Dear OSU Community Members,
The Oregon Health Authority announced yesterday that Oregon’s mandate for wearing masks within public indoor spaces will be discontinued no later than March 31, 2022. Health officials noted the mandate could be lifted sooner if conditions allow. We expect that local public health authorities will provide similar clarity in the very near future on county mask mandates.
At this time, there is no change to face covering requirements at OSU. In the coming weeks, we will evaluate carefully whether mask use remains necessary within university environments, especially classrooms. As we consider the implications for OSU of the state mandate being lifted in March or sooner, our primary objective will remain the same: to maintain measures that are demonstrated to protect the health of the university community and the communities in which we operate.
OHA’s announcement does represent an important signal regarding the course of the pandemic, including the decline in cases and an ongoing evaluation by public health authorities of the effectiveness of various protective measures with the advent of the Omicron variant. As in the past, pandemic conditions continue to change as does our response. With that in mind, we are announcing two changes to current OSU policies.
Proof of vaccination no longer required for designated outdoor events
Lower rates of transmission outdoors coupled with evidence that being vaccinated is less effective at reducing transmission than earlier understood indicates that continuing to require attendees at designated outdoor events to show proof of vaccination (or provide proof of a recent negative test) is not yielding the public health benefit originally envisioned. Effective immediately, OSU is discontinuing this requirement for outdoor events. The university will continue to require proof of vaccination (or a recent negative test) for designated indoor events, such as athletic events.
Compliance deadline for COVID-19 booster delayed to May 1, 2022
On Dec. 28, 2021, the university announced that effective Feb. 15, 2022, COVID-19 booster shots would be required for those eligible students and employees, to comply with OSU’s vaccination program. The deadline assumed that boosters would be readily available and easily accessible. While booster clinics are now provided in many locations across Oregon, availability is still mixed across the state. Therefore, OSU’s booster compliance deadline has been extended to May 1, 2022. As soon as possible, upload your proof of up-to-date vaccination on Student Health Service’s secure Patient Portal.
Please visit OSU’s Safety and Success website for FAQs about these changes, as well as information about vaccine availability near you.
I will continue to provide updates on any changes in state and local public health requirements and how they might impact OSU policy and operations. Thank you for supporting our shared public health.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator