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Dear EOU Community,
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak evolves, we are sending this message to provide a status update. EOU staff are at work planning for campus needs and response to potential impacts. From the national media to news in our region, it is important to remember that the situation is continually changing as new information becomes available.
Status of campus and facilities
All of EOU’s facilities remain open and operating on normal schedules. Classes, activities and events on EOU’s La Grande campus will continue as scheduled. Should we need to change this status, we will do so in consultation with public health authorities and notify the EOU community and the public as promptly as possible.
Local and statewide communication and planning
The Executive Leadership Team (ELT), the Crisis Management Team, and subgroups of those teams are actively meeting and putting plans in place in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. They will be prepared to act, should any type of closure or curtailment of classes and activities be required. We are sharing information with the La Grande School District, and members of the ELT are part of a statewide higher education group participating in regular briefings from medical professionals and the state health authority.
New guidance for post-secondary institutions has been provided by the Oregon Health Authority and is available at eou.edu/coronavirus. At this time, the guidance recommends against closing schools and campuses where no cases of COVID-19 are present. It 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.
Classes and academic planning
As the situation with COVID-19 evolves, we may have students who become ill or need to help care for family members impacted by the virus. Faculty are encouraged to instruct students to stay home if they are ill and to accommodate class attendance to prevent the spread of illness. Our academic leadership team is working with faculty to ensure on-campus classes are utilizing Canvas where possible to enable the uninterrupted continuation of on-campus classes online.
It is important during this time of heightened health concerns to remember that EOU values civility and respect in the workplace and in the classroom. The COVID-19 virus does not discriminate. Individuals should not make assumptions of risk or response based on race, gender, age or ethnicity.
It is also critically important during this time to ensure that accurate, factual information is communicated throughout the university and the community. Please avoid sharing rumors or misinformation. If you have, or receive, any questions regarding the virus and EOU’s planning or status, please refer to the information shared through our official channels: EOU Infoline, Student Infoline and the EOU Alert System.
COVID-19 appears to be spread from person to person. It can take up to two weeks to develop symptoms, which include fever with a cough and/or shortness of breath. During the cold and flu season, and especially now, it is critically important to take precautions against any communicable diseases.
We want to remind students, faculty and staff that the best way to slow the spread of any virus is for sick people to stay home until they are well.
University leadership, as well as the medical community, encourages members of the university community who are sick to stay home (in a residence hall room, house or apartment, etc.), and avoid contact with the public until they have no symptoms for 24 hours. Students should refer to the above section on “Classes and academic planning” should they need to miss class, and make sure to contact their instructors. For information on symptoms, please refer to the Oregon Health Authority website.
Hand sanitizer, tissues, and disinfectant wipes have been distributed across campus in classrooms, common spaces, computer labs, etc. Campus buildings already have adequate soap in the restrooms for hand washing. We have also added hand sanitizer dispensers in many hallways.
We encourage everyone in the university community to follow these basic guidelines every day:
Travel and Study Abroad
EOU does not have any students studying abroad this term. A trip planned for Italy has been cancelled. There are other trips scheduled for students and faculty to visit Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands. We are carefully monitoring the conditions outside of the U.S., and will adjust international travel and study abroad plans if directed by the State Department or Center for Disease Control.
The Human Resources Office is monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and planning for possible impacts to EOU’s workforce. As EOU remains open, please refer to normal HR policies related to flexible work schedules and leave for employees. Employees should familiarize themselves with their healthcare plan and access to online resources through the Public Employee Benefits Board website, as well as the Employee Assistance Program.
Please continue to monitor your university email and visit the EOU COIVD-19 website at eou.edu/coronavirus to stay informed and up-to-date on this evolving situation.
Vice President for Finance & Administration
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vice President for Student Affairs
Vice President for University Advancement
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