Pathway to Fall

PDF version of this guide is available. For questions about this guide, you may reach out directly to the relevant department or send your question to the non-emergency questions email.

Executive Summary

Oregon State University is planning to resume traditional on-site and in-person activities at OSU locations for academic year 2021-22.

We make these plans with a careful eye on current, comprehensive public health and mitigation strategies and continuation of the Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) vaccine distribution plan for all Oregonians.

OSU’s plans will require ongoing commitment and support from all members of the OSU community, a continued decline in COVID-19 infection rates, and adherence to federal, state, and other applicable guidance and requirements that permit increased on-site and in-person activities.

 While subject to change, we are currently planning for fall to include: 

  1. Resumption of in-person instruction as the primary modality of delivery at all OSU locations.
  2. Resumption of in-person administrative and operational services.
  3. Resumption of in-person and site-based research and fieldwork.
  4. Resumption of in-person and on-site co-curricular and extracurricular activities.
  5. Expansion of on-campus housing to function at a more traditional capacity.
  6. Collegiate athletic competition with limited on-site fan attendance.

OSU will operate in alignment with Oregon Governor’s Executive Order 20-28 and associated Oregon Health Authority and Higher Education Coordinating Commission Guidance for the Conduct of In-Person Instructional, Residential, and Research Activities at Oregon Colleges and Universities. Additional local public health requirements may apply depending on the type of OSU activity, a county’s COVID-19 risk level, and the location of activities planned.

Section I: Introduction

We remain optimistic that public health conditions will allow OSU to provide primarily in-person teaching on our campuses and on-site research, engagement, extracurricular programs and activities. The return process will be gradual and flexible. We know the transition requires patience and compassion, as much as clarity and structure. Pathway to Fall complies with state and local health guidelines and is informed by public health experts from a joint taskforce from Oregon State University and the University of Oregon. While we expect vaccination to drive dramatic improvements in public health conditions well before fall term, we anticipate continuing to employ an appropriate mix of public health measures, such as wearing face coverings, engaging in physical distancing, and utilizing COVID-19 testing.

The following principles serve as the foundation of OSU’s resumption plan.

  • We will continue to take informed, proactive and intentional approaches to supporting the health, well-being and safety of all members of the OSU community. This includes careful review, exploration and adjustment of policies, practices and systems of support for students, faculty and staff at OSU locations.
  • We plan to implement a Vaccine Program that will include a requirement for all students and employees learning or working at any OSU location to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • OSU’s service as a state and national leader in teaching, research and outreach and extension necessitates resumption of on-site and in-person activity to the greatest extent possible. While OSU delivered on its mission during the most extreme conditions of the global pandemic, continued remote delivery of nearly all of OSU’s education and programming is not effective on a long-term basis to fulfill the university’s mission.
  • We plan to use an appropriate mix of pedagogically appropriate instructional modalities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels (face-to-face, synchronous online/remote and asynchronous online/Ecampus). Regardless of modality, we will provide students with quality instruction allowing them to attain course and program learning outcomes, and progress successfully to graduation, graduate study, and/or career.
  • OSU prioritizes consistent communication with students, faculty, graduate assistants and staff. We are committed to transparency in decision-making and communications and to engaging perspectives and voices from students, faculty and staff to the greatest extent possible.
  • The pandemic has had disparate impacts on members of the OSU community. The move to remote services also has provided disparate impacts, as will the resumption of on-site and in-person activity. Addressing these disparities is a driving force in the university’s planning for return to on-site and in-person activity.
  • In parallel with our efforts to resume traditional on-site operations this fall, the university will conduct full assessments of flexible learning and work approaches as part of an overall future of learning and work strategy.
  • Ventilation in university buildings is an important aspect as we return to on-site. HVAC systems have been adjusted where possible to maximize fresh air and filtration, and HVAC operations follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers. Please see more details on the Campus Building Ventilation webpage.
  • Custodial staff and contractors will continue to clean and disinfect university spaces based on CDC recommendations, utilizing EPA-approved chemicals. Additional information about cleaning standards will be maintained on the Environmental Health and Safety Website.

Pathway to fall – Returning to On-site and In-person Activity

Subject to change based on executive order or other legal requirements and local conditions.

OSU expects to transition to higher-density, on-site and in-person activity in phased and gradual steps over the next several months, helping employees to develop comfort and confidence as we re-establish on-site workplace norms. This transition can be altered quickly if local conditions or legal requirements warrant.   

Employees should continue to review the OHA Sector Guidance ― General Guidance for Employers and Organizations to ensure requirements are met for non-instructional or research workspaces; OHA/HECC Guidance for workspaces that support in-person instruction; residential and research activities; and the OSHA Temporary Rules for COVID-19 workplace safety.

  • Most employees -- who prior to the COVID-19 pandemic remote work requirements provided on-site and in-person instruction, research, outreach and engagement, programming, services, and operations -- are expected to return to on-site activities. Yet, some positions may remain working remotely dependent on unit-based strategies for maintaining lower density presence and physical distancing or as otherwise permitted by unit leadership, as described below.
  • There may be circumstances where remote learning and working continue as a component of in-person activities and university program delivery. Given OSU’s commitment to a culture of care, supervisors will work within university-level guidance within this document and on the OSU Safety & Success website in assessing and approving continued remote work arrangements that extend into the fall term.
  • Employees who are required and approved to be on-site to deliver reduced density/mixed modality, instruction, research, outreach and engagement, programming, services, and operations may be on-site.
  • Employees who provide extracurricular, co-curricular and other in-person programming to support limited in-person engagement (preferably outside, if possible) for students and community members can be on-site as public health conditions allow.
  • Starting with fall term 2021, any continuing partial or full-time remote work arrangements must be documented and approved in advance by an employee’s supervisor as part of a remote working agreement.

