March 11, 2020 Message
New coronavirus guidelines for PSU
Author: Stephen Percy
Posted: March 11, 2020
Dear PSU Community,
The threat of the coronavirus known as COVID-19 is presenting daunting challenges for all of us. We are committed to making decisions that promote the success and well-being of our campus community and growing concerns across Oregon. Like an increasing number of universities nationwide, Portland State is taking additional important steps to respond to the global pandemic:
Classes will continue this week as scheduled unless you hear otherwise from your instructor. PSU leadership has encouraged faculty to move to a remote format for final exams when possible. Professors will contact their students with their plans for next week.
Spring term classes will be offered as scheduled and most classes will be taught remotely. In mid-April, university officials will reassess next steps based on guidance from health officials. Details of the remote-learning plans will be announced Friday. The Office of Academic Innovation provides extensive tools and resources to assist students and faculty with course instruction.
PSU will remain open
We intend to keep campus offices open. Students will be able to access support services to ensure that they stay on track with their academic studies, including offering the classes in which they have registered.
Events and on-campus gatherings
We anticipate additional guidance this week from public health officials on events and gatherings. As a way to reduce the spread of coronavirus, we urge the campus community to keep in-person gatherings to a minimum. PSU is urging students, faculty and staff to use remote access and online formats for meetings and optional events.
Remote work is another way to reduce risk when appropriate. PSU Human Resources has streamlined the Remote Work Agreement approval process for employees who can do their jobs from home.
Employees can use sick leave to cover time away from the office to monitor symptoms or care for a loved one. Should sick leave hours become depleted, alternatives include borrowing from a sick leave bank or borrowing from future sick leave accrual, depending on employee status.
Another key measure to reduce COVID-19 transmission is reducing travel. At this time, PSU is suspending all non-essential, university-related travel until further notice. We are working on broad guidelines for our travel FAQs to help answer travel questions.
For spring break, it is important to remember that international travel restrictions remain in place following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel guidelines. Travel for any reason to a CDC Level 3 country (currently China, Iran, Italy and South Korea) will require an individual to complete a 14-day self-quarantine upon return to the U.S. Check the CDC travel website for updates. We have addressed some of these questions in our FAQs and will continue to update them as the situation evolves.
The first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Multnomah County was announced yesterday. Health officials continue to urge everyone to take steps to protect those who are at the highest risk of contracting coronavirus — older adults and anyone with a serious health condition or compromised immune system.
We are asking everyone in the campus community to take steps to protect themselves and others by washing hands often, safely covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if you feel sick. Health officials recommend practicing social distancing whenever possible, which means keeping at least six feet between yourself and others in all public spaces, avoiding handshakes and hugging, and limiting in-person meetings when possible.
If you are concerned that you have been exposed or are showing symptoms of coronavirus, contact your healthcare provider. Anyone can call the SHAC Nurse Line with coronavirus related questions or concerns at 503.725.2515 or the 24/7 Nurse Advice Line (after hours) at 844.224.3145.
It’s more important than ever that PSU comes together as a united campus community and stand against discriminatory behavior. National origin has no bearing on how likely someone is to contract the coronavirus. If you witness or experience a bias incident or discrimination, contact Global Diversity and Inclusion.
I appreciate your patience during this extraordinary time. The circumstances and challenges are changing daily. What remains constant is our commitment to the health and well being of the PSU community. We will keep you updated as new developments emerge. Visit PSU’s Coronavirus Response website for the latest information and FAQs.