Oregon State University’s President F. King Alexander has announced that the “Corvallis campus will continue providing instruction primarily through remote modalities for winter term 2021.”
Vice Provost for undergraduate education, Alix Gitelman, said via email various scenarios were considered for the winter term, but stated that “we decided to continue with our low-density approach… we want students to be able to make informed decisions about their winter term courses, and course modalities will be available when registration opens in November.”
The commitment to remain remote throughout the winter term has been the subject of discussion since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gitelman said, “the Continuity Management Team has been meeting since March, and we have considered several different scenarios since then.”
Jon J. Boeckenstedt, vice provost of enrollment management, said via email “I believe almost every communication that has come from the university has spoken to the fact that the safest option for students, faculty and staff was to stay remote.”
This measure includes maintaining the same tuition and fees currently being charged in the fall term, as well as keeping the decision to limit buildings in use and utilize remote advising.
There are, however, a few exceptions for in-campus classes that need to be taught in a face-to-face modality.
Currently, OSU is working with around 95% of its activities remotely. As for the winter term, Rebecca Mathern, associate provost and university registrar, said via email “we expect that there will not be much of a change between fall and winter term for Corvallis campus instruction.”
Mathern also said that there will likely be less than 10% of in-person instruction happening on campus in the winter term, meaning it is possible that a slight increase in on-campus activities may happen.
Those that are returning to Corvallis either from a different state or country may expect to be required to take a COVID-19 test, although the university has not officially decided yet.
Dan Larson, associate vice provost at OSU, said by email “we are currently in the process of determining how testing will be part of the process for students returning to their residence halls, if they chose to leave during the [winter] break.”
Regarding Trace OSU, a program that monitors the prevalence of COVID-19 at the Corvallis, Bend and Hatfield Marine Science Center campuses, Larson has ensured that the program will remain the same, continuing throughout the whole year.
Decisions about the spring term are yet to be made. However, the university stated that possibilities of increasing on-site activities are being considered. According to Mathern, “decisions will be made in early winter term and will be science-based, relative to our local and regional community.”