We are looking forward to having everyone back on our campuses for the Fall semester!
As we get ready to begin this new academic year (or continue it, for those whose classes are already underway), we know there may be questions about what life looks like at Pacific in this newest stage of COVID-19.
After nearly 2 ½ long years, public health experts tell us that we are transitioning from pandemic to endemic. COVID-19 is not gone, but we have learned considerably more about how to manage it. Vaccines and new boosters are protecting most people from serious illness, and the extreme strain on our healthcare systems has abated.
At Pacific, we are moving from an emergency response to our more typical long-term strategy of communicable disease management. We are committed to following the best science available from our public health experts and to ensuring our communities are safe and healthy as we focus on our mission of educating students.
We encourage students and employees to be aware of community conditions and follow public health best practices, to stay home when sick — with any communicable illness — and to seek healthcare advice and treatment as needed.
So what specific protocols can you expect to see this fall at Pacific? Review the following update, and find more information at pacificu.edu/covid19.
- All students and employees are required to be fully vaccinated, including any boosters for which they are eligible. The CDC offers this useful tool to look up your current eligibility for boosters.
- COVID-19 vaccination status for students will now be tracked through the same mechanisms as other vaccines, like MMR: through the Student & Employee Health Center and the Certiphi system. Employee vaccinations will be tracked through PayCom. Medical and religious exemption requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
- All guests on Pacific campuses or at university-sponsored events are expected to be fully vaccinated as well, or able to show proof of a negative test within 24 hours of arrival. Pacific reserves the right to check vaccination and test status of guests. Exceptions are in place for patients in our community healthcare clinics and families in our Early Learning Community.
- In accordance with public health guidelines, face masks remain required in all healthcare facilities, including Pacific’s public clinics, the Student & Employee Health Center, Student Counseling Center and Athletic Training Room. Masks may also be required in some class and lab settings where students practice healthcare services.
- Faculty, staff, and students on our Eugene Campus should follow Lane Community College guidelines.
- The Oregon Health Authority and U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention also recommend masking and other precautions based on COVID-19 Community Levels. Look up COVID-19 Community Levels and current recommendations by state and county.
- If you are experiencing symptoms of an airborne illness, including COVID-19, the flu, etc., please try to stay home. If you are unable to stay home, wear a face mask in public.
- Pacific will discontinue required COVID-19 testing for large groups (such as whole classes), as well as weekly testing for unvaccinated individuals. If you are concerned about potential exposure, wear a mask in public and contact the Student & Employee Health Center to evaluate what testing is recommended or consider a home test. Only unvaccinated individuals need to quarantine following a close contact exposure; vaccinated individuals are asked to wear a mask around others if exposed.
- A positive test will no longer automatically necessitate isolation housing or the COVID-19 monitoring and support team.
We hope that this fall brings with it the excitement of a new school year and comfort in knowing that Pacific is here to support the wellbeing of our students and employees in any circumstance.
The Pacific University Business Continuity and Emergency Management Office continues to monitor conditions and review our protocols, as we also build the learnings of the past two years into our emergency response processes.
Stay up to date on your vaccines, monitor community conditions, and take care of yourself and your community wellbeing — physically and mentally.
And let’s kick off this new year focused on our shared mission to think, care, create, and pursue justice in the world together.