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Recent Updates

  • May 7, 2021: Reopening Operations Committee update

    Next week will be the final Weekly Update from the Reopening Operations Committee for the academic year.

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week:

    • CAS Open House proposals
    • Vaccine requirement attestation process for students, faculty, and staff
    • Marion County’s return to “High Risk” status

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    Vaccine Attestation Process

    Students, faculty and staff all received messages this week with directions to submit their vaccination information. Thank you to everyone that has already provided this information.

    Faculty and staff are required to provide confirmation of vaccination by July 19. Confirmation of vaccination should be entered in Workday, including the brand of vaccine and vaccine administration dates. The process of entering vaccine confirmation takes just a few minutes. Follow the steps outlined in this Job Aid for Workday.

    Exemptions can be requested for medical reasons, which requires a certification from a healthcare provider, or non-medical reasons (e.g., religious accommodations). Faculty and staff seeking an exemption must submit requests on or before June 15, 2021. To request an exemption, please visit the HR website.

    Students must attest to their COVID vaccination through Bishop Wellness Center’s confidential and secure student portal by July 22nd, 2021. To enter the required vaccine information:

    • Login to the Patient Portal
    • Click on “Immunizations” at the top of the screen
    • Click on “Enter Dates” and follow the directions to enter the dates of your COVID vaccine.

    Students can request a medical or non-medical exemption (e.g. religious) from Bishop Wellness Center. Anyone seeking a medical or non-medical exemption will be required to provide sufficient information to support the request.

    Thank you for doing your part to keep the Willamette community healthy and thriving.

    WU Well U Agreement to end on Monday, May 17th, 2021

    We are coming to the end of the semester and will soon transition into summer operations. This shift coincides with changing public health guidance in response to a growing population of vaccinated people in Oregon and across the nation. As such, the WU Well U Agreement will end on Monday, May 17th; the day after commencement. Willamette will still be accountable to all relevant capacity limits, mask guidelines, and sector guidance from the Oregon Health Authority throughout the summer and beyond.

    Cases

    We reported no new cases in the past week.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

  • May 5, 2021: Transitioning back to campus

    Dear Colleagues,

    We know that as summer approaches there are many questions about what work will look like as we prepare for the resumption of operations for Fall 2021. We hope the following information is helpful as you plan for the transition back to campus.

    Transitioning back to campus

    We want to acknowledge that many of our colleagues have been working on campus throughout the pandemic teaching and supporting our students and keeping our buildings and technology running. As mentioned in Pres. Thorsett’s March 31 Words from Waller, we expect that by summer, all departments and offices will return to in-person operations. Willamette’s recently-announced COVID-19 vaccine requirement enhances our ability to return to a more vibrant campus experience while protecting the health and safety of our community.

    While we look forward to returning to regular campus operations, we understand that employees may need time to coordinate before making the full transition back to work. We are planning for a phased return to full in-person operations for staff starting from Monday, May 24, through Monday, August 2, 2021. Division leaders will determine specific return dates for their employees which will be dictated by department and institutional operational needs, but we will expect all staff to return to work by August 2.

    Faculty will be expected to return to campus as specified in faculty contracts.

    Vaccination requirement

    As noted in our message to you last month, all students, faculty, and staff will be expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Any vaccine authorized for use in the U.S. is acceptable.

    We will follow the CDC guidance in defining who is considered fully-vaccinated against COVID-19. The day of your final dose is Day Zero. 14 days after that, you are considered fully vaccinated.

    Faculty and staff are required to provide confirmation of vaccination by July 19, to ensure employees are fully vaccinated by August 2, 2021. Confirmation of vaccination should be entered in Workday, including the brand of vaccine and vaccine administration dates. The process of entering vaccine confirmation takes just a few minutes. Follow the steps outlined in this Job Aid for Workday.

    Exemptions can be requested for medical reasons, which requires a certification from a healthcare provider, or non-medical reasons (e.g., religious accommodations). Faculty and staff seeking an exemption must submit requests on or before June 15, 2021. To request an exemption, please visit the HR website.

    More information about Willamette’s vaccine requirement can be found in these FAQs.

    Continued mitigation measures

    Over the past several weeks, ROC and the leadership team have been discussing the university’s needs as we move toward an in-person fall semester. Given the current public health landscape, current federal, state, and regional guidelines on mask requirements and other safety measures will remain in effect. We do not know what mitigation measures, including social distancing in the classrooms, will be required in the fall but we will update and communicate any changes to guidelines as we get more information from the CDC and the Oregon Health Authority as the summer progresses.

    Flexible work policies for staff

    The past year has taught us a lot about the benefits and challenges of remote work. Division leadership has been considering allowing for some remote work days, where appropriate, for staff who have job duties that allow them to successfully work from home as we transition back to in-person operations. More information will be shared by division leaders in the coming weeks.

    Summer Hours

    Finally, we are pleased to announce that, starting on Monday, May 17, Willamette University will start summer hours for university offices. Offices will close for business at 4:30 p.m. instead of at 5 p.m. Regular office hours resume on Monday, August 16.

    Although we were able to make the transition to remote and hybrid learning out of necessity, the pandemic has reinforced to us the value of face-to-face interaction and that being in-person enhances the student experience and learning environment. We are excited to see our campus energized and full of life again and look forward to seeing everyone soon.

    Sincerely,
    ROC

  • April 30, 2021: Reopening Operations Committee update

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week:

    • County Risk Levels
    • Commencement
    • Residence hall move out process

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    Marion County Moves back to “Extreme Risk” Effective Today

    Governor Brown announced this week that Marion County will move back into the Extreme Risk category starting Friday, April 30th. This has a few important implications for campus.

    Events, gatherings & classes:

    • Planned or organized outdoor events will allow a maximum of 100 people, with an 11 pm closing time, including spectators at athletic events
    • Planned or organized indoor events will have a 6-person limit regardless of the size of the space being used.
    • Informal (unplanned) outdoor social gatherings have a 6-person limit, (down from 8) in High Risk.
    • Indoor social gatherings still have a 6 person limit.
    • In person classes have a maximum capacity of 25 people, including the instructor(s).

    Goudy & the Fitness Center:

    • Goudy will return to “Grab and Go” only: no indoor dining will be permitted.
    • The Fitness Center is adapting the new state guidelines, which permit a maximum of 6 people within the space at a time, by returning to an appointment-only model. Students may book 45- minute workout times during open hours, beginning Friday, April 30th and running through Friday, May 7th, when the fitness center closes for the summer. More information is on the way regarding the sign-up process and new updated guidelines. Please be aware that you will not be able to access the fitness center unless you have a scheduled appointment.

    Governor Brown stated that these health and safety restrictions will be evaluated weekly rather than bi-weekly, though the state is not forecasting any significant case count reductions in the short term. More information about county risk levels and capacity limits can be found here.

    OHA Announces Changes to Quarantine Guidelines

    In response to rising case rates and hospitalizations across Oregon, the Oregon Health Authority announced this week that they are re-establishing a full 14 day quarantine period for people who are not fully vaccinated following a close contact exposure to COVID.

    Mask Guidance Update

    The Oregon Health Authority is working to align their outdoor mask guidance to align with the recent changes announced by the CDC. Willamette will provide any updates to the campus wide mask policy as they are developed.

    Commencement Update

    As was shared earlier this week with our community, Marion County’s move back to the Extreme Risk category re-imposes a range of limitations on activities, including event size limits, that will unfortunately make gathering in person for Commencement impossible.

    The virtual Commencement ceremonies will take place as planned on Sunday, May 16, 2021 at the following times:

    • 9:00 a.m. – Atkinson Graduate School of Management
    • 11:30 a.m. – College of Law
    • 2:30 p.m. – College of Arts and Sciences

    A streaming link for each ceremony will be shared soon. The full text of the message sent to campus can be found here.

    Cases

    We reported two new cases in the past week.

