Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Dec. 28, 2021

Dear OSU Community Members,

We write to update you on Oregon State University’s plans for winter term instruction, research, Extension and outreach programming, and university operations.

At this time, in-person instruction and all other university activities and operations will resume on-site as scheduled on Jan. 3 at all OSU campuses and locations.

We make this decision while monitoring increased COVID-19 cases across the nation due to the Omicron variant. Our decision is informed by federal, state and local health authority guidance and is buoyed by positive signs that Omicron, while highly transmissible, may be resulting in milder symptoms and fewer cases of severe illness, hospitalization and death.

The university’s decision is intentional: We seek to minimize disruption of student learning and experience and provide predictability for our faculty and university operations. We are mindful that classrooms, where students and faculty are vaccinated and wear face coverings, have not been a significant source of virus spread. We believe we can guard against a surge in COVID-19 cases due to a vaccination rate of more than 93% among OSU students and employees; requiring booster shots when a person is eligible as part of OSU’s vaccination program; the continuation of OSU’s emphasis on targeted COVID-19 testing; and our community’s adherence to numerous other public health measures.

Oregon State’s decision is in alignment with plans collaboratively announced today by all of Oregon’s public universities to maintain on-site teaching.

Your continued resilience and full participation in the battle against COVID-19 will be required for winter term classes to begin and operate successfully. This includes getting a booster shot as soon as possible and being tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus and other university locations.

We will undertake the following actions to support continuity in Oregon State’s teaching, activities and operations:

  1. We strongly recommend that students and employees take and receive the results of a COVID-19 test before Jan 3. If you test positive over the holidays, remain in your home community and do not come to campus or other university locations until you are no longer symptomatic and have passed the CDC and Oregon Health Authority’s required isolation period.
  2. Going forward, booster shots will be required as part of OSU’s vaccination program. In the days ahead, we will provide you more information about this booster requirement, including means and dates of when compliance will be required as you become eligible for a booster. Again, we recommend that you please obtain your booster, if eligible, prior to the start of winter term.
  3. Students returning to university-managed residence halls for winter term will be required to be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to campus in Corvallis and at OSU-Cascades. More information about this requirement will be provided students in the days ahead.
  4. The university will offer voluntary on-campus COVID-19 testing for OSU students and employees in Corvallis and Bend as winter term begins. As has been the case, OSU students and employees with a vaccination exception or in non-compliance with OSU’s vaccine requirement will be required to test for COVID-19 each week until further notice. More information about testing will be forthcoming.
  5. OSU will assist local health authorities and health care agencies in promoting booster clinics and testing opportunities.
  6. The university will review and update as necessary its COVID-19 practices and procedures for in-person university events planned during winter term.

This week, we will provide guidance to supplement the COVID-19 Safety and Success website on how faculty and graduate assistants can manage COVID-19-related absences during winter term. Meanwhile, we will continue to follow health authority requirements and guidance, monitor pandemic conditions closely, and update the university community promptly on any changes in OSU’s response.

Thank you for your immediate attention to these additional measures as together we address this new variant and the pandemic. We wish you a safe and healthy holiday break.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Johnson

Interim President

Edward Feser

Provost and Executive Vice President