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News » Local News

OSU Headed Back to Classrooms in the Fall

Campuses in Corvallis and Bend get ready for fall semester

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Oregon State University is announcing plans to resume in-person instruction during late summer and fall term at its campuses in Corvallis and Bend, with changes and respect for social distancing.

OSU officials said Tuesday the best-case-scenario is to have facilities open and most employees back by September 1. Fall classes begin September 23. OSU's provost and executive vice president, Edward Feser, said the safety and health of students is still top priority.

Obsidian Hall at OSU-Cascades. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/AIRICKSON
  • Wikimedia Commons/Airickson
  • Obsidian Hall at OSU-Cascades.
"We are aiming to resume university activities gradually and with flexibility to adjust to guidance from public health authorities, COVID-19 conditions and the availability of medical services in the communities in which we operate," Feser said in a press release.



Dan Larson, vice provost for student affairs and OSU's COVID-19 response coordinator says OSU's reopening plans follow Gov. Kate Brown's procedures for phased re-openings, and also follow Oregon Health Authority guidelines, adding that all seven Oregon's public universities have agreed to follow this same framework.

"While county readiness will be critical to resuming on-site OSU activities, we also are planning for additional higher education education-specific guidance fom the state, which will inform how we shape the details of our plans," said Larson.

Really, it all comes down to location. Like individual counties, all OSU-related facilities must meet state requirements, such as testing capacity, contact tracing, isolation facilities, health care capacity, a declining prevalence of the disease and more.

"We are preparing to help meet these requirements, such as isolation plans in the residence halls and testing capacity in our student health center," added Larson. "The university's plan provides a high-level framework that allow flexibility for resumption based upon the public health conditions in the counties in which we have operations, services and programs."

With the summer being lighter traffic on campus than in fall, Larson says this gives the university some flexibility to see a gradual reopening—and to switch gears if there are new public health updates that might require going back to remote learning. OSU is still planning for staggered work schedules and enhanced cleaning measures, along with social distancing methods.

"By late summer, we will need to know that our capacity in our counties and our health care systems are fully ready when our students begin arriving in the fall," says Larson.

The university's Pandemic Resumption plan is available online.

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Isaac Biehl

Isaac is living proof that "Iowa Nice" is actually a thing. A journalism graduate from Iowa State University, he regularly writes about music, the outdoors and the arts/culture scene. Isaac loves the Trail Blazers, backpacking and a good IPA. He plans to one day win Survivor. Your move, Jeff Probst...

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