. Provost Patrick Phillips will send guidance shortly to all UO instructors, who will be asked to quickly provide clear direction to students about how they intend to complete courses and assign final grades. Students will receive additional information in the coming days.
  • For the first three weeks of the spring term – which starts March 30 – the UO will deliver all classes remotely. We will continue to assess and monitor the situation, and provide further guidance about plans for the rest of the term no later than April 10.
  • Effective Sunday, March 15, all nonessential university travel, both domestic and international, is suspended indefinitely. For more information and guidance on UO travel or to seek a travel waiver, email travelsafe@uoregon.edu.
  • We strongly encourage students, faculty, and staff to consider not traveling during spring break. We know that may not be possible, but everyone should be aware of travel warnings, quarantine restrictions and other guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help inform personal travel choices.
  • The UO campus remains open and operating under a normal schedule, including business functions, offices hours and other support operations. Classified employees and officers of administration should continue to perform their normal functions. Employees should review the frequently asked questions and work with their supervisors to learn more about social distancing techniques and flex work options.
  • Residence halls will stay open over spring break and beyond, and limited dining will be available during spring break.

We are continuing to work in close coordination with the Oregon Health Authority. Many of the steps we are taking will be disruptive to our institution and to many of you individually. We do not take these actions lightly, and even though the UO campus will remain open, we recognize and appreciate that many of these measures will have a significant impact on our operations. We also do not have answers to all the questions that will come from these decisions. This continues to be a very fluid situation, and we have an incredible team that is working tirelessly to implement these policies and to protect the safety and wellbeing of campus. Please be patient and know we are moving as fast as we can under some extraordinary and unprecedented challenges.

Students, faculty and staff will receive additional instructions in the coming days about the specific impact of these changes on their activities. We will communicate as quickly as we can with updated information, so pay close attention to your university email and frequently monitor the UO’s coronavirus website, which includes a list of frequently asked questions and extensive links to outside health agencies. We will continue to utilize the website as the best place to get the latest information about the UO’s response to COVID-19.

Questions, concerns or suggestions should continue to be directed to this web form or to a new coronavirus information line at 541-346-7007 (the line will be staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays). The UO’s Incident Management Team (IMT) – which has grown to more than 150 people working – is monitoring and responding to queries submitted online and by phone. Depending on the volume of questions, they may or may not be able to directly respond to every submission, but the information will be used to inform changes to campus operations, update FAQs or to draft additional communications to campus audiences to address emerging issues.

If you are not feeling well, stay home and follow the health support instructions listed on the UO’s coronavirus website. We know one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is through good hygiene, so please follow the CDC’s guidance for hand washing and other prevention recommendations.

This is a tough time, to be sure, and I wish the steps we are taking were not necessary. Some of these disruptions to our schedules and routines may create stress or anxiety. Take care of yourself and demonstrate grace to each other in the face of these challenges. Now is the time for the UO community to band together to ensure that, even in the face of adversity, we are dedicated to supporting students and committed to delivering on our mission of teaching, research, and service.

Thank you for all that you are doing on behalf of the UO.

Sincerely,

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

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