Resource Rubric


Last updated August 26, 2021
COVID-19 Guidance 

What you need to know to protect our campus community

 

 

Classroom Teaching

Q: Will classes be held in rooms at maximum capacity?

A: Classes are scheduled at their pre-COVID capacities for Fall 2021.

Q: Will students be required to wear masks in class?

A: Yes, the University has an indoor face covering requirement, including classroom spaces, for all individuals. The face covering requirement will continue to follow CDC and other public health authority sector guidance for higher education and will be based on public health indicators, including campus vaccination rates, campus case rates, community case rates, CDC transmission rates, and hospitalization data.

Q: Can an instructor teach in-person classes without a mask if they can maintain at least 6 feet of distance from the students?

A: Yes, a fully vaccinated instructor who is at least 6 feet away from an audience can remove their mask when all others in the room are masked. If the room cannot accommodate 6 feet distancing between an unmasked instructor and students, then the instructor must remain masked.

Q: Can instructors determine for themselves the in-class mask-wearing or social distancing policy for their classrooms?

A: No, instructors may not determine separate mask-wearing or social distancing policies for their classrooms. For consistency, clarity, and to ensure compliance with public health best practice and regulations, we must all follow the same safety protocols. UO regulations are based upon current local, state, and federal guidance and best practices.

Q: Will instructors be given a list of who among their students is vaccinated and who is not?

A: No, this information is HIPAA protected and instructors will not receive lists of students with their vaccination status, nor will they receive information on how many students enrolled in their courses are vaccinated.

Q: Are there any guidelines for improving comprehensibility when teaching while wearing masks?

A: If the instructor can maintain 6 ft. distance from students, the instructor can teach without a mask. Instructors can use a microphone. IS Classroom Technology lends microphones and other equipment to faculty, staff, and students. Instructors who cannot maintain 6 ft. distance from students can use a face shield instead. These can be obtained from UO Science Stores.

Q: What if I am unable to teach my class because I or my dependent child is required to quarantine due to COVID-related reasons?

A: In some cases, instructors may need to miss one or more class sessions for COVID-related reasons, including:

  • they have been deemed a close contact and must quarantine;
  • they need to stay home because their dependent child under age 13 must quarantine due to K-12 school policies; or
  • the faculty member or dependent child residing in their home tests positive for COVID-19 and must quarantine under the direction of DCD, OHA, or other local public health authority.

In these cases, units should first attempt to cover the class using their normal procedures. If unable to meet the needs of the course through those procedures, units may authorize the instructor to teach remotely during the quarantine period. To receive authorization, instructors will need to present official documentation to their unit head or supervisor verifying they or their dependent is  required to quarantine.

Administrative staff and non-instructional faculty in a similar situation may work with their supervisor, and their HR partner to the extent necessary, to determine what options (e.g., remote work, alternative schedule) are available to the employee for the quarantine period.

Q. How are decisions made by the University on classroom health requirements? 

A: Our rules are often dictated by federal, state, or local health authorities or state or local law. In areas where the law is silent, we rely on CDC guidance and the best public health information available. We also learn from the best practices at peer universities. Regardless of the source of our rules, we regularly consult with campus stakeholders (e.g. deans, shared governance leaders, employee groups) about the rules and their implementation.

Workspaces

Q: Can office hours be held remotely?

A:  Instructors may offer remote or in-person office hours, however, in-person office hours are encouraged, with the use of masks in private spaces and/or be held in alternative locations e.g. common areas, outdoors, EMU etc.

Q: Can employees require students to wear masks during in-person office hours?

A: Masks are required indoors for everyone. If that requirement is no longer in effect, employees may still require students to wear masks in their personal space, such as their offices or research lab spaces, but not in communal spaces.

Q: Will faculty be given a list of who among their colleagues is vaccinated and who is not?

A: No, faculty will not receive a list of colleagues with their vaccination status.

Q: If labs cannot be at maximum capacity, will there be any guidance on how it is decided who is working swing/graveyard?

A: Physical distancing is no longer a requirement and labs may be staffed at their pre-COVID capacities.

Accommodations

Q: What should an instructor do if a student asks to take their class remotely?

A: Instructors will not be asked to teach their courses in two modalities simultaneously. Consequently, they should be clear with students how the course will be delivered and what requirements they have for attendance, make-up exams, etc. Students who cannot meet those requirements should look for other courses that meet their needs better (e.g. WEB). However, faculty will need to work with students who may become ill. This could include recorded lectures or the usual approaches to making up missed work.