Spring term operations are expected to be consistent with fall 2020 and winter 2021 terms. There may be minimal increases in on-site and in-person activity, though offices that have been fully remote may continue to operate remotely for the remainder of spring term. Deans, vice presidents and vice provosts may provide gradual allowance for return to offices and workspaces, while continuing to provide remote services for students, faculty, staff, and community members for the remainder of the term.

In the mid- to late spring, employees who are preparing for the delivery of on-site and in-person activity beginning summer term may be on-site.

Central operations (e.g., Office of Admissions, Business Office, and Office of the Registrar) are expected to be open in summer - and may do so with reduced staff density. On-site flexibility options include modified in-person service hours, with remote service provided during standard business hours. The plan is to increase on-site and in-person activity associated with all summer programming, as allowable given public health conditions, OHA requirements and other applicable requirements and guidelines. Remote work for employees whose functions can be fully performed remotely may continue if their working remotely does not negatively impact program/service delivery or place undue burden on other personnel, units or resources.

In the mid- to late summer, employees who are preparing for the delivery of on-site and in-person activity beginning fall term should plan to begin to transition back on-site.

Summer Activities Guidance

In support of resuming activities, summer programming will contribute to the transition to vibrant, in-person activities.

At this time, under EO 20-28, external groups are not able to utilize university space unless alternative space is not available within the community, or the activity is considered university business. University business includes those activities that are directly tied to the core academic, learning, research, and extension and engagement mission of the university. 

Approval for the university business summer program activities should be obtained from the appropriate Dean, Director or Department Head. Approval for external groups seeking to use an OSU location that do not have an alternative venue should be obtained from the coronavirus response coordinator. Activity must not displace any OSU program or affect core university functions.

For additional guidance, see On-site Events and Activities Section.

The pathway to fall 2021 gradually transitions OSU back to traditional on-site and in-person activity to the greatest extent possible. All university operations and offices are expected to be open during traditional business hours with reduced density only where necessary. It is assumed that employees traditionally working on-site before the pandemic are expected to work on-site in the fall unless they are working remotely as part of reduced density rotation or staffing strategy. Some employees may wish to continue to work either fully or partly remotely even as much of our on-site operations resume. These arrangements may be possible, and they will require a remote working agreement.

For fall 2021, university spaces may require some amount of physical distancing, based on Oregon Health Authority, OSHA and other applicable requirements. OHA guidance on physical distancing requirements and/or total capacities on the number of people in one room will be followed. Resources such as the following provide information for units to determine the appropriate capacity for their areas:

  • Space Playbook
  • OSU Maximum Allowable Capacity in Space
  • At times and due to space restrictions, other methods might be needed to maintain physical distancing requirements. Unit level decisions include:
    • Consideration of rotating employee schedules if unable to configure space with adequate distancing.
    • Continued remote work of some employees to limit contact between employees and spread of COVID-19.
  • Units will be responsible for ensuring appropriate signage is in place and that signage adheres to campus signage plan standards for temporary signage where applicable (i.e., physical distancing expectations, face coverings requirement, traffic flow patterns, and cleaning protocols).
  • OSU is planning for building entrances to display signs to indicate maintaining proper distancing and to “keep to the right” in passage. Where practical to the operation of the building, specific entrances and exits should be designated to limit density at doorways. All identified entrances and exits must not be blocked and provide for emergency egress.
  • Inventories of cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment and face coverings must be monitored and maintained. OSU has arranged for bulk pricing of many items. The “Resumption Supplies Link” in BennyBuy offers access.
  • Face coverings will be made available in key locations (i.e., library, Memorial Union, health services locations).
  • Ventilation in university buildings is an important aspect as we return to on-site. HVAC systems have been adjusted where possible to maximize fresh air and filtration, and HVAC operations follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers. Please see more details on the Campus Building Ventilation webpage.
  • Custodial staff and contractors will continue to clean and disinfect university spaces based on CDC recommendations, utilizing EPA-approved chemicals. Additional information about cleaning standards will be maintained on the Environmental Health and Safety Website.

Many OSU employees were encouraged to take furniture, technology, equipment and supplies home when OSU transitioned into a remote teaching and working mode in spring 2020. As we plan for resuming on-site activities and operation, we have devised a program for assuring a safe return to work environment. Brief information provided below and details will be available on the Operations Move-in Guide website the week of April 26, 2021.

To support the successful and deliberate moving of employees back on-site, facilities management, with assistance from building managers, is planning to provide a move-in assistance program over the summer. An anticipated schedule of building-by-building assistance will be will be available on the Operations Move-in Guide website the week of April 26, 2021.

As employees return on-site, support for reconnecting technology and equipment will be provided by the central IT Team assigned to your college, department or unit. Updated cyber tools will be loaded to ensure protection of OSU resources. Guidelines for bringing equipment back within OSU locations, provided by OSU University Information and Technology, will be available on the Operations Move-in Guide website the week of April 26, 2021.

OSU IT also will assist in reviewing and updating technologies and equipment that have been unused or minimally used during primarily remote work, such as printers, copiers, conference room technology and phones.

Service Desks and other support units are planning to continue to offer a hybrid level of services with remote as well as on-site support to guide and assist transitions for those returning to campus.

