Oregon public universities, including UO and OSU, will host in-person winter classes

The University of Oregon will host winter courses primarily in person, joining all other public universities in the state in a unified approach from day one of January 3.

UO President Patrick Phillips made the announcement in a letter to the university community on Tuesday morning. He cited the high vaccination rate of students and university staff, existing security measures and “robust testing capability” on campus for the decision.

“Last year, thanks to the incredible efforts of our faculty, staff and administrators, the university was able to deliver a high quality distance learning university program that met the needs of our students,” Phillips wrote. . “It also became clear that a significant number of students did not thrive and encountered educational and emotional setbacks caused by the pandemic, setbacks that could be reduced by limiting the isolation associated with learning at distance.

“These negative results have occurred most often among our most vulnerable students,” he said. “Especially for these students, in-person education is clearly a better alternative for student success.”

UO’s announcement goes hand in hand with other Oregon universities, including Oregon State University and Portland State University.

“OSU’s decision aligns with plans jointly announced today by all public universities in Oregon to keep teaching in place at the start of the winter term,” OSU said Tuesday. in a press release.

OU President Michael Schill announced on December 20 that the university would also need boosters. The OU has vaccination rates of 95.3% for staff and 96.8% for students for the fall semester. The rest were given religious or medical exemptions, and the amounts match what UO saw for exemptions in pre-pandemic years, administrators told The Register-Guard last month.

Students and staff have until January 31, or 30 days after becoming eligible for a recall, to meet the new requirement.

In addition to the boosters, Phillips also highlighted the continued masking and testing available on campus, as well as the OU’s containment plan, exposure guidelines, and COVID-19 management policies and procedures on the campus. campus.

“To date, there have been no documented cases of classroom transmission of COVID-19 at the University of Oregon,” Phillips wrote. “We are ready to pivot and make the necessary changes to our approach, as the public health conditions warrant.”

The OSU also made the decision to require booster injections for the COVID-19 vaccine.

UO and OSU already needed the COVID-19 vaccine for the fall quarter, but OSU had yet to announce until Tuesday whether it would need the booster.

“We believe we can guard against an increase in COVID-19 cases due to an immunization rate of over 93% among OSU students and employees; require booster injections when a person is eligible for OSU’s immunization program; continued OSU focus on targeted COVID-19 testing; and our community’s commitment to many other public health measures, ”said Becky Johnson, Interim President of OSU.

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