What you need to know:

You will get the Omicron but you will probably survive. Also:

What You Need to Know
Welcome to Winter Term: Today the UO returns to in-person instruction and operations for winter term. 
Delays or Disruptions: We recognize some students may experience delays related to travel or COVID-19 as they return for winter term. The mandatory first class attendance policy remains suspended for winter term. As outlined in the Academic Council expectations, instructors will provide flexibility. If you are not able to attend class, please notify your instructors. If you are delayed for COVID-19 related reasons, please visit the exposure scenarios and guidance on the Coronavirus Resources website for more information. 
Safety Protocols: During winter term, the UO will continue to follow our existing safety approaches, including a high vaccination rate, required masks, and robust on-campus testing capacity, which have proven to be highly effective. We continue to monitor public health conditions and are prepared to adapt as needed to protect the university and greater community, as guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oregon Health Authority, and Lane County Public Health. The full announcement along with more information about the UO’s layered approach to COVID-19 prevention and mitigation can be found on the Coronavirus Resources webpage.
For a safe and healthy start to winter term remember:Masks are required indoors on campus regardless of vaccination status. Masks should fit snugly over nose and mouth. COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots are required for all UO students, faculty, and staff. The booster shot requirement deadline is January 31 or 30 days after you become eligible. Details about the booster shot reporting process will be coming soon.Before coming to campus monitor for symptoms outside your baseline. Stay home if sick.Wash your hands often. Use hand sanitizer when handwashing is not possible. COVID-19 testing is available on campus through Monitoring and Assessment Program (MAP) and University Health Services (UHS). More information about testing options is below. COVID-19 Testing Options: Testing Options for Students with Symptoms: Students with mild viral symptoms who do not need a medical evaluation, can pick up a COVID-19 self-directed test kit through UHS. No appointments are needed to pick up these kits. Kits are available Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Students with viral symptoms who are unsure whether they need a medical evaluation, can contact University Health Services at 541-346-2770 or their healthcare provider to determine if and where they should be tested. Asymptomatic Testing: MAP provides free COVID-19 testing to all UO students, UO employees, and members of the Lane County community not displaying symptoms. MAP is located at McArthur Court. The MAP schedule is released each Wednesday for the following week. Make appointments early to reserve your preferred time. Additional Community Testing Resources: Lane County provides an extensive list of COVID-19 testing sites. Check with testing facilities to ensure they meet your test type and time frame requirements.  
Students wearing masksMask Reminders 
Face coverings are required indoors in all UO facilities, including classrooms and offices, regardless of vaccination status.
Face coverings can be removed while actively eating or drinking. Face coverings must fully cover the nose and mouth. K95 and N95 masks are recommended but not required by UO policy.
Mesh masks, lace masks, and other face coverings with openings, valves, holes, vents, or other visible gaps in the design or material are not in compliance with this policy. 
UO Vaccination RatesFaculty and Staff: 95.3% Students: 96.8%The vaccination rate is updated on the COVID-19 Safety Dashboard every Monday. All UO faculty, staff, and students are required to be fully vaccinated or submit a vaccine exemption and undergo weekly testing. UO vaccination rates are a key measure in becoming a “fully vaccinated” campus under CDC guidelines for higher education
Featured FAQ
Who is eligible for a booster shot? What if I am not yet eligible?Individuals 12 and older are eligible to receive a booster:At least six months after their second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. For example, anyone who received their second dose on or before July 3, 2021, is now eligible for a booster.At least two months after the initial dose of a Johnson and Johnson/Janssen vaccine. As of today, this would be on or before November 3, 2021.The CDC provides additional booster shot guidance for vaccines received outside of the US.Because initial vaccination doses become less effective over time, the CDC recommends boosters for those who are eligible to help reduce the likelihood of serious illness. The CDC also states that individuals who have not yet reached booster eligibility still receive protection from their initial vaccine doses.
Stethoscope iconCOVID-19 CasesUO: There were 26 members of the UO community who tested positive or were considered presumptive positive from December 20-26. From December 27-January 2 there were 134 cases. Additional case numbers will be updated through January 3 on the COVID-19 Case Tracking webpage
OHA: State and county cases and trends are reported on the OHA COVID-19 data page. State and county vaccine distribution is reported on the OHA vaccination trends page.Learn more about UO COVID-19 Case Tracking.
RemindersEmployee Vaccination Reporting Reminder: Details about the booster shot reporting process will be coming soon. The deadline for employees to verify their initial COVID-19 vaccination status or request an exemption is January 14. Employees who haven’t already, should fill out this online form and upload a copy of their vaccine card or a medical or religious exemption form. Employees will need all required forms ready to be uploaded before they begin completing the online vaccination requirement form. Prevention: The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC outline some general precautions to minimize the spread of respiratory diseases. 
Person getting a vaccineIn the News
FDA expands booster shots to 12 and up
ResourcesUO ResourcesHealth and PreventionTestingStudent Remote SupportTeaching Remote SupportHuman Resources InfoUO Case Tracking
Additional ResourcesOregon Health Authority Lane County Public Health [en Español]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [en Español]Protect yourself and others [en Español]Multnomah County Public HealthDeschutes County Public HealthCoos County Public Health
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42 Responses to What you need to know:

  1. it's_me says:

    Yikes. 134 cases last week, when few faculty and virtually no students were on campus.