Instructors may also inform students that if they are seeking accommodations related to a medical or other disability, they can set those up through AEC (https://aec.uoregon.edu). If a student is granted an accommodation, they must send a copy of the notification letter from AEC to the instructor so the instructor can respond accordingly. Instructor responsibilities regarding AEC-designated accommodations can be found here: https://aec.uoregon.edu/student-and-instructor-responsibilities

Q: Can instructors convert their scheduled in-person course to WEB?

A:  No, instructors may not change the modality of their courses. Students are actively registering based on the course schedules previously shared. Courses will not be converted to a different modality at this time.

Q: How flexible will the UO be with respect to instructors needing to deliver teaching content online (live or asynchronous)?

A: Instructors who need to miss one or more class sessions due to illness or other reasons should follow their normal departmental policies and procedures for covering missed classes. See above for information regarding teaching during a required period of quarantine.

Q: How will the Flexible Work Arrangements policy apply to non-instructional faculty?

A:  The Flexible Work Arrangements guidance posted on the Human Resources website should be used for non-instructional faculty. This guidance on flexible work arrangements includes philosophy, tips for using flex work, questions when evaluating requests, and an overall approach to flex work that was designed to encompass all positions, including non-instructional faculty.

Q: Will instructors who cannot be vaccinated, or for whom vaccinations are ineffective, be allowed to teach remotely?

A:  In cases such as these, instructors may be granted accommodations by HR under the ADA (see https://hr.uoregon.edu/employee-labor-relations/accommodations). Accommodations will be made on an individual basis and will not necessarily result in remote teaching.

Q: Will faculty and staff be allowed to attend department/service meetings remotely?

A:  As determined by units and based on operational needs, faculty and staff may be able to participate in some department and service meetings remotely and should discuss these questions with their department head in advance.  Hybrid meetings can be difficult, so we encourage units to develop inclusive meeting techniques, so all individuals have opportunities to participate fully.  There are also times when hybrid meetings are not as conducive to teamwork and creative problem solving, and where in-person may be better. Units should clearly articulate if there are meetings that faculty must attend in-person. Providing accommodations for those who are not able to attend in person should be discussed in advance.

Q. What are the options for instructors scheduled to teach in-person who have individuals in their household who have a medical condition that makes them high risk for serious illness due to COVID exposure?

A. Instructors in this scenario should request a meeting with their department head to discuss their situation. The department head will work with the instructor to assess the situation and explore solutions, which might include adjustments to course delivery or modality. If it is ultimately determined that there are no viable solutions to keep the course in-person, and the dean agrees that synchronous web instruction is suitable, the instructor will need to provide documentation from a medical professional that a person in their household has a medical condition that makes them high risk for serious illness from COVID-19. The documentation does not need to disclose specific medical information.

Proof of Vaccination or Negative COVID Test

Q: Who is allowed to ask about someone’s vaccination status, and what can be asked? For example, can lab directors or clinic directors ask for proof of vaccination (e.g., photo of vaccination card) from students and employees? 

A:  Faculty and supervisors are not authorized to inquire about a student’s or colleague’s vaccination status. This may only change if regulations are established that distinguish between those vaccinated and unvaccinated (face coverings in the workplace, for example), and guidance will be issued in this case.

Q: Who can share someone’s vaccine status, and with whom can they share it? For example, if an instructor, lab director, or fellow grad student/employee knows that a student or employee is unvaccinated, can this be shared with others in the class or lab?

A: Knowledge of any other person’s vaccination status should not be shared with others.

Q: Can lab directors refuse lab access to students/employees who do not have proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-test? 

A:  No. At this time the university is not requiring proof of vaccination or testing for entry into UO facilities; and departments/units, including labs, may not create their own procedures and policies. The universal face covering requirement is the protective measure in place for indoor spaces such as labs. The university will review public health indicators, such as local community transmission rates, before making a change to this requirement, and only in consultation with campus stakeholders. In keeping with the CDC’s current guidelines, even with low community transmission rates and other favorable public health indicators, unvaccinated individuals may be required to wear face coverings inside UO facilities.

