Update from Oregon Tech Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) Precautions
March 12, 2020, KLAMATH FALLS, Ore.— Oregon Institute of Technology, “Oregon Tech,” announced to its university community that it has been working closely with public health and government officials to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and taking measures to protect the health and safety of its students, faculty and staff. Internal communication to students and employees stressed that Oregon Tech will take every step to remain open and operational to ensure the academic progress of students, including changes for spring term course delivery.
The university is making decisions based on advice from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health and education authorities in order to protect the university communities and help prevent the transmission of COVID 19; ensure the continued academic progress of students; and, enact changes to limit the spread of COVID-19 by increasing ‘social distancing’ practices.
Dr. Nagi Naganathan, Oregon Tech’s president said, “We are thankful for the guidance that Oregon Tech and the other public universities received from the Governor’s Office, Oregon Health Authority, our county officials, and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. This close coordination will continue as this situation develops.”
Effective March 23 Oregon Tech is implementing Social Distancing guidance including:
o University Events: Nonessential employee, department or other university sponsored gatherings will be limited, with an appropriate exception process for academic delivery and select gatherings.
o Sporting Events: The NAIA athletic conference is suspending all sports until March 29 or pending further developments.
o Campus Housing: All student housing facilities will remain open and in normal operations, utilizing social distancing and other precautions.
o Employee Travel: Nonessential employee travel will be curtailed to the extent feasible.
o Continuity of Work and Remote Work: When feasible, and with prior approval, employees may be permitted to work remotely.
Social distancing guidance will be evaluated on a frequent basis and adjustments will be communicated to the campus community.
Regarding Spring Break (3/20-3/27) guidance, the university strongly recommended that students, staff and faculty limit travel, particularly international travel or to areas of the United States that have high infection rates. If students and employees have been to areas with high infection rates, or have reason to believe that they have been exposed to COVID-19, or have cold or flu-like symptoms, they should practice increased personal hygiene and social distancing techniques as outlined by the CDC.
Oregon Tech communicated specific guidance for students and employees regarding Spring Term (Effective 3/30):
o Classes: Spring Term lecture classes will be delivered remotely wherever feasible for at least the first two weeks of classes from 3/30 to 4/10/2020. Additional information will be communicated to students and faculty by Oregon Tech’s Office of the Provost.
o Labs: Laboratory instruction will continue to be offered in their current modality and as scheduled, with efforts made to employ social distancing practices.
o Computer Labs: Select computer labs will remain open for student use during Spring Term to ensure all students have access to courses delivered remotely.
o Clinics Operations: Clinics run by Oregon Tech will continue normal operations until further notice.
o Student Externships: Students externships and co-ops will continue; guidance will be updated on a regular basis by the department, and the extern partner in consultation with the Office of the Provost.
o Evaluating Further Steps: Each of these steps will be reevaluated on a frequent basis and adjustments will be communicated to the campus community.
President Naganathan added: “In situations like this we recognize that we cannot eliminate all risk, but we are determined to do all that we can to minimize it by focusing on protecting the health and well-being of our regional and campus communities as well as ensuring our students continued academic progress.”