Eastern Oregon University > Coronavirus Information > Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

EOU is continually updating the FAQs as new guidance and information is shared from local, state, and federal health authorities.


Quick Links


Current as of July 20, 2021

Events On Campus

Is campus closed to the general public?

Campus buildings are open to the public for normal business hours, including campus visitors, event/camp attendees and prospective students.

Are events allowed on-campus?

Yes, in accordance with current health guidelines. The office of Event & Conference Services is accepting event requests for consideration. Please submit your request at eou.edu/events/request.

What about campus visitors?

Campus visits will be scheduled with the Admissions Office. Make an appointment at eou.edu/visit

How should I proceed if I am hosting or coordinating an event that is several weeks or months out? 

The office of Event & Conference Services is accepting event requests for consideration. Please submit your request at eou.edu/events/request. Student groups should submit their requests to the Center for Student Involvement before bringing it to Event & Conference Services.

Are in-person meetings allowed?

Small group meetings of 8 or fewer vaccinated people may take place in a closed indoor environment without face coverings or physical distancing if all are in agreement to not wear face masks. Read the full Face Covering Policy here

Larger meetings or those that cannot meet physical distancing standards should be held via phone or video conferencing. 

Where can I watch Colloquium talks?

EOU Colloquiums are live-streamed via Zoom. Visit eou.edu/colloquium for a full schedule.

Faculty and Staff

Are employees allowed to continue to work from home?

Employees may request to work remotely with supervisor approval. Classified employees require an approved Telework Agreement.

How are employees to be compensated in case of full or partial closures?  

Please download the Summary Table of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Employee Work Duties and Pay. This table provides information on how employees should be compensated in various scenarios related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What happens if I get sick? 

Please follow all guidelines recommended by the Oregon Health Authority.

Please download the Summary Table of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Employee Work Duties and Pay. This table provides information on how employees should be compensated in various scenarios related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If employees have other questions regarding work status, please contact Human Resources at 541-962-3548 or hr@eou.edu.

Financial Aid

If on-campus courses moved to online, would on-campus students retain on-campus tuition rates?

Yes, on-campus courses that are moved to remote learning will retain on-campus tuition rates.

If a student decides to stop attending (or becomes ill and must stop attending), how will tuition reimbursement, incomplete grades/extensions, etc., policies respond to these scenarios?

Financial aid will be determined on a case-by-case basis with each student’s individual situation. The Department of Education has released guidance that permits institutions to move their academic instruction online, should the need arise. 

All accredited agencies have been encouraged to support online instruction in the event of university closure. Every effort will be made to be as lenient as possible in regard to tuition penalties, as the institution has the ability to make tuition penalty decisions, based on our own policies and procedures.

What is the impact on GI Bill recipients?

If a school temporarily closes due to an established policy based on an Executive Order of the President or due to an emergency situation, VA may continue benefit payments (including the Monthly Housing Allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill) for up to 4 weeks during a 12-month period. This authority, and limitation, are codified in statute (38 U.S.C. § 3680(a)(2)(A).

If the school remains open (virtually, rather than physically), and students are transitioned to pursuit solely through online classes, then benefit payments will be impacted as follows:

If the switch from training in-residence to online classes occurs during the term, and the program has been approved by the State Approving Agency for delivery through an online modality, then benefit payments (including the Monthly Housing Allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill) will remain unchanged for the remainder of that term.

However, for any subsequent terms pursued solely online, the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) under the Post-9/11 GI Bill will be reduced to one-half of the national average of DoD’s Basic Allowance for Housing rates for an E-5 with dependents. The limitations on MHA rates are codified in statute (38 U.S.C. § 3313(c)(1)(B)(iii).

Lastly, if the program has not been approved by the State Approving Agency for delivery through an online modality, benefit payments will completely stop (including the Monthly Housing Allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill) when students begin training online.

Health and Wellness

How available will COVID testing be during fall term?

Students who are ill or who have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 can receive a COVID-19 test from the Student Health Center if they pay the Student Health Fee. Health clinics and urgent care resources in La Grande can also provide testing.

Are face coverings required?

Face coverings must be worn in classrooms, hallways and other shared indoor spaces. Small group meetings of 8 or fewer vaccinated people may take place in a closed indoor environment without face coverings or physical distancing if all are in agreement to not wear face masks. Face coverings are not required outdoors on campus. Read the full Face Covering Policy here.

What if I am a student and  I feel sick?

