Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to common questions regarding COVID-19 and OSU's response. Questions and answers are updated frequently, so check back often for more information.

Faculty, staff and students should feel empowered to request that others comply with public health measures, state law and university policy, including the use of face coverings. If you are comfortable doing so, you may ask someone who isn’t wearing a face covering to do so or request that they leave the area where face coverings are required. Please do not ask the individual why they are not wearing a face covering.

If an individual becomes disruptive when asked to wear a face covering, it is appropriate to ask them to leave. If the situation escalates, notify your supervisor.  As always, if you become concerned for your safety, please call the OSU Department of Public Safety at 541-737-3010.

If you are not comfortable approaching the individual directly, notify your supervisor or a supervisor of the area. If you are asked how the person can pursue an exception to the policy, refer them to Equal Opportunity & Access at 541-737-3556.


Last updated: September 8, 2020

The university adopted its physical distancing policy in June 2020, and it remains in effect until the OSU president lifts it. To learn more, visit the policy webpage.

Note that the policy defines the differences between gatherings and social get-togethers and requires that student social get-togethers be limited to 10 people, indoors or outdoors, anywhere in the state of Oregon.  Gatherings for a common purpose (such as civic, faith-based or charitable purposes)  continue to be governed by the Governor or Oregon Health Authority state-level guidance or order.

For more information on what kind of events fall into which categories, please review this supplemental policy guidance (PDF)

Last updated: September 3, 2020

OSU policy requires the use of face coverings for community members and visitors when in enclosed common areas, enclosed areas when interacting with others or outdoor areas where physical distancing isn’t easily maintained.

Exceptions to this university policy include:

a. Use goes against documented industry best practices for a specific position, or by law or regulation, including the use of standard personal protective equipment (“PPE”) per Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards;

b. When working alone in an enclosed workspace; 

c. When exercising and working outdoors as long as a distance of at least six (6) feet is maintained at all times;

d. When engaging in an activity that makes wearing a face covering not feasible, such as swimming, eating or drinking;

e. When an individual is under the age of five;

f. In situations where face coverings for minors are advised against and not required for participation in youth activities, as per OHA Guidance for School Aged Summertime Day Camps (PDF) or Specific Guidance for Child Care Sector (PDF); or,

g. Where space can be designed to provide for adequate barriers.

Exception requests based on accommodation for a disability may be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access for employees, and Disability Access Services for students. 

Violation of university policy can lead to disciplinary action. 

Last updated: September 3, 2020

Students who travel home from campus on a weekend and come back should be mindful of all health guidelines put out by the Oregon Health Authority and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including staying away from others as much as possible and closely monitoring their health for 14 days. If COVID-19 symptoms emerge, contact Student Health Services.

While traveling:

  • Wash hands often.
    • Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, after touching surfaces frequently touched by others, after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing, and before touching their face or eating.
    • If soap and water are not available, bring and use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of hands and rub hands together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with others.
    • Keep 6 feet of physical distance from others.
  • Wear a cloth face covering in public.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Pick up food at drive-throughs, curbside restaurant service or stores.


Last updated: July 30, 2020

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person, and best way to reduce your risk is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Steps you can take to reduce your risk of exposure include:

  • Covering your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
  • Monitoring your daily health for symptoms, such as your temperature.  
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoiding touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that you frequently touch.
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Throw the tissue afterward and wash your hands.
  • Staying home when sick.

Visit the COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment page to learn more about protecting yourself from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19.


Last updated: March 15, 2020

There is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and how it spreads, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronaviruses are thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Although the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, it is unlikely to be spread from domestic or international mail, products or packaging. However, it may be possible that people can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Learn more about safe handling of deliveries and mail.


Last updated: August 18, 2020

If the person is a member of the OSU community (student, faculty, staff, volunteer, etc.), follow guidance in Oregon State's Communicable Disease Management Plan. Any university community member made aware of a positive COVID-19 test should notify the relevant point of contact listed in Section 2. This contact differs by campus or location and in student/non-student cases. If you have been in contact with the person, be alert for symptoms and follow instructions on self-isolation and quarantine.   