  2. uomatters says:

    Do you have the link? The link I have says only 1, which seems implausible: https://coronavirus.uoregon.edu/cases

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      see your paste above under: COVID-19 CasesUO. Yikes indeed. I wonder how many staff among those 134? Is it time to go remote? Is it time for vulnerable faculty to desert, er, seek a more defensible position? Let’s have those updated numbers fast!

    • Craig O'ThePlague says:

      The link isn’t updated. There was an email this afternoon. Sent from UOnews at uoregon Subject:”COVID-19 Update: Winter Term Welcome and Reminders”

      “COVID-19 Cases
      UO: There were 26 members of the UO community who tested positive or were considered presumptive positive from December 20-26. From December 27-January 2 there were 134 cases. Additional case numbers will be updated through January 3 on the COVID-19 Case Tracking webpage. ” — but not yet updated

  3. New Year Cat says:

    It seems like there is often a huge disconnect between what’s in these covid emails and what’s on the covid case pages. Or is it just me?

  4. Eternal Skeptic says:

    It turns out some things can be delayed at UO because of COVID after all.

    https://www.kezi.com/content/news/Oregon-vs-Colorado-mens-basketball-game-postponed-576003721.html

  5. Silenus says:

    What I want to know is why isn’t the union fighting to protect vulnerable faculty during the omicron surge? I know of multiple colleagues who have asked the union this very question and UA continues to sit on its hands for some reason. What good is the union if it won’t fight for faculty interests when our health is most at risk in the workplace? I find the union’s lack of engagement on this issue to be both puzzling and disappointing.

  6. Isaiah says:

    “COVID-19 CasesUO: There were 26 members of the UO community who tested positive or were considered presumptive positive from December 20-26. From December 27-January 2 there were 134 cases. Additional case numbers will be updated through January 3 on the COVID-19 Case Tracking webpage.” Looks like it’s not updated yet.

    Oregon remains the outlier. The Provost cites the vaccination rate, but that’s largely irrelevant given that Omicron will be unlikely to do serious damage to healthy young students, even though it will infect them. Testing capacity is good to have, but often slow in practice, and the speed of transmission of Omicron will allow the virus to spread very rapidly, often before people know they are spreading it. As usual, it will be the vulnerable who are most at danger—older people, the immunocompromised. Vulnerable residents of Eugene to whom the virus will spread. And Delta, a severe variant, still constitutes 41% of new cases nationally. Hospitalizations in NY are nearing the peak of last winter’s surge, while deaths in a single day have risen above 100 for the first time since last March (NYT/Hochul). Lawmakers and staffs at the Capitol are being urged to work remotely.

    The good news still is that Omicron seems to attack the upper airway and do less damage to the lungs. This seems to be why it is reported to be a “milder” variant. But the NYT is reporting that we are still at 41% Delta nationwide. And no one is really analyzing what’s happening there. I do hope that there are sharp eyes keeping lookout in this high risk venture, ready to make a call if necessary. Please correct me if I’ve made any errors here.

  7. Not me! says:

    12/20 – 12/26 is wrong. I happen to know a student who lives off campus was tested positive during this week. However, they had not reported themselves. In fact, it’s not obvious what the reporting process is on the UO COVID test site.

  8. Craig O'ThePlague says:

    Meanwhile, I know multiple faculty members with preschoolers with active, very symptomatic cases, but who themselves have not yet come down with symptoms, being told that it’s totally ok to come in to work because they’re vaccinated and asymptomatic. So that’s cool. None of them are coming in, because they’re better than that. Also because who has childcare for covid-sick preschoolers?

  9. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    They put a little bitty factoid in an obscure place in their email — 134 cases in last week, up by a factor of 5 over the previous week! And yet they can’t seem to get that into their tracking graphic. I know, it’s early in the day, it’s not even 5 pm. But you might think there’d be some response from the top, noting this, and formulating some kind of reaction. How many staff in that number? Should faculty just skip town? Or is the attitude that they can just kiss their ass goodbye? Or maybe not to worry, it’s only covid? Really, they are off to a poor start for winter term. Maybe they need to hire some communications people? Just kidding!

  10. Environmental necessity says:

    Aren’t the data pretty clear by now that Omicron can breach vaccination (albeit to this point with far lower morbidity) and that a booster does a lot to lessen this risk further and suppress transmission? But the UO’s booster requirement is not in force for weeks, not long before we all hope Omicron begins to level off. That is to say, the requirement comes about time the barn door is closing. How is that requirement going? What share of employees and students are boosted? Can’t find that on the COVID site – anyone? Why not go online until we figure out the booster regime, get everyone N95s, tighten up testing? That is essentially the move a growing number of institutions are pursuing.

    I would like more information about why our admins are so confident where their peers are more cautious. I would appreciate a clearer explanation why a 2-3 weeks online period is deemed untenable.

