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COVID-19 Policy and Health Reminders

by Lisa Landreman, Vice President for Student Affairs,

As COVID-19 mitigation strategies have evolved in the last few months, we have shared many emails with updated guidance and policies. Although mild breakthrough cases of COVID are expected to occur, the vaccine continues to show that it prevents most serious illness in addition to reducing spread. The rise in breakthrough cases is a reminder that even though our campuses’ high vaccination rates are allowing us to return to in-person experiences, this pandemic is not over. 

More comprehensive information about Willamette’s COVID policies can be found on the University COVID-19 Information page. Below is a summary of current guidance and policies.

Requirements

State Requirements

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has instituted a statewide order that requires everyone to wear masks in all indoor public spaces and in most public outdoor settings regardless of vaccination status. 

The state outdoor requirement exists where individuals from different households are unable to consistently maintain physical distance. The rule does not apply to fleeting encounters such as walking past another individual on a path or in a park, or to individuals who are actively eating, drinking, or sleeping, playing or practicing competitive sports, delivering a speech, or engaged in activities where it is not feasible to wear a mask, such as swimming. 

Willamette University Requirements

Masks

On all Willamette campuses, all community members and visitors to campus must adhere to state masking rules. Masks are required indoors in classrooms, hallways, restrooms, lounges, and all public spaces in campus buildings and outdoors where distancing is not easily possible. Masks are required outdoors on campus consistent with state guidance.

Masks are not required to be worn in individuals’ own private office, residence hall room, or university apartment, or when actively eating or drinking. If unmasked in a private room the door should be closed. 

Roommates will need to negotiate mask agreements for visitors in private university residences. Barring such agreements between roommates, visitors to private university residences are required to wear masks.

Events

Proof of vaccination is required for visitors to any Willamette campus, including exhibits, guest lecturers. spectators at performances, and indoor and stadium athletic events. Attendees will need to show either their Willamette University ID card or proof of vaccination for entry to all football, lacrosse, soccer, and volleyball games as well as the Hallie Ford Museum, Hatfield Library, theatre performances, concerts and other events involving off-campus guests.  

Monitoring Symptoms, Testing, Reporting, and Isolating

Everyone is encouraged to monitor their health daily for possible COVID-19 symptoms. Students who are experiencing symptoms should not attend class and should get tested. Testing for students is available in the Bishop Wellness Center for students who are experiencing COVID symptoms or who were identified as a close contact by a medical, public health, or university official. Information about additional testing options within the Salem and Portland areas for employees or students can be found here

If a student tests positive for COVID, students are required to report this to the university by completing the COVID-19 Student CARE Report. A university staff member will follow up to establish a CARE plan with the impacted student and potential close contacts.

If a student tests negative for COVID and is still experiencing symptoms, they should talk with their doctor about appropriate next steps. We would always encourage students to prioritize their health and take steps to reduce community spread of illness.

Faculty and staff should report their positive case status to Human Resources at 503-370-6210 or by submitting this Employee COVID-19 report form

Regardless of vaccination status, individuals testing positive for COVID are required to isolate themselves from others for at least 10 days post symptom onset, and are without fever for 24 hours, and other symptoms of COVID are improving. More information about isolation and quarantine guidelines can be found here.

Guidelines for Close Contacts

Fully Vaccinated Close Contacts

This is where the biggest difference has occurred in COVID mitigation since vaccines have become available. The current guidelines for fully vaccinated people state that if you are a close contact (within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period) of someone with confirmed COVID-19, and you remain symptom free:

  • You do not generally need to quarantine  
  • However, you do need to wear a mask and 
  • Get tested 3-5 days after exposure. 
  • If you test positive, you must isolate yourself immediately.

If at any point a fully vaccinated person develops symptoms after being identified as a close contact to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, the person should get tested and should quarantine until they receive a negative test result, and wear a mask for 14 days.

Unvaccinated Close Contacts

If you are not fully vaccinated, and are identified as a close contact of someone with confirmed COVID-19, you must quarantine for 14 days immediately and be tested 3-5 days after exposure. Public health authorities may use their discretion to adjust these guidelines after a negative test and no symptoms.

Caregivers of a Household member with COVID

If you are a caregiver for someone ill at home with COVID, the current guidance suggests the caregiver should quarantine and test 3-5 days after exposure, even if vaccinated and even without symptoms. 

Looking Forward

We will continue to actively monitor the changing public health guidance and remain in regular contact with our public health colleagues at the local, county, and state level. We will continue to communicate any changes we are able to make or required to make as we learn them. As the fall progresses it is our hope that the situation will improve and we will be able to relax more of the protocols we have in place. The health and safety of our campus depends on everyone in our community coming together and doing their part. Thank you for your commitment to our community’s wellbeing.

Willamette University

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