  • Corvallis on campus parking will continue to emphasize flexibility with daily permits available for hybrid students and employees.
  • Visit the Transportation Services website for information about parking on campus.
  • For OSU-Cascades, visit the parking services website.
  • The BeaverBus on the Corvallis campus is planned to operate the 2021-22 academic year and will follow applicable CDC, OSHA, Oregon Health Authority, and industry specific best practices, requirements and guidelines. Transit service adjustments will be made as needed to accommodate campus activity and safety protocols. See the Beaver Bus website for routes and schedules.
  • The University Motorpool is planned to continue to operate while following all applicable CDC, OSHA, OHA and industry requirements and OSU policies. Changes in operations or guidance will be updated on the Motorpool website.

As of June 1, 2021, OSU has lifted the travel restriction put into place due to the pandemic. Employees are to utilize standard process and approval procedures. Deans, vice presidents and vice provosts may choose to implement unit-level travel approval procedures as they manage public health and financial considerations. Employees and supervisors should review travel advisories from health authorities as they make and approve travel plans.

To register for international travel please visit the OSU International Travel Registry. For domestic travel please follow existing department guidelines.

For the latest travel guidance and restrictions review the travel related Frequently Asked Questions on the COVID-19 Safety & Success website.

As many OSU employees begin to transition to largely in-person work and operations, the following guidance is to help units thoughtfully approach how meetings are conducted.

  • It is no longer necessary to limit meetings to only remote means. Further, in-person meetings that are conducted with public health measures in place are encouraged.
  • Returning to on-site work may be destabilizing for some after months of remotely working. Establishing opportunities for in-person, employee-to-employee engagement is one way that we can re-connect with colleagues and help ease the transition.
  • Though not the norm, it is expected that some employees will continue to work remotely for several reasons, either on a temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent basis. Technology options for those employees to participate remains important. However, leaders may decide that a certain number of meetings are attended in person by all employees, if appropriate.
  • Unit leaders, in consultation with employees, can create criteria for when meetings require in-person attendance, and when hybrid or fully remote meetings are acceptable or beneficial. It is recommended that this criteria-setting begin right away so that all employees within units are aware of parameters before fall term, with the expectation of revisiting the criteria after the transition is underway.
  • Equity must be considered when implementing criteria to ensure all employees with similar roles have similar access to meeting attendance options.
  • When meetings are fully or partially conducted via remote means, to the extent possible, it is best if this is done via video conference rather than by phone to allow for maximum communication queues and access to, and for, each of the participants.

Planning Framework

All on-site events and activities will be conducted in alignment with:

Planning Tool

In addition to obtaining approval from appropriate dean, director or department head, OSU has designed a form for organizers hosting in-person, on-site events in Corvallis to serve as a planning tool. Each submission will be reviewed for adherence to current OSU, OHA, CDC, OSHA requirements, guidelines, and policy. Forms for events held at OSU-Cascades, OSU Extension & Engagement locations, the OSU Portland Center and the Hatfield Marine Science Center are available on their respective web pages. If there are any questions about the submission, the reviewers will reach out to the event planner(s). This review process supports OSU's compliance efforts with local, state, and federal guidelines and requirements, as well as OSU policy. Note that this process is not required for unit-based, college or departmental meetings in the interest of university business but serves as an additional tool for planners.

Space Considerations

To request use of a general purpose classroom for an event (academic or non-course related), please contact your department scheduler. If you do not have a department scheduler, contact the Schedule Desk to request a contact or permission to request spaces.

Activities scheduled through the schedule desk, Facilities Services and our custodial partners are automatically notified of building activity. If scheduling activities in departmental spaces, the Building Manager will need to notify Facilities Services to ensure the building lock and unlock schedule is updated and the appropriate cleaning is completed.

Other Guidance

Recreational Spaces: Campus recreation and outdoor common areas will follow all applicable CDC, OSHA, Oregon Health Authority, and industry specific requirements and carefully consider best practices guidelines.

Recreational Spaces: Campus recreation and outdoor common areas will follow all applicable CDC, OSHA, Oregon Health Authority, and industry specific requirements and carefully consider best practices guidelines.

Section II:  Public Health Guidance

Additional details about OSU’s mitigation strategies can be found on the COVID-19 Safety & Success website.

Oregon State University intends to implement a COVID-19 vaccination requirement beginning fall term 2021 for those students who learn, work or engage in-person in OSU activities and for those employees who, as part of their OSU work, engage in-person with individuals outside of their household. OSU will engage in additional conversation with employees, the Faculty Senate, unions and others as it finalizes the policy, specific exemptions and compliance/enforcement.

The best way to prevent infection from COVID-19 is to be vaccinated as soon as possible and continue to follow recommended or required public health measures (e.g., face coverings).

Some OSU community members may not have had access to the vaccine (e.g., youths) prior to the resumption of university on-site and in-person activity. In addition, some individuals may have medical or religious reasons that preclude them from being vaccinated. OSU will provide a pathway for exemptions legally required by state or federal law. Employees, volunteers and students should understand that any individual they come in to contact with may or may not be vaccinated. Therefore, everyone must follow the current requirements provided by the Oregon Health Authority and university’s COVID-19 health and safety policies.

Employees, volunteers and students are discouraged from discussing who has or has not been vaccinated. Because it is private medical information, supervisors are directed not to ask employees whether they have been or plan to be vaccinated. OSU employees may not ask students whether they have been or plan to be vaccinated. We anticipate that there will be a central process to determine compliance with the vaccination requirement, such that supervisors and others need not determine vaccination status on their own.

General Guidance

OSU community members are expected to take personal responsibility to contribute to public health and safety for themselves and others by reducing the risk of spread of COVID-19.