If you are ill with any symptoms, please stay home and call the Student Health Center at 541-962-3524 or your primary care provider to help determine the most appropriate care. If you or someone you know has severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or bluish discoloration to the lips or face, seek emergency care and call 911. 

How can I help slow the spread of COVID-19?

COVID-19 is likely transmitted in a manner similar to other respiratory viruses, so follow the same guidelines you would follow to prevent the spread of influenza. If possible, get vaccinated to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Additional methods of reducing the spread of illness include wearing a proper face covering, staying at least 6 feet away from others, frequently washing hands, avoiding sharing tools, cups or utensils, and avoiding touching your face.

Regardless of what type of upper respiratory infection you may have, you are likely contagious for 1-2 days before your symptoms start until at least 72 hours after your symptoms have resolved, so it is required to avoid close contact with others during this entire time period.

With COVID-19, symptoms appear on average within 5 days of exposure to the virus but the range is 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, so the best thing we can all do to prevent the spread of infection is to stay home. 

Who is at risk of getting ill?

Although anyone who has not been vaccinated for COVID-19 is at risk of getting quite ill with the virus, there are many medical conditions that place people at an even higher risk of becoming severely ill. Some of these underlying medical conditions that place people at the highest risk for complications are people with severe heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathy, severe lung disease such as COPD or emphysema, chronic kidney disease, obesity (BMI of over 30), diabetes, people with weakened immune systems from a solid organ transplant, sickle cell disease and cancer. 

Based on current evidence, people who have high blood pressure, people who smoke, people with cerebrovascular disease cystic fibrosis, neurologic conditions such as dementia, liver disease, pregnancy, pulmonary fibrosis (scarred lung tissue), thalassemia, type 1 diabetes, people with a weakened immune system from HIV, blood or bone marrow transplants, immune deficiencies and people who take immunosuppressant medications daily, such as steroids or daily steroid inhalers for moderate to severe asthma, may also be at high risk for complications. 

This CDC website has more information about underlying medical conditions that place people at increased risk for complications”cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html

What if I just have mild symptoms?

Many people with COVID-19 do not have any symptoms at all, thus why it is essential to wear proper face coverings, practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. Many young, healthy people may only have minor symptoms similar to a cold. Thus, if you have only mild symptoms of a cold or other COVID-19 symptoms that you would not normally go to a clinic for, then the required course of action is to stay home, away from others, rest and drink plenty of fluids. If you do develop any cold or viral symptoms please also call the Student Health Center to set up an appointment for COVID-19 testing. 

For sore throat and cough, throat lozenges or cough drops, and warm tea with honey are very soothing. For fever, you can take 600-800 mg of Ibuprofen every 8 hours and can alternate this with 1000 mg of Tylenol every 8 hours. 

The following link has some helpful advice from the CDC on what to do if you are sick. cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html.

What if I feel really worried and want to talk to a mental health counselor about my concerns?

If you have paid the Health Service Fee and are interested in utilizing services at the Counseling Center, please call 541-962-3524 or check eou.edu/counsel for further directions on how to access counseling services. 

The Counseling Center is closed during the evenings, weekends and school breaks. If you have an after-hours emergency, please call  911 or the Center For Human Development (CHD) at 541-962-8800.

What type of cleaning/sanitization procedures is EOU doing for on-campus locations and spaces?

EOU is using appropriate CDC-approved disinfectant to clean campus, focusing on common and highly utilized spaces. 

Residence Life and Dining

How will campus living work? Since freshmen are required to live on campus? What if we don’t feel comfortable sharing living spaces?

On-campus first-time freshmen are required to live on campus. If students would like to request to be released from this requirement, they should fill out a live in requirement petition form

How is EOU doing social distancing for students living in the Residence Halls?

Students in the Residence Halls will be subject to community standards that require COVID-19 vaccination (with exemptions available), social distancing, reduced peer-to-peer contact, and increased sanitation. Community Standards will be evaluated on a weekly basis to adjust to current needs of students and pandemic mandates.

How is social distancing being practiced in on-campus dining areas? 

Mountie Cafe and the Hoke Community Room have been set up to accommodate social distancing. All students are encouraged to sanitize hands upon entry and exit. Additionally, mobile ordering and express pick-up are available in Mountie Cafe and Mac’s Grill.

What measures are being taken to kill the virus on surfaces in the dining area?

Sodexo has increased sanitary practices and asks that students wash their hands and practice social distancing. 

A three-part cleaning process has been instituted for all surfaces, using soapy water to clean debris, followed with sanitizer, and finished with disinfectant. We have been assured that this procedure would kill any lingering COVID-19 on surfaces.

