OSU faculty and staff,
The start of fall term within Oregon State University is just around the corner.
While this year will undoubtedly be like no other given the pandemic, attention to racial injustice and inequalities nationally, and recent very serious wildfires and smoke affecting much of the state, I write to assure you that OSU will continue to deliver unwavering quality in all we do. We will inspire students to learn and discover in supportive, engaging environments. OSU research, innovation and outreach will be more important than ever as we address humanity’s most pressing challenges. In the face of the pandemic and other matters of importance facing our state and nation, it will take each of us to be at our best.
The university’s Board of Trustees approved OSU’s Resumption Plan on Aug. 14, 2020, and we submitted the plan as required to the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission. This fall, we are planning for nearly 95% of instructional activities on the Corvallis campus to be conducted remotely. At OSU-Cascades, about half of all classes are planned to be offered on-site/in-person or in a blended format, with both on-site/in-person and remote instruction. Through limited on-site instruction, OSU is working to maintain low on-site density on our campuses. We also will provide expanded virus prevalence testing at OSU campuses and centers in Corvallis, Bend and Newport; support local county contract tracing efforts; provide for isolation and quarantine services; engage in extensive public health promotion; and promote adherence to new policies for Face Coverings and Physical Distancing. Here is a link to a video on what fall term will look like. Please share this link with fellow students, university colleagues, and family and community members.
Through the work of our Continuity Management Team, as well as continued engagement with community stakeholder groups, health authority partners, and statewide coordination teams, OSU remains laser-focused on the health of students, employees and local communities.
We ask that you stay informed; participate in prevalence testing; adhere to—and encourage others to adhere to—OSU’s public health measures; and remain flexible. To keep you informed, we have added a COVID-19 dashboard located on the COVID-19 Safety and Success website. This dashboard includes important public health and other metrics that will be updated each week and inform adjustments in our plans.
On Sept. 16, 2020, we will host a webinar to provide an overview of the OSU’s testing strategy. At the center of this strategy is measuring the prevalence of the virus on campuses in Corvallis and Bend and at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. As part of this effort, we will conduct weekly random prevalence testing through the TRACE OSU team. While participation in random prevalence testing will be voluntary, for safety’s sake, we encourage you to participate when invited. Understanding the prevalence of the virus is key to having the data necessary to inform operational plans. Details on how to participate in the webinar will be shared in the next few days and will be available on the COVID-19 Safety and Successwebsite.
I remain both confident and realistic about OSU’s strategy. I have studied the resumption plans of numerous universities nationally and talk daily with university presidents across the nation. OSU’s plans are in alignment with the nation’s most prepared institutions. I recognize that it is inevitable that we will see more cases of COVID-19. When they do occur, be assured that we will engage in rapid testing, support local county contract tracing, and work to contain cases.
Success depends on each and every one of us. We must act together as a community by engaging in and modeling protective personal and public health behaviors. Here is a video indicating my commitment and that asks each of you to join me. I hope you do join me and please share this video with others.
Together, we help build a safer and healthier community.
F. King Alexander