Portland State continues to monitor the coronavirus outbreak and take steps to keep our community safe and healthy.
Over the weekend, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) came out with new guidance for universities in light of everything we know about the coronavirus known as COVID-19 and we wanted to share this update with you.
The specific recommendation is as follows:
“At this time, OHA recommends against closing schools and campuses where no cases of COVID-19 are present. OHA also recommends that schools, colleges and universities consider all alternatives before closing a school, college or university in the event that a COVID-19 case is detected among students or staff. Schools, colleges and universities should make decisions in concert with public health authorities, based on real-time information about COVID-19 and its transmission and using public health best practices. Meanwhile, schools, colleges and universities should emphasize the simple things people can do to keep healthy and remind students, faculty and staff who are ill not to attend school and remain at home. OHA will continue to reassess this recommendation as the outbreak continues.”
The OHA is not recommending the closure of schools, colleges or universities or campuses because the benefits of such measures are unclear and there would be significant detriments to the community.
Our individual preventative efforts — keeping hands clean, covering coughs and staying home when sick — continue to be our best tools to stop community spread of the virus. Instead, the OHA is recommending a continued focus on personal health hygiene and cleaning of high-touch, high-traffic areas on campus, as PSU is doing.
Dr. David Bangsberg, a physician and dean of the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health said he agreed with the OHA’s advice to avoid school and campus closures for now. “This recommendation represents a reasonable and thoughtful approach given the information that is available at this time,” he says. “This is a dynamic situation and will require continued partnership between schools, colleges and universities and the public health community to make real-time decision
Along with our public health partners, we will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate measures to ensure that our students, faculty and staff are protected. Please continue to refer to the resources available on the pdx.edu/coronavirus-response website, especially the FAQ. If you have questions not addressed there, submit them to the firstname.lastname@example.org email.