Individuals are expected to:

  • Follow applicable OHA and CDC guidance, any applicable Executive Orders or other requirements and adhere to OSU Policies.
  • Ensure that they self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before coming on-site or engaging in in-person activities and remain at their residence if symptomatic or ill. Individuals may find additional resources at their app under COVID-19 Resources.
  • Prioritize personal hygiene by washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding face touching and handshaking.
  • Clean personal workspace (office, desk) and living spaces frequently.
  • Stay informed about the latest university, local and general COVID-19 related developments via resources such the OSU Safety and Success Website and the Oregon Health Authority website.
  • Reinforce university public health practices and messaging within the workplace, classrooms and other areas of engagement.

Face Coverings: University Policy: 04-041, Face Covering in Public and Common Settings During Response to COVID-19 Pandemic is anticipated to remain in effect for fall term 2021 and applies regardless of whether someone has been vaccinated. Updates will be communicated to the OSU community as the policy is revised and/or terminated.

Physical Distancing: University Policy: 04-040, Physical Distancing During COVID-19 Pandemic is anticipated to be updated for fall 2021. Updates will be communicated to the OSU community as the policy is revised and/or terminated.

Policy Violations: Each member of the OSU community is responsible for holding themselves accountable to OSU policies and standards. Supervisors are expected to hold their direct reports accountable.  As always, faculty are responsible for classroom management and may refer students to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for further discipline if warranted.  View guidance for preventing and responding to disruptive behavior related to these and other policies.

Communicable Disease Management Plan: In compliance with Executive Order 20-28 and guidance from the OHA and HECC, all Oregon colleges and universities shall have a written communicable disease management plan. OSU’s Communicable Disease Management Plan remains in effect until further notice.

OSHA Workplace Risk Exposure and Risk Assessment and Infection Control Plan: Oregon OSHA Temporary Rule Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks Exposure Risk Assessment and the OSU Infection Control Plan remain in effect until further notice.

Positive Case Exposure Response Guide: OSU’s COVID-19 Notification Plan remains in effect until further notice.

High-Frequency Asymptomatic Screen Testing

The university intends to conduct High Frequency Asymptomatic Screen Testing (HFAST) to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 if it is determined that such testing will improve public health conditions at OSU sites. OSU intends to provide testing for students, faculty and staff who are regularly accessing on-site university space in Corvallis, Bend and at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. OSU is likely going to include offering testing to on-site individuals one time per week as part of effective mitigation efforts. We will be encouraging those who have been vaccinated to participate to inform OSU’s public health response. 

Surveillance Testing

If OSU determines that public health conditions can be improved via testing, OSU intends to continue to perform wastewater surveillance to determine the existence and level of the virus that causes COVID-19 in Corvallis, Bend and at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

Symptomatic Testing for Students

Student Health Services is planning to continue to provide COVID-19 on-site testing to Corvallis campus students who are symptomatic or have been determined to be in recent close contact, as defined by public health authorities, with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

OSU-Cascades students who are symptomatic or have been determined to be in recent close contact will have access to COVID-19 testing on campus. The OSU-Cascades Student Health Coordinator is an available resource for referrals and general navigation of regional health care options.

Symptomatic Testing for Employees

OSU employees should continue seek symptomatic testing services from their primary health care provider.

Rapid Response/On-Demand Testing

There may be circumstances where the university determines it necessary to test a specific group to quickly assess level of exposure to a positive case. This determination will be made by OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator, in consultation with the Executive Director of Student Health Services and the local public health authority.

Use of Test Results

The university will not use COVID-19 test results to determine access to university spaces or programs, unless approved by the OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator. There may be circumstances where the university determines it is necessary to require proof of test results in certain situations or environments. This decision will be made by the OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator, in consultation with appropriate offices and authorities.

Requirements: Students, faculty and staff are required to isolate or quarantine per protocols specified in the Physical Distancing Policy, as updated from time-to-time.

Notifications: Per the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA) Temporary Rule Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks, employee notifications must be initiated in the event an employee has been exposed to, or affected by, COVID-19 while working at an OSU location. Protocols for this requirement can be found in the OSU COVID-19 Notification Plan. As these requirements change, OSU will comply with any updated or removed requirements.

SECTION III: Supervisor/Employee Guidance

For the purpose of this section, “employee” means all academic and professional faculty, classified staff, graduate assistants, temporary and academic wage employees, and student employees. See the resources and pathway to fall 2021 page on the HR site for more details.

All employees who previously worked at an OSU location prior to the pandemic should be preparing for a return to on-site work as OSU transitions to fall term, depending on their position and the plans of their work unit. Most employees are expected to return to on-site work with the fall term.

Updated guidance for return to on-site work will be available in May for both employees and for supervisors. This updated guidance will include:

  • Checklist of tasks to prepare for return to on-site work.
  • Supports planned and available to assist employees in preparing for transition back to on-site work.
  • Move-in plans for specific building and work-sites.
  • Return of furniture and equipment.
  • Required University IT process for computer equipment.
  • Availability of continued remote working arrangements.

Supervisors are responsible for understanding the pathway to fall 2021 as it relates to the university, their work unit and to the individual employees under their supervision. Organizing for a return to a full residential student experience requires flexibility, clarity of purpose and a commitment to OSU’s culture of care at all stages of the process. Specific guidance will be provided to supervisors to inform decisions regarding when employees will return to on-site work, including decision support tools on how to effectively and equitably assess and arrange continuing remote work arrangements.
OSU understands that the ongoing environment of uncertainty and change presents challenges to our community. A Culture of Care website describes support available to the university community during the pathway to fall 2021.

OSU is committed to supporting work-life balance for employees and provides general guidance on requesting flexible work as outlined in the Guide to Flexible Work Arrangements at OSU on the Work Life website. Flexible work arrangements are assessed and approved by an employee’s supervisor and unit leadership based on suitability for remote work, unit on-site operations and service goals, and equity of opportunity across the team or like positions.

