September 13, 2022

 

Dear OSU Community Members,

Welcome to fall and to the start of the new academic year. I write to provide you with updated community health and resource information, including guidance on COVID-19 and Monkeypox (MPV), as well as other ways we all can support our own wellness and community health.

We have launched a new website, Beaver Healthy, that includes information on COVID-19, MPV and influenza, as well as more general health and wellness guidance. All university-level COVID-19 information provided by University Human Resources (for employees) and Student Health Services (for students) is provided on this site. Guidance and information that is campus or location specific is noted and linked.

As you prepare for fall, please familiarize yourself with the Beaver Healthy website and the guidance provided. The following are highlights on our current measures associated with COVID-19 and MVP.

 

General COVID-19 information:

The incidence of COVID-19 in Oregon is trending down as of Sept. 12, 2022. Most Oregon counties are within the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) designation of “Low Community Level.” While the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is predicting an increase in COVID-19 cases at the end of September due to waning immunity and people increasingly congregating indoors, there are currently no new variants of concern on the horizon. An updated bivalent booster that targets the current Omicron variant will be available in the days ahead at OSU’s vaccine and booster clinics. Information on vaccine clinics is available on the Beaver Healthy website.

OSU’s COVID-19 response plan is informed by the ACHA’s COVID-19 Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2022. Because the CDC and OHA are no longer providing COVID-19 guidance for higher education institutions, individual universities have greater flexibility to organize their response based on their unique circumstances and locations.

There are four COVID-19 strategies currently operative at OSU, subject to change:

1. Isolation:

  • General guidance: Individuals who test positive must isolate for five days. If they have no symptoms or their symptoms are resolving, they may end isolation on day six, provided they wear a well-fitting face covering or mask for five additional days when around others.
  • Classroom setting: As they would if impacted by other illnesses, students testing positive for COVID-19 should contact their teaching instructors to communicate that they will not be able to attend class while symptomatic or in isolation, and to work out arrangements to keep up with coursework. Instructors should not transition their full courses to remote learning if multiple students are in isolation and instead should consult with their unit head before making changes to course delivery.
  • On-Campus housing: Students who test positive will primarily isolate in place, which is in alignment with the ACHA guidance.

2. Positive case notification:

  • Positive case notification requirements for employees remain in place with modifications. Employees who test positive must inform their supervisor, who must then inform those who were directly exposed to a person with COVID-19 (close contacts) and those present in the affected areas, without identifying the infected employee. Positive COVID-19 notification forms are no longer required. Guidance for employees and supervisors will be included on the HR website.

3. Testing:

  • While supplies last, OSU will continue to provide free at-home antigen test kits at multiple locations on the Corvallis and Bend campuses. Information on test kit distribution locations is included on the Beaver Healthy site.

4. Vaccine:

  • There remains strong public health rationale to require vaccinations, and at minimum, the primary series of COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, OSU’s policy requiring proof of primary vaccination series remains in place. Staying up to date on vaccines is the best way to support your immune response and protect against more serious illness. Being up-to-date on your vaccines is widely recommended by CDC, the OHA, and local public health authorities throughout Oregon. 
  • Monthly COVID-19 vaccination clinics are scheduled at the Memorial Union on the Corvallis campus and are promoted on the Beaver Healthy website, as well as on OSU Today. These clinics will provide the new bivalent booster that targets the current Omicron variant. OSU-Cascades will hold a vaccination clinic in October that will dispense flu shots as well.

 

General MPV Status Update:

OSU’s MPV (hMPVX/Monkeypox) plan is informed by ACHA’s Emerging Considerations for Addressing MPV in Higher Education Settings guidance as well as guidance from our local public health authority. All MPV information provided by OSU is located on OSU’s Student Health Services (SHS) website.

Per the CDC, MPV is not considered a significant risk on college campuses, but there are community groups that may be impacted and should be aware of current information about MPV. We are sensitive to the need to provide this critical education without stigmatizing members of the community.

Plans are underway to provide education on MPV to the broader community, with Student Health Services (SHS), Samaritan Health Services, the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, OSU Extension, OHA and county health authorities all contributing. Guidelines on how to manage infection and exposure in university residential settings are based on the recent ACHA considerations and CDC guidance for congregate living settings.

 

We have learned a great deal as a university community over the past few years. As we enter the new academic year in a much stronger place, we are pleased to offer new tools and information to contribute to personal and community wellness. As always, please reach out if you have any questions. Let’s continue working together to support individual and community health.

Thank you,

 

Dan Larson
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator

Date: 
September 13, 2022