University Policy: 04-040 Social Distancing During COVID-19 Pandemic
Policy Category:
Governance and Administration
Responsible Office:
Provost's Office
Responsible Executive:
Effective Date:

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

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in alignment with Governor Kate Brown's executive orders, and consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following social distancing policy is in effect for all Oregon State University locations. It serves the university's goal to help reduce the spread and risk of COVID-19.

Social distancing is intended to reduce contact among people, especially among 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 will configure space as needed, including all spaces, including classrooms, workplaces, university-managed living spaces and dining halls to provide for maximum social distancing.

Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-12, issued March 23, 2020, requires OSU to establish, implement and enforce social distancing when university buildings cannot be entirely closed and when OSU employees cannot perform critical functions remotely. In addition, the Governor’s Executive Order 20-09, issued March 19, 2020, states that on-campus and facility-based operations at Oregon colleges and universities shall continue only if deemed critical, and in-person instruction is prohibited unless subject to the limited exception for OSU-approved health care and emergency response-related degrees, certifications, and licenses. Critical on-campus operations must follow social distancing requirements and approved in-person teaching prohibition exceptions should follow social distancing requirements to the greatest extent practicable.

Social Distancing Requirements for all OSU employees and students:

1. Employees who are required to be onsite at an OSU location to perform a “critical function,” should continue to report to work and maintain social distancing as outlined in this policy. Employees who are not required to be onsite at an OSU location to perform a “critical function” must remain home and work remotely when possible given the nature of their work, and as arranged with their supervisor.

2. Faculty and graduate teaching assistants who are teaching during spring term 2020 are expected to deliver all of their course instruction remotely from offsite locations, not an OSU location. Faculty who do not have the necessary infrastructure at home to deliver courses remotely are directed to consult with their dean. OSU faculty office space should not be used for the delivery of remote instruction. During the limited occasions where the use of technology or lab space by a faculty member is necessary to deliver course content, faculty may reserve designated classroom space, only for the duration of instructing their course, if they receive the approval of their Dean.

3. Access to office space is prohibited unless otherwise indicated through OSU’s Critical Function designation.

4. Employees approved to be working onsite are to maintain a minimum of 6 feet between themselves and other employees, students or community members who are present.

5. Employees must engage in ongoing communication with their supervisors and, if they are approved to work on-campus or at an OSU location, ensure that their workspace is set up for maximum social distancing measures.

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

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

8. Residence halls shall continue to be open as a critical university operation in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 20-09. The following requirements are to be followed:

a. Single occupancy rooms used to the greatest extent possible;

b. Common spaces reconfigured to prevent social interactions by residents by removing furniture from lounges or closing lounges; and,

c. Signage in the residence halls should promote social distancing, frequent hand washing practices, and observance of other public health directives and guidance.

9. All campus dining halls that remain open will provide only carry-out and delivery services for food.

10. Employees serving in an onsite critical function, and 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 expected 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, employees serving in critical functions should contact their supervisor to ensure the critical function operations continue to be staffed accordingly.

OSU’s Coronavirus Response Coordinator will serve as the university’s Social Distancing Officer, a required role in Executive Order 20-12. The Social Distancing Officer may approve limited exceptions to this university policy, where consistent with the Executive Order. For example, a course directly related to a health care degree, and approved as an exception to the in-person instruction prohibition, may require modified social distancing to meet course objectives. Approvals of exceptions by the Social Distancing Officer will be provided in writing.