Changes to final exams, spring term due to coronavirus

March 11, 2020

Dear University of Oregon faculty,

As you read in President Michael Schill’s message, the UO is taking active measures to increase social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19 on campus. While there are no known cases of the virus in Lane County, it is important to take these measures to protect students, faculty, staff, and the broader community.

Note that while we are taking steps to limit group gatherings and altering the mechanism for delivering instruction temporarily, campus is open. All faculty (instruction and research) can come into the office to do their work as they normally would. Faculty should work with department heads or supervisors on social distancing techniques and flex work options. Additional guidance will be coming from the Vice President for Research and Innovation on research operations.

After consultation with stakeholders, including University Senate leadership and the Academic Council, we will be enacting the following changes:

  • No instructors can hold in-person winter term final exams. Faculty are asked to determine how they will complete their courses and assign final grades. Some suggested options for final exams include: (1) giving a take-home final that is delivered and returned electronically; (2) offering an online unproctored exam; (3) cancelling final exams and assigning grades based on work that is completed through week 10; or (4) cancelling final exams and assigning grades based on completed work through week 10, with an optional remote exam for any students who request it. These are suggestions. The decision is up to each instructor. If none of these options allow you to assign final grades, please consult with your department head. Graduate employees should work with their faculty to make these decisions.
  • Classes for the first three weeks of spring term will be offered remotely. This does not mean you need to develop an online course. Rather, instructors simply are being asked to prepare ways for students to access course materials remotely and begin the term without attending classes on campus. We will continue to provide updated guidance and support to instructors as they prepare remote courses over the coming weeks. The university’s Incident Management Team (IMT) will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation and will provide guidance to the administration on how classes will be taught for the remainder of the spring term by no later than April 10.

We have set up trainings, information sessions, and other opportunities to provide the resources instructors need to finish the winter term and start the spring term. These include assistance with publishing Canvas sites for spring courses, and managing coursework and instruction using Canvas. UO Online is offering the following specific trainings (each of which are only 50 minutes long):

Canvas Tools for Communicating with Students

  • March 16th at 10 a.m., Room 42, Knight Library
  • March 24th at 10 a.m., Room 42, Knight Library

Canvas Tools for Delivering Instruction

  • March 12th at 11 a.m., Room 42, Knight Library
  • March 17th at 10 a.m., Room 42, Knight Library
  • March 25th at 11 a.m., Room 42, Knight Library

Canvas Tools for Supporting Active Learning

  • March 13th at 9 a.m., Room 42, Knight Library
  • March 18th at 10 a.m., Room 42, Knight Library
  • March 26th at 11 a.m., Room 42, Knight Library

Canvas Tools to Assess Student Learning

  • March 13th at 1 p.m., Room 42, Knight Library
  • March 19th at 10 a.m., Room 42, Knight Library
  • March 27th at 11 a.m., Room 42, Knight Library

The university is finalizing an agreement for university-wide Zoom access, and we will share more information soon about accessing trainings on how to use Zoom. Additional resources have been published on the Office of the Provost website. We will continue to update this page with resources and guidance as the situation evolves. If you have any questions or concerns around academic continuity, please consult with your dean or department head. You can also send questions to

I know these changes may cause some stress and uncertainty. COVID-19 clearly presents us with unprecedented issues many of us have never had to deal with before. As we move forward, please note that everything may not run as smoothly as we have planned. That is OK. I ask that faculty and other instructors please bear with us while we manage this complex and ever-changing situation. It will require a change in how you deliver finals and instruction, but we hope these will be temporary measures.

Our entire state is facing this disruption that causes major changes to our schedules, our habits, and our lives. It is likely going to continue into the foreseeable future. Together, we can make it through this. I appreciate all of you and everything you do to uphold the academic scholarship, research, and standards of our university.


Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President