CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s fall 2020 Corvallis campus residence hall move-in will feature enhanced health and safety measures, including required COVID-19 testing for students living on campus and scheduled move-in dates and times to ensure adequate physical distancing.
“All of these changes are designed to foster a safer and healthier environment for our students, staff and the Corvallis community,” said Brian Stroup, University Housing and Dining Services’ director of operations and facilities. “These changes also mean residence hall move-in will look quite a bit different for our students and their families this year.”
Fall move-in will be held Sept. 18 through Sept. 22; students will be assigned a specific date and time to arrive on campus; and each student will be allowed to bring two other people to assist in their move-in.
As part of move-in, Student Health Services – with help from OSU’s TRACE-COVID-19 team – will set up a mobile testing lab at Reser Stadium and analyze test results on-site. All move-in traffic will start and flow through the stadium parking lot.
Students with negative test results will be cleared to move in to their rooms. If a student’s test comes back positive, they would need to isolate, either at home or in a designated isolation space for residential students on campus, until cleared to move into their room.
“It is important to note that a negative test result does not mean students do not need to practice strict public health measures,” said Jenny Haubenreiser, associate vice provost and executive director of Student Health Services at OSU. “COVID-19 tests represent a snapshot of time, plus there is a substantial chance of false negative results when testing people without symptoms, so students should be vigilant about physically distancing themselves and always wearing a face covering when around other people.”
Once students’ negative results are in, they will be directed from the stadium to their residence hall. Families should anticipate the entire move-in process, including testing, to take up to 6 hours.
Fall term will look different this year, with OSU anticipating that approximately 95% of Corvallis campus class sections will be offered remotely as a result of the pandemic. Courses planned to be offered on-site will primarily be those that have a heavy experiential learning component, such as labs and field courses.
“To the greatest extent we can, we are offering students the ability to decide the location that works best for them to pursue their OSU studies. For some students, living in a residence hall may be the safest or best option for continuing their studies,” said Steve Clark, OSU’s vice president for university relations and marketing. “For some students, living at home is their best choice. Other students, particularly advanced undergraduate and graduate students, may need to be in Corvallis to continue progressing in their degree programs.”
At this point, university officials anticipate about 2,500 students will reside on campus this fall, down from about 5,000 in a typical year, Clark said.
All Oregon State students will be expected to comply with state and local public health guidelines and university policies, such as wearing face coverings in all public or common spaces, practicing physical distancing and limiting social get-togethers to 10 people or fewer.
Additional health and safety measures for students living in residence halls include:
If a student requires isolation, University Housing and Dining Services staff will check in with them regularly and direct them to academic and support resources as needed. Meals will be delivered. Isolation spaces also include semi-private, suite-style bathrooms.
In addition, during the school year, Oregon State researchers will conduct regular virus prevalence testing among students and staff and will monitor university wastewater for genetic evidence of the virus that causes COVID-19. This work will be conducted under the umbrella of TRACE-COVID-19, the university’s public health project to better understand how COVID-19 is spreading.
If wastewater samples indicate prevalence of the virus in a residence hall, students in that hall will undergo another COVID-19 test.
About Oregon State University: As one of only two universities in the nation designated as a land, sea, space and sun grant, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 32,000 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.