LA GRANDE — Eastern Oregon University plans to resume on-campus, in-person activities and instruction this fall, the school announced earlier this week.
The university has established a gradual resumption process that complies with public health guidelines.
“Looking toward fall term and a new academic year, EOU continues its commitment to the health and well-being of students and the continuation of their academic progress,” said Provost Sarah Witte, who is leading the university’s resumption planning process. “EOU is committed to resuming flexible, in-person, hybrid and remote-access teaching formats in keeping with Oregon Health Authority and local health authorities’ guidelines.”
During the upcoming fall term, students and employees will be able to access buildings and grounds for university business, but EOU’s La Grande campus will remain closed to the public.
A mixed modality approach will allow smaller numbers of students to meet in classrooms on-campus, incorporating virtual elements with in-person instruction. For example, some class sessions each week will be held remotely to control classroom density. EOU’s colleges are prioritizing courses most adversely affected by remote delivery, to teach science labs or practical art instruction safely. The university will accommodate students and employees with underlying conditions or health risks.
Fall term will begin Wednesday, Sept. 23, as planned, and after Thanksgiving break, courses and finals will be held remotely. Residence halls will be open throughout the term, and students can choose if they would prefer to stay home between Thanksgiving and winter break to complete final projects and exams.
“Many students and employees usually travel during Thanksgiving break, and then again two weeks later for winter break. This kind of back-to-back travel can increase the risk of exposure and transmission of disease,” Witte said. “By transitioning the final weeks of term to remote access, students and faculty can plan ahead to complete their courses remotely from wherever they are. Students who have no plans to leave campus during Thanksgiving break are welcome to stay, as residence halls, dining facilities and computer labs will remain open.”
EOU’s fall orientation for incoming students, Week of Welcome, will adapt to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Physical distancing will be established in classrooms, dining areas and other shared spaces. All students and employees will be required to wear face masks while indoors, as well as outdoors where appropriate physical distancing isn’t possible. High-traffic areas will receive enhanced cleaning.
Student services from the learning center and testing center will resume in-person with physical distancing, plexiglass barriers between stations and face masks. Exams and proctored tests will only be available for EOU students, and remote services will continue for those who need them.
On-campus community events, including athletics, are being reviewed and will be modified as needed or with physical distancing and other measures to minimize spread.
“We will continue to share additional details as they take shape,” Witte said. “Our teams are responding to each shift in phases from our local public health authorities, and developing our plans accordingly.”