Oregon State University leaders recognize that the global coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic may require all of us to take unprecedented, aligned and localized responses to enable our students to continue to make progress in their studies.
These efforts may necessitate that all faculty, staff and students make adjustments in how we teach and learn within OSU.
Some universities nationally and globally already have announced decisions in response to high risk health circumstances within their immediate community. For example, the University of Washington announced today that through March 29, classes and finals will not be held in person and, where possible, will be provided by remote delivery.
To be clear, the state of Washington – particularly within the Seattle area – is experiencing a higher level of public health risk than Oregon. Decisions being made by the University of Washington and other universities, colleges and institutions in Washington are being guided by direction from the Washington Health Authority and local public health officials.
At this time, the public health risk in Oregon from the coronavirus is lower than it is in Washington, and in other states and nations where colleges and universities have curtailed holding classes, labs or exams in person.
Throughout all of Oregon State University, we are advised locally on levels of public risk and response by county health departments and the Oregon Health Authority. Yet, even while our current level of public health risk remains low, we must be prepared for the possibility of a localized outbreak.
In such case, it may become necessary to suspend face-to-face meetings and instruction for a period of time. While that time is not now within OSU, all OSU faculty and graduate teaching assistants are being asked to review how to deliver all courses remotely using Canvas, our learning management system, as well as Zoom, OSU’s web-conference tool. These tools already are available to all faculty and students. Meanwhile, as we provide additional coronavirus contingency plans, additional student and faculty support and training resources will be made available. Additionally, some of this information may not be relevant for our students who are solely learning at a distance currently, but we want to keep all of our OSU students informed.
We understand that this is a challenging situation and will take extra effort by all as we all collaborate continue providing students with the education they desire and deserve, while also keeping the university community safe and well.
More information and links to OSU’s new “Keep Teaching” website will provided soon.