Face Covering Policy and Other COVID-19 Updates

To: OSU community members

From: Dan Larson, Vice Provost for Student Affairs

October 23, 2020

Dear OSU community members,

I write to share a few COVID-19-related updates and information items with you.

OSU’s face coverings policy has been updated: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing masks reduces exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus. The CDC, and now the Oregon Health Authority, strongly recommend against the use of face shields as an alternative to wearing a face mask or cloth face covering. Accordingly, we have updated Oregon State University’s Face Covering policy to reflect that face shields are no longer a generally acceptable substitute for a face covering while within an OSU location. Additionally, the revised policy clarifies that face coverings with valves or vents also are not acceptable and that face coverings must cover both the nose and the mouth. Thank you for your continued adherence to this policy. A face covering—properly worn—is one of the most important steps we can take to help control the spread of the virus.

Prevalence of COVID-19 in our community:  We are grateful to the thousands of you who are participating in the TRACE OSU prevalence testing program. OSU is seeing an increase in faculty, staff and students testing positive for COVID-19. Each of these positive cases has involved an asymptomatic individual. It is important to remember that even if you test negative, you may still be carrying and spreading the virus.

As we transition to indoors due to the change in seasons, it is increasingly important to engage in behaviors that minimize potential spread. The CDC provides helpful personal and public health strategies to use when socializing. As Halloween and other reasons to gather approach, please use these measures and remember that OSU’s Physical Distancing policy prohibits all student social get-togethers of more than 10 people, on or off-campus, and that there are similar rules for many University gatherings or gatherings or get-togethers on University property.

Remember, you can still enroll in TRACE OSU. Also, please be sure to participate in TRACE OSU testing when you are invited. Your participation, which includes isolating when you receive a positive test, is vital to minimizing the spread of this virus.

Cooperation with contact tracing is critical: If we are to avoid major outbreaks and possible subsequent lock-downs in response, it is absolutely essential that systems of testing and contact tracing function as designed. We need all members of our community to answer any calls they receive from their local public health contact tracers. Failing to answer such calls will fail to control the spread of COVID-19. Working with contact tracers is how we can contribute to the health of family and friends. Please encourage those in your networks to do the same. We all have to be part of the solution!

Wishing you all much good health!

Dan Larson
Vice Provost for Student Affairs