In addition to these general flexible working parameters, continuation of some COVID-19 remote work arrangements may be appropriate in some cases into the fall term.

  • An employee whose role requires them to return to on-site work may request continued remote work on a transitional basis for fall 2021 as they resolve needs associated with childcare or other household situations. Supervisors must consider these requests in an equitable way that does not favor or disfavor employees based on, for example, parental or family status. Supervisors will consider such requests in the context of job and unit needs, as well as needed flexibility in the fall.
  • An employee may request continued remote work as a formal medical accommodation related to COVID-19.
  • A unit may determine that certain remote work arrangements are required for reasons of physical density or other safety-related reasons. In this case, employees will be assigned to continued remote work;
  • A unit and/or supervisor may wish to leverage the benefits of remote work experienced during the past year and decide to support full or part-time remote work during fall 2021 in certain situations.

Employees should expect that any remote work arrangements approved for fall term will be:

  • Assessed in the context of a unit’s ability to deliver on its mission and service commitments through a remote work strategy.
  • Equitably distributed to the extent possible across teams and for individuals in the same and/or similar position.
  • Dependent upon continued business needs and future workforce strategies adopted by the university.
  • Discussed in consultation between employee and supervisor.
  • Documented and approved through a remote work agreement.
  • Subject to adjustment as necessary throughout the fall term.

Supervisors should make information on OSU’s accommodation process accessible and work with the Office of Equal Employment and Access (EOA) in instances where individual disability or medical accommodations for remote work are requested. The EOA form provides more information.

Section IV: Academic Programming, Research & Student Services

As we resume primarily in-person instruction, OSU remains committed to do so by following all applicable health authority guidelines and university policies that increase public health and safety for all.

Standards, Options and Approaches:

  • Academic units should have plans in case faculty become ill or a faculty member needs to quarantine/isolate or care for someone else who gets ill.
  • Each faculty member teaching an in-person course should have a plan to work with students if students need to isolate or quarantine while taking their class. Review best practices and include options for make-up work in the event that students are unable to attend classes.
  • Academic units and instructors should have plans in place to serve international students who are unable to return to the US because of visa complications resulting from the pandemic. Every effort must be made to allow these students to participate in courses and learning activities, where compliant with legal requirements.
  • Review field trip guidance,  including information on the protocol in the event there is a positive COVID-19 test result during the field activity. There may be some group activities (such as CEOAS ships and research) for which vaccinations become required as part of the activity. Application of the protocol will be handled by each unit.
  • Academic units should carefully review their course fees to ensure they reflect fall 2021 needs. Review course fee guidance.

OSU class sections (other than those offered through Ecampus) are expected to be offered primarily in-person beginning in fall. Except in cases where individual faculty members request an accommodation (through HR/EOA) to teach remotely, selecting course modalities should fall to unit leadership, guided by the criteria listed below, rather than individual faculty.

  • All courses with the remote modality must be approved by program and unit leadership, college leadership, and the Provost’s Office. Details about Provost approval is available via the Office of the Registrar Scheduling Team.
  • At this time, no college should have more than 5% to 15% of courses offered in the remote modality unless necessitated by public health requirements and guidance, as determined by the OSU COVID-19 Response Coordinator.
  • All instructors teaching remotely should contact the Center for Teaching and Learning to learn about best approaches for course design.
  • Justifications for remote modality courses must meet one or more of the following criteria unless public health restrictions (e.g., maximum course size allowable) require it, as determined by the OSU COVID-19 Response Coordinator:
    • Content delivery through remote means (other than Ecampus) enhances student access and success and does not compromise access to in-person experiences. This may include the use of innovative methodologies involving remote delivery to provide flexibility for students who find these methods preferable to more traditional methods.
    • Content delivery through remote means (other than Ecampus) allows students in different physical locations to engage with, and learn from one another in ways that are not possible for a course delivered in person or using the Ecampus, asynchronous approach.
    • Individual faculty members' demonstrate the ability to teach in a "HyFlex" modality well. HyFlex means some students are physically present and some are participating remotely. Should a program/unit/college decide on this approach, they must consult with the Center for Teaching and Learning for assistance in designing the course.
  • Faculty must plan for the ability for students who enroll in a program with the expectation of attending via one campus to be able to complete all courses in that program under that same campus, absent university decision based on applicable public health requirements or guidance.
  • Students who enroll in a program with the expectation of a given teaching modality must be able to complete all courses in that program under that modality absent university decision based on applicable public health requirements or guidance.
  • Another option for units and instructors is to consider a hybrid approach in which some, but not all, class sessions are planned to be in person. This is a special schedule type. Please contact the Center for Teaching and Learning for more information about developing a hybrid course.
  • Course modalities will be defined and communicated clearly in the Schedule of Classes. Some academic activities associated with course delivery, like office hours and advising appointments, may need to be offered remotely if it is best for health and safety reasons.
  • Instructors should make determinations about office hour locations in consultation with their unit head/chair. Every effort should be made to hold at least some portion of office hours in person.

Academic Advising and Academic Counseling are critical services for supporting student progression and success.  Offices that house academic advising and academic counseling functions are expected to be open and staffed consistent with centrally administered services. In support of OSU’s residential campus experience, in-person engagement will continue to be OSU’s baseline advising modality.  Use of remote tools in providing advising/counseling should be determined based on student interest, demand, and learning location.  Advising offices, in response to student need, may offer a selection of remote advising options as a strategy that acknowledges and enhances the student experience and ensures access, in particular, for students learning at a distance.  As modality is considered, academic advising/counseling space must provide for confidentiality, recognizing the nature of the work, and FERPA protection. 

