Dear OSU community,

President Alexander and I recently wrote with an update explaining the principles and indicators the university is using to monitor the status of COVID-19 and decide the level of onsite activity at OSU locations. We emphasized that the health of students, faculty, staff and community members remains our top priority as we navigate the pandemic.

In response to questions received since our message, we have created an additional tool to clarify how we are determining specific levels of university onsite activity. The tool defines four public health condition levels, from Level 1—a condition in which a reliable vaccine and/or treatment is available—to Level 4, in which the governor has issued a stay-at-home order because an outbreak of the virus is in imminent danger of overwhelming health response systems. Details on how the health condition levels are defined, the extent of onsite activity associated with each level, and the indicators we are using to monitor changes in level are available on the university’s COVID-19 Safety and Success website.

At present, the University has designated most of its locations statewide as operating at Level 2: COVID-19 cases are present but they are relatively few, protective measures are working, and public health systems have adequate capacity to respond. Looking ahead to fall term, a Level 2 designation means we will teach using a variety of modalities, with a majority of instruction held online and via remote means. At Level 2, research and engagement activities and programs may take place onsite when physical distancing and other health measures are effective in providing for health and safety.

At this time, trends in some OSU locations are tracking toward Level 3, a condition characterized by protective measures under significant stress and public health response systems at or near capacity. For locations designated at Level 3, fall term activities would be characterized by very limited in-person instruction and very low onsite density of OSU employees, students and visitors.

As COVID-19 conditions across the state change, we will consult local staff and health authorities and make decisions regarding changes in public health status levels for OSU locations. Our Safety and Success website will continuously update the current public health level for all OSU locations. In this video message, Dan Larson, vice provost for student affairs and OSU’s COVID-19 response coordinator, explains how OSU will utilize the Level 1-4 tool in evaluating conditions by county and determining the extent of local OSU onsite activities.

I want to stress the following:

  • The definition of public health condition levels is an information resource that complements our OSU Resumption Plan (PDF). We continue to follow the plan, which is guiding our efforts under modified return as of July 14.
  • OSU has locations in every Oregon county. As conditions statewide may vary, the level of onsite OSU activity may vary, depending on location.
  • Barring a Governor’s stay-at-home order and a Level 4 condition, we anticipate having some onsite activity at our Corvallis and Bend campuses in the fall, including instruction, research, extracurricular and co-curricular activities, and residential living. What continues to evolve is the nature and extent of that activity. All of our academic and administrative leaders are prepared to guide faculty and staff in adjusting plans as conditions change.

As always, our responses to COVID-19 will remain in full alignment with the guidance provided by state and county health authorities. Please see the OSU COVID-19 Safety and Success website for additional information.


Edward Feser
Provost and Executive Vice President

July 20, 2020