Flexible Fall at PSU

Flexible Fall at PSU

South Park Blocks in Fall

Planning for a mostly remote fall term

Dear Campus Community, 

Earlier this summer, we announced plans for a Flexible Fall Term at Portland State with a variety of course formats including some face-to-face instruction and a campus with improved health measures in place ready to welcome the members of our community who want to live in residence halls or come to campus for certain services, resources or other purposes.

I have heard from many students that they need to make important decisions about travel, housing and other plans as soon as possible. Given the recent rise of COVID-19 cases in Oregon, however, we need to do all we can to protect the health of students, faculty, staff and visitors. As a result, the number of fall classes in a face-to-face format will be extremely limited with nearly all courses taught remotely. The updated course schedule will be available Aug. 10, including details for course delivery formats.

In this environment, we have to remain flexible. Students will be able to choose remote course formats that work for their work and family schedules. And unlike spring term, the PSU campus can safely open with precautions in place. While courses and many services will still be conducted virtually, some student resources — including the library, study spaces, some retail, campus rec, child care and health and wellness services — will be available on campus. 

Students who need a quiet place to study and better access to technology can come to campus spaces that have been retooled to accommodate the health and safety requirements of the current pandemic. Campus housing and dining will be open. And PSU’s signature Park Blocks and other outdoor spaces always provide a place for properly distanced gatherings. 

PSU has comprehensive health measures in place on campus including mask requirements, physical distancing, limits on the size of events, enhanced cleaning protocols, improved HVAC filtration, expanded availability of hand sanitizer, and other steps recommended by local and state health officials. The Center for Student Health & Counseling (SHAC) will provide on-campus COVID-19 testing services and will work with the Multnomah County Health Department on contact tracing.

We are committed to delivering an exceptional remote learning experience. Faculty from across campus have been training this summer to improve remote teaching and student services and have refined new models for providing virtual support. Even after we are able to gather safely in person, many of these remote tools will remain a part of our university life and it’s exciting to see them maximized in new ways. 

We know there are still many questions about Fall Flex. After the release of the updated fall term course schedule on August 10, we will host a webinar 10 a.m. Tuesday, August 11 to provide more details and answer your questions live. Sign up for the webinar using your @pdx.edu email. If you are having trouble signing up, contact us campusvisits@pdx.edu. We will share the recording of the webinar if you are unable to attend. 

Until then, we invite you to visit the regularly updated Flexible Fall website for further information or send specific questions to fallflex@pdx.edu

We know this is a challenging time. But we are making new investments across Portland State to ensure that we are able to support academic innovation and the vibrancy of our campus community. We will emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever. 

Stephen Percy

Portland State University 

Student working in studio


We are hosting a virtual information session for students on Tuesday, August 11 at 10 a.m. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn more about registration, advising, student life and health and safety this fall. Sign up using your pdx.edu email.

Student working on laptop at home

Campus Life in Fall 2020

Portland State is known for our unique urban campus and we look forward to welcoming students, staff and faculty in a safe way. 

Today, PSU is in the early stages of our return to campus and we will be following public health guidelines on future phases. PSU will take all possible steps to create a safe environment for students, faculty and staff by reimagining public spaces, making supplies including masks and sanitizers available to all and offering on-campus testing and contact tracing. Find the latest information at the Flexible Fall website and see below for campus life features we anticipate for fall term. 

  • Campus Housing: Students are welcome to reside in campus housing in fall term and throughout the academic year. The deadline to commit to campus housing contracts for fall term has been postponed until after the fall course schedule has been updated. Safety protocols are in place for healthy accommodations that offer ample living space to ensure social distancing and flexible on-campus dining options. (Details available from PSU Housing and Residence Life.) 
  • Library: PSU’s Library will be open with access to learning materials and study spaces. As with all public spaces, masks will be required.
  • Technology Needs: Our Office of Information Technology, working with the Library, will provide a large selection of laptops, portable WiFi hotspots and other learning technology accessories available for checkout. In addition, computer labs will continue to be available on campus to all students.
  • Campus Recreation: Portland State Campus Rec is planning on opening for fall term with an enhanced suite of programs designed to promote wellness in innovative formats. 
  • Center for Student Health & Counseling: Always a robust health and wellness resource for students, the Center for Student Health & Counseling (SHAC) has risen to the COVID-19 challenge and diversified its services to include rapid virus testing and contact tracing for all members of the PSU community. 
  • Transportation: As always there will be a variety of options for getting to and from campus. Portland’s TriMet public transportation system continues its service to campus with masks required and available. On-campus parking for cars and bikes will be available, and the PSU Bike Hub will be open to support bike commuters. 

We believe this flexible approach to fall term is the right decision for the times. The PSU Flexible Fall website will be continually updated with new information as it becomes available.

Send questions to FallFlex@pdx.edu

Supporting Students

PSU remains committed to helping as many students as possible with the financial difficulties they are facing. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocates a total of $8.3 million in emergency grants to PSU students for Covid-related expenses.

Darrell Grant

Working on Campus

PSU is committed to maintaining instruction, scholarship, research, creative activities, service, and community learning and engagement to minimize disruption of our commitment to supporting scholarship to ensure student success.

Campus Safety Precautions

  • PSU’s Physical Distancing Policy shall be followed by all persons on Portland State property.
  • Cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer may be acquired by General Fund departments from Materials Management Services at no cost. Auxiliary and self-support departments may purchase these items from a source chosen by them or from MMS. To make a request, email mmstore@pdx.edu. Suggestions for hand sanitizers in public locations should be sent to Facilities and Property Management.   
  • PSU requires that departments that have a high traffic counter, reception desk, or service window and expects visitors to the space must request the installation of a sneeze guard (at no cost) from Facilities and Property Management. 
  • Kitchens, break rooms, bathrooms, meeting rooms, and elevators should all be considered single occupancy. If you notice that the space is occupied, please wait outside for the other person to finish using the space before entering. In kitchens, do not use communal dishware, drinkware, and silverware. Either use single-use items or keep personal items separate. 
  • Because there will be no face-to-face classes or instructional activity on campus this summer, practice rooms, study rooms, lounge spaces, etc, are also closed to student use during the summer.
  • Facilities and Property Management will post signs around campus to remind everyone of these new guidelines. If you need to post additional room capacity signs, a template is available.

Reporting COVID-Exposure, Test Results, or Diagnosis

If you suspect you might have COVID-19, are awaiting test results, or have been diagnosed, please do not come to campus. Contact your supervisor about your absence and please complete the COVID-19 Reporting Form and a representative from Center for Student Health & Counseling will be in contact with you. Informing SHAC of COVID-19 exposure, positive test results, or diagnosis is strongly recommended in order for PSU to initiate centralized university level responses to protect students, staff, and faculty during COVID-19. 

Send questions to FallFlex@pdx.edu