Oregon State planning for return to traditional learning this fall

CORVALLIS — Oregon State University appears to be on its way to opening back up completely this fall.

OSU President F. King Alexander announced Wednesday that planning for a more traditional fall term is underway, anticipating predominately in-person instruction and on-site university services and programs statewide.

“The significant increase in COVID-19 vaccine production on a national level and Gov. Kate Brown’s recent announcement detailing the distribution of vaccines among all Oregonians, including within higher education, are very good news,” Alexander said in a news release. “These developments provide me with the confidence that we are on our way back to a more traditional fall term with predominately in-person instruction, on-site research, engagement and extracurricular programs and activities at our locations throughout the state.”

Faculty and staff are actively engaged in planning for a fall term, Alexander said. In the coming weeks, university leaders will provide more detailed information on what to expect for fall term, assuming continued progress in reducing positive COVID-19 cases and the broad distribution of vaccines.

“I am confident that improved public health conditions and implementation of sound plans will lead us to greater in-person interactions, study, teaching, research, and community service and engagement, and activities of all kinds, including recreation and athletics,” Alexander said.

Oregon State will continue to comply with local, state and federal health guidelines, said Dan Larson, OSU’s COVID-19 response coordinator and vice provost for student affairs. These include continuing to employ public health measures, such as wearing masks, engaging in physical distancing, reducing gathering sizes and, and utilizing frequent COVID-19 testing to identify positive cases within the OSU community.

The announcement comes nearly a year after the pandemic led OSU, Oregon’s largest university, to transition to primarily remote instruction and work for its more than 33,000 students and more than 7,000 employees at campuses in Corvallis and Bend, the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, extension centers and other university centers and facilities throughout the state.

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