    Bishop continues it’s surveillance testing program, as well as diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and those with known exposure. All tests given this week were negative. However, it is important to remember that all COVID tests are just a snapshot in time, and a negative test result should not change our adherence to mitigation strategies outlined in the WU Well U Agreement. If selected for surveillance testing, please do your part by scheduling an appointment.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

  • April 23, 2021: Reopening Operations Committee update

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week:

    • Vaccination Requirement for the 2021-2022 Academic Year
    • County Public Health Update
    • Review of several end of the year proposals

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    Vaccine Requirement Update

    This week, we announced that all community members are required to be fully vaccinated before the start of the Fall 2021 semester. We are announcing this policy well in advance of the Fall semester so that members of our community students have the opportunity to gather information, consult with their medical providers if they so choose, and make informed choices for themselves. More information, including some FAQ’s will be coming shortly.

    For those that are interested, The Chronicle of Higher Education maintains an updated and growing list of schools requiring the COVID vaccine of students, staff, or both.

    Information on How to Find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon can be found at this website.

    You can also use the Get Vaccinated Oregon (GVO) tool to tell you if you are currently eligible to receive a vaccine in Oregon. If you are not yet eligible, it will enable you to set up text or email notifications to be notified when you become eligible. Once you are eligible, this tool will also help you find a vaccine provider or vaccination event near you. Sign up today!

    Cases

    We reported no new cases in the past week.

    Bishop continues it’s surveillance testing program, as well as diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and those with known exposure. All tests given this week were negative. However, it is important to remember that all COVID tests are just a snapshot in time, and a negative test result should not change our adherence to mitigation strategies outlined in the WU Well U Agreement. If selected for surveillance testing, please do your part by scheduling an appointment.

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

  • April 21, 2021: Vaccination requirements for students, faculty, and staff

    Dear Willamette Community,

    We write to share news of our plans to welcome back all members of our community to our campus this fall.

    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Willamette has worked to ensure our community’s health and safety by implementing a number of mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In support of our continued commitment to protecting the members of our community, we have developed a COVID-19 Vaccine Policy which requires, with limited exceptions, that all students, faculty, and staff planning to work or attend Willamette in the Fall 2021 semester must be fully vaccinated by the date they return to campus. This includes full-time and part-time students, undergraduates and graduate students, and residential and non-residential students.

    In the coming days, employees and students will receive communications with additional information and further details on providing vaccination confirmation and requesting medical or non-medical exemptions.

    Vaccine supply limitations have not allowed Willamette University to distribute the vaccine. You can access the vaccine by doing the following:

    • Go to the CDC’s vaccine location webpage, which includes search boxes for state health departments and the national Vaccine Finder website; or
    • Go directly to the national Vaccine Finder website, which will direct you to relevant locations in your vicinity; or,
    • Go to your state’s health department website and search for “COVID-19 vaccination” to see options; or,
    • Ask your personal health provider.

    Willamette was able to remain open throughout the pandemic because of our community’s care for one another. The WellWU Agreement affirmed our shared responsibility to one another and now, we have the opportunity to come together again to demonstrate our strength, resilience, and sense of community. Thank you very much for your patience, cooperation, and understanding during this challenging year.

    Sincerely,
    Reopening Operations Committee

  • April 15, 2021: Reopening Operations Committee update

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week:

    • Student organization and club proposals
    • Athletic spectator guidelines
    • Updated eligibility guidance from OHA

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    Admissions Tours

    As was announced earlier in the semester, students and families are allowed on campus for authorized tours accompanied by admissions guides or athletic coaches. As was communicated in early March, we have extended this touring permission to include entrance into academic buildings, the University Center, Goudy, Montag and Sparks as part of these tours.

    Vaccine Update

    This week, the CDC and the Oregon Health Authority recommended a pause in the use of the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine pending further investigation into reported adverse side effects. The impact on Oregon’s vaccine distribution schedule is still unfolding. We continue to urge staff, faculty, and students to get the vaccine wherever they can.

    While Bishop Wellness Center has been approved as a vaccination site for students since mid-March, we unfortunately do not anticipate receiving any vaccine shipments before graduation. The Oregon Health Authority and local health departments continue to prioritize large scale distribution hubs; hospitals, fairgrounds, chain pharmacies, etc.

    Additionally, we’ve learned that many community vaccination sites offering Moderna and Pfizer (2 dose series) are requiring people to get their second shots at the same location in order to be eligible for the first shot. This is an important consideration for students who might not be in Oregon at the time of their scheduled second shot. Johnson & Johnson is a single dose vaccine, but availability varies by location and week.

    Information on How to Find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon can be found at this website:

    You can also use the Get Vaccinated Oregon (GVO) tool to tell you if you are currently eligible to receive a vaccine in Oregon. If you are not yet eligible, it will enable you to set up text or email notifications to be notified when you become eligible. Once you are eligible, this tool will also help you find a vaccine provider or vaccination event near you. Sign up today!

    Cases

    We reported one new case in the past week.

    Bishop continues it’s surveillance testing program, as well as diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and those with known exposure. All tests given this week were negative. However, it is important to remember that all COVID tests are just a snapshot in time, and a negative test result should not change our adherence to mitigation strategies outlined in the WU Well U Agreement. If selected for surveillance testing, please do your part by scheduling an appointment.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

  • April 9, 2021: Reopening Operations Committee update

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week:

    • Student organization and club proposals
    • Athletic spectator guidelines
    • Updated eligibility guidance from OHA

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    Employee COVID Vaccine Clinic Update

    As communicated earlier this week, we have learned that our vendor is experiencing an unanticipated interruption in their expected delivery and supply of vaccines. Because of this, we may not be able to offer an on-campus vaccination clinic. We urge you to get a vaccine wherever you can, with the understanding that the process of securing an appointment can be uneven across counties and locations.

    OHA Announces all Oregonians 16 and older eligible for the vaccine on 4/19/21

    The Oregon Health Authority announced this week that all Oregonians 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 19th. More information about eligibility can be found here.

    While Bishop Wellness Center has been approved as a vaccination site for students since mid-March, we unfortunately do not anticipate receiving any vaccine shipments before graduation. The Oregon Health Authority and local health departments continue to prioritize large scale distribution hubs; hospitals, fairgrounds, chain pharmacies, etc. As such, interested students should get the vaccine wherever they can. We will of course continue to monitor the supply of vaccines as it develops.

    Additionally, we’ve learned that many community vaccination sites offering Moderna and Pfizer (2 dose series) are requiring people to get their second shots at the same location in order to be eligible for the first shot. This is an important consideration for students who might not be in Oregon at the time of their scheduled second shot. Johnson & Johnson is a single dose vaccine, but availability varies by location and week.

    Information on How to Find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon can be found at this website.

    You can also use the Get Vaccinated Oregon (GVO) tool to tell you if you are currently eligible to receive a vaccine in Oregon. If you are not yet eligible, it will enable you to set up text or email notifications to be notified when you become eligible. Once you are eligible, this tool will also help you find a vaccine provider or vaccination event near you. Sign up today!

    Cases

    We reported no new cases in the past week.

    Bishop continues it’s surveillance testing program, as well as diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and those with known exposure. All tests given this week were negative. However, it is important to remember that all COVID tests are just a snapshot in time, and a negative test result should not change our adherence to mitigation strategies outlined in the WU Well U Agreement. If selected for surveillance testing, please do your part by scheduling an appointment.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

  • April 7, 2021: Important updates about the vaccination clinic & eligibility

    Dear Willamette employees:

    We write with an important follow-up to our earlier message about planning an employee COVID vaccine clinic on campus. We have learned that our vendor is experiencing an unanticipated interruption in their expected delivery and supply of vaccines. Because of this, we are not yet able to offer definitive dates for an on-campus vaccination clinic.

    We will continue to monitor the availability of the vaccine with our vendor and will keep our community updated. In the interim, we urge you to get a vaccine wherever you can, with the understanding that the process of securing an appointment can be uneven across counties and locations.

    Additionally, in response to guidance from the federal government, the Oregon Health Authority announced this week that all Oregonians 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine on April 19th. More information about eligibility can be found here.

    While Bishop Wellness Center has been approved as a vaccination site for students since mid-March, we unfortunately do not anticipate receiving any vaccine sent to us by OHA before graduation. Interested students should get the vaccine wherever they can. We will of course continue to monitor the supply of vaccines as it develops.

    Information on How to Find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon can be found at this website.

    You can also use the Get Vaccinated Oregon (GVO). It will enable you to set up text or email notifications to be notified when you become eligible and will help you find a vaccine provider or vaccination event near you. Sign up today!

    Sincerely,
    The Reopening Operations Committee

  • April 1, 2021: Time to roll up your sleeves - COVID-19 vaccines available to Willamette employees

    Dear Willamette employees:

    University faculty, staff, and student employees are classified as “frontline workers” in the state’s vaccine sequencing, and — along with others in Group 7 of Phase 1B — are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as of yesterday in Marion County. While we encourage you to get the vaccine wherever you find availability, we are pleased to announce that Willamette University is working with an external vendor to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for employees.

    Information about the clinic date, registration process, and other details will be available soon. Employees who sign up will need to commit to accepting whichever vaccine is made available and must be available 28 days later to receive the second booster shot. At this time, we do not know which vaccine the vendor will provide. If it is Moderna or Pfizer, the vendor will return to campus to provide the second shot at the necessary time; the Johnson & Johnson is a one-shot vaccine, so no second visit would be necessary. At this time, we cannot accommodate spouses, partners, or other family members.

    There is no cost to employees for the vaccine. The vendor will bill insurance companies directly. Students who are not employees are not eligible for vaccination under the State of Oregon’s criteria at this time. All persons 16 years of age and older are expected to become eligible to receive the vaccine no later than May 1.

    Willamette University is committed to protecting the health and wellness of our community. We are delighted to have this opportunity to offer access to vaccines for our employees, to prepare for our return to in-person classes and activities in the fall.

    Sincerely,
    ROC

     

  • April 1, 2021: Weekly COVID-19 Recap

    Reopening Operations Committee update

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week:

    • End of semester plans/requirements
    • Vaccination eligibility timeline
    • Academic music proposals
    • Commencement regalia distribution

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    No quiet period at end of semester

    We will not be requiring a quiet period at the end of the spring semester as we did in the fall and at the start of the semester. We do not feel it is necessary, given the comparative reduction in cases and wider availability of vaccines for most across the state and country.

    Cases

    We reported one new case in the past week.

    Bishop continues it’s surveillance testing program, as well as diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and those with known exposure. All tests given this week were negative. However, it is important to remember that all COVID tests are just a snapshot in time, and a negative test result should not change our adherence to mitigation strategies outlined in the WU Well U Agreement. If selected for surveillance testing, please do your part by scheduling an appointment.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

  • March 29, 2021: New updates to Oregon's vaccination eligibility timeline

    Dear community,

    We write to provide you the most recent information we have about the COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Oregon. Late last week, Gov. Kate Brown and officials from the Oregon Health Authority announced an expedited timeline for the state’s vaccination sequencing due to increased allocation from the federal government. As of this week, Marion county was approved to move up their timeline for eligible groups.

    Beginning March 26th, adults 45–64 with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk from COVID-19 infection (Group 6 of Phase 1b) became eligible for vaccination.

    University employees are referenced as part of Group 7 of Phase 1b, which includes “frontline workers as defined by the CDC,” who will now be eligible to be vaccinated as early as April 5th.

    No later than May 1, Phase 2 of vaccinations will begin for all Oregonians 16 and over, regardless of occupation or underlying conditions.

    The state has a website on which individuals can determine if they are eligible to receive a vaccine, and register to be notified when they can sign up for an appointment. Please visit Get Vaccinated Oregon for more information. Individuals may also make vaccine appointments when eligible through Salem Health, Walgreens, Rite Aid, or by using the “How to find a COVID-19 vaccine in Oregon” page provided by OHA to find vaccination clinics and other resources for setting up an appointment.

    Sincerely,
    ROC

  • March 26, 2021: Weekly COVID-19 Recap

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week

    • COVID guidance from HECC
    • State vaccination timeline update

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    Expedited timeline for vaccination sequencing in Oregon

    Due to a recent increase in allocation from the federal government, Gov. Kate Brown and officials from the Oregon Health Authority announced an expedited timeline for the state’s vaccination sequencing. As of this week, Marion county was approved to move up their timeline for eligible groups.

    As of last weekend, adults 45–64 with an underlying health condition identified as putting them at higher risk from COVID-19 infection (Group 6 of Phase 1b) are eligible for vaccination in Marion County.

    As we’ve mentioned before, university employees are referenced as part of Group 7 of Phase 1b, which includes “frontline workers as defined by the CDC.” This group will now be eligible to be vaccinated as early as April 19.

    No later than May 1, Phase 2 of vaccinations will begin for all Oregonians 16 and over, regardless of occupation or underlying conditions.

    Additional information and eligibility requirements can be found on the state’s Get Vaccinated Oregon site.

    Presenters and Lecturers for Curricular and Cocurricular Programming

    As mentioned, we continue to revisit Willamette-specific guidelines that are in excess of what is required by the current and evolving public health guidance. Moving forward, ROC will consider proposals to allow lecturers and presenters that contribute to curricular and cocurricular programs to be physically present on campus in accordance with the applicable public health mandates. We will build and share an application process with our community in the coming weeks.

    Cases

    We reported no new cases in the past week.

    Bishop continues it’s surveillance testing program, as well as diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and those with known exposure. All tests given this week were negative. However, it is important to remember that all COVID tests are just a snapshot in time, and a negative test result should not change our adherence to mitigation strategies outlined in the WU Well U Agreement. If selected for surveillance testing, please do your part by scheduling an appointment.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

  • March 19, 2021: Weekly COVID-19 Recap

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week:

    • COVID mitigation survey feedback
    • County public health meeting feedback
    • Updated vaccine eligibility in Oregon

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    All Oregonians 16 and Over will be Eligible for the Vaccine by 5/1/21

    This week the Oregon Health Authority and Governor Brown announced that in response to a dramatic increase in expected vaccine shipments from the federal government, Oregon will be able to meet the vaccine distribution timeline set by President Biden. Specifically, all Oregonians 16 and over will be eligible for the COVID vaccine by May 1st. It is yet unclear if previously set eligibility dates in Oregon will be moved up in response to this new capacity. More general information about the COVID vaccine in Oregon can be found here. To determine when you are eligible and to find a vaccination site near you, please visit Get Vaccinated Oregon.

    Removal of Directional Signage

    We have made the decision to remove the directional signage being used in CAS academic buildings and the UC. Observations of the building use patterns coupled with feedback from the undergraduate community indicated that these signs are no longer needed in these buildings.

    Both Law and AGSM will keep their directional signage in place for the duration of the spring semester and then reassess for the fall.

    Presenters and Lecturers for Curricular and Cocurricular Programming

    As mentioned, we continue to revisit Willamette specific guidelines that are in excess of what is required by the current and evolving public health guidance. Moving forward, ROC will consider proposals to allow lecturers and presenters that contribute to curricular and cocurricular programs to be physically present on campus in accordance with the applicable public health mandates. We will build and share an application process with our community in the coming weeks.

    Mid-Semester Break

    As a reminder, our spring semester schedule has been adapted to omit the traditional week long spring break at the end of March. The intent of this mitigation strategy is to de-incentivize students’ travel to other areas, then back to campus for the remaining month and a half of the semester. As an alternative to the week long spring break there will be a two day mid-semester break on March 25th -26th. Most importantly, we are asking that students not travel during this time, but rather find a way to relax and recuperate without leaving the Salem area.

    If you are planning to leave the state for the break, please remember that the current recommendation from the Oregon Health Authority is to quarantine for 10-14 days upon your return to Oregon, which will impact your ability to attend in-person classes during that time. Not all classes are available for remote attendance, so you will need to plan accordingly.

    Cases

    We reported no new cases in the past week.

    Bishop continues it’s surveillance testing program, as well as diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and those with known exposure. All tests given this week were negative. However, it is important to remember that all COVID tests are just a snapshot in time, and a negative test result should not change our adherence to mitigation strategies outlined in the WU Well U Agreement. If selected for surveillance testing, please do your part by scheduling an appointment.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

  • March 18, 2021: COVID Mitigation Feedback & Follow-up

    Dear Community,

    We write with an update and some preliminary feedback from the COVID survey sent out last week. First, we want to assure you that Willamette is not abandoning the critically important and county/state mandated mitigation strategies in place including mask wearing, space capacity limits, and physical distancing requirements.

