Dear OSU Community Members,
Effective Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, Gov. Kate Brown will require a new COVID-19 health and safety framework to regulate local activities in Oregon communities based upon the level of virus risk in a county over the past 14 days.
Depending on level of risk – extreme, high, moderate and low – activities are subject to greater or lesser restrictions. County risk levels will be adjusted every two weeks. While the operations of Oregon’s public universities remain guided primarily by Executive Order 20-28, which requires university adherence to Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) and Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC)Guidance for the Conduct of In-Person Instructional, Residential and Research Activities, the Governor’s new health and safety framework will impact some OSU operations, as outlined below. All other functions, such as on-site or field-based research activities, will continue to take place under the existing guidelines.
In-person Instruction: State guidance on in-person instruction and on-campus residential and research activities has been updated, limiting in-person instruction to a maximum of 25 people (including instructor) for counties that are in the “extreme risk” category. While this change has minimal impact for the remainder of fall term, it will affect in-person classes particularly in Corvallis for winter term, should at any time Benton County be at “extreme risk.” The OSU Continuity Management Team, in consultation with academic units, is currently reviewing the implications of this new restriction on winter term in-person courses. No changes have been made to guidance for residential and research activities.
Other University Operations Under New Framework: Where university operations fall outside the HECC guidance on in-person instruction, residential and research activities (e.g., dining and child-care facilities), state Sector Guidelines continue to apply, and will be adjusted based on any changes within a county risk level. University operations that follow sector guidance should use the Sector Risk Level Guidance Chart to guide their operations as county risk levels fluctuate, as well as continue to use existing OHA Sector Guidelines. We expect updated OHA guidance for each sector to be provided soon.
Recreational Facilities: Following the Sector Risk Level Guidance, if Benton or Deschutes counties are at “extreme risk,” Dixon Recreation Center, the OSU Tennis Pavilion, and the OSU-Cascades fitness center must be closed. Currently, Benton County is designated “high risk,” meaning Dixon Recreation Center and associated facilities will be open beginning Dec. 3, 2020, but with limited capacity. This does not include occupancy associated with non-fitness functions within Dixon Recreation Center, such as Our Little Village. Deschutes County is designated “extreme risk” at this time, which does not allow for the reopening of OSU-Cascades fitness center. Please visit the Recreational Sports website for the up-to-date status of recreational facilities, sports and activities on the Corvallis campus. And visit the OSU Cascades Recreation website for the status of the OSU-Cascades’ fitness center status.
OSU Physical Distancing Policy: OSU Physical Distancing Policy limits on gatherings will remain in effect, regardless of county risk level. The physical distancing policy also requires that employees who have been physically onsite at an OSU location at any time in the previous 14 days must notify their supervisor if they believe that within that time they have been exposed to COVID-19; if they have symptoms of COVID-19; if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19; or if they have had a positive COVID-19 test result.
Updated Communicable Disease Response Plan: COVID-19 case counts across the nation and in our own communities are climbing at alarming rates. Rapid communication of potential exposure is critical to minimizing exposure. OSU has processes in place to respond to positive cases within the university community. Please familiarize yourself with the Communicable Disease Management Plan, which provides guidance on reporting protocols and employer/employee reporting obligations.
As we continue to receive new information and guidance from the state, we will adjust university plans accordingly and provide you with regular updates.
In the meantime, please continue to be diligent in wearing your face coverings, washing your hands, maintaining physical distance, participating in testing opportunities, signing up for the Oregon Exposure Notification Pilot, and responding when you are contacted by contact tracers.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator