As a reminder, Willamette University’s Quiet Period ended on Sunday, January 30th, and in-person classes and activities have resumed on both the Salem and Portland campuses as of Monday, January 31.
As predicted by health officials, Omicron cases are plateauing in Oregon and are declining in other parts of the country. Cases impacting the Willamette community are similarly declining. Here are a few reminders about the mitigation strategies in place as we return to a more robust in-person experience on our campuses.
Stay Home if You Are Ill
Stay aware of any symptoms of illness and DO NOT go to class, work, and activities if you are ill. The symptoms of cold and flu often mirror symptoms of COVID.
Prevent the Spread of Infection
The best way to prevent infection is to protect yourself from germs and viruses. Wear a recommended N95/KN95 mask or double mask, cover your coughs and sneezes, and wash your hands often. Soap and water is most effective, but sanitizing gel also works. Most importantly, please take good care of yourself, and get enough rest.
Although Goudy Commons is open for in-person dining for those who chose to dine in, students are asked not to eat in classrooms.
For students, Bishop Wellness Center continues to offer COVID tests to symptomatic students. Importantly, testing is most accurate 2-3 days after symptom onset, so testing too soon after developing symptoms increases the chance of a false negative. Additionally, any student identified as a close contact of someone with a confirmed case of COVID by a university or public health official will receive an outreach that includes follow-up about testing and any needed quarantine. Bishop Wellness Center is open Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm, and can be reached at (503) 370-6062.
There are also a number of other testing options available to employees and students. You can also find a local testing site via the Oregon Health Authority Vaccine and Testing Site Locator.
The federal government will provide four (4) free at-home rapid test kits to every residential address. We encourage everyone to take advantage of this program. You can order your free at-home kits by visiting https://www.covidtests.gov/. Anyone living in an apartment or on-campus residence hall should enter their Apartment or Box # in the “Apt/Suite/Other” field on the form. Additionally, for those who are insured, your health insurance company will reimburse you for eight (8) at-home tests per month for each person on your plan. You can learn more about insurance reimbursement here.
Students testing positive for COVID must report this to the university through this link. Employees testing positive for COVID must report this to the university through this link. The university will provide outreach to any close contact in the university community with information on testing and quarantine.
The CDC has updated its mask guidance to recommend wearing KN95 and N95 masks. If you are having difficulty obtaining a KN95 or N95 mask, they are available at the Service Center desk in Salem and at the front desk at PNCA. In addition, double masking (wearing a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask) is also recommended for those who do not have a KN95 or N95 mask.
The Biden administration has announced its intention to provide N95 masks to people nationwide for free at pharmacies, community centers and vaccination sites. The masks will start to become available next week, with the program expected to be fully up and running by early February.
Thank you for your continued support and compliance.
COVID Advisory Team