University Policy: 04-040 Physical Distancing During COVID-19 Pandemic
Policy Category: Governance and Administration
Responsible Office: Provost's Office
Responsible Executive: Provost
Download the Policy: (PDF)
Effective Date: 03/25/2020
Last Revised: 08/21/2020
1. Policy Statement

1.1. This policy will be in effect until lifted by the OSU President.

1.2. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in alignment with the Oregon Governor’s executive orders, and consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority (“OHA”) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), Oregon State University issued its physical distancing policy on March 25, 2020. It applies to all Oregon State University locations and serves the university’s goal to help reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19. This university policy was last updated on August 21, 2020 and may be revised subsequently to align with federal, state, and local guidance and as OSU’s public health response evolves.

1.3. Physical distancing is intended to reduce contact among people, especially in large crowds. Until further notice, OSU employees, students and other members of the OSU community are required to maintain a distance of six (6) feet between individuals to the greatest extent possible. In complying with this policy, all members of the university community at all OSU locations are to configure spaces as needed, including classrooms, workplaces, university-managed living spaces and dining halls to provide for maximum physical distancing. Members of the university community are expected to comply with the limits on the number of people at gatherings and social get-togethers as provided in this policy. Consistent with OHA and CDC guidelines—and in adherence to applicable executive orders and other legal requirements regarding face coverings—all OSU employees, students, visitors, contractors, volunteers and community members shall abide by University Policy 04-041 Face Covering in Public and Common Settings During COVID-19 Pandemic.

2. Reason for Policy

2.1. This university policy is issued to contribute to the health and safety of the OSU community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and to align with federal and state regulations, executive orders, and guidance.

3. Scope & Audience

3.1. This university policy applies to all university employees, students, contractors, volunteers and visitors on university-owned or -controlled property.

4. Definitions

4.1. Gatherings are defined as a group of individuals meeting for a common purpose including University in-person instruction, faith-based, civic, cultural and other purposes, indoors or outdoors. A gathering does not include social get-togethers. 

4.2. Social Get-Togethers are defined as a group of individuals meeting for a common social or recreational purpose indoors or outdoors. Social get-togethers include but are not limited to dinner parties, birthday parties, graduation parties, celebrations of any kind, potlucks, book clubs, game nights, and other similar gatherings.

5. Responsibilities & Procedures     

5.1. Physical Distancing Requirements for all OSU Employees and Students

5.1.1. Whenever possible, employees are to maintain a minimum of six (6) feet between themselves and other employees, students, or community members who are present.

5.1.2. Supervisors, in consultation with their employees, must ensure that their workspace is set up for physical distancing measures to the greatest extent possible.

5.1.3. All workspace restroom facilities must display signs that encourage frequent hand washing as guided by county, state, and federal public health agencies.

5.1.4. Until further notice, meetings should be conducted using remote means wherever practical. All necessary in-person meetings must follow physical distancing practices.

5.1.5. Individuals who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, or are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and body aches, or loss of taste or smell are required to: stay home; avoid close contact with others; and contact their primary health care provider by phone or a secure patient portal for medical advice. Upon exposure, if symptomatic or if confirmed to have COVID-19, employees are required to notify their supervisor.

5.1.6. Gatherings and Get-Togethers: 

In-Person Instruction. University gatherings for the purposes of in-person instruction are permitted and limited to the number of people specified in the OHA and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s guidance to higher education on instructional activities.

Other University Gatherings and Gatherings on University Sites. Unless an exception has been provided as outlined in 5.1.7, all other types of university gatherings and gatherings on university-owned or -controlled property must adhere to the applicable OHA industry-specific guidance.

Student Social Get-Togethers. Students are required to restrict social get-togethers to 10 people or fewer, indoor and outdoor, while residing or participating in an activity in the state of Oregon, regardless of whether related to university business or property, unless a more restrictive law or OHA guidance applies. 

5.1.7. OSU’s Coronavirus Response Coordinator, or designee, will serve as the university’s Physical Distancing Officer. The Physical Distancing Officer, or designee, may approve limited exceptions and expansions to this university policy, where consistent with applicable executive orders. Approvals of exceptions or expansions by the Physical Distancing Officer will be provided in writing.

6. Forms & Tools 

6.1. None.

7. Frequently Asked Questions

7.1. COVID-19 FAQs:

8. Related Information

8.1. COVID-19 Resources and Updates:

8.2. University Policy 04-041 Face Covering in Public and Common Settings During COVID-19 Pandemic:

9. History

9.1. Original issue date: March 25, 2020.

9.2. Amended: August 21, 2020

9.3. Amended: June 14, 2020.

9.4. Last review date: June 3, 2020.

9.5. Next scheduled review date: June 3, 2021.

10. Website

10. University Policy 04-040 Physical Distancing During COVID-19 Pandemic:

11. Contacts

Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Coronavirus Response Coordinator, and Physical Distancing Officer