  • Teaching experts are exploring expanded multi-modality course development, designing classes using technology and utilizing long-term strategies for innovative course offerings. The Center for Teaching and Learning has the most recent tips and resources related to teaching in our new world. The provided guidance addresses requirements for use of OSU tools such as Canvas.
  • The Return to Campus Workgroup is focused on how to provide the best experience to students. Resources cover topics such as office hours, teaching modalities, flexibility for students and the transition back to campus. The group also is developing a document to help faculty understand teaching modalities and how to best work within the constructs of those modalities. This document includes the expectations with respect to minimum contact hours and attainment of student learning outcomes. The basic definition of these modalities is also on the Schedule of Classes website so that students’ expectations and understanding of modalities are the same. The focus is on the quality of the teaching outcomes in each modality.  
  • Students who may need medical or disbility accommodations should work with Disability Access Services (DAS) for guidance.

Classrooms in fall 2021 may require some amount of physical distancing, based on Oregon Health Authority guidelines, OSHA or other applicable requirements and guidelines. Applicable health authority requirements and guidance on physical distancing requirements or total capacities on the number of people in one room will be followed. If necessary, OSU classroom inventory can accommodate a reduction by using alternative approaches to scheduling and offering classes during non-peak times of the week including the evening or weekends.

Additional Considerations:

  • It is possible some students may have a class that does not meet in person but units and advisors should help support the goal of all students having the opportunity for some on-site course work, even if optional.
  • The Office of the Registrar (OtR) will assign all campus spaces to classes, including departmental classrooms. There will be a collaborative effort with unit schedulers to accommodate as many sections on campus as possible, utilizing available spaces.
  • OSU will strategically accommodate planned classroom experiences for first year and new transfer students to support the goal of all new student schedules including on-campus experiences.
  • OSU’s facilities and operations teams will follow all OSHA, CDC, OHA, industry-specific (e.g. ASHRAE ) or other applicable requirements and carefully consider best practices and guidelines.
  • The unit (college, department and faculty member) should decide how lab courses will be anticipated to operate based on the course’s particular resources, learning type and lab attributes. Some options include:
    • Teach additional, smaller sections and significantly expand teaching hours to evenings and weekends.
    • For health science programs, use PPE when distancing is not possible because of the necessary lab actions.  
    • Continue to teach labs remote. 
  • There may be physical seating restrictions in some classrooms that include basic barriers such as tape. Student Conduct & Community Standards has guidance on how faculty can have conversations concerning restrictions and what to do if students disagree with a restriction. 
  • There may be continued tent usage on campus during fall 2021, including for the music department if there is not sufficient space in classrooms.
  • Units may offer additional Ecampus sections but OSU is not anticipating a policy modification to be in place to replace the on-campus sections for students who chose to attend a campus and a campus-based program.
  • OSU will continue to monitor the pandemic situation and its effect on students and faculty as it relates to registration policies. Details about modification to the S/U and W/D deadlines will be shared at the beginning of fall term. OSU’s Academic Requirements Committee, which considers modifications to registration policies, has been advised by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (FSEC) to be lenient during “COVID times.” FSEC will offer ongoing guidance into fall 2021.
  • OSU academic leaders are engaging in conversations around new modality options and how they affect Ecampus teaching to assist with long-term planning and strategy.

OSU’s research facilities will follow all applicable Oregon Health Authority and other health authority requirements. Refer to the COVID-19 Safety & Success website for updates.

  • Research activities can take place on campus or at on-site locations while remaining in compliance with the physical distancing, face covering or PPE use requirements, cleaning protocols, travel restrictions or other applicable health authority requirements or OSU policies that may be in effect in fall 2021. This includes considerations related to research with human subjects or animals.
  • Activities related to training of staff, postdocs and students for research can take place while adhering to physical distancing, face covering or PPE use requirements, cleaning protocols, travel restrictions or other applicable health authority requirements or OSU policies.
  • Field work or other off-site activities will adhere to physical distancing, face covering or PPE use requirements, cleaning protocols, travel restrictions or other applicable health authority requirements or OSU policies Travel to such sites is informed by OSU’s travel guidance that is in effect at the time of travel.
  • Visitors for the purposes of engaging in research activities on campus or other on-site facilities can proceed provided all distancing, face covering or PPE use, and quarantine or other applicable health authority requirements can be met.
  • Effective June 21, 2021 the research resumption approval process is no longer in use.  Please reference university specific guidelines as needed.

START Orientation and Campus Visitation:

  • OSU is planning for START orientation to be fully virtual for summer 2021 in Corvallis and Bend. Prospective students will be able to register for START beginning May 10. Pending state and county or other health authority requirements, optional in-person campus visitation for START could take place in August 2021. Regular communications will be sent to students via Slate for all messaging on this topic.
  • Campus tours are planned to resume in June 2021 in accordance with applicable health authority requirements for groups and gatherings. Campus tours at OSU-Cascades have resumed on an as-requested basis, pending any change in applicable health authority requirements.

Housing and Dining Considerations

  • OSU anticipates that the First Year Live-on-Campus Requirement will continue to be in place for the 2021-22 academic year in Corvallis and Bend. The policy (and applicable exemptions) is being finalized and will be available in early May 2021.
  • Students living on campus will be in single or double rooms at the start of the 2021-2022 academic year.
  • Dining centers will operate in accordance with relevant health authority guidance.
  • Cleaning of touch points will be provided within residence halls and dining centers.
  • Students may be required to test for COVID-19 as determined by the OSU Coronavirus Response Coordinator, based on prevalence in the community while living on campus.
  • A quarantine and isolation program will be in place for students who live on campus in Corvallis and Bend.

