Dear OSU Community Members,
I hope your winter term is off to a good start, despite the continued stress we all feel due to COVID-19. Case counts will be higher than we have previously experienced and are predicted to peak in late January. While most individuals who have tested positive through OSU-provided testing are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, the Omicron wave is likely to result in many having to isolate while they are potentially infectious. Vaccination, masking, and other efforts are minimizing the extent to which Omicron leads to severe health outcomes, but the next several weeks will require a great deal of flexibility, patience and compassion as we move toward and past the peak.
The information below is intended to assist you in preparing and responding as we work together during this next COVID-19 surge.
Updated Isolation and Quarantine Requirements
Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s December 27, 2021 update to the recommended isolation and quarantine period, the Oregon Health Authority has now updated its guidance. OSU’s isolation and quarantine requirements are consistent with OHA’s updates. A quick reference guide is available here.
OSU’s Vaccine Program Requirements: Boosters
On Dec. 28, 2021, the university announced that COVID-19 booster shots would be required as part of its Vaccination Program Requirement. OSU requires that all students and employees not eligible for an exemption be up-to-date on their vaccination sequences. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) defines being up-to-date as having received a booster or a second vaccine dose of Moderna within the past six months; a booster or second dose of the Pfizer vaccine within the past five months; or receipt of an initial dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the past two months.
All OSU students and employees who are currently eligible for their booster must be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccine doses by Feb. 15, 2022. Please upload your proof of up-to-date vaccination on SHS’s secure Patient Portal. OSU students and employees who are not yet eligible for boosters are required to obtain their booster within 30 days after becoming eligible. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to learn more about booster eligibility.
It is your responsibility to know when you are eligible and required to obtain your booster. However, OSU will review vaccination records regularly to verify compliance for those who have not updated their vaccination record 30 days after they became eligible.
Additional information regarding compliance may be found on the Frequently Asked Questions page of the university’s COVID-19 Safety and Success website.
Those who do not currently have an approved exemption from OSU’s Vaccination Program requirements must complete one of the COVID-19 Vaccine Exception Request Forms provided on the Student Health Services website. Exemptions are allowable for medical or disability reasons or sincerely held religious beliefs.
Corvallis: Boosters are available at the Linn County Expo Center and Sam Care Express sites. Visit the Samaritan Health Services or Benton County Health Department sites for more information. Also, OSU is working with Samaritan Health Services and Benton County Health Department on possible high-volume booster clinics on the OSU-Corvallis campus this month. On-campus clinic dates will be communicated when they are available.
Bend: Visit Getvaccinated.oregon.gov to find locations providing COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters in central Oregon. In addition, in collaboration with OHA’s Vaccine Operations Team Equity (VOTE) program, OSU-Cascades will host booster clinics in the atrium of Edward J. Ray Hall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 12 and from 3 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 13.
Please note that we have included time to receive a booster shot as an additional provision within COVID-19 leave.
Testing and Positive Cases
For students and employees at the Corvallis and OSU-Cascades campuses, COVID-19 testing continues to be available for those who are not symptomatic, and voluntarily seek testing, and for those who are not in compliance with the OSU “fully vaccinated” definition and therefore are required to test weekly, and are not symptomatic. Until further notice OSU will continue to support testing in collaboration with Willamette Valley Toxicology, so that members of the OSU community can know when they need to isolate to minimize the potential for further transmission while they may be infectious.
Events and Activities
In-person events, activities and programming contribute to the vitality of the university and community, even while we work to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Vaccines, testing, and face coverings are tools that health authorities are telling us work in controlling spread and avoiding a return to lock-downs. OSU will continue to utilize these tools to maintain in-person activities to the greatest extent feasible. Proof of up-to-date vaccination status or a negative test result within 72 hours continue to be required at designated events, including athletics events, concerts and conferences. Event planners can request an evaluation of whether their event should require proof of up-to-date vaccination or negative test, as well as obtain helpful guidance and resources by visiting the OSU Safety and Success Plan website.
Face coverings are still required in all indoor settings according to Oregon Administrative Rule 333-019-1025. We understand that many are growing tired of wearing face coverings. We also know that many are growing tired and frustrated at observing others not wearing a face covering. We ask that all continue to engage in the necessary public health measures to minimize negative health outcomes associated with COVID-19. Please do not make it the responsibility of your peers, co-workers, and others you come into contact with to request or enforce your compliance. Correct and consistent mask and face covering use is a critical step everyone can take to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19. To improve the efficacy of the face covering you chose to use, please visit the CDC’s guidance on how to increase your protection levels.
As always, the university will be ready to adjust its measures and operations when doing so could yield improved outcomes. Thank you for your vigilance and commitment to our shared public health.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator