Senate to meet Wed to rule on Admin’s Omicron response

Just kidding, whoever sets the agenda seems content to leave that up to our administrative overlords:

Academic Year2021-2022DateJanuary 12, 2022

January 12, 2022 Senate Meeting Agenda

Call to Order

  • Land Acknowledgment; Stephanie Prentiss
  • Intro Remarks; Senate President Spike Gildea
  • ASUO updates; Maxwell Ely

Approval of the Minutes

  • December 1, 2021

State of the University

  • Provost Patrick Phililps

New Business

Adjournment

5:00 P.M.

Anthropology Dept calls on Admin to take 2 weeks online & get its act together

Thanks to an anonymous reader for forwarding. Please let me know if your department is considering similar action:

Statement from Faculty of Department of Anthropology

January 7, 2022

As a department we want to support our students in the best and fullest way possible. There are many different situations in each of our classrooms that change constantly. We want to take our classes remote for a two-week period and we will reassess. We cannot teach our classes in three different modes, serve as therapists for our students, and handle high levels of caretaking at home. We urge the administration to make one clear policy and take classes online for a specific period of time. We further urge the administration to give department heads the ability to work with their faculty to determine the best situation for their classes.  Thank you for your consideration. 

Sent on behalf of UO Anthropology Faculty

Magnanimous Provost belatedly lets faculty minions teach on zoom for a few weeks

Stay tuned for the official announcement as soon as it’s vetted by UO’s strategic communicators.

Now comes the announcement:

Dear University of Oregon community,

We are grateful to have you here and engaged in a winter term that is more challenging than some. We especially appreciate everyone’s flexibility around the unanticipated travel disruptions experienced by many of our faculty, staff, and students. Oregon has been on the lagging end of the latest COVID-19 surge caused by the Omicron variant. However, we now have a much clearer picture of what the next month is likely to look like with respect to incidence levels within the university community.We are fortunate that this surge does not constitute a public health emergency for the university, as we have had the essential mitigation tools of vaccination, testing, and masks in place since the start of the academic year. Indeed, at last count, over 95 percent of our community is vaccinated.Because of the need to isolate upon infection, it is now clear that there is a potential for a short-term disruption in coursework for many students, and we want to ensure that we have appropriate continuity in educational opportunities and operations as the surge progresses. As I said in my message on December 28, we have prepared to manage potential disruptions caused by faculty, staff, and student quarantine and isolation requirements.

With that in mind, we are immediately implementing the following policies:

  • We are now following updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) guidelines shortening quarantine and isolation periods to five days when certain conditions are met, as detailed in our COVID exposure guidelines.
  • Faculty members who need to quarantine, isolate, or who have a family member who needs to stay at home for a COVID-related cause will continue to follow our previous remote teaching policies, which include moving their courses to synchronous online instruction during the period of their own quarantine or isolation. Resources on providing coursework remotely are available online.
  • Upon approval of deans and department heads, instructors may move courses that are experiencing 20 percent or more COVID-related student absences to synchronous online instruction for a limited period to provide more equitable course access to students. This will usually not apply to courses that do not lend themselves to a rapid shift to remote instruction, such as lab, workshops, internships, and studios. Faculty should consult with their deans about special cases. We continue to emphasize in-person instruction as the best option whenever possible and instructors may continue to teach in person even with 20 percent or more of their class absent.
  • Instructors who remain in person are required to provide recorded versions of their courses to absent students, unless there is a pedagogical reason not to do so, following guidelines recently enacted by the Academic Council so that students needing accommodation for COVID-related absences can have access to course materials.
  • Instructors are required to provide students with at least 24 hours’ notice before any change in modality.
  • Students who are unable to attend a class for COVID-related reasons should contact their instructor right away to make arrangements for the class and complete the case and contact form.
  • Supervisors and employees should work together on flexible work approaches if necessary for COVID-related absences due to quarantine or isolation. And we remind all employees of the leave options available should they be unable to work due to illness.
  • Disposable surgical masks continue to be available in classrooms, and we anticipate that a limited number of disposable KN95s may also soon be available during the upcoming surge for those who have forgotten their masks at home.

To be clear, campus remains open and administrative offices will continue with their current operational stance. The surge is predicted to largely be abated by early February. We therefore expect that at this time all courses will return to in-person instruction by Monday, February 7, and other operations to go back to a more routine flexible work environment posture. We will continue to carefully monitor for any evidence of classroom or workplace transmission of the virus, which could necessitate a broader campus-wide response.Mounting evidence indicates that being fully up to date on vaccination substantially helps to mitigate the most severe effects of Omicron, so we remind everyone to become fully up to date on booster shots when eligible, as required by the university vaccination policy.This is not how we had hoped to begin 2022. But we firmly believe that by following these steps we can minimize operational disruptions on campus through this surge while continuing to keep our community safe. Thank you, once again, for your commitment and cooperation.