Q. Do individuals have to upload proof of vaccination to comply with the vaccine mandate?

A: Students are required to upload their proof of vaccination when complying with the university’s vaccine requirement, and their vaccination status is verified by health center staff as it is for all other vaccines required of students (e.g., measles).  Currently, faculty and staff compliance is done through attestation. However, the university is in the process of acquiring software that allows for faculty and staff to upload proof of vaccination as well. This software should be available early this fall as individuals begin to receive booster shots.

Q. Beyond medical exemptions, what other exemptions are allowed for students and employees to not be vaccinated, and how are these conditions being evaluated?

A:  Exemptions are allowed for medical, religious reasons, philosophical, or other non-medical reasons. Details about the University’s vaccine requirement, including exemptions, can be found here: https://coronavirus.uoregon.edu/vaccine.

Q. Our unit is planning orientation and onboarding activities for incoming graduate students. Can we ask about vaccination status of participants since activities begin before the date of UO’s reporting requirement?

A: No, the vaccination requirement deadlines for students were intentionally set to support compliance, based primarily on the start of our two fall academic terms. Although departments may not establish different deadlines for fulfilling the requirement for their specific populations, they may encourage students to complete the requirement early. In fact, the University is encouraging students and employees to complete the requirement by September 1 by holding weekly DuckBucks (campus cash) drawings.

Departments may also hold orientation events outdoors, to the extent possible, and be thoughtful as they incorporate food and beverage service into these events, since eating and drinking require individuals to temporarily remove their face coverings.

Q: Is the UO going to modify the vaccine attestation process for employees to require proof of vaccination, rather than self-attestation?  Are there any plans to remove the philosophical exemption once the vaccine receives full FDA approval?

A:  The university’s process requires proof of vaccination for students through the University Health Services student medical records system. The UO is procuring software that will provide for effective employee vaccination record-keeping, including for records related to vaccination verification.

Q: Does the vaccination requirement apply to individuals with courtesy appointments or contracted workers?

A: The university expects tenure-related faculty, career faculty, officers of administration, classified employees (SEIU, UOPA, Teamsters), UO and agency temporary employees, and volunteers to complete the employee vaccination requirement; those with courtesy appointments who regularly come to campus are also expected to complete the requirement. Graduate employees and student employees will complete the student vaccination requirement. Emeritus faculty, those with courtesy appointments who do not regularly come to campus, and other unpaid appointments are not subject to the vaccination requirement but should be sure to review the UO COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Regulation Notice. Detailed information regarding the expectations and action required can be found in the Compliance Action Guide on the UO COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement- Employee Process webpage.

COVID Mitigation Resources

Q: Will testing be available for students, employees, and clinic patients?

A: Yes, the UO plans to continue to offer testing for the campus and broader community through the University’s monitoring and testing program.

Q: Will the UO provide resources for virus mitigation (e.g., hand sanitizer, disposable masks, disinfecting wipes/spray) in teaching, lab, and clinic spaces in addition to those provided in common building spaces?

A: Units may purchase these through Science Stores.

Q: What help do faculty, staff, and students have in enforcing mask-wearing or other safety procedures?

A: There is applicable guidance posted on the Coronavirus Information page at: https://coronavirus.uoregon.edu/prevention#classrooms. From a safe distance (more than six feet), remind the student that UO policy requires campus community members to wear face coverings. Then ask the student to put on a face covering. If they do not have a face covering, provide one from the supply of masks that have been stocked in all classrooms that will have in-person instruction. If a student refuses to wear a face covering, you may ask them to leave. If they don’t leave, you may cancel the class and report the student using the COVID-19 Behavioral Concern Reporting Form.

Q:  If students are not complying with current mask requirements (e.g., wearing their mask below their nose) after being asked to comply, whom do employees contact for help enforcing masking rules? 

A: Individuals can report behaviors of concern like not wearing masks using the COVID-19 Behavioral Concern Reporting Form.

Q: We have experienced employees and students in common areas claiming to have a mask-wearing exemption. Do such exemptions exist and what is the appropriate response?

A: The university assesses requests for accommodation on a case-by-case basis and at this time, has not made any accommodations that exempt employees or students from wearing a face covering in common spaces.

If you encounter someone who claims to have a medically-based exemption, advise them that that the university has not made exceptions to the policy for individuals in common spaces and they are expected to wear a face covering. If a student is displeased with this response, refer them to the Accessible Education Center. Employees should be referred to the ADA Coordinator in Human Resources.

