CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is collaborating with the city of Corvallis and the Benton County Health Department on a public health education campaign to help reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19 in the community.

The public health campaign features print, digital and social media communications, lawn signs and other actions to reinforce the importance of personal preventive health practices. Public health measures being promoted include wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distance from others, washing hands frequently, conducting daily health checks and keeping social get-togethers to fewer than 10 people, indoors and outdoors.

“Each of us can help make our community safer and healthier during this challenging time,” said Steve Clark, OSU’s vice president for university relations and marketing. “With our partners at the city and the county, our goal is to promote and foster good public health practices among OSU students, faculty and staff as well as community members throughout Corvallis and Benton County. It’s about personal accountability for each of us.”

OSU and the Benton County Health Department have worked closely on public health messaging around the novel coronavirus since the county launched its Joint Information Center in February in response to COVID-19.

The collaboration will continue during the current COVID-19 prevention and education campaign.

Benton County public health officials are providing COVID-19 prevention, response and recovery messaging that is readable, accessible and culturally responsive and includes translations into Spanish, simplified Chinese and other non-English languages spoken in Benton County.

“Our partnership with OSU is decades in the making, but nothing has tested the relationship more than COVID-19,” said Charlie Fautin, interim co-director of the Benton County Health Department. “We sincerely appreciate the collaborative relationships with the university and in the case of this global pandemic it is so critical to have our communications teams in sync.”

The city of Corvallis is leading “Mask Up, Corvallis!” – a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of face coverings and encourage their use. The effort included hanging a banner with the phrase over Harrison Street in August to greet drivers. Additional advertising also is being featured on Corvallis buses.

The city is hosting on its website a database of free, downloadable PDF signs in English and Spanish that local businesses or others can print and use as they resume operations under state and federal health guidelines.

“The hard work and commitment to our city’s health and wellness exhibited by community members has helped us reduce the impacts of the pandemic in Corvallis,” said Corvallis City Manager Mark Shepard. “An ongoing partnership between the city, Benton County and OSU is critical to the continued health of our community and businesses as fall classes resume at OSU.”

Oregon State is developing a new series of lawn signs, print, social media and video messages highlighting prevention practices under the theme of “Beavers build a safer and healthier community” that will soon be seen community wide.

The messages feature student and university leaders as well as Benny Beaver stressing the importance of practicing physical distancing, wearing face coverings and keeping social get-togethers to 10 people or fewer, whether indoors or outdoors. Posters and lawn signs featuring Benny Beaver following these public health practices will be made available to local businesses, community residents and property managers that serve university students.

OSU officials anticipate that approximately 95% of Corvallis campus fall term instruction will be offered remotely as a result of the pandemic. Courses offered on-site will primarily be those that have a significant experiential learning component, such as labs and field courses.

University officials anticipate that about 2,500 students will live on campus in residence halls, roughly half of the 5,000 students who normally live on campus.

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 34,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Story By: 

Michelle Klampe, 541-737-0784, [email protected]


Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, [email protected]


Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.