Eastern Oregon University > Coronavirus Information > Archives > March 9, 2020 – EOU Coronavirus planning

March 9, 2020 – EOU Coronavirus planning

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. 

Community awareness

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. 

Preventing illness

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:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you first notice you are sick.
  • Cough into your elbow or use a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others, as well as by healthcare workers or those taking care of someone with COVID-19.
  • If you believe you might be infected with COVID-19, please contact your healthcare provider, the Student Health Center or the Union County Center for Human Development. It is best to call in advance of your visit to ensure precautions may be taken so others are not infected. 

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. 

Human Resources

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

Stay informed

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.

Thank you,

Lara Moore

Vice President for Finance & Administration

Sarah Witte

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Lacy Karpilo

Vice President for Student Affairs

Tim Seydel

Vice President for University Advancement