UPDATED 6/17In terms of Fall Term classes, what are Oregon Tech's plans?
The University plans to begin in-person fall classes on September 21, a week earlier than originally scheduled. Resumption of in-person teaching will be guided by Governor Brown’s staging plan for the state to reopen higher education institutions across Oregon; as well as guidance received from state health, education and other officials. Continue to check University email for communication regarding this plan or check the Re-Opening and Resumption Plan at www.oit.edu/coronavirus/resumption-plan.
What is the COVID-19/Coronavirus?
COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a disease caused by the virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
- Symptoms: individuals with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic but still contagious (i.e., there are not symptoms and thus the person may be unaware that they are infected and possibly unknowingly spreading the virus). For this reason, it is advisable that even if you don’t have any reason to think that you have been infected, to take precautions as if you do. People with COVID-19 who develop symptoms may experience: fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, and/or fatigue.
- Incubation: As common with other coronavirus strains, signs of illness usually show up 2–14 days after exposure.
- Transmission: While the science isn’t yet definitive, it’s currently thought that the virus is primarily spread through droplets and contact. The CDC indicates that COVID-19 is primarily spread through droplets from coughs and sneezes of individuals who have the illness. Through these means, the virus can be transferred to surfaces as well as possibly aerosolized, (suspended in the air around the infected individual), where you may come into contact. It’s currently thought that the most common method of transmission is from touching your face with your hands after they have come in contact with the virus, where the virus then has an opportunity to enter your system via your mouth, nose or eyes.
Washing your hands frequently and cleaning often-touched surfaces with disinfectant will help to prevent both the spread of the virus as well as your chances of becoming infected.
- Treatment: Treatment for patients with COVID-19 is currently supportive care only. There are currently no known disease-specific medications or vaccines.
- Further information, as it becomes updated, can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
How do I protect myself against getting COVID-19?
The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 and reduce likelihood of transmission is to take the same basic precautions to prevent any flu or cold strain including:
- Thoroughly washing hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds
- Refraining from touching ones face
- Covering nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing
- Avoiding close contact (within 6 feet) of others who appear to be ill.
Do I really need to stay 6 feet away from people to comply with the “social distancing” guidelines?
Yes. As awkward as it may be around friends and colleagues, the social (physical) distancing is a critical component to minimizing the likelihood of someone acquiring COVID-19. If someone gets too close to you, it’s okay to remind them (some people are giving friendly reminders, like: “you’re in my bubble”). Remember that many people who acquire COVID-19 are symptom free for all or part of the time. In other words, you cannot tell by just looking at someone whether they may be carrying the virus. Play it safe, respect other’s space and mind your own.
I am concerned about COVID-19 being an excuse to target certain nationalities or races. What should I do if I encounter this within the Oregon Tech community?
Remember that viruses don’t discriminate based on nationality or race. Unfortunately, there have been reported incidents of anti-Asian discrimination over COVID-19 fears in Portland
and the Pacific NW
generally. Concerns about such sentiments need to be taken seriously. Racism, nationality bias, and xenophobia have no place at Oregon Tech. If you feel you have been targeted or witness an incident involving one or more Oregon Tech community members, please contact Maureen De Armond (e: firstname.lastname@example.org
; p: 541.885.1108), who serves as Oregon Tech’s Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Title IX Coordination, and Affirmative Action.
What should I do if I have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath?
Many people with fever, cough, and mild illness can recover at home. They don’t need to seek medical care. If you are feeling reasonably well, you might not need to go to visit a clinic or hospital. That allows healthcare providers to focus on care of people who most need care. If you are unsure, please contact a health provider by phone to report this (such as your primary care doctor, local hospital or local urgent care facility; or Oregon Tech Integrated Health Center at 541-885-1800 if you attend Klamath Falls campus) and they will direct you to the right resources and/or medical site.
If you very ill or have trouble breathing those are important reasons to be seen. In this case, call 911 or call your doctor. Tell them if you have traveled to an area affected by COVID-19 or had close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, within the last 14 days. If you let them know, they can take precautions and make a plan to see you without exposing others.
Who should I notify if I am diagnosed with COVID-19?