What if I’m feeling sick?

If you are not well, remain in your residence hall and contact your primary care physician, Student Health or a local emergency medical care provider. Please also contact Residence Life and Housing Operations to schedule services and coordinate accommodations.

What if I think I’m exposed but not yet sick?  Should I tell everyone in my room or floor?

Please remain mindful of physical distancing and if you develop symptoms contact the Office of Residence Life and Housing Operations.

If someone is sick in my hall, what will be the procedure for isolating them?

If someone living in one of our halls is diagnosed with this virus, EOU will work closely with our local health authority on our response protocol. Residence Life has identified spaces that can be set aside for students to move into should the need for isolation arise. 

Any health information that impacts the larger community will be communicated appropriately.

My roommate is sick and I don’t want to be around them. What do I do?

Please contact the Office of Residence Life and Housing Operations to discuss options. 

Safety and Bias Incidents

What does the Center for Disease Control (CDC) say about public health crises, stigmas, impacts and resilience?

The CDC has some great resources on public health outbreaks and stigmas to refer to when fears and anxieties occur. You can find the information at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/reducing-stigma.html.

What if I experienced or observed someone creating an unsafe or harmful situation due to COVID-19 stigma or xenophobia?

Unfortunately, the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has brought about bias incidents. While COVID-19 originated in a city in China, race is not the carrier, and EOU does not condone acts of exclusion, harassment, hate speech or lack of sensitivity. Such actions impair our abilities to work together as a community at this crucial time. 

If you experience or witness racism and/or bias incidents please contact one of the following campus resources:

Title IX Coordinator and Director of Student Relations Colleen Dunne-Cascio: 541-962-3476 or  titleix@eou.edu

Deputy Title IX Coordinator Chris McLaughlin (Human Resources): 541-962-3516 or cjmclaughlin@eou.edu

Deputy Title IX Coordinator Kaki Morehead (Athletics): 541-962-3687 or kmclean@eou.edu

Deputy Title IX Coordinator Doug Robinett (Residence Life): 541-962-3442 or drobinett@eou.edu

Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion Bennie Moses-Mesubed: 541-962-3094 or bmoses@eou.edu

Fall Term 2021

Will on-campus classes be taught remotely this fall? 

EOU anticipates being fully open for in-person activities and classes in fall 2021. Additional details will be shared as soon as they’re available.

Will live theater be possible this fall?

The Theatre program anticipates holding live shows on campus in the 2021-2022 school year. Details concerning cast and audience size and protocols are still being considered.

Will EOU provide masks to students and employees? 

Yes

Will large classes be online or broken into groups?

We anticipate that classroom capacity restrictions will be lifted by Fall Term 2021. However, there has been no new guidance in this area from the Governor, the Oregon Health Authority or  the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. Any change to capacity restrictions would likely come with ongoing health and safety requirements.

Students and Academics

Do students have to be tested for COVID before entering school? 

EOU has routinely tested students for COVID-19 prior to each term, and may do so again pending guidance from the CDC and other health authorities. At this time, fully vaccinated students would not be required to undergo testing.

Is the campus open for visitors?

EOU is conducting tours for prospective students. Contact the Admissions Office to schedule a visit.

Will we have to wear our masks in the gym/while working out? 

Those who do not show proof of vaccination will be required to wear a proper face mask while working out in the fitness center. 

What if I’m too sick to participate in classes?

If students are too ill to participate in on-campus classes, contact the Student Health Center at 541-962-3524 and also notify your instructors. Students must also contact the Office of Student Relations at 541-962-3476 and saffairs@eou.edu

Also, please note that the Student Health Center is closed during the weekends. If you have urgent medical needs when the Student Health Center is closed, the Grande Ronde Hospital Urgent Care can be reached at 541-962-7845, or the La Grande Urgent Care can be reached at 541-962-7808. For more serious health issues, call 911.

If I am asked to follow CDC recommended guidelines to stay home for 14 days, what will that mean for my coursework?

The health of our students and our community is of the foremost importance. Students who must miss class due to illness should email their professors. Students who miss more than three days of class can contact the Office of Student Relations to request a Faculty Notification be sent to their instructors notifying them of their current situation. Students must also contact the Office of Student Relations at 541-962-3476 or via email at saffairs@eou.edu.

Who should I contact to see what kinds of academic accommodations or supports are available?  

