Physical distancing policy and testing updates

To: OSU Faculty and Staff

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

Dear OSU faculty and staff,

As we settle into fall term, I write to share a few updates with you.

Physical Distancing Policy Update: We continue to make a low-density environment a priority within our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, and our centers and offices statewide. Adhering to a low-density presence contributes to the health and safety for those who are required to report to work onsite, as well as for faculty and students who are living, learning and conducting research in university environments.

As onsite operations and activity have increased with the start of fall term, questions have arisen that prompt an update to the university’s Physical Distancing Policy. Oregon Health Authority’s Statewide Reopening Guidance provides capacity levels based on what is defined as a gathering or social get-together. We have updated the university’s policy to further limit attendance at gatherings held within university environments. All university gatherings or social get-togethers, and non-university gatherings or social get-togethers, held on university-owned or OSU-controlled property, are required to restrict attendance to no more than 10 people and must adhere to applicable OHA industry-specific guidance. University gatherings for the purposes of in-person instruction, research, extension and outreach activities, university business, and university intercollegiate athletic events that conform to guidelines provided by the Governor’s Office, OHSA, an appropriate county health authority, and OSU policy are permitted and are limited to the number of people specified in applicable OHA or Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s guidelines.

Face Coverings Remain Important: Overall, adherence to the university’s Face Covering Policy remains high. OSU requires faculty, staff, students, contractors, volunteers and visitors at all OSU locations to use face coverings. Face coverings—masks, cloth face coverings or face shields—must be used in enclosed public and common areas in university environments and outdoor areas where physical distancing is not easily maintained. Please continue to remain vigilant and utilize the university’s general guidance and learning environment guidance as a resource.

TRACE OSU and Wastewater Testing Continue: We are very proud of the innovative work of TRACE OSU. Through voluntary COVID-19 testing of hundreds of faculty, staff and students in Corvallis and Bend and at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, as well as wastewater surveillance, we are able to understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in the university community and respond with public health measures and assistance. We appreciate all of those who have enrolled and participated in TRACE OSU thus far. It is not too late to sign up for TRACE OSU if you have not done so already by using this link to enroll. Enrolling takes only a minute, testing takes less than five minutes and you need not be working on-campus to be invited to participate. Your personal information will be kept secure and your results will be provided to you by secure e-mail, typically within 48 hours. As required, results of positive tests will be provided to the local county health authority to aid in contact tracing (and for students, the information is also provided to OSU Administration for operational decisions).

In closing, I want to acknowledge the many challenges that the pandemic is causing. The pressures you are experiencing go beyond adjusting to a change in work environment and certainly we could all use some relief. As we move forward, I assure you that we will continue to be mindful of how OSU’s planning and response provides for clarity and confidence, while also seeking to ease some of the challenges you are experiencing. Please continue to reach out to one another and consider ways that you can connect and support each other safely. Remember that as employees you have access to a suite of benefits through the Beyond Benefits program, including access to resource guides and webinars to help with the emotional impacts of the pandemic as well as guidance on how to stay healthy.

Be well,

Dan Larson
Coronavirus Response Coordinator
Vice Provost for Student Affairs