As soon you can, regardless of what site you are affiliated with, please contact the Klamath Falls Integrated Student Health Center at 541-885-1800 if you have been on a campus or teaching site within the last 3 weeks. The university will take the necessary steps to alert/safeguard campus or site authorities; and will contact local public health entities as appropriate.
If an Oregon Tech student, faculty, or staff member on campus is diagnosed with COVID-19, will the university shut down for a period of time?
Every situation will be evaluated based on the circumstances, and there may be a temporary closure of a campus for thorough cleaning and evaluation. Oregon Tech will inform the campus in a timely manner if there is a closure.
What should I do if I suspect that another student or a friend on campus is ill?
Remember that just because someone has a fever or cough does not mean that they have COVID-19. Encourage them to call their health provider to determine whether they need to receive medical care. Try to refrain from being in close contact with anyone who appears to be ill, staying at least 6 feet away if possible.
How will Oregon Tech let the university community know if there is a positive case of COVID-19 on a given campus/teaching site; and if there is a campus/site closure?
Oregon Tech will use multiple channels to contact students, faculty and staff if there is a positive case with a student, employee or visitor who has interacted with others on one of our campuses/sites. This will include email, the Oregon Tech website, and social media. Although unlikely, if there is a campus closure in Klamath Falls or at the Portland-Metro campus in Wilsonville, Oregon Tech will use its alert system to notify students and the campus community by text, email and phone (go to Campus Alerts sign up to make sure all of your contact information is in the system).
How is Oregon Tech staying apprised of the most up to date information on COVID-19?
The university takes health and safety of all its community members as highest priority, and is planning for a variety of contingencies in the event of a virus case on any of our campuses/teaching sites. University administration receives updates from the Higher Education Coordination Commission (HECC) and the Oregon Health Authority. The university’s Director of the Integrated Student Health Center (ISHC) is in regular contact with County Public Health authorities and participates in a weekly meetings facilitated by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) regarding COVID-19, and provides daily updates to the administration.
What guidance or directives are the state providing to Oregon Tech and other universities in the event of a positive case of COVID-19?
The Governor established a statewide response team and is communicating with the public universities, with regular information updates as the situation develops. They have asked for universities to cancel events and gatherings with more than 20 attendees; and are asking for social distancing to be put into use. Any new positive results in the state will be communicated to the public. The Oregon Health Authority is recommending that universities do not close for an extended period if there is a presumptive or positive case, but only close for a day or so to deep clean impacted areas. Oregon Tech will follow these state guidelines.
The Oregon Tech – Boeing campus is working to balance needs with information relative to the Seattle area and at the relevant Boeing facilities with the university’s support.
If an enrolled student is diagnosed with COVID-19 and unable to complete the term or is out for an extended period of time, what can they do to remain in good standing at Oregon Tech?
Provost Joanna Mott will be providing information to students and the campus community very soon. If you have questions in the interim, please email Paul.Titus@oit.edu.
If I’m in contact with a student or a faculty/staff member at Oregon Tech who is diagnosed with COVID-19, will I be contacted to let me know?
In the event of a positive case of COVID-19, the local public health department in your area will conduct a thorough investigation to determine who may have come in contact with the infected individual. The public health department will notify all potentially exposed persons as soon as possible. If the public health department contacts you regarding an investigation, please notify ISHC at 541-885-1800.
If students who I work with are heading to or in an externship, internship or other site in a healthcare setting, or taking classes in a healthcare setting, what should they do to protect themselves? Will these programs continue during the virus period?
Students externships and co-ops will continue, and guidance will be updated on a periodic basis by the department, and the extern partner in consultation with the Office of the Provost. Provost Mott and the academic preparedness team will be communicating with program directors and the university regarding information about the impact of COVID-19, if any, on students’ placements. In terms of students protecting themselves, all healthcare settings have developed procedures for keeping their personnel safe, which they will share with students on site. Primarily, this involves wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appropriately, but each site will have instructions for students to keep you safe.
Has the Oregon Heath Authority posted information about coronavirus? What about Washington State?
What are the best web resources to go to for reliable information about COVID-19?
Reliable resources for more information include:
A video message from Dr. Nagi
A video message from Dr. Nagi (March 26, 2020)