Coronavirus Update: No OSU Event Closures Planned, Travel Requirements Updated

To: OSU faculty and staff

From: Edward Feser, Provost and Executive Vice President
          Dan Larson, OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator and Vice Provost for Student Affairs

March 5, 2020

OSU faculty and staff,

EVENTS: OSU has no plans at this time to cancel any university activities, including classes or events. The university will make decisions about the implementation of closures and all community measures in close collaboration with health departments in Benton, Deschutes, Lincoln and other counties, and the Oregon Health Authority.

CONTINGENCY PLANNING: Oregon State University continues to develop proactive contingency plans for the coronavirus (COVID-19) as the global health situation evolves. Our efforts remain focused on supporting the well-being of the OSU community and continued university teaching, research, outreach, student services and other activities.

TRAVEL UPDATE: During the coronavirus situation, the university will follow recommended CDC, World Health Organization and U.S. State Department travel guidance, and university processes and policies for OSU-sponsored travel, while attempting to respect the individual judgment of faculty, staff and students engaged in domestic and international travel.

Until further notice, as a result of the coronavirus situation, OSU employees are entitled to personally determine if they will participate in university-required, but non-essential travel. We ask that employees work with their supervisors to address individual travel safety concerns while also supporting OSU academic, research, outreach and business continuity.

All travelers engaged in university-sponsored global travel are required to continue to use OSU’s international registry system. While the university discourages non-essential, university-sponsored employee travel to high-risk destinations designated by OSU’s international travel policy, employee travelers returning from OSU-sponsored travel to these destinations will be required to engage in 14-day home isolation and self-monitoring advised by the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Until further notice, the university prohibits OSU-sponsored travel by undergraduate and graduate students to high risk destinations designated by OSU’s international travel policy Presently, China, Iran, Italy, Mongolia, and South Korea are designated as high risk destinations for coronavirus.

At this time, OSU-sponsored study abroad programs within high-risk destinations have been either postponed or canceled.

Eligible employee or student reimbursements under the OSU travel policy for canceled or postponed OSU-sponsored travel or conferences will be honored by the university.

Meanwhile, the university urges all students and employees engaging in personal domestic and international travel to use their best judgment and follow recommended CDC, World Health Organization and U.S. State Department guidance.

Further travel updates will be provided as appropriate.

TEACHING UPDATE: The university will provide an update Friday morning by e-mail to academic and professional faculty regarding plans for the possible use of remote teaching practices, training and resources that could be used if a coronavirus outbreak occurred within the university community.

WELLNESS MEASURES: OSU locations are taking steps to reduce the potential spread of infection by increasing touch-point cleaning within university buildings by using disinfectants advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be effective on coronavirus. Touch points include doorknobs and handles, faucet handles, soap dispenser levers, paper towel dispenser controls, elevator button panels and light switches.

If you wish to enhance cleaning in your personal work area, please follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. Additionally, building managers will be posting coronavirus disease prevention signs in entry areas and restrooms that can be found here. Please feel free to print these and post as appropriate.

We also emphasize that if you are sick with any illness, please stay home and rest to take care of yourself and protect our community. Contact your primary care physician via online access or by calling before visiting a medical care provider. If you do not have a primary health care provider, contact the Benton County Health Department or your local county health department for guidance. If you have questions about coronavirus and are not sick, contact the Oregon Health Authority help line by calling 211 or visit the health authority’s website.

Remember that the best way to prevent the spread of any communicable disease is to continue these important practices:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy warm water or use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol, if unable to wash.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with another person’s saliva, whether in your work, home or social environments.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue; then throw the tissue away.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to support a healthy immune system.

To facilitate ongoing sharing of information about the virus, we have added a link on the OSU home page to a Coronavirus Updates and Resources page that provides detailed information; links to OSU, local, state and federal resources; updates on the latest federal travel restrictions; and previous university communications about the virus and other information.

As members of our OSU community, please join me in sharing empathy and support for our students and colleagues who may be directly affected by the coronavirus situation. Please stay mindful of your own wellness and attend to your health.


Edward Feser
Provost and Executive Vice President

Dan Larson
OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator
Vice Provost for Student Affairs