Return to Campus 2020

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Return to Campus 2020

The University of Oregon is planning for a return to in-person instruction for fall term 2020 and resuming some on-campus activities in summer, with approval and guidance from federal, state, and local health authorities. This page provides information about the planning process, working groups, and issues under consideration.

Guiding principles

  1. We will continue to put student, faculty, and staff health and safety at the forefront.
  2. We will comply with Governor Kate Brown’s strategy to reopen Oregon and will be informed by guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Oregon Health Authority, and Lane County Public Health.
  3. We will continue to coordinate with local, state, and national leaders as well as our counterparts at other West Coast public universities.
  4. We will explore a variety of methods to safeguard our community, including continued remote and flexible work; reducing density in classrooms, research labs, offices, residence halls, and dining facilities; enhanced cleaning of all facilities; and testing and contact tracing for students and employees.

Additional Guidance:

Working Groups

Along with teams focused on research, housing and dining, student behavior expectations, and testing and contract tracing, the three groups below have been designated to address questions and planning for resuming on-campus activities and will lead our planning effort:

Incident Management Team

The Incident Management Team (IMT) is a group of trained individuals from across campus who are tasked with managing the logistical, fiscal, planning, operational, safety, and campus issues related to any and all incidents/emergencies, including infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics. In addition, the IMT manages all phases of an incident (e.g., response, mitigation, continuity, and recovery). The team reports to the president's policy group.

Mitigation Strategies
This group is charged with reviewing state and federal guidance and engaging campus partners and subject matter experts to assess and develop a variety of resumption strategies for consideration. The team is made up of individuals from Safety & Risk Services, Environmental Health & Safety, Campus Geographic Informtion Systems, and the Office of the Provost. The team is developing campus-wide, building-level, and department-level guidance on the following topics: physical distancing, illness detection, public health interventions, face covering recommendations, and cleaning. 

Academic and Instructional Planning

This group is comprised of faculty, staff, and administrators who are working to help maintain the university’s academic mission. The group is focusing on how to assist students in navigating the new academic terrain around remote learning, and making sure faculty and graduate employees have access to the resources they need to teach effectively in this new environment. The team will continue to work on developing the resources needed to make sure remote instruction is done in a way that engages our students and helps them succeed.

Key Areas of Effort

The university has outlined the following key areas of effort to evaluate and prepare for the possible resumption of on-campus activities in the fall.

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Academic Instruction

In preparation for the resumption of classes in the fall, we will continue to explore safe ways and best practices to teach our students. We will continue to promote academic excellence and engagement, access, and success for all of our students in a healthy and safe environment. Despite the difficulties posed by the pandemic, our academic mission remains to help students navigate their way to graduation and beyond.

For more information, see the Academics and Classes FAQ.

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Campus Safety

The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our highest priority. As we look forward to resuming some level of in-person engagement, we will be developing recommendations and strategies aimed at helping to reduce the likelihood of illness spreading on campus. These strategies will include enhanced cleaning, availability of single-use cleaning products, and recommendations on face coverings.

For more information, see the Health and Wellness FAQ and the Prevention FAQ.

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Health, Testing, and Contact Tracing

The university is working with county and state partners to increase testing capacity in our communities. In April, the UO partnered with McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center to test patients in Lane County. Researchers and staff from the University Health Center are also working on developing a testing and monitoring program for campus.

We are also assisting Lane County Public Health (LCPH) to identify researchers with experience in contact tracing to be part of the network for LCPH and a group is working to train students to assist with contact tracing. All contact tracers will work directly under LCPH.

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University Housing and Dining

Providing students with a safe and positive living and learning environment is a top priority for being able to resume on-campus activities. Our staff is currently in the process of determining strategies and procedures to reopen some dining venues and allowing  students to return to the residence halls. This includes implementing physical distancing throughout common areas and dining venues, enhanced cleaning protocols, investigating room configuration options, and educating students.

For more information, see the Housing and Dining FAQ.


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Research Planning

In preparation for restarting suspended research activities, we are working to develop a phased approach for research reengagement that includes guidance, procedures, and pathways to allow for the resumption of on- and off-campus research activities when and where possible.

For more information, see the Research FAQ and the Restarting Research Activity page.


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Employee Health and Wellbeing

As we are planning for some level of in-person, on-campus instruction and work, the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is our top priority. Human Resources is currently gathering information from faculty and graduate employees to inform planning efforts. In the coming weeks, we will conduct outreach to other employee groups to inform processes for resuming varying levels of other on-campus activities.

For more information, see the Human Resources FAQ and University Operations FAQ.

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Guidance and procedures for university-related travel is currently in progress and will follow guidance from health authorities.

Currently, all non-essential university travel, both international and domestic (including local travel by motor vehicle), is suspended until further notice. Faculty and staff may submit a travel waiver petition for essential travel—with the approval of their respective dean or vice president—to the Incident Management Team, Travel Advisory Group using the travel waiver request form.

For more information, see the Travel and Study Abroad FAQ.

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Athletics and Events

The university is following guidance provided by Governor Kate Brown, the Oregon Health Authority, and Lane County regarding all events, including athletic events.

For more information, see the Commencement, Events, and Athletics FAQ.

Resumption Planning and Safety Measures

The resumption mitigation team will engage subject matter experts to develop draft recommendations based on state and federal guidance. The team will be working closely with Human Resources to provide guidance and advice regarding how our planning efforts may impact employees and to ensure that all of our employee groups have an opportunity to provide feedback on recommendations.

Resumption plans and guidance will cover the following topics:

Physical Distancing
Limit occupancy to maintain physical distancing
Post signage and floor markings where people enter buildings or congregate
Detection Efforts in Partnership with Local and State Public Health Officials
COVID-19 symptom monitoring
Capacity to test students, faculty, and staff
Robust contact tracing for campus community members who test positive
Plan for case management
Public Health Interventions and Education
Education and outreach related to the steps individuals can take to reduce the risk of spread of illness
Increase air-exchange rates in buildings, if feasible
Face Coverings
Recommendations for face covering use on campus
Cleaning and Sanitation
Enhanced cleaning protocols
Availability of hand sanitizer and single-use cleaning products
Minimizing the need to open doors by hand

Questions and Concerns

For more information about the UO's response to COVID-19, see the dedicated UO's COVID-19 webpage and Frequently Asked Questions

The university is continually updating the FAQs as new guidance and information is shared from the CDC and local, state, and federal health authorities. If you have a question that is not addressed in the FAQs, please submit it using the web form below or call our dedicated coronavirus phone line.

Staffed 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. on weekdays


The Incident Management Team is actively updating plans and protocols in coordination with local, state, and federal health officials. Here are some additional resources you may find helpful to stay informed on resumption plans and the operational status of the university.