Director of Student Relations Colleen Dunne-Cascio: 541-962-3476 or ccascio@eou.edu

Director of Disability Services Taylor Smith: 541-962-3081 or tksmith@eou.edu

Student Employees

My supervisor gave me work to do from home. Is that okay?

Only if the campus is closed to employees You cannot have access to the University’s protected systems from home, however. 

Student Employee Supervisors

Is my student employee eligible for additional sick leave hours under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave?

Students enrolled on April 1, 2020, received prorated leave COVID emergency leave hours.   Those hours rolled forward and balances are available only for use for COVID related leave.  Hours available will be reflected in Mountie Hub as COVID19 Emergency Leave: ACRL hours. Available ACRL hours were prorated based on each student’s part-time hours according to the Department of Labor guidelines. 

Will my department budget be impacted by the emergency or regular sick leave?

Yes, both emergency leave and regular sick leave are expensed to your budget the same as if a student worked those hours. An activity code of COVID has been added to the emergency leave, therefore, you will be able to see the financial impact when running labor reports. 

I have work for my student employee that can be done from home. Is that okay?

Yes. Students may work from home on things like projects, social media posts, research or grading. Students cannot have access to the university’s protected systems, from home. You also must be able to monitor the employee’s work and time entry card. 

As a supervisor what are my responsibilities? 

Supervisors are responsible for approving timesheets, therefore you must review each timesheet for accuracy before approving. 

Travel

What are the requirements for employee travel? 

EOU-related travel that is considered essential will be allowed depending on approval from the associated supervisor and Vice President. Please fill out the COVID-19 Travel Authorization Form prior to making any travel arrangements. Direct any questions regarding travel procedures during COVID to ap@eou.edu.

What if I am traveling outside of the United States? 

Contact the Office of International Student Services for information about international travel. Be prepared to be flexible regarding your travel plans. You may be required to self-isolate or be quarantined upon your return to campus.

Find more information at these sites:

U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Information for Travel 

Oregon Health Authority COVID19 updates in Oregon

What if I am returning to the United States?

If you are returning to the U.S., please keep in mind that you may be subject to a quarantine, self-monitoring or testing. Notify the Office of International Student Services so that we can contact you with specific travel-related information. 

If you are a current F-1 International Student at EOU and plan to travel outside the United States, please double-check that you have a valid travel endorsement signature on your I-20 (the signature is valid for 12 months). If you need your I-20 signed for international travel, please set up an appointment with the Office of International Student Services to obtain one.

Vaccination Requirements

Why are COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for EOU students, faculty, and staff?

Obtaining COVID-19 vaccination is a priority because a fully vaccinated community is the best way to protect our individual and collective health and safety. Also, it is only through widespread vaccinations that EOU can further loosen or remove restrictions that are inhibiting our ability to create the on-campus university experience we all thrive within. Removing restrictions will have a positive impact on the social and mental wellbeing of our students and employees.

Are those teaching courses online or working at regional sites required to be vaccinated? 

Employees teaching courses fully online and not engaging in any activities and/or events on the EOU campus are not required to be vaccinated. However, regional center staff who wish to travel to campus or engage in on-campus meetings and events must comply with vaccination policy. 

Are those attending courses online and at regional sites required to be vaccinated?

Students attending courses fully online and not engaging in any activities and/or events on the EOU campus are not required to be vaccinated. EOU will follow the policies set by our host agencies at all of our university sites.

Are there exemptions to the vaccination requirement?

Yes, exemptions are allowed for medical and non-medical reasons. 

Students requesting a medical exemption (for reasons such as an allergy to a component of the vaccine) should have their primary care provider fill out a medical exemption prior to fall term.

Students requesting a non-medical exemption, don’t need to take further steps until the FDA gives full approval to a COVID-19 vaccine. At that point, the vaccination requirement will go into effect, and students can fill out the exemption section of the COVID-19 Immunization Verification Form. Those requesting non-medical exemptions will meet with a health provider at the Student Health Center during Fall Term to go over the waiver and exemption form.
Employees may request an exemption for medical, non-medical or religious reasons. The process for submitting employee exemption requests is modeled on existing practices, and will be in place prior to Fall Term 2021. Contact Human Resources at hr-group@eou.edu with questions.

Do I need to be vaccinated if I have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19?

Yes, you will be required to be vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination.

As a student, what is the deadline for proving I have been vaccinated?

We urge all who are able to be vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. Beginning 60 days after any COVID-19 vaccine receives full FDA approval, EOU students who learn, work or engage with the university on-campus in La Grande will be required to either (a) provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or (b) request and obtain an approved vaccination exemption using this form (click here to download)

Student-athletes will complete the form when they fill out other pre-play documents. Reach out to the Athletic Training office at thewc@eou.edu with any questions. 