As the pandemic evolves, the university may authorize employees and students to receive an exemption from wearing face coverings in common spaces. If that occurs, the university will provide the individual with a method for demonstrating proof of their exemption.

Q: Why are the social distancing rules of last year not in effect this year?

A: While it remains a best practice to distance from individuals outside your immediate household, one of the benefits of operating as a vaccinated campus per the CDC is that we may return to standard density on campus.

Q: What happens if a student in my class tests positive for COVID?

A: The student should isolate and fill out the Case and Contact Form. This form activates the university’s contact tracing team. The contact tracing team will reach out individually to those who have been deemed closed contacts and who may have been exposed and need testing/quarantining.  If you do not hear from the contact tracing team, continue holding class as normal.  Note that under the current CDC guidance, vaccinated people who have been in contact with a positive COVID case do not need to preemptively quarantine, absent showing symptoms.  (If you are unvaccinated and/or develop symptoms, follow the guidance outlined at https://coronavirus.uoregon.edu/covid-exposure.)

Q: What if I am unable to report to campus for work because I or my dependent child is required to quarantine due to COVID-related reasons?

A: In some cases, employees may be unable to report to campus for work or be absent, including:

  • they have been deemed a close contact and must quarantine;
  • they need to stay home because their dependent child under age 13 must quarantine due to K-12 school policies; or
  • the faculty member or dependent child residing in their home tests positive for COVID-19 and must quarantine under the direction of, DCD, OHA, or other local public health authority.

The university recognizes the impact that COVID-19 may have on an employee's ability to work for various reasons. The first course of action is to explore flexible work options, such as remote work or flexible schedules, where possible. Recognizing that flexible work arrangements are not always appropriate or viable due to personal and operational realities, employees may need to use other leave options. Leave options are based on employee group. Information regarding leave options for each employee group are posted on the HR website.

Safety Protocols in Labs, Classrooms, and Clinics

Q: Are there thresholds that will trigger changing to remote in classrooms and research? If so, what are they?

A: There are not predetermined thresholds. UO will follow local, state, or federal directives and guidelines in determining safety protocols.

Q: Can lab directors and instructors require more stringent safety protocols than required by UO? For example, can we require masks to be worn in shared spaces even if the UO lifts the mandate to wear masks?

A: At this time, we are required to wear a face covering anytime we are not alone in a room. If this requirement is lifted, employees may require that others wear a mask when in their personal space such as their office, cubicle, or research lab space, but not in communal spaces.

Q: Can the university require quarantine for close contacts of known exposed cases, even if those close contacts are vaccinated? How should we define “close contacts”?

A: The university is following Oregon Health Authority and local public health authorities’ guidelines for quarantine, definition of close contact, etc. The UO case management team (CMT) manages isolation and quarantine for employees who work physically on campus and for all students. In doing so, the CMT keeps abreast of federal, state, and local isolation and quarantine requirements. At this time, close contacts who are vaccinated are not required to quarantine. Should this change, the UO’s approach to isolation and quarantine will also be updated. The unit’s role is to ensure that any known cases and exposures are brought to the CMT’s attention by completing this form. Additional information on how cases are handled is available on the COVID Exposure grid.

Q: Are there different rules and regulations to consider when research and/or clinical work is being conducted with children under 12 (who are not eligible to be vaccinated) or other vulnerable populations (e.g., elders, people who are immunocompromised)?

A: The rules/regulations are not different for working with children or vulnerable populations, as our research recovery guidance covers all research activities.  Please follow the protocols/policies in UO Research Recovery Stage 3.

Q: Is there guidance for lab and clinic directors to help ensure that research and clinical work maintains standards for “minimal risk” if they cannot require proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID test from others in the lab?

A: For research personnel, lab and clinic directors will need to follow the protocols/guidance published for Research Recovery Stage 3. If research involves human subjects, risk mitigation is guided by Research Compliance Services and the IRB. See the RCS guidance here.

Q:  Can researchers who are part of multi-site studies, where the multi-site IRB protocol and consent form specify that all researchers interacting with participants are vaccinated, limit lab personnel to those who are vaccinated? 

A: If the IRB approved consent form specifies that only vaccinated individuals will be interacting with participants, then labs should have measures in place to ensure only vaccinated individuals engage. However, the process would need to adhere to UO HR policies and guidance and potentially the HR policies of the respective institutions in the multi-site study. For additional information, please contact Risk Management (riskmanagement@uoregon.edu).