Is COVID-19 Really Over?

On May 5, 2023, the World Health Organization officially declared an end to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This was the last remaining emergency declaration for the pandemic, which spanned just over three years. This declaration does not mean that the virus suddenly disappeared. In fact, medical experts say it's here to stay, but with new protocols, vaccines and a much better understanding of the virus than we had three years ago, COVID-19 is no longer considered a global emergency.

Throughout the pandemic, Pacific University followed the guidance of public health organizations, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Oregon Health Authority, in establishing protocols to manage COVID. There were several mandates and restrictions put in place, everything from isolation and masking, to social distancing and vaccination.  

Throughout the pandemic, Pacific worked hard to ensure we kept our community as safe as possible, including holding 26 vaccination clinics staffed by employees and students who contributed more than 23,000 volunteer hours and in which over 14,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered.

As the response shifted from a public health emergency to communicable disease management, Pacific lifted most of the restrictions and protocols along the way. With the official declaration that the emergency has ended, the last of the restrictions has now been lifted. Specifically, there will no longer be a requirement to be vaccinated in order to participate in study abroad programs. Those participating in travel abroad will now be advised to adhere to the regulations of the host country.

One standard vaccination requirement remains — COVID-19 and other vaccines may be required for anyone participating in clinical rotations or internships within healthcare settings, K-12 schools, or other community businesses or organizations. Please refer to your specific program or site requirements for more information.

Although these restrictions and protocols have been lifted or removed, we recognize the need to continue to support faculty, staff and students during any illness, including the coronavirus 2. COVID is still with us and will be a recognized virus for some time to come, just like influenza, and meningitis (among others). So what happens next for Pacific?

Here is what to expect and a few next steps:

  • The COVID-19 Response webpages have been removed from this site
  • COVID-19 has been added as a topic to the Student and Employee Health Center (SEHC) Health Topics website
  • If you have COVID-19 specific webpages, please request that those be removed or update them to reflect the current response to the virus
  • If you have documents, agreements, contracts, etc. with COVID-19 specific language in them, please update those documents to reflect the current response to the virus

For all of the current guidance and details regarding ongoing management of COVID-19 within Oregon and nationally please visit:

For information specific to international travel visit the US State Department-Bureau of Consular Affairs.

If you have any questions or concerns please first review all current information from the resources above, discuss with your programs and contact Amy Rasmussen with any additional requests for information.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023