    • Dog says:

      Indeed, a 2-3 week period ONline could be spun as a large scale pilot experiment to “enhance” hybrid learning. The way of the work world now seems clearly to be going to a hybrid mode and I think it would be good if students got better trained on performing in a hybrid world where physical groups or minimized, ON line collaboration is maximized. If this is the way the real world is going, students need training on how to emerge into it to be successful. But, the UO needs to invest in high end (usually commercial) collaborative tools. Canvas doesn’t exactly cut it …

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      OK, more data up. For week ending Jan 2, 121 off campus students, 31 on campus. Only 2 staff out of 5000, about same as usual. Not time to stampede yet, but watch very closely. Up to date daily info would be welcome.

  11. uomatters says:

    “The University of California at San Diego is one campus that will be holding classes remotely for two weeks at the start of its winter quarter. Modeling by San Diego researchers showed that, assuming a surge of coronavirus cases timed around the new year, the university could need 400 isolation rooms if everyone returned at once. It has only about 200 available. So leaders decided to hold classes online while encouraging residential students to move in throughout the two weeks, said Pradeep K. Khosla, the chancellor. Students and employees must get tested the day they return to campus. By spreading out the move-in, administrators hope they’ll never need more than 200 isolation spots at the same time.”

    https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/live-coronavirus-updates/as-omicron-looms-these-colleges-will-start-their-january-classes-online

  12. Dog says:

    Just FYI in this topic

    I have colleagues in Israel that are now getting their 4th Covid shot …

  13. maskless? says:

    New rules:
    https://provost.uoregon.edu/fall-2021-message-faculty-and-ges
    “January 4, 2022 Update: Instructors are no longer permitted to teach without a mask, regardless of distancing.”

    https://provost.uoregon.edu/resource-rubric
    “Q: Can an instructor teach in-person classes without a mask if they can maintain at least 6 feet of distance from the students?
    A: No, not at this time. This policy changed on January 4, 2022.”

    One might think someone would let us know. Maybe all of the admins are working remotely…

    • Dog says:

      Well that sudden change is a big deal – kinds of defeats the
      purpose of in class teaching …

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      it’s news to me! perhaps time to go remote? or maybe desertion, er, regroup?

    • honest Uncle Gangsta says:

      no, really, if they don’t email this to us, they are idiots! I don’t want to say duh! but wtf??

    • cruel irony duck says:

      That link is great:

      Stay home if you’re sic

      Get to know your neighbors in class, and let them know if you test positiv

      Get tested regularly if you are not vaccinate

      Watch for signs and symptoms with the daily symptom self-chec

      Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitize

    • Heraclitus says:

      Just a few lines down the page: “Q: Are there any guidelines for improving comprehensibility when teaching while wearing masks?
      A: If the instructor can maintain 6 ft. distance from students, the instructor can teach without a mask.”
      Who is steering this ship?

  14. thedude says:

    If we go remote for 1-2 weeks, we’ll end up remote until April.

    But I sense those who are asking for 1-2 weeks know this.

    • Dog says:

      again, not necessarily, a mind set needs to develop to better
      implement and understand what can be doing in a fluid hybrid
      mode …

    • Environmental necessity says:

      Why is that? Are we too stupid to calibrate as appropriate to circumstances?

      • Dog says:

        well personally,, I am too stoopid to even know that the second sentence means. And, personally, I think the students are the
        ones that need to both better adapt and to function more coherently in this hypothetical “hybrid environment”. I think most faculty can adjust well.

  15. This Is The Way says:

    We’re all going to die…..every other university is doing it better than us….this is the end…..we are all unsafe….

    Says everyone everywhere. Get yourself vaccinated and boosted. Protect the vulnerable who may not be able to be vaccinated and stop worrying about every little thing.

    • uomatters says:

      I’m no safety nazi, but I hear dying can be pretty serious.

      • Anonymous says:

        I hear you but most campuses have been overwhelmingly safe compared to many other working environments. Are people dropping dead as a result of working/living on your campus with COVID? People are doing the best they can to maintain operations, provide value to students who expect it and keep as many people still employed as possible. It’s a really delicate balance. I imagine your administration is walking that balance as well as just about anybody. There are few doing it REALLY badly, a lot doing okay and a few doing really well. Rather than just lambast your administration, which it seems you all love to do anyway, why not suggest through your union or other avenues like senate, more practical solutions, recognizing all of the pressures (safety and fulfilling your mission) that people are under?

        I suspect your years of adversarial employee relations (blame on both sides) are causing many of your communication issues now. None of you trust each other fundamentally. Guess I am lucky to be on a campus where we work together, faculty senate, student government, staff senate…all in the room advising on and making decisions about COVID measures for our campus. Collectively working together in shared governance. Do you all have a COVID decision making body like that? Might be a good suggestion although late in the game.

        • Dog says:

          I don’t know how to calibrate what “safe” means and how it is best measured. To me, the essence: Is your campus doing its best to minimize putting faculty and students in public settings (since this is how it think Omicron is being spread)? I don’t think this kind
          of insulating against public settings is NOT happening at the UO

  16. anon and on and on says:

    68 students and 4 employees positive in the last two days alone, and that’s just the ones reported to UO.

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