Protocols for Returning to Campus

Willamette has developed and implemented a number of mitigating strategies to reduce potential exposure and spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Here are some of the things we are putting in place to promote a healthy community in the 2020-2021 academic year and beyond.

Prioritizing the Health and Safety of our Community

Willamette University is following all public health guidance from the Oregon Health Authority and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission as we work toward welcoming our students and employees back to campus in the fall of 2020.

Creating a Culture of Care

  • Our goal is to support the health, well-being, and safety of all members of the Willamette community. We have carefully reviewed and adjusted policies, procedures, and systems that affect students, faculty and staff across campus.
  • Due to long standing structural inequities, we acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black and brown communities everywhere, including at Willamette. We remain committed to social justice, diversity and inclusion as central institutional values and will ensure that those values guide us in our reopening efforts. Please report any acts of racial or ethnic bias, discrimination or other acts of prejudice to Willamette’s Bias response system.
  • We will provide additional outreach to our most vulnerable community members, including those at highest risk for severe illness from COVID-19, community members facing food insecurity, and DACA and undocumented students, among others.
  • We will support community members who need to stay at home due to illness or family needs including students, faculty and staff who are in self-isolation or quarantine, primarily through working and learning remotely where possible.
    We will hold each other accountable to behaviors that promote a safe and healthy community.

Campus will be closed to the general public

Campus spaces and buildings will be open only for official college or university business. Decisions about HFMA will be made in the coming weeks.

Reduced density in classrooms and campus spaces

  • In-person classroom instruction shall not exceed 50 people. Most classes will not exceed 25 people.
  • The physical layout of classrooms will be modified to maintain at least six feet of distance between students, and between students and instructor. Modifications will include changes to traffic flow, desk or chair arrangements, and maximum room capacity.
  • Creative use of technology to deliver instruction in a variety of ways.
  • Other settings such as laboratories, computer labs, music/performance spaces, studios, and locker rooms will see enhanced measures like greater physical distancing, physical barriers, increased fresh air ventilation, outdoor relocation where possible, and enhanced cleaning measures.
  • Each classroom and campus space will have clear markings and/or signage to indicate physical distancing requirements.

Physical changes to spaces on campus

Upon your return to campus you will see a number of changes to physical spaces designed to reduce the spread of the virus, including:

  • Plexiglass barriers will be installed in areas with frequent interpersonal interaction.
  • Water fountains will be turned off, except for those with no-touch fill capabilities for cups or water bottles.
  • Sanitizing stations will be prominent at building entrances and high-traffic areas across campus.
  • High-touch items such as magazines, brochures, and pens will be removed from common areas.
  • Physical spacing in common areas will be maximized, including in the residence halls.
  • Significant changes will be made to university dining services and venues.
  • Accessible and prominently posted signage to identify physical distancing expectations, room capacity, face coverings requirements, traffic flow patterns, etc.

Physical distancing from others

  • If you are feeling sick, you are expected to stay home or in your residence hall room and seek medical care as needed.
  • Maintain a distance of 6 feet from other people in public spaces.
  • Use only non-contact methods of greeting (no hugs, handshakes, high fives, or kisses).
  • Cover your coughs/sneezes with a tissue, or using sleeves at the elbow. Wash hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer after coughing or sneezing.
  • Use disposable wipes to clean any shared use surfaces (including keyboards, desk/tabletops, non-upholstered chairs, remote controls, cellphones) before and after use.
  • Do not share food or beverages.

Mask policy

  • Willamette requires that face coverings be worn by anyone inside buildings on campus (including classrooms, work spaces, meeting rooms, etc.) and in settings where six feet of physical distance between people is difficult to maintain, both inside or outside.
  • If you do not have access to a face mask, Willamette University will provide washable, cloth face coverings for students who may need one. You can also wear your own face covering.
  • Those who are in a facility that requires the use of specialty masks should follow the proper protocols of the facility.

Hand-washing hygiene

  • All community members are expected to wash hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with 60%+ alcohol when entering and leaving shared spaces, before handling food, before and after eating, and after using the restroom.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are prominently available in high-traffic areas on campus.

Enhanced cleaning and disinfection

  • Willamette is establishing hand sanitizing stations in high traffic areas.
  • Willamette has developed protocols and schedules in accordance with CDC guidelines for enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces and high-traffic areas such as building entryways, elevator lobbies, break rooms, etc.
  • Each night, classrooms, congregate areas, and restrooms will be sanitized.

Self Monitoring

All Willamette community members including students, staff, and faculty should conduct a self-check for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus or leaving their residence halls every day. Students, faculty, and staff must stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms include the following:

  • Primary symptoms of concern: cough, fever or chills, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing
  • Note that muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, nasal congestion, and runny nose are also symptoms often associated with COVID-19, but are non-specific. More information about COVID-19 symptoms is available from the CDC.

Testing, Tracing, Isolation, Quarantine, and Follow-up Support

  • Willamette University's Bishop Wellness Center will have the capacity to test students who are symptomatic or who have confirmed close contact with a known positive person. Employees will have access to testing through their university sponsored health insurance plan.
  • Willamette has identified appropriate spaces on campus to isolate students who are sick and quarantine those that have been exposed. Willamette will work closely with and take direction from the local county health department and Oregon Health Authority.
  • In what we hope is the unlikely event of a serious illness, a major regional health center with substantial experience treating COVID cases is located right across the street from campus.
  • Willamette will work closely with county and state public health officials to support their contact tracing efforts for the campus community.
  • Willamette will assure food delivery to affected students.
  • University personnel will develop a case-management plan for any affected student to include follow-up health check-ins, coordinating support for missed courses, transitioning to remote learning if needed, and family contact as appropriate.

Considerations for vulnerable populations

Willamette will make reasonable accommodations for students and employees who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including those with any of the following characteristics:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People with chronic lung disease (other than mild asthma)
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised
  • People with obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher);
  • People with diabetes;
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis;
  • People with liver disease; and
  • Any other medical conditions identified by OHA, CDC or a licensed healthcare provider.

Community Expectations

  • All members of the Willamette community are expected to follow OHA and CDC guidance to help keep themselves and the community safe.
  • All members of the Willamette community are expected to stay informed about the latest local and general COVID-19 related developments via resources such as the Oregon Health Authority and CDC websites.
  • All members of the Willamette community are expected to reinforce university public health practices and messaging within the workplace, classrooms and other areas of engagement.
  • All members of the Willamette community are expected to clean personal workspace (office, desk, computer, etc.) and living spaces frequently.

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