Student Support Offices and Services

  • OSU is planning for all student support offices to be open and available for in-person interactions with students beginning in fall 2021 in Corvallis and Bend. These offices include but are not limited to the Memorial Union, student cultural resource centers and Student Experience Center on the Corvallis campus.
  • Office hours may be adjusted based on staff resumption to campus. During summer 2021 staff will confirm technology needed for this transition.
  • Office of International Services will be tracking travel restrictions that may exist for students coming to the U.S. as well as the ability to access the vaccine once they have arrived. 
  • OSU anticipates that the Dixon Recreation Center on the Corvallis campus will be open and will follow the applicable health authority requirements and guidance to provide an on-campus location for students to experience community and wellbeing.

Section V: Specific Guidance

Revenue losses and additional costs for OSU’s response to the pandemic have been felt throughout all university colleges, divisions and units. Funding these costs and losses will require use of federal relief funding, expense savings and fund balances at every level of the university. The specific requirements of the second and third federal relief packages are still being interpreted. However, those funds will be used to address losses in the current year (FY21) that impact the university broadly, affect long-term affordability for students and limit the ability of faculty to pursue work in scholarship and engagement. At this time:

  • Costs that are required to meet federal, state or county health requirements as interpreted by the Continuity Management Team or university-wide policy requirements will be funded centrally to the extent resources are available.
  • Costs that are deemed necessary for increased on-site campus density of critical functions will be funded centrally to the extent resources are available.
  • Costs related to unit-level decisions about how to most effectively enable work responsibilities for individual employees will generally be the responsibility of the employing unit (much as is the case when units hire someone and define the nature of the work).
  • Costs that are result of the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic should be coded using the COVID-19 activity code, (ZCOV).
  • If units provide additional resources to an employee, and believe those are because of pandemic-specific circumstances (as opposed to the nature of the work or the skills of the particular employee), those costs should be coded with (ZCOV) for consideration for reimbursement if resources are available.
  • If unit leaders are unsure if budget impacts will be covered, they should commit to reasonable decisions that best serve the needs of their students, faculty, staff and stakeholders, as balanced against budget allocation (in consultation with their supervisor).
  • If uncertain, units should include the ZCOV activity code in the transaction and costs will be reviewed and categorized as guidance evolves. The current ZCOV activity code tracking is expected to continue through the 2021-22 fiscal year.
  • If you are spending funds that already use an activity code, please use your index and activity code and enter COVID-19 in the first line of the document text (e.g., the FOATEXT form).
  • While everyone prefers certainty, we expect to remain in an uncertain environment for most of the next year regarding OSU’s financial resources.  The goal is that the whole university, regardless of fund type or level, exits the pandemic as intact as possible and able to move forward. That may involve using some unit-level resources — patience, collaboration, and consistent documentation will be essential as we work through the next year.


Centrally Funded

Unit Funded


Campus-wide testing (e.g., residential students), outbreak scenarios

Courses, student activities, research teams as requested by unit

Physical modifications

Child care centers, customer service desks, classroom density modifications, teaching technology
(e.g., Zoom)

Individual workstations

Services and supplies

One PPE set per department, cleaning supplies

Personnel microphones for teaching, computers or equipment for remote working, telecommunications allowance, incremental PPE and cleaning supplies


Personnel required to support university-wide response to COVID-19

Personnel or adjusted work assignments required to implement unit level
COVID-19 response (e.g., incremental course sections, small group engagement)

  • For Benny Buy follow the procedures below:
    • When making purchases in BennyBuy, shoppers/requestors need to insert COVID-19 in the internal notes section of the requisition at checkout. This is critical, especially for catalog purchases.
    • When processing payments in BennyBuy, invoice entry staff need to put COVID-19 in the check comment field, which is located in the general section of the invoice document. (The check comment field translates to FOATEXT in Banner, which is the field used by OSU to identify COVID-19 expenses.) If the end user properly puts in the internal note on the requisition, it will flow automatically into the invoice for PO invoices.

Statewide extension service activities are generally determined by county risk levels and state sector guidance. The following links provide a description of the nature of the programming at each of the risk levels for general and 4-H youth activities. These are subject to change when state sector guidance is updated or as pandemic conditions or other applicable requirements change.

OSU Extension Activity Risk Level Matrix

OSU Extension Activity Risk Level Matrix - Youth Enrichment Programs

Student activities and gatherings will be permitted in accordance with OSU, federal, state and county guidelines and requirements. Tracking participation at events will take place to the greatest extent possible.

Youth activities must be registered through the Youth Program Registry system. Registration requires the submission of program information, including activity details, as well as basic contact information.

A complete list of Authorized Adults who will be involved in the activity, including Activity Leader, OSU Primary Contact and Staff/Volunteers with direct access to minors must be provided. 

Once information has been submitted, the Office of Youth Safety & Compliance will review program details and notify you on the status of your registration, including any recommended modifications or clarification requests.

Intercollegiate Athletics will follow all protocols as outlined by the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee and related OHA Guidance.

Medical and operational practice and competition activities will follow the minimum standards outlined by the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group as well as enhanced protocols outlined by the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee.  All such activities can only commence with approval from OHA pursuant to the Sector Guidance on the Statewide Reopening Guidance for Professional and Collegiate Sports.

Teams visiting campus for competition must follow protocols established by the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee.

  • Essential staff and participants involved in athletic events will follow event protocols determined by the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee, related OHA Guidance and the Department of Athletics.  Such protocols will be submitted in advance of the conduct of athletic events pursuant to the Statewide Reopening Guidance for Professional and Collegiate Sports.
  • The allowance of spectators at intercollegiate athletic events will follow the OHA sector guidance on Indoor and Outdoor Entertainment Establishments
  • Spectator capacities will be adjusted pursuant to county risk levels, per the guidance.  OHA and the University COVID-19 Response Coordinator will approve any exceptions to the capacities outlined in the sector guidance.

