News

Planning for a mostly remote fall term
Author: Stephen Percy
Posted: July 30, 2020

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
President
Portland State University