Last updated: July 22, 2020

Faculty, staff and students should feel empowered to request from their supervisors and professors that others comply with public health measures, including the use of face coverings. If you are comfortable doing so, you may ask someone who isn’t wearing a face covering if they are aware of the OSU face covering policy requirement.

Additionally, please let a supervisor or faculty member know if someone is not wearing a face covering, and they can inquire if the individual meets an exception to the policy (exceptions include medical conditions that prohibit the use of face coverings or the inability to remove a covering without assistance — see the face covering policy for the full list of exceptions). No one should be asked to share what exception they meet. It is prohibited for any individual to be restricted access or participation based on not wearing a face covering, if the individual states that they are aware of this policy, and they meet an exception.

If an individual becomes disruptive when asked to wear a face covering, it is appropriate to ask them to leave. If the situation escalates, it is appropriate to contact the Department of Public Safety for assistance.

Last updated: July 22, 2020

Families are more than welcome to visit their student on campus. Whether or not they can be in the residence halls after move-in is yet to be determined. Our guest policy within the UHDS Policy Guide is being reviewed and upon finalization, we will communicate updates.

To learn about visiting at OSU-Cascades, visit its website.

Last updated: July 20, 2020

We encourage all residents to responsibly practice best measures to manage their health and help prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as washing their hands frequently, wearing their cloth face covering when in public places, and practicing all other  health protocols shared by the Oregon Health Authority and the Benton County Health Department. Information about disease prevention is being shared widely and publicly around the Corvallis campus. For detailed information about UHDS safety protocols, visit uhds.oregonstate/edu/covid19.

For more information about OSU-Cascades, visit its website.

Last updated: July 20, 2020

At this time, we are not planning to implement a mandatory student isolation upon arrival to campus but will communicate with students if university policy changes. 

To learn about policies for OSU-Cascades, visit its website

Last updated: July 20, 2020

If an employee is sick, it is essential that supervisors express concern for the employee’s well-being and advise the employee to stay home. Supervisors should advise the employee immediately to contact by phone their primary care provider and seek an appointment, or if they are seriously ill, contact by phone an emergency medical care provider. They should always call before going into the clinic or an emergency clinic. If the employee does not have a primary care health care provider, they can contact Student Health Services or the local county health department in the community in which they reside.

Last updated: March 19, 2020

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms.  If you are concerned about exposure to COVID-19, contact your health care provider. 


Last updated: July 24, 2020

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath you should call ahead to a healthcare provider and discuss your symptoms before attending an office visit.

If you have had close contact with someone showing COVID-19 symptoms or who has recently tested positive for COVID-19, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider and mention your close contact.

Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Last updated: July 24, 2020

UHDS dining centers are following all guidance from state and local health authorities, including increased cleaning of all touchpoints. In addition, UHDS restaurants are now serving all meals in single-use take-out containers so that guests may take their food to go and eat in the location of their choice.

To learn more about OSU-Cascades, visit its website.

Last updated: July 20, 2020

If you, a dependent or a close family member are ill, the university recommendation is to self-isolate and call your health care provider, Student Health Services or an emergency medical care provider. Please email your instructor as soon as you anticipate that illness will prevent you from attending to a requirement or meeting a deadline. The Office of the Dean of Students can also assist you if you are navigating a range of extenuating life circumstances, including but not limited to prolonged illness, hospitalization, financial concerns, etc. They can be reached via Zoom chat or audio Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at or by email at

Last updated: April 9, 2020

Enhanced touchpoint cleaning is taking place using a disinfectant that is effective on human coronavirus. Touchpoints include door knobs and handles, faucet handles, soap dispenser levers, paper towel dispenser controls, elevator button panels and light switches. This enhanced cleaning will continue throughout the period of time that is indicated by local health authorities.

Last updated: March 20, 2020

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection. People infected with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. Learn more about COVID-19 Treatment.

Last updated: March 15, 2020