Winter term instruction, booster requirement

December 28, 2021

Dear University of Oregon community,

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to protect yourselves and others against COVID-19 as we prepare to return to campus for winter term 2022. Along with other public universities in Oregon, including Oregon State University and Portland State University, we will begin the winter term with in-person instruction.

Last year, due to the incredible efforts of our faculty, staff, and administrators, the university was able to mount a high-quality, remote academic program that served the needs of our students. It also became clear that a significant number of students did not thrive and have encountered educational and emotional setbacks caused by the pandemic, setbacks that could be reduced by limiting the isolation associated with remote learning. These negative outcomes occurred most frequently among our most vulnerable students. Especially for these students, in-person education is clearly a better alternative for student success.

Our Approach
We recognize that news about the Omicron variant continues to create uncertainty and concern. We are also aware that universities across the country are taking different approaches to the start of the winter term. Our decision to start the term with in-person instruction is based on several factors:

  1. We have a high campus vaccination rate, with more than 95 percent of students, faculty, and staff currently vaccinated.
  2. Our high vaccination rate, along with our existing safety measures, allowed us to maintain a very low risk environment for COVID-19 throughout the fall term. 
  3. To date, there has been no documented case of classroom-based transmission of COVID-19 at the University of Oregon.
  4. We have built robust testing capacity on campus and continue to make tests readily available to the community.
  5. We are prepared to manage potential disruptions caused by faculty, staff, and student exposure and quarantine as outlined in the containment plan for classes and exposure guidance for students and employees and have policies and procedures in place in the event instructors are unable to teach in person due to illness or other reasons related to COVID-19.
  6. We are prepared to pivot and make necessary changes to our approach as warranted by public health conditions.

Booster Shot Requirement
During the winter term we will continue to follow our existing safety approaches, which have proven to be highly effective. Additionally, following Oregon Health Authority recommendations, and as part of comprehensive vaccination against the COVID-19 virus, we will require all students, faculty, and staff to receive a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they are eligibleThe booster shot requirement must be met by January 31, or 30 days after you become eligible.

Proof of the booster shot must be uploaded following a similar process for the vaccination requirement. Specific information for providing proof will be shared with students and employees early in winter term. As with our existing vaccination requirements, the University of Oregon will continue to recognize both medical and non-medical exemptions to the booster shot requirement, consistent with state law.

We continue to monitor public health conditions and are prepared to adapt as needed to protect the university and greater community, as guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oregon Health Authority, and Lane County Public Health.

Thank you again for your shared commitment to maintaining the health and safety of our campus and community. We look forward to welcoming you back next week.


Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President