Vice Provost Larson Talks COVID

In a letter to Oregon State University, Coronavirus Response Coordinator and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Dan Larson informed OSU community that the University will continue to provide information specific to higher education to the Governor’s Office. 

Admittedly, OSU has no authority or discretion in determining vaccination eligibility for students and employees, but Larson is working with the Higher Education Coordinating Commission and other universities statewide to assist the Oregon Health Authority and local counties in planning for the “sequencing of vaccinations among higher education employees and students. OSU input includes estimate counts of categories of employees and students to be vaccinated and communication to respective communities. 

The estimated 2,000 currently eligible members of the 1a and 1b groups associated with the University are encouraged to seek vaccination through their local county or regional healthcare system or other providers. An estimated 500 members who comprise the rest of group 1b, such as people over 65, are also encouraged to seek vaccines at the time of their eligibility. 

Oregon post-secondary institutions are working with HECC to provide the Governor’s Office and OHA definitions and counts for position types that OSU deems as “critical workers in high-risk settings, as a part of group 1b. 

Larson clarified that eligibility doesn’t not equal immediate access to vaccines, however eligibility can be checked using the state website. 

COVID19 Testing on Campus 

In his letter, Larson wrote, Thanks to TRACE OSU’s testing capabilities, we are now testing all on-campus residential students in Corvallis, and starting next week in Bend, on a weekly basis. “Free tests are also offered to off-campus students in congregate living conditions such as Sororities and Fraternities. 

With Spring break in sight, he urged the OSU community to limit travelling and to adhere to the Statewide Guidance Recommended for Travel 

Planning for Fall Term

In hopes of resuming in-person and site-based research and fieldwork, OSU’s Continuity Management Team is working with stakeholder groups to plan for that pathway according to all applicable state and federal requirements and guidelines. 

OSU and University of Oregon will create a joint task force of “health science and public health experts” lead by Dr. Javier Nieto, Dean of OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences, to review current public health measures and recommend subsequent determinations in order to resume full on-site work.   

By Joanna Rosińska