    Second, there remains confusion about campus testing. As a reminder, this semester Willamette is in fact conducting COVID testing. We have implemented a robust surveillance testing program for asymptomatic students through Bishop Wellness Center, in addition to providing diagnostic testing to any student with symptoms or with known exposure. Additional testing is offered to students as supply and schedule allows. As of this writing, no student has tested positive among the hundreds of tests that have been done in Bishop Wellness Center this semester.

    In reviewing the survey responses, clear themes emerged. Many community members expressed worry about loosening any restrictions, while others expressed a desire to loosen some restrictions where we are allowed. Specifically, many students asked us to revisit the policy of not allowing guests from other residence halls or off campus, while others did not want Willamette to host any outside guests, including prospective students in any capacity. As a reminder, all visitors must follow all regional guidance regarding masking and physical distancing throughout their visit. We know these to be effective tools in combating the spread of the virus.

    We understand the concern about moving too quickly to adjust proven mitigation strategies. We have learned much more about the transmission of the virus over the course of this year. We carefully weigh what we have learned with the very real impact of the ongoing challenges of social isolation and activity restrictions that have been required. Any changes to our protocols will be carefully considered, and in compliance with the relevant guidance and rules from local public health officials and designated county risk levels.

    As the public health landscape and guidance evolves in the coming months, your responses will help inform our next steps. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback and for your due diligence throughout this year. With the news of the large quantities of vaccinations being supplied to Oregon there is hope that we will be able to reconnect in all the ways that we have missed very soon.

    Sincerely,
    ROC

  • March 12, 2021: Weekly COVID-19 Recap

    Reopening Operations Committee update

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week:

    • Review of emerging public health guidance
    • Clarification of student event guidelines
    • Review of survey results to date
    • Refining guidelines for student tours on campus

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    Campus survey reminder

    We appreciate all of the feedback we’ve received so far from our COVID mitigation strategies survey. As we transition into lower risk levels and accordingly adjust our protocols in the coming weeks and months, we are seeking feedback to better understand our community’s priorities in that process. Please take the time to complete this if you haven’t already done so.

    Some early themes in the feedback have emerged that merit some clarification:

    • We are only seeking feedback from our community at the time. Willamette is not abandoning the critically important mitigation strategies in place. Things like mask wearing, space capacity limits, and physical distancing requirements will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.
    • Any changes to our protocols will be carefully considered, and in compliance with the relevant guidance and rules from local public health officials and designated county risk level.
    • There remains some confusion about testing. As a reminder, in addition to providing diagnostic testing to any student with symptoms or those with known exposure, Willamette implemented and continues to offer a robust surveillance testing program for asymptomatic students through Bishop Wellness Center.

    Event guidelines updated for in-person events on campus

    Earlier this week we emailed student leaders of clubs and organizations around updated in-person gathering guidelines that are now in place for events on campus. Due to Marion County’s recent transition from “extreme risk” to “high risk” we are able to apply the Indoor Entertainment Establishment guidelines to any in-person events on campus. This means that groups can now plan programming and events that will allow more students to attend based on the size of the space. Updated capacity allows for 25% of the capacity in any indoor location and up to 75 people for outdoor venues. It’s important to remember that masks are still required for both indoor and outdoor events and distancing measures still apply.

    Cases

    We reported no new cases in the past week.

    Bishop continues it’s surveillance testing program, as well as diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and those with known exposure. All tests given this week were negative. However, it is important to remember that all COVID tests are just a snapshot in time, and a negative test result should not change our adherence to mitigation strategies outlined in the WU Well U Agreement. If selected for surveillance testing, please do your part by scheduling an appointment.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

  • March 10, 2021: COVID Mitigation Feedback Form

    Dear Community,

    As COVID-19 case counts continue to decline in Oregon, Oregon Health Authority is identifying the counties that meet the necessary metrics to allow them to transition to lower risk levels. As a result, Marion county recently transitioned from “extreme risk” to “high risk”, allowing us to to reassess and update a number of on-campus policies. This included expanding options for admission tours to allow prospective students to enter academic buildings and athletic facilities, broadening event guidelines to allow more than 6 people for both indoor and outdoor in-person events and activities, and opening up lounge areas in the residence halls for up to 6 people.

    With this transition, we will continue to reassess the mitigation strategies and activity limits that are actively in place on campus. As we navigate this reassessment, it is important for us to understand your priorities and which campus protocols and policies you would like to see reviewed.

    As mentioned in President Thorsett’s Words from Waller in late February, we are offering a mechanism for Willamette community members to let the ROC know of their priorities as we begin to loosen our campus COVID-19 mitigation strategies. A Google form is available with the provided link and will be made available on the COVID-19 webpage.

    As a reminder, Willamette remains accountable to the Oregon Health Authority and other governing entities, and any changes made will need to be in compliance with their guidance.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    Sincerely,
    ROC

     

  • March 5, 2021: Weekly COVID-19 Recap

    Reopening Operations Committee update

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week:

    • Intramurals & club sports guidelines
    • Vaccination updates
    • University sponsored travel
    • Campus tours logistics

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    Vaccination updates

    Recently the Oregon Health Authority provided more information around vaccination eligibility for identified groups in Phase 1b. Part of this announcement indicated that university employees are included as part of Group 7 under the identifier of “frontline workers as defined by the CDC” and would be eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1.

    The definition of a frontline worker includes those who have regular close contact with others outside of their household and who cannot perform their job duties remotely.

    No later than June 1, Phase 2 of vaccinations will begin for all adults aged 45 to 64. All Oregonians 16 and over will be eligible to receive a vaccine no later than July 1.

    The state has a site where individuals can determine if they are eligible to receive a vaccine. Please visit Get Vaccinated Oregon for more information.

    Mid-Semester Break

    As a reminder, our spring semester schedule has been adapted to omit the traditional week long spring break at the end of March. The intent of this mitigation strategy is to de-incentivize students’ travel to other areas, then back to campus for the remaining month and a half of the semester. As an alternative to the week long spring break there will be a two day mid-semester break on March 25th -26th. Most importantly, we are asking that students not travel during this time, but rather find a way to relax and recuperate without leaving the Salem area.

    If you are planning to leave the state for the break, please remember that the current recommendation from the Oregon Health Authority is to quarantine for 10-14 days upon your return to Oregon, which will impact your ability to attend in-person classes during that time.

    Admissions Tours

    As was announced early in the semester, students and families are allowed on campus for authorized tours accompanied by admissions guides or coaches. We have extended this permission to include entrance into academic buildings, the University Center, Goudy, and Sparks.

    Cases

    We reported no new cases in the past week.

    Bishop continues it’s surveillance testing program, as well as diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and those with known exposure. All tests given this week were negative. However, it is important to remember that all COVID tests are just a snapshot in time, and a negative test result should not change our adherence to mitigation strategies outlined in the WU Well U Agreement. If selected for surveillance testing, please do your part by scheduling an appointment.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

  • March 5, 2021: Double Mask Recommendation

    With the discovery of new and highly transmissible coronavirus variants within the United States, Oregon public health experts are recommending that individuals upgrade or reinforce the cloth masks that have become popular.

    Double masking has not yet become a requirement by federal and local health authorities but it is highly recommended as the new COVID-19 variants travel throughout the state and country.

    You can double your cloth mask with a surgical mask or acquire a 2.5 micron filter to use along with your cloth mask. Importantly, these are recommendations, not requirements, as they are difficult to enforce. It is often not obvious if a person is wearing two masks, or one mask with a filter by just looking at them.

  • February 26, 2021: Vaccination Update

    Dear Willamette community,

    We write to provide you the latest information we have about the COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Oregon. Earlier today, Gov. Kate Brown and officials from the Oregon Health Authority announced further information about the state’s vaccination sequencing. University employees are referenced as part of Group 7 of Phase 1b which includes “frontline workers as defined by CDC” who will be eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1.

    No later than June 1, Phase 2 of vaccinations will begin for all adults aged 45 to 64. All Oregonians 16 and over will be eligible to receive a vaccine no later than July 1.

    The state has a site where people can determine if they are eligible to receive a vaccine. Please visit Get Vaccinated Oregon for more information.

    We will continue to provide updates as we get them.

    Sincerely,
    ROC

  • February 26, 2021: Weekly COVID-19 Recap

    Reopening Operations Committee update

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week:

    • Housing accommodations as a result of the ice storm
    • Resumption of athletics and feedback from community members
    • Changing restrictions in Marion County and campus implications
    • Planning for Fall FITS classes

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here .

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here .

    Oregon is fortunately experiencing the same declines in COVID case counts, hospitalizations and deaths as the rest of the country, and currently has the third-lowest infection rate in the U.S. In response to these gains, Gov. Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority have moved Marion County from “Extreme Risk” to “High Risk” effective today. While this is encouraging, we still have a long way to go in this pandemic. However, we do expect to regularly reassess the restrictions we have had in place in response to the changing COVID landscape. More information about the county risk levels and allowable activities by category can be found here . Briefly, however, this means:

    • Indoor dining will be allowed in Goudy and The Bistro so long as indoor capacity does not exceed 25% maximum occupancy or 50 people, whichever is smaller, with a six-people per party and per table maximum.
    • Indoor entertainment (which includes Hallie Ford Museum and Theater productions) will be allowed so long as capacity is does not exceed 25% occupancy or 50 people total, whichever is smaller.
    • Sparks Fitness Center will increase capacity to a maximum 25% occupancy or 50 people total, whichever is smaller.

    Mid-Semester Break

    As a reminder, we have adapted our spring semester schedule to omit the traditional weeklong spring break at the end of March. The intent of this mitigation strategy is to de-incentivize students’ travel to other areas, then back to campus for the remaining month and half of the semester. We also recognize that students need a break from their studies so we have built in a two-day mid-semester break on March 25-26. Importantly, we are asking that students not travel during this time, but rather find a way to relax without leaving the Salem area.

    Cases

    We reported no new cases in the past week.

    Bishop continues its surveillance testing program, as well as diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and those with known exposure. All tests given this week were negative. However, it is important to remember that all COVID tests are just a snapshot in time, and a negative test result should not change our adherence to mitigation strategies outlined in the WU Well U Agreement . If selected for surveillance testing, please do your part by scheduling an appointment.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette , students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu , 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form . 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.

  • February 19, 2021: Weekly COVID-19 Recap

    In an ongoing effort to keep the community informed, the Reopening Operations Committee is committed to offering statewide, regional and campus public health updates to our community every Friday.

    Reopening Operations Committee update

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week

    • Housing & other resources for off campus students without power
    • Declining case counts in Marion County

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    Resources for students affected by the power outage

    In response to the aftermath of the recent ice storm in the area, including significant power outages that have yet to be resolved, housing and food options were made available to students living off campus. A Google form was sent out on Tuesday evening to all students to assess the housing needs. Along with the option for temporary housing, affected students are able to receive free dinner service from Bon Appetit through Friday, February 19th. This free service will be re-evaluated as we learn more about the restoration of power in the area. As of Thursday morning, there have been 9 students requesting temporary housing and 33 students who received a free dinner on Wednesday night.

    We will continue to monitor the situation in the area and provide options for students as long as they are needed.

    Cases

    We reported no new cases in the past week.

    Bishop continues it’s surveillance testing program, as well as diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and those with known exposure. All tests given this week were negative. However, it is important to remember that all COVID tests are just a snapshot in time, and a negative test result should not change our adherence to mitigation strategies outlined in the WU Well U Agreement. If selected for surveillance testing, please do your part by scheduling an appointment.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

  • February 14, 2021: Ice Storm Follow up

    Willamette Community,

    We understand that many of you remain without power and know how uncomfortable and difficult these conditions can be. Although power has been restored to some areas, many may be without power for a few more days. Even with power, some may still be without internet access.

    During this time COVID-19 continues to be a major concern and we continue to prioritize strategies that reduce the possibility of its spread. With this concern at the forefront, we are unable to provide beds on campus for those without power. First, we do not have the capacity to offer housing to everyone who lives off campus or even for those who would desire it during this time. Second, we have to preserve a number of the spaces we do have for students who may need to be isolated or quarantined if they should acquire the virus, as this circumstance can very quickly escalate without notice. Third, we have a no-guest policy in the residence halls this year for a reason—introducing off-campus guests into the residence halls (even other Willamette students)—increases the risk of virus transmission not only to residential students but to the students who would come from a variety of off-campus residences.

    If you are a student who is in a home where there has been damage that is exposing you to the elements, have experienced injury because of the storm, or you have a medical circumstance that is putting your health at risk, please contact Campus Safety and they can connect you to the on-call staff to discuss what support options may be available. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate students for reasons other than the exceptions noted above.

    Power is on throughout campus and the UC and academic buildings are accessible for studying. Goudy is open to all students for grab-and-go meals and the University will be open tomorrow. Classes will go on as scheduled unless you are otherwise notified. If you are unsure whether it is prudent to travel to campus, you should use your personal judgment and make the right decision for yourself regarding coming to work or attending classes. If employees are unable to report to work because of the weather and related circumstances, they should contact their supervisor and students should notify their faculty. Please remember that faculty, staff, and administrators are also experiencing power and internet connectivity issues and so there may be delays in response.

    Be safe,
    The ROC

     

  • February 12, 2021: Weekly COVID-19 Recap

    In an ongoing effort to keep the community informed, the Reopening Operations Committee is committed to offering statewide, regional and campus public health updates to our community every Friday.

    Reopening Operations Committee update

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week

    • Surveillance testing updates
    • CDC recommendations on double masks
    • Admissions tours proposal
    • County risk level assessment

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    Double mask recommendation

    As we shared last week, Oregon public health experts are recommending that individuals upgrade or reinforce the cloth masks that have become popular. This week, the CDC has recently shared a study and information also affirming this approach. 2/10/21 CDC study confirms two masks are better than one. As a reminder, you can double your cloth mask with a surgical mask or acquire a 2.5 micron filter to use along with your cloth mask.

    Spaces to eat on campus

    Marion County currently remains in the “Extreme Risk” category, which means indoor dining at Goudy is not permitted. We understand the challenges this creates for students, particularly those who live off campus, who want to eat somewhere on campus.

    Below are a few locations and reminders regarding spaces that are available for students to eat.

    Areas where food can be consumed

    • Cat Cavern — This space is available each day from 7 a.m.–4 p.m. as an option for students to use for meals, primarily for those students who do not live on campus.
      • Students using the space should maintain six feet or more of distance from others while they are eating.
      • This space is not to be used for hanging out or socializing during the day.
    • University Center — Use the third floor lobby area.
    • Residence hall room
    • Outdoors

    Areas where food should not be consumed

    • Classrooms
    • Common areas in buildings, such as University Center first and second floor lobbies, academic building hearths and residence hall lounges

    Cases

    We reported no new cases in the past week.

    Bishop continues it’s surveillance testing program, as well as diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and those with known exposure. All tests given this week were negative. However, it is important to remember that all COVID tests are just a snapshot in time, and a negative test result should not change our adherence to mitigation strategies outlined in the WU Well U Agreement. Additionally, Bishop has started surveillance testing a randomized sample of the student community. If selected for testing, please do your part by scheduling an appointment.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

  • February 5, 2021: Weekly COVID-19 Recap

    In an ongoing effort to keep the community informed, the Reopening Operations Committee is committed to offering statewide, regional and campus public health updates to our community every Friday.

    Reopening Operations Committee update

    Topics ROC discussed in the past week

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    Double mask recommendation

    With the discovery of new and highly transmissible coronavirus variants within the United States, Oregon public health experts are recommending that individuals upgrade or reinforce the cloth masks that have become popular. Double masking has not yet become a requirement by federal and local health authorities but it is highly recommended as the new COVID-19 variants travel throughout the state and country. You can double your cloth mask with a surgical mask or acquire a 2.5 micron filter to use along with your cloth mask.

    Indoor recreational facility use

    Earlier this week we communicated state-mandated changes to our recreational facilities and museum. These changes allow some limited use and activity within these facilities while Marion County is still in the extreme risk category. We wanted to provide some additional information around what these changes are and how and when the spaces can be used.

    Fitness center and workout space

    • Each contained workout space can accommodate six people at a time based on the guidelines. Gym users will be required to stay within their designated gym space for the duration of their workout.
    • Students in the fitness area need to stay 25 feet apart from one another.
    • Gym and fitness center use is limited to 45-minute sessions for each group.
    • To maximize student payroll and the six-person accommodation, the Fitness Center’s hours will be:
      • Monday–Thursday: 6:30–9:30 a.m. and 4–9 p.m.
      • Friday: 6:30–9:30 a.m. and 3–7 p.m.
      • Saturday: 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
      • Sundays: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
    • There will be a system in place to sign up for specific one-hour time blocks to allow for entry and exit of the groups. That information will be coming out soon. Due to limited times available with only 6 users at a time, students may be limited to three to four workout slots per week in order to accommodate everyone who wishes to use the space.
    • Students will be required to sign into the space they are assigned in order to manage capacity and support contact tracing efforts should a person test positive who used the gym.

    Athletic teams’ gym and practice guidelines

    • Athletic teams will be permitted to practice indoors with up to 25 participants based on the guidelines for credit bearing instructional activities mandated by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
    • Athletes and coaches must maintain six feet of distance as much as possible. Exceptions to this distance rule for practices are limited and must be preapproved.
    • Cone Field House will be designated for athletic teams to use Monday through Friday with occasional use on the weekends based on the competition schedule.
    • The pool will be open for swim team practice initially, with hopes of opening it to the general student population in the coming weeks.

    Superspreader Super Bowl Sunday

    Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surged after almost every major holiday this past year. This weekend brings on another unofficial one: Super Bowl Sunday. Because Super Bowl parties are usually indoors and can involve more households and shared food, these gatherings may be more dangerous than most holidays. This year’s game is also happening when contagious new variants of the virus have begun to spread. Our advice: Don’t organize a party. Don’t go to a Super Bowl party. And don’t root for Tom Brady.

    Cases

    We reported no new cases in the past week.

    Bishop completed COVID testing of nearly 250 student athletes in the first two weeks of the semester. All tests were negative. However, it is important to remember that all COVID tests are just a snapshot in time, and a negative test result should not change our adherence to mitigation strategies outlined in the WU Well U Agreement. Additionally, Bishop has started surveillance testing a randomized sample of the student community. If selected for testing, please do your part by scheduling an appointment.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

  • February 1, 2021: Beyond the Quiet Period

    Today marks the end of the university’s quiet period for those students who returned to campus on or before Saturday, Jan. 23. Thank you for your commitment to this quiet period as we transitioned members back to the in-person community.

    The end of the quiet period means that classes scheduled to take place in person will be held in person unless otherwise indicated by your instructor. On weekdays, the Bistro is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Rick’s Cafe is open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students are now free to engage with others and enter buildings more freely.

    These guidelines remain in place:

    • Wear masks (preferably two, or one with a filter per trending recommendations) and maintain 6 feet of physical distance in public campus spaces and when visiting friends in residence hall rooms.
    • Abide by posted room occupancy limitations. Current state guidelines allow for only six people for event gatherings and no more than two occupants in a residence hall room.
    • Follow the residence hall guest policy that restricts visitation only for residents within an assigned residence hall.
    • Currently state guidelines will not allow us to provide seating in Goudy, so meals will continue to be grab-and-go until further notice.
    • Many offices will continue to provide service and support remotely.
    • Any student interested in planning in-person events should contact student-activities@willamette.edu for guidance in advance and to determine if a proposal needs to be submitted to the ROC.

    State guidance can change rapidly. We will continue to update the community with these changes as we all remain eager to increase opportunities for us to engage with one another in person.

    Any student who may have arrived or is planning to arrive on campus after Jan. 23 from out-of-state must institute their own 10-day quiet period before returning to in-person activities.

  • February 1, 2021: Updated state guidance for indoor recreational facility use and select indoor venues

    Dear Community,

    We hope you are settling back into classes and campus life for the spring semester. We write with an update about the use of some of our campus spaces. As you may recall, in December, Governor Brown implemented a new risk categorization system that determines which activities are allowed within a county based on a set of risk criteria. Based on the extreme risk categorization of Marion County, we were required to close the indoor fitness center and end athletic practices.

    On Friday, the guidelines for indoor gyms spaces and guidance for museums were updated for extreme risk counties allowing some limited use of these spaces going forward. Museum, Fitness Center, and athletics staff are implementing these new guidelines so that the museum, workout, and practice spaces can be functional for students soon. All users of these spaces will be required to wear masks during visits, practices, and workouts. However, the guidelines allow for some differences for activities that are deemed “instructional” (i.e., fitness classes, athletic practices) and general use.

    Hallie Ford Museum guidelines

    • We are working on determining how to apply these new guidelines to the layout and square footage of the museum. More detailed information will be provided in the coming days.

    Fitness Center & workout space guidelines

    • The Sparks building will be organized to provide contained workout spaces that can be used simultaneously to accommodate the different needs of those utilizing the space.
    • Each of these spaces can accommodate 6 people at a time based on the guidelines. Gym users will be required to stay within their designated gym space for the duration of their workout.
    • Students in the fitness area need to stay 25’ apart from one another.
    • Stationary equipment will be arranged to ensure that individuals do not face each other regardless of the distance between equipment
    • Gym and fitness center use is limited to 45 minute sessions for each group.
    • The fitness center and recreational areas will continue to be limited to student use only. Staff and Faculty will not be allowed to use the facilities in order to prioritize student health and wellness options.

    Athletic Teams gym & practice guidelines

    • Athletic teams will be permitted to practice indoors with up to 25 participants based on Higher Education Coordinating Commission guidelines for credit bearing instructional activities.
    • Athletes and coaches must maintain 6’ of distance as much as possible. Exceptions to this distance for practice purposes are limited and must be pre-approved.
      The pool will be open for swim team practices initially, with hopes of opening to the general student population in the coming weeks.

    More information will be provided soon with details around the available spaces & equipment, use protocols and best practices for navigating the facilities with these changes in place.
    We are excited that these new guidelines allow us to bring back some recreational activities and options for students to explore during the spring semester.

    Sincerely,
    ROC

  • January 28, 2021: Weekly COVID-19 Recap

    In an ongoing effort to keep the community informed, the Reopening Operations Committee is committed to offering statewide, regional and campus public health updates to our community every Friday.

    Reopening Operations Committee update

    Here are some of the topics ROC discussed in the past week.

    • Guidance for forming pods
    • Updated state guidance on gym use
    • Guidance for athletic teams

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    Events and gatherings

    Willamette University is subject to the guidelines and mandates issued by the Governor and Oregon Health Authority — this directly affects how social gatherings and events can occur on campus for the foreseeable future. Post quiet period events or social gatherings must be limited to no more than 6 people for both indoor and outdoor gatherings, this includes any recurring club or department meetings. Virtual options are highly encouraged and allow for larger event attendance. If you are hosting in-person gatherings, we recommend setting up a mechanism for registration or time slots in order to manage the attendance limitations.

    New variant COVID-19 virus strain

    On Jan. 15, Oregon Health Authority announced that they had been informed that an Oregon resident tested positive with the variant COVID-19 virus strain originally detected in the United Kingdom. This strain has been detected in several states, including California. It is important to note that viruses constantly mutate, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Most of these variants do not change how the virus behaves, and many disappear.

    We are continuing to monitor these new strains and will update the community as more information becomes available.

    Our current mitigation strategies are still very important in combating the virus. As a reminder, this includes: maintaining six feet of physical distance, wearing a face covering, practicing good hand hygiene and limiting social gatherings.

    Cases

    We reported one new case in the past week.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

    To date, all COVID-19 tests administered in Bishop Wellness Center have been negative.

    Community compliance updates

    As we resume classes, please remember that we signed the WU Well U Agreement and agreed to affirm its commitments as a member of a caring campus community.

    As a reminder, we are in a quiet period and will be for the beginning of the semester. During this time, campus remains closed to visitors, classes are remote and all employees are asked to work remotely unless otherwise approved by their supervisor.

  • January 22, 2021: Weekly COVID-19 Recap

    In an ongoing effort to keep the community informed, the Reopening Operations Committee is committed to offering statewide, regional and campus public health updates to our community every Friday.

    Reopening Operations Committee update

    Here are some of the topics ROC discussed in the past week.

    • New COVID-19 strain
    • Admissions tours
    • Physical activity and wellness solutions

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    New variant COVID-19 virus strain

    On Jan. 15, Oregon Health Authority announced that they had been informed that an Oregon resident tested positive with the variant COVID-19 virus strain originally detected in the United Kingdom. This strain has been detected in several states, including California. It is important to note that viruses constantly mutate, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Most of these variants do not change how the virus behaves, and many disappear.

    We are continuing to monitor these new strains and will update the community as more information becomes available.

    Our current mitigation strategies are still very important in combating the virus. As a reminder, this includes: maintaining six feet of physical distance, wearing a face covering, practicing good hand hygiene, and limiting social gatherings.

    Vaccination rollout in Oregon

    Although we had previously believed that higher education would be included in Phase 1b of the vaccination rollout program, we have since learned that higher education employees are not included with the K–12 employees in 1b. This confirmation came from our most recent communication with the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission. We are in continued conversation with HECC and other partners to determine where higher education employees will be included in the vaccination plan.

    Additionally, last week the federal government indicated that it would be sending out the stockpile of vaccinations it had in the federal reserve to increase distribution in every state. We have since learned from the governor’s office that “states will not be receiving increased shipments of vaccines from the national stockpile next week, because there is no federal reserve of doses.” This abrupt change in the expected supply will push back the distribution timeline that Gov. Brown and the Oregon Health Authority had shared earlier last week.

    It will continue to take time for the vaccines to be widely available and meet the demand of the groups eligible for vaccinating. We will continue to share information as we receive it.

    Surveillance testing in the spring semester

    As a reminder, in response to changing guidance and test availability in Oregon, Bishop Wellness Center will begin surveillance testing of undergraduate, law and graduate students in February. Each week, a random sample of students currently attending in-person classes will be selected to take a COVID-19 diagnostic nasal swab test. If selected, students will receive an email with the subject line “COVID-19 Testing: You have been selected.” The tests are the rapid antigen tests with results available the day of collection. There will be no direct costs to students asked to participate in surveillance testing. Bishop will also be able to offer limited testing of asymptomatic people by request for a $50 fee as supplies are available.

    Some additional details

    • Students selected for testing will receive an email asking them to schedule an appointment with Bishop Wellness Center.
    • Appointments for these randomly selected students will be available from 10 a.m.–noon, Monday–Friday.
    • Students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or are a known close contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 should call Bishop Wellness Center for a separate appointment time and not participate in this surveillance testing program.

    We are pleased that we are able to add testing to our ongoing mitigation strategies. However, it is important to remember that the most effective way to reduce the spread of COVID is to wear face masks, to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others, to practice good hand washing hygiene and to follow all university and state guidelines. With the vaccination process beginning, there is hope for a return to some sense of normalcy on the horizon. By continuing to commit to our care for one another, we can get through these next few months an even stronger community.

    More FAQs on surveillance testing can be found here.

    Cases

    We reported no new cases in the past week.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

    To date, all COVID-19 tests administered in Bishop Wellness Center have been negative.

    Community compliance updates

    As we resume classes, please remember that we signed the WU Well U Agreement and agreed to affirm its commitments as a member of a caring campus community.

    As a reminder, we are in a quiet period and will be for the beginning of the semester. During this time, campus remains closed to visitors, classes are remote and all employees are asked to work remotely unless otherwise approved by their supervisor.

  • January 15, 2021: Important updates around vaccine distribution and sequencing

    Dear Colleagues,

    We write with an update regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and its distribution within the state of Oregon, specifically for higher education. We shared with you information from Gov. Brown’s press conference last week, in which the Governor stated that higher education faculty and staff would be included with K-12 employees in Phase 1b of the vaccine sequencing. Since that time, Oregon Health Authority has not included higher education in their communications about Phase 1b which has led to some confusion. We have reached out to try to confirm higher education’s inclusion in Phase 1b per the Governor’s statement. Our most recent communication with the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission indicates that higher education employees are not currently included with K-12 employees in Phase 1b.

    Additionally, this week the Federal Government indicated that it would be sending out the stockpile of vaccinations it had in the federal reserve to increase distribution in every state. We have since learned from the Governor’s office that, “States will not be receiving increased shipments of vaccines from the national stockpile next week, because there is no federal reserve of doses.” This abrupt change in the expected supply will push back the distribution timeline that Gov. Brown and the Oregon Health Authority had shared earlier in the week.

    It will continue to take time for the vaccines to be widely available and meet the demand of the groups eligible for vaccinating.

    It is important to remember that the vaccine is one of many tools we have to control the spread of the virus. Hand washing, wearing masks, physical distancing, contact tracing, and other public health measures continue to be critical to our mitigation efforts. Although we may feel relief that vaccines are here, this is not the time to relax these measures.

    We will continue to share information as we get it.

    Thank you for your continued efforts to keep our community safe and healthy.

    Sincerely,
    Reopening Operations Committee

  • January 15, 2021: Weekly COVID-19 Recap

    In an ongoing effort to keep the community informed, the Reopening Operations Committee is committed to offering statewide, regional and campus public health updates to our community every Friday.

    Reopening Operations Committee update

    Here are some of the topics ROC discussed in the past week.

    • Vaccination distribution
    • Testing protocols
    • Return to campus plans and classes
    • Updates to COVID website

    Regional and statewide public health update

    The most current Oregon Health Authority weekly update can be found here.

    Marion County’s COVID-19 website can be found here.

    Surveillance testing in the spring semester

    In response to changing guidance and test availability in Oregon, Bishop Wellness Center will begin surveillance testing of undergraduate, law, and graduate students in February. Each week, a random sample of students currently attending in-person classes will be selected to take a COVID-19 diagnostic nasal swab test. If selected, students will receive an email with the subject line “COVID-19 Testing: You have been selected.” The tests are the rapid antigen tests with results available the day of collection. There will be no direct costs to students asked to participate in surveillance testing. Bishop will also be able to offer limited testing of asymptomatic people by request for a $50 fee as supplies are available.

    Some additional details

    • Students selected for testing will receive an email asking them to schedule an appointment with Bishop Wellness Center.
    • Appointments for these randomly selected students will be available from 10 a.m. to noon, Monday–Friday.
    • Students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or are a known close contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 should call Bishop Wellness Center for a separate appointment time and not participate in this surveillance testing program.

    We are pleased that we are able to add testing to our on-going mitigation strategies. However, it is important to remember that the most effective way to reduce the spread of COVID is to wear face masks, maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others, practice good hand washing hygiene, and to follow all university and state guidelines. With the vaccination process beginning, there is hope for a return to some sense of normalcy on the horizon. By continuing to commit to our care for one another we can get through these next few months an even stronger community.

    Return to campus for undergraduate students

    Earlier this week, President Thorsett sent out important information around return to campus plans amid the concerns of protests occurring at the capitol between Jan. 16 and Inauguration Day, Jan. 20. To address these concerns, residential students who’d prefer not to travel before Inauguration Day have the option of starting classes from home and returning between Jan. 21–23 instead. The later return date is encouraged, but students are still welcome to return on Jan. 19 if they wish to do so.

    Classes for CAS students will start as scheduled Jan. 20, with all classes remote. To ensure a safe restart to the semester we will begin with a quiet period, as previously communicated. With the expansion of return dates for residential students we are extending this quiet period through Monday, Feb. 1, with in-person classes starting on Tuesday, Feb. 2. This means that if you are taking any in-person classes, you must return to Salem or move into your residence no later than Jan. 23.

    Cases

    We reported two new confirmed cases in the past week.

    Please note that the confirmed case dashboard was created to keep the community apprised of possible transmission on campus. As such, we do not report cases when individuals are not physically present on campus this semester (for example, students studying remotely and living out of the area).

    As a reminder, we require any community member who is ever on campus, however briefly, who tests positive for COVID-19 to report that to the university. As was stated in the Aug. 28 Today@Willamette, students should self-report their positive COVID-19 status to Tori Ruiz in Student Affairs at Truiz@willamette.edu, 503-370-6447, or by submitting a COVID-19 CARE Report form. 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.

    To date, all COVID-19 tests administered in Bishop Wellness Center have been negative.

    Community compliance updates

    As we resume classes, please remember that we signed the WU Well U Agreement and agreed to affirm its commitments as a member of a caring campus community.

    As a reminder, we are in a quiet period and will be for the beginning of the semester. During this time, campus remains closed to visitors, classes are remote and all employees are asked to work remotely unless otherwise approved by their supervisor.

  • January 8, 2021: COVID-19 Vaccination updates

    Dear Colleagues,

    We write to you with promising news around the COVID-19 vaccine and it’s distribution within the state of Oregon, specifically for Higher Education. Today, during a press conference hosted by Gov. Kate Brown, it was confirmed that higher education educators and staff will be included in group 1b of the phased distribution for vaccinations in the state.

    While the inclusion of higher education faculty and staff is welcome news, it is important to remember that it will take some time for the vaccines to be widely available and distributed as the county and state work to complete vaccinations for individuals in group 1a. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has organized a phased distribution approach, in line with CDC guidance, to ensure vaccination distribution is done in a fair and equitable way.

    We met recently with representatives from our health insurance provider, Kaiser Permanente, to better understand the vaccine distribution plan and process.

    Things you need to know:

    • Current vaccination groups include frontline health care workers and long-term care residents and employees. This includes doctors, nurses, janitorial staff, and others who have the potential for direct or indirect contact with COVID-19 patients or infectious materials. Willamette has identified employees that qualify for this group and provided information on vaccination sites for them.
    • OHA is working on identifying the groups that will be next in line for the vaccine after our frontline health care workers have received their vaccination. As mentioned above, Gov. Brown confirmed today that educators and staff for K-12 as well as higher education will be included in the 1b group for vaccination. More information around this group will be released toward the end of the month.
    • Willamette will not be a vaccination dispensing site. Individuals seeking the vaccine (once they are eligible) will have the ability to schedule an appointment through Kaiser Permanente or visit one of the county-organized vaccination clinics.
    • There are no out-of-pocket costs to receive the vaccine, no matter which location you visit to receive the vaccination.
    • Oregon is receiving vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna, both of which require two doses to be administered for full immune response. The Pfizer vaccine requires 21 days in between each dose whereas the Moderna vaccine requires 28 days and each dose an individual receives should be from the same manufacturer.
    • The vaccine assists in keeping individuals from getting sick, but it still may be possible to get, carry and transmit the virus even after you are vaccinated.

    It is important to remember that the vaccine is one many tools we have to control the spread of the virus. Hand washing, wearing masks, social distancing, contact tracing, and other public health measures continue to be critical to our mitigation efforts. Although we may feel relief that vaccines are here, this is not the time to relax these measures.

    We will continue to share information as we get it.

    Thank you for your continued efforts to keep our community safe and healthy.

    Sincerely,
    Reopening Operations Committee

  • January 4, 2021: Update on Returning to Campus from Winter Break

    Welcome back and Happy New Year!

    We hope you all had a restful winter break. We want to provide some important health and safety reminders as we start the new term and prepare for our students’ return.

    Important Guidelines

    Employees who are able to perform their duties remotely must continue to do so and not come to campus unless absolutely necessary. Employees must check with their supervisor if there are questions or concerns about whether to work on campus or remotely. If you believe you need to work on campus for any reason your division leader or dean must provide prior approval.

    Based on the metrics released by Gov. Kate Brown in December, Marion County is still identified as an “Extreme Risk” county which means a number of restrictions continue to be in place, including limitations on the size of gatherings and restrictions against indoor dining and recreation. 


    Things to Remember

    • Hallie Ford Museum and Sparks Fitness Center remain closed until further notice.
    • Campus offices will operate remotely in all cases where the work can be done virtually.
    • Bon Appetit locations will reopen over the course of January.
      • Rick’s Cafe will reopen with limited days and hours on Jan. 11.
      • Goudy reopens Jan. 19.
      • Blitz Market reopens on Jan. 20.
      • No indoor, in-person dining is allowed at this time due to state guidelines. Goudy seating will be closed. We can provide an option for those who may not be in residence or have office space on campus to eat.
    • All residence halls will reopen on Jan. 19 with an exception for students who have been preapproved for an early arrival (e.g. new students, RAs).

    Quiet period

    As we welcome AGSM and Law students back for classes next week, we will begin the semester with a quiet period to protect both Willamette and the larger community.

    The quiet period for the graduate schools will take place Jan. 11–20.

    Undergraduate students’ quiet period will be Jan. 20–30.

    This means:

    • Attending classes remotely during the quiet period.
    • Reducing the number of people with whom you’re in contact.
    • Limiting traffic in campus buildings.
    • Avoiding social gatherings.

    Continued diligence

    While the distribution of effective COVID-19 vaccines has us hopeful that the end of the pandemic is on the horizon, we are still in the midst of it and must continue to be diligent with the public health measures established last semester.

    • Wear a mask at all times both indoors and outdoors.
    • Maintain 6 feet of distance from others at all times.
    • Wash your hands frequently.
    • Avoid large gatherings or events.

    Thank you for supporting the health and safety of our campus and greater community and for your flexibility during these ever-changing and uncertain times.

    Sincerely,
    Reopening Operations Committee

  • December 7, 2020: Update on Spring 2021 Semester

    We write with an update on Willamette’s planning for the Spring semester.  As you well know, the course of this pandemic is dynamic, with regional and local guidance changing frequently as the number of cases continues to rise.  We are closely monitoring the public health landscape and are in frequent contact with local health officials as we plan for the Spring.

    As has been communicated previously, we fully intend to welcome students back to campus for an in-person experience in January for students who choose this option. The first day of classes for the law school and graduate programs will be January 11th. The first day of classes for the College of Arts and Sciences will be January 20th.

    Here is what you need to know now so that you can plan accordingly for your return in January.

    1. We strongly recommend students quarantine for 10 days prior to traveling back to campus. [Note this is informed by the updated CDC guidelines around quarantine for positive cases and close contacts]. We recognize that a quarantine of this nature may be complicated for many.  However, whatever you can do to reduce your social interactions 10 days prior to coming back to campus is helpful in mitigating the spread of the virus - this includes avoiding large gatherings and events, maintaining six-feet of distance between yourself and others, and practicing vigilant handwashing
    2. To minimize the chances of spreading the virus during travel, we recommend that students who are traveling back to Salem and/or intend to engage in on-campus activities acquire a diagnostic COVID PCR test (not antigen) 72 hours prior to traveling back to campus for students. If the test result is positive, the student must not travel or come to campus and should isolate according to their physician’s medical advice. Since many students will be traveling from a variety of places, the available testing options will vary. We recommend contacting your local health provider for testing options in your area. Oregon testing options can be found using OHA’s Oregon testing side finderAs a reminder, testing is not a replacement for our proven virus mitigation strategies (e.g., wearing masks, maintaining six-foot distance, staying home when feeling ill, frequent handwashing, etc.).
    3. Upon the start of January return to classes, we will again implement an enhanced “quiet period” for all community members for 10 days. A quiet period for graduate schools and law will take place January 11th- January 20th. The undergraduate student's quiet period will be January 20th - 30th. This means:
      • Attend classes remotely during the quiet period.
      • In-person class size will be capped at 24 students and 1 instructor
      • Reduce the number of people with whom you’re in contact
      • Limit traffic in campus buildings
      • Avoid social gatherings
      • Grab & go food will be provided at Goudy - no in-person seating

      If you return to campus at a later date than the scheduled start of classes, we expect that you will initiate your own quiet period for the 10 days following the time you return to campus or the Salem area. Note that all undergraduate students who have registered for an in-person class need to be back in the area by January 19th so that they can attend in-person classes when they resume on February 1st.

    4. Any student traveling to campus from outside Oregon will need to follow all relevant travel restrictions in place at the time.

    Important reminders for Spring Semester

    In order to minimize mid-semester travel this Spring and to support a later start date for classes, we have had to eliminate our traditional week-long spring break. Instead, we have a two-day break scheduled for March 25-26th in addition to adding a day to Student Scholarship Recognition Day (SSRD) April 20-21st, making it a two-day event. We strongly urge students and the community to limit or avoid any unnecessary travel outside of the Salem area during these break times and throughout the semester, and to follow any travel restrictions set by local or federal authorities.

    We are also asking that all members of the community continue to report positive COVID-19 test results to the university as we head into the winter break and our regular campus closure. In response to evolving guidance, we will only be messaging positive cases that have intersected with the campus while the person was potentially contagious per CDC definitions. This approach will continue as we transition into the spring semester.

    We will continue to monitor the guidance from the state and update you as information changes or becomes available.

Willamette University

COVID-19 Task Force

Phone
503-370-6584