Dear OSU Community Members,
The significant transmission rate of the Delta variant and increase in COVID-19 cases, primarily among the unvaccinated, is concerning and stressful. At the same time, we face very different conditions today than at the start of the pandemic in early spring 2020, when we shifted primarily to remote operations.
With our vaccination requirement, very high rates of vaccination among our students and employees, the use of face coverings, and the use of other public health measures related to cleaning and ventilation, our plan to return to in-person instruction and more on-site activities in the fall remains.
Our latest updates, based on public health guidance and our ongoing consultation with local and state public health authorities, follow.
Please use a face covering in all OSU indoor settings and follow any other local public health requirements that apply in your location. Face coverings remain a highly effective community and individual measure in reducing transmission of the virus.
New Benton County Outdoor Face Covering Requirement:
Per Benton County’s order, individuals five years of age and older must wear masks or face coverings in outdoor public settings where physical distancing of six feet is not feasible. This policy is in addition to Oregon’s face-covering requirement for indoor settings.
Deschutes County Public Health is urging the use of face coverings outside where physical distancing is not possible. Other jurisdictions may have their own face covering requirements. Be sure to check for local face covering requirements.
No Face Covering Required while Teaching:
Per the State of Oregon’s indoor face covering and mask mandate, a face covering is not required when teaching a class, when all of the following conditions are met:
Events and Activities May Continue:
With the use of face coverings as a primary public health measure, and with thoughtful event design and consideration of timing and location, in-person events and activities may continue at this time. In fact, in-person events and activities are an important component of the vitality of our university and community, even as we work to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you are planning an event or activity and would like to consult with someone on how to apply public health measures within your activity, please contact Shelly Signs with University Events or Kelly Sparks for OSU Cascades. Additional guidance can be found on the In-person Events Planning website. We encourage all community members to feel comfortable in making their own personal decisions regarding attending events as we continue to live with COVID-19.
Proof of Vaccination Required for Designated Events and Spaces:
As an added measure to reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19, proof of vaccination, or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, will be required to gain access to designated university spaces and activities. Designated spaces will be defined by the Coronavirus Response Coordinator and in consultation with program leaders and the local public health authority. Examples may include athletic events, concerts, and conferences, recreation centers, field trips and other experiential learning activities that present higher risk.
We expect to allow use of CDC-issued vaccination record cards and other records, as well as possible technological solutions, in providing provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test. Details on how this requirement will be implemented will be shared in the days ahead.
OSU students are proving highly committed to their personal wellness and public health. Even before OSU’s Sept. 15 deadline for compliance, approximately 19,800 students of the roughly 20,700 students whose status requires compliance, have already completed the compliance process. Of those who have completed the process, approximately 18,700 students or 94% of those in compliance with the policy are fully vaccinated.
Beginning Monday, Aug. 23, OSU employees can begin complying with the university’s vaccination program requirements. Employees are required to attest that they are fully vaccinated. Attestation does not require employees to submit medical information. OSU employees who claim an exemption based on a medical or non-medical reason must complete an educational module. Employees can complete the compliance process by visiting OSU’s Safety and Success website.
The Beyond Benefits Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides work life and counseling support to OSU employees. Text and chat counseling services are now available through their connection with BetterHelp. To access benefits, call Beyond Benefits EAP at 1-855-327-4722 and let them know your specific needs. Beyond Benefits EAP is hosting the following webinars on topics designed to support employees during the next six weeks:
The webinars are recorded. Employees may register for these webinars or watch recordings of past webinars on the Human Resources Benefits website.
As a community we can contribute to personal and public wellness and resume on-site learning, teaching, research, outreach programs and other activities by following the guidelines above and supporting one another, just as we have done since the start of the pandemic.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator