COVID-19 Planning Update

To: OSU faculty and staff

From: Dan Larson, Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Date: May 14, 2020

14 May 2020

Dear OSU faculty and staff,

Following Provost Feser’s May 11 message about the status of our planning for the potential return of on-site activities in late summer and fall, we intend to provide you with regular updates and address questions and recommendations received from the university community.

Health and safety measures

As we develop our plans, our first priority is protecting the health of our students, faculty and staff. Our readiness to resume on-site research, teaching and other activities depends on having appropriate health measures and practices in place, and for each of us to contribute to promoting a healthy environment. In fact, there are many details we still need to work through regarding those measures and practices, and that is why we are inviting broader feedback.

One of the measures we are working on is the use of cloth face coverings. Consistent with Oregon Health Authority and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, employees and students will be asked to wear cloth face coverings in OSU settings where it is difficult to consistently maintain at least 6 feet of separation from others – or when present in enclosed spaces shared by others. Additionally, employees will use cloth face coverings if required by the governor’s executive order or any local, state or federal regulation or administrative rule. We are considering additional university-imposed requirements for use of face coverings in other university spaces, and are evaluating legal and other implications of making such requirements. You will find updates and a link to provide feedback on our planning by visiting the COVID-19 website.

Return of employees to on-site work

We anticipate beginning our phased resumption in early summer. Initially, most employees will remain working remotely. Over the summer, we will slowly begin bringing back on-site various components of OSU programs and services, such as elements of our research enterprise and OSU Extension programs. Employees who have medical vulnerabilities – or are caring for others who have medical vulnerabilities – will be encouraged to remain working remotely. We will provide additional guidance on ways units can provide flexibility in return, given the inherent risks of greater exposure that will come with the reopening of communities in which OSU operates. Given conditions, it will be in the best interest of public health for university employees to continue working remotely where job duties allow.

As the summer progresses and conditions permitting, we will move through additional phases of resumption, with the objective of ensuring our capacity and readiness to provide for onsite and in-person delivery of education, research, programs and services. 

Re-openings by counties and impact on university activity

In the days ahead, we expect to receive additional guidance from Governor Kate Brown specific to the resumption plans of higher education institutions. This guidance will provide clarity on how OSU’s resumption activities may intersect with the reopening plans of counties in which the university operates. In the meantime, please be aware that OSU’s activities remain restricted under Executive Order 20-09 to remote instruction and only on-site critical functions until June 13, regardless of the opening of any Oregon counties. As counties do reopen, the university will evaluate its activities within those counties and advise our faculty, staff and students accordingly.

Open forum 

Being informed and providing feedback on our resumption plan is essential to ensuring we are prepared.  Provost Feser and I will be hosting multiple open forums over the next week to provide updates on OSU’s emerging plans, solicit feedback and advice, and answer questions. Please look for announcements of these forums in the coming days. Our current plan is to hold Zoom forums for the Corvallis campus, OSU-Cascades and for OSU Extension.

You may also provide input by sending your comments to [email protected].

Thank you and stay well.

Dan Larson, Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Vice Provost for Student Affairs