Sincerely, 

Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President

Students vote with their feet, ditch class because of Omicron

Last week the Provost told us the students wanted to be taught in person and we had adequate omicron protocols in place, so we started the term in person instead of online as so many of our peers did. But now it seems 25%-50% of our students are not showing up for classes, and are needing accommodations. So today the Academic Council is debating how to tell the faculty to respond. Recording lectures? Go back to online for a while? Dual mode? It would have been helpful to have had this discussion a few weeks ago.

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

Rob Mullens gets $50K for Alamo Bowl, players get $125 gift certificate

Seems like as good a time as any to repost this, from 2016. And yes, Lorraine Davis is still on the payroll.

And how much did UO pay Lorraine Davis for her Alamo Bowl duties? Last year’s bowl overload was pretty lucrative:

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 5.09.07 PM

The NCAA’s unwritten rule is that “no black man shall make money off college football”. MLK biographer Taylor Branch’s expose is in the Atlantic, here:

The Washington Post reports on a new study on how racism drives opposition to paying college football players, here:

Racial prejudice is driving opposition to paying college athletes. Here’s the evidence.

… To find out whether racial prejudice influences white opinion on paying college athletes, we conducted a survey of opinions on “pay for play” policies using the 2014 CCES.

In a statistical analysis that controlled for a host of other influences, we found this: Negative racial views about blacks were the single most important predictor of white opposition to paying college athletes.

The more negatively a white respondent felt about blacks, the more they opposed paying college athletes.

UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens’s contract is here:

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 6.46.40 PM

While the Duck players get this:

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 7.05.44 PM

Risk/Return tradeoff

(Now updated w/ OSU’s letter at bottom.)

Dear University of Oregon community,

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to protect yourselves and others against COVID-19 as we prepare to return to campus for winter term 2022. Along with other public universities in Oregon, including Oregon State University and Portland State University, we will begin the winter term with in-person instruction.Last year, due to the incredible efforts of our faculty, staff, and administrators, the university was able to mount a high-quality, remote academic program that served the needs of our students. It also became clear that a significant number of students did not thrive and have encountered educational and emotional setbacks caused by the pandemic, setbacks that could be reduced by limiting the isolation associated with remote learning. These negative outcomes occurred most frequently among our most vulnerable students. Especially for these students, in-person education is clearly a better alternative for student success.

Our Approach
We recognize that news about the Omicron variant continues to create uncertainty and concern. We are also aware that universities across the country are taking different approaches to the start of the winter term. Our decision to start the term with in-person instruction is based on several factors:

  1. We have a high campus vaccination rate, with more than 95 percent of students, faculty, and staff currently vaccinated.
  2. Our high vaccination rate, along with our existing safety measures, allowed us to maintain a very low risk environment for COVID-19 throughout the fall term. 
  3. To date, there has been no documented case of classroom-based transmission of COVID-19 at the University of Oregon.
  4. We have built robust testing capacity on campus and continue to make tests readily available to the community.
  5. We are prepared to manage potential disruptions caused by faculty, staff, and student exposure and quarantine as outlined in the containment plan for classes and exposure guidance for students and employees and have policies and procedures in place in the event instructors are unable to teach in person due to illness or other reasons related to COVID-19.
  6. We are prepared to pivot and make necessary changes to our approach as warranted by public health conditions.

Booster Shot Requirement
During the winter term we will continue to follow our existing safety approaches, which have proven to be highly effective. Additionally, following Oregon Health Authority recommendations, and as part of comprehensive vaccination against the COVID-19 virus, we will require all students, faculty, and staff to receive a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they are eligibleThe booster shot requirement must be met by January 31, or 30 days after you become eligible.

Proof of the booster shot must be uploaded following a similar process for the vaccination requirement. Specific information for providing proof will be shared with students and employees early in winter term. As with our existing vaccination requirements, the University of Oregon will continue to recognize both medical and non-medical exemptions to the booster shot requirement, consistent with state law.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.Thank you again for your shared commitment to maintaining the health and safety of our campus and community. We look forward to welcoming you back next week.

Sincerely, Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President

Oregon State’s version:

Dec. 28, 2021

Dear OSU Community Members,

We write to update you on Oregon State University’s plans for winter term instruction, research, Extension and outreach programming, and university operations.

At this time, in-person instruction and all other university activities and operations will resume on-site as scheduled on Jan. 3 at all OSU campuses and locations.

We make this decision while monitoring increased COVID-19 cases across the nation due to the Omicron variant. Our decision is informed by federal, state and local health authority guidance and is buoyed by positive signs that Omicron, while highly transmissible, may be resulting in milder symptoms and fewer cases of severe illness, hospitalization and death. 

The university’s decision is intentional: We seek to minimize disruption of student learning and experience and provide predictability for our faculty and university operations. We are mindful that classrooms, where students and faculty are vaccinated and wear face coverings, have not been a significant source of virus spread. We believe we can guard against a surge in COVID-19 cases due to a vaccination rate of more than 93% among OSU students and employees; requiring booster shots when a person is eligible as part of OSU’s vaccination program; the continuation of OSU’s emphasis on targeted COVID-19 testing; and our community’s adherence to numerous other public health measures.