Additional Planning and Guidance

Provost Edward Feser and Provost Patrick Phillips convened the Oregon State University & University of Oregon Joint Advisory task force to “advise both universities on the factors and considerations that will inform onsite/in-person resumption decisions for the 2021 (FY22) academic year.”

The task force received their charge from the Provosts at their first meeting, March 18, 2021. Their work commenced at that time, with the committee meeting via Zoom on April 1 and April 8 and working via Teams on the draft report in between meetings. We used a consensus approach to generate a set of recommendations that each member of the task force concurred was acceptable.


Classroom Configuration and University Operations:

  • 1.1: The majority of classes should be in person.
  • 1.2: Open other university operations (e.g., recreation facilities, housing, dining, research, and extension services). 
  • 1.3: Maintain protective measures that have been proven to be effective that are already in place and come at low cost, and which do not interfere with normal functioning of operations (e.g., wearing masks in research spaces, be they on campus or in the community).
  • 1.4: Conduct ongoing education and communication to the campus community about the continued value of protective measures, even at the end of or a lull in the pandemic, including the utility and effectiveness of testing and simple measures such as mask wearing, physical distancing, and hand washing for reducing virus transmission.
  • 1.5: Maintain the ability to flex or quickly pivot operations to more remote functioning should outbreaks occur and/or prevalence rates rise. Message this possibility to all students, faculty and staff. Acknowledging the uncertainty of the situation will allow people to expect that change is possible so that they are not as surprised by it.
  • 1.6: We recommend that CDC guidelines on ventilation be examined for new strategies that may require consideration for possible implementation.

Surveillance and Testing

  • 2.1: Maintain some form of asymptomatic testing in fall, based on a threshold level determined by local public health, in order to detect potential surge in cases. As the vaccine is not 100% effective, and not everyone will receive the vaccine, testing strategies need to address the need for testing regardless of vaccination status.
  • 2.1.1: Maintain and use qPCR testing systems already in place at OSU and UO for testing symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals for the presence of the virus.
  • 2.1.2: Explore alternative forms of testing, including pooled sampling approaches, to maximize benefit to cost ratio of testing in the scenario of low but prevalent positivity.
  • 2.1.3: Explore the benefits of frequent serial self-testing of individuals using antigen tests.
  • 2.2: Continue some form of environmental testing (wastewater, ventilation/air), using or building upon systems already in place at OSU and UO.
  • 2.3: Support MAP and TRACE efforts for whole virome sequencing positive samples to monitor for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 variants, at even low rates of positivity.


3.1: Conduct a series of surveys to determine the overall rate of vaccine uptake, intent to vaccinate (among those not vaccinated), and variation in uptake across different university subpopulations. A scientifically sound, census-based survey that preserves confidentiality and is voluntary should be performed at multiple time points prior to the start of fall term. Surveys should include faculty, staff, and students at each university, including regional locations such as OSU Cascades, OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, OIMB, and UO Portland.

3.2: Develop effective operations, education, and communications to the campus community to encourage vaccination, within a framework of testing and other mitigation strategies as harm reduction alternatives to mandatory vaccination. This should include efforts to incentivize vaccinations, increase access to vaccines, and reduce barriers to access.

3.3: Establish a working group that includes faculty experts in public health, prevention, ethics, and science communication to provide guidance if the universities decide to mandate vaccination for some subgroups (e.g., students in university congregate living; student athletes).

3.4: The task force is agnostic at this time as to whether vaccines should be mandated for the entire university community, and recommends that leadership seek additional legal counsel regarding the legal and ethical consequences of mandating vaccines. Blanket vaccine mandates may have unintended consequences that may work counter to goals. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is expected to release recommendations in the coming weeks and months, that should serve as a guide for any vaccine mandates. Recommendation 3.5: Use survey data (see Recommendation3.1) to consider scenarios in which university community immunity cannot be achieved (e.g., due to resource limitations, access issues, or vaccine hesitancy) to determine the optimal differential allocation of vaccine resources to specific constituencies to maximally achieve the goal of reducing negative health impacts on individuals and communities.

3.6: Develop a set of best practices about the acquisition, storage, use, and limits of vaccination information to achieve goals such as protecting privacy and anonymity, or because such information may lead to or perpetuate inequities. Because of the sensitivity of medical data, we recommend that the university use data-gathering systems that ensure privacy that exceed minimal liability and protected health information standards.

Future Considerations

The task force reiterates that we remain available for additional ad hoc consultation in the coming weeks and months, as new information, policies, and guidance from OHA, CDC, and other sources is announced. It is likely that new science and policy related to current and projected COVID-19 rates, variants, and vaccine uptake rates will inform and modify the recommendations we provide today. In addition, we recommend interface with other institutional task forces, including the vaccine task force, student services education task force, and the continuity planning task force, as each group has relevant and related expertise. Finally, the task force would welcome a Zoom meeting to discuss these recommendations, address questions, and discuss next steps with the Provosts, should that be useful for institutional planning purposes. We thank the Provosts for seeking the expert opinions of members of this task force on the critical public health questions posed in the charge.

In compliance with Executive Order 20-28 and guidance from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA)/Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC), all colleges and universities shall have a written communicable disease management plan.  

In compliance with Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA)  437-001-0744 Temporary Rule Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks, all employers with 10 or more employees must have an Exposure Risk Assessment and Infection Control Plan.


Oregon State has developed a comprehensive plan (PDF) to limit on-site teaching on its campuses in Corvallis and Bend and enable research and service activities to take place while seeking to reduce the spread of COVID-19.