The latest in PSU’s response to the COVID-19 virus
Spring term to be taught remotely
In their latest response to curb the Coronavirus, Portland State announced Wednesday that most classes in Spring term would be held remotely.
The decision was first announced in an email from PSU Interim President Stephen Percy, with a more in-depth announcement of the plans for classes releasing on Friday. In it, he assured that classes “will be offered as scheduled,” and the plans for teaching classes remotely would be reevaluated in mid-April with future guidance from health officials. Campus offices will remain open, but PSU is urging campus events and gathering to be held remotely whenever possible.
“The threat of [COVID-19] is presenting daunting challenges for all of us.” stated Percy, “We are committed to making decisions that promote the success and well-being of our campus community and growing concerns across Oregon.”
Previously, PSU planned to follow interim recommendations released by the Oregon Health Association on Mar. 8, which urged schools not to close campuses where there were no confirmed cases of the virus, and to “consider all alternatives before closing a school, college or university in the event that a COVID-19 case is detected among students or staff.”
“Community-wide measures like hand hygiene and staying home with ill are essential to decrease community spread.” stated the announcement released by the OHA, “Measures such as complete closure of a school or schools for extended periods of time come with significant detrimental effects to communities, and their public health benefit in containing the spread of COVID-19 remains unclear at this point.”
However, as of Wednesday, The World Health Organization has officially named COVID-19 a pandemic.
“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during the Mar. 11 briefing. “Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.”
University of Oregon and Oregon State University have also announced that classes would be held online starting in the Spring term, and in-person final exams would be canceled. Finals at PSU will continue, however professors are encouraged to hold exams remotely and contact students with their plans for next week.
There are currently 15 cases of the recent coronavirus confirmed in Oregon. The first case of COVID-19 in Multnomah county was confirmed Tuesday by OHA, who had no contact with another confirmed case or recent travel to another affected county—and likely transmitted through the community.
The best method to stay healthy and stop the spread of the virus, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), is to wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, and limiting close contact with people who are sick.