Students can fill out the form digitally, and email it to the Student Health Center at shc@eou.edu. Make sure to scan and attach your vaccination card or a doctor’s note, if applicable. If you don’t have a scanner, take a picture of the documents with your phone, and send the images with your completed form. 

You can also print the form, complete it on paper and mail it to: Student Health Center, One University Blvd., La Grande, OR 97850. Make sure to include a printed copy of your vaccination card or a doctor’s note, if applicable. 

Students may request an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for medical or non-medical reasons. 

Taking these important steps now will help ensure a safe, healthy school year for all members of our campus community. Although the Student Health Center is closed during summer months, staff are responding to emails and phone calls. If you have questions about the form or need immediate assistance, contact Student Affairs at saffairs@eou.edu. 

As an EOU employee, what is the deadline for proving I have been vaccinated?

We urge all that are able to be vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. The deadline to submit proof of vaccination or obtain an exemption is 60 days after the FDA gives full authorization to a COVID-19 vaccine. Additional information about how to submit proof of vaccination or request an exemption will be provided prior to Fall Term 2021.

What if I am an international student and I received a vaccine that has not yet been approved in the U.S.?

EOU will work with any international students and employees who may have received a vaccine that is not approved for use in the United States (i.e. AstraZeneca).

How will this policy affect campus visitors and guest speakers?  Will they have to be vaccinated, too?

EOU will not require short-term visitors or speakers to be vaccinated, though they will need to observe all required health and safety precautions. EOU employees visiting the main EOU campus from other locations are required to be fully vaccinated or obtain an exemption.

Will I be required to quarantine if in close contact to someone who tests positive?

Consistent with current OHA guidance, fully vaccinated individuals who have been in close contact with a known COVID-19 positive person will not need to quarantine. Students with COVID-19 illness symptoms will continue to be required to quarantine whether vaccinated or not. Fully vaccinated employees are only required to quarantine when they have a test-positive COVID infection.

Are there concerns about whether asking for proof of vaccination status violates HIPAA or EEOC laws?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, is a law that prevents health care professionals from sharing private health information without the patient’s permission. Generally, the law pertains to a health care setting. It does not prohibit EOU from setting a policy that requires employees to provide evidence of their own vaccination status in order to return to campus. Employees can then choose whether to disclose proof of vaccination or request and obtain an approved vaccination exemption. Employers requiring proof of vaccination status of employees has been repeatedly confirmed to be permissible by the EEOC and does not violate discrimination in employment laws. 

What kind of vaccination proof is required for students?

Students should send an official CDC vaccination card to the Student Health Center with their completed COVID-19 Immunization Verification Form. If you submit it digitally, scan or take a photo of the card and attach it to an email with the form, and send it to shc@eou.edu. To send it in via snail mail, make a copy of the vaccination card and mail it to: Student Health Center, One University Blvd., La Grande, OR 97850. F-1 International Students are asked to contact the Office of International Student Services for further information

What kind of vaccination proof is required for employees?

Employees who will be working on, or visiting, the main EOU campus, must present evidence of proof of vaccination to the HR Department.

How will employee information regarding vaccination status be handled by the university?

EOU treats proof of vaccination as all other protected medical information.  It is kept separate from other employee information and shared only on a need-to-know basis.

Will employees who do not provide proof of full vaccination be required to complete COVID-19 testing prior to engaging in on-campus classes and activities this fall?

No testing will be required of employees in order for them to be on the main EOU campus.  Daily Self-Checks will continue to be required for the foreseeable future.

Will students who do not provide proof of full vaccination be required to complete COVID-19 testing prior to engaging in on-campus classes and activities this fall?

Students who do not show proof of vaccination will be required to take a PCR COVID-19 test within 7 days prior to the start of the term or moving into residence halls.

Are on-campus partners (like Sodexo employees, ODFW, REV Center, etc.) subject to EOU’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy? 

Employees working on the main EOU campus, but for non-EOU employers such as Sodexo, ODFW, etc., must comply with the vaccination rules of their own employer. So far, these employers have mandatory vaccination rules identical or very similar to EOU.

Can employees work remotely in lieu of getting vaccinated?

Employees may continue to work remotely only with supervisor approval. Assigning remote work to employees who normally work on the main EOU campus will likely only be permitted for qualifying ADA or religious accommodations when they do not cause undue hardship on EOU.