Oregon State’s decision is in alignment with plans collaboratively announced today by all of Oregon’s public universities to maintain on-site teaching.

Your continued resilience and full participation in the battle against COVID-19 will be required for winter term classes to begin and operate successfully. This includes getting a booster shot as soon as possible and being tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus and other university locations.

We will undertake the following actions to support continuity in Oregon State’s teaching, activities and operations:

  • We strongly recommend that students and employees take and receive the results of a COVID-19 test before Jan 3. If you test positive over the holidays, remain in your home community and do not come to campus or other university locations until you are no longer symptomatic, and have passed the Oregon Health Authority’s isolation requirement.
  • Going forward, booster shots will be required as part of OSU’s vaccination program. In the days ahead, we will provide you more information about this booster requirement, including means and dates of when compliance will be required as you become eligible for a booster. Again, we recommend that you please obtain your booster, if eligible, prior to the start of winter term.
  • Students returning to university-managed residence halls for winter term will be required to be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to campus in Corvallis and at OSU-Cascades. More information about this requirement will be provided students in the days ahead.
  • The university will offer voluntary on-campus COVID-19 testing for OSU students and employees in Corvallis and Bend as winter term begins. As has been the case, OSU students and employees with a vaccination exception or in non-compliance with OSU’s vaccine requirement will be required to test for COVID-19 each week until further notice. More information about testing will be forthcoming. 
  • OSU will assist local health authorities and health care agencies in promoting booster clinics and testing opportunities.
  • The university will review and update as necessary its COVID-19 practices and procedures for in-person university events planned during winter term.

This week, we will provide guidance to supplement the COVID-19 Safety and Success website on how faculty and graduate assistants can manage COVID-19-related absences during winter term. Meanwhile, we will continue to follow health authority requirements and guidance, monitor pandemic conditions closely, and update the university community promptly on any changes in OSU’s response.

Thank you for your immediate attention to these additional measures as together we address this new variant and the pandemic. We wish you a safe and healthy holiday break.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Johnson

Interim President

Edward Feser

Provost and Executive Vice President

More universities go remote for January

From Forbes:

Harvard announced that it would conduct most of its classes and work remotely for the first three weeks of January. Also this week, Stanford UniversityColumbia UniversityDuke UniversityUniversity of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignNorthwestern UniversityTemple University, the University of Washington and all the campuses in the University of California system have announced they will begin their spring semesters remotely. … Yesterday, Yale University announced that it would delay the start of the spring semester for a week. To accommodate that delay, Yale’s spring break will be shortened by one week. In addition most courses will be taught online from January 25 through February 4. … On December 23, University of Chicago Provost Ka Yee C. Lee and Katie Callow-Wright, Executive Vice President of the University and Chief of Staff to the president, sent a message to students and employees indicating that the university would delay the start of Winter Quarter for most schools and divisions by one week—to January 10, 2022. Additionally, a remote-only instructional format will be used for the first two weeks of the quarter, with a return to in-person instruction anticipated beginning on January 24.

Groundhog Day

Dear University of Oregon community,
Thank you for your ongoing efforts to protect yourselves and others against COVID-19 as we all came back together for fall term.
The university is closely monitoring the worldwide increase in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant. Public health experts continue to stress that vaccines are the most powerful tool for protecting health and reducing serious illness from COVID-19. This is encouraging given the highly vaccinated status on our campus and other, existing mitigation steps. Recent scientific data overwhelmingly supports the effectiveness of booster shots.
Due to the expected spread of the Omicron variant, Oregon Public Health officials are urging everyone to get their COVID-19 booster vaccination as soon as they are eligible. Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, individuals 16 and older should get their booster six months after receiving a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and two months after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
In support of this public health guidance and to protect our community, the UO will require all students, faculty, and staff to receive a COVID-19 booster as soon as they are eligible, upon final review of existing research and government guidance. Details about the deadlines, uploading records, and process for this requirement will be announced as soon as they are finalized.
We encourage all who are eligible to add getting their booster shot to their winter break to-do list.
You can do so by attending a public vaccination clinic, working with your medical provider, or working to get an appointment with a local pharmacy. To learn more about boosters and the Lane County Public Health drop-in clinics that are now available visit the COVID-19 Resources website.
With more than 95 percent of students, faculty, and staff currently vaccinated, we have helped to keep our campus and community healthy. Boosters are the next step in the evolving public health strategy in which we have adapted and responded as a community during the pandemic. During winter term, we will also continue to rely on our layered health strategies such as wearing masks, testing protocols, and conducting case management.
Again, thank you for your vigilance and resilience. I know the uncertainty and anxiety caused by the pandemic is wearing on us all. I hope that you are able to take some time in the coming weeks for rest and restoration. I am very proud of the way the UO community has come together to continue to learn, discover, and serve.
I wish you a restful, happy, and healthy holiday season.
Sincerely,
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law