Dear OSU Community Members,
 
OHA announced today that changes in how we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic are on the horizon.
 
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced it will lift indoor mask requirements on March 19, 2022, citing significant declines in hospitalizations with the virus, and new infections declining in recent weeks by more than 80%.  

As OSU has done throughout the pandemic, we plan to remain aligned with OHA and guidance provided by local public health authorities. Therefore, we anticipate the latest date that the university will require masks to be worn indoors will be March 19, pending the lifting of county-level masking mandates across Oregon. 

We understand that for some this will be a challenging and concerning change. Our goal is to continue making decisions guided by expert advice, while ensuring vulnerable members of our community have the tools they need to increase their level of protection.
 
For more information on the principles and rationale guiding the university’s public health approach going forward, please visit the Safety & Success website, which includes updated FAQs. OSU will host an online informational session with public health authorities and infectious disease experts to provide guidance and answer questions in the coming days. An announcement on date and time will be provided through OSU Today and other forums.
 
OSU will promote wellness and contribute to safety by:

  1. Continuing to be guided by federal, state and local health authority guidelines and recommendations, including guidance for specific sectors or programs;
  2. Promoting and enforcing OSU’s vaccination program, including OSU community members being up-to-date on their vaccinations;
  3. Supporting the continued use of masks by all who wish to do so, and for those who are at higher risk of illness, because health authorities have told us that a well-fitting, high quality (N95/KN95) mask provides the wearer a significant level of protection, even if others around you are unmasked;
  4. Continuing to update the OSU community on public health conditions related to the pandemic and associated measures in response.

What you can do to support your personal health and the wellness of others:

  1. OHA highly recommends that people who are at higher risk, including if you are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, have underlying health conditions, are 65 or older, or live with someone in one of these categories, continue to wear a well-fitting mask to help protect themselves and others, particularly while in indoor public settings and higher-density outdoor locations;
  2. Respect others’ personal choice to wear a mask;
  3. Stay home if you are not feeling well or are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Get tested for COVID-19 if you exhibit viral symptoms;
  4. Be up-to-date on your vaccinations and booster shots;
  5. Stay informed on the status of the pandemic and public and personal health measures through trusted and science-based information sources.

The discontinuance of the statewide indoor mask mandate marks a long-awaited positive turn in the fight against COVID-19, but this transition will require the best of our community as we enter a new stage of pandemic response. Equity is central to public health, and we must continue to support those who are most at risk and vulnerable through our policies and actions, and by demonstrating compassion and empathy for each other.
 
As always, please reach out if I can answer questions. 
Dan Larson
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator

Date: 
February 24, 2022