Pacific Staff Member Tests Positive for COVID-19

We have learned that a Pacific University staff member has tested positive for COVID-19.

As you know, this virus is spreading within communities worldwide, including here in Washington County. As testing becomes more available, the unfortunate reality is that we will see more positive cases.

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission and Oregon Health Authority requires that confidentiality be maintained of our employees’ and students’ health information. Therefore, we must limit communicating details of positive cases such as the specific individual involved or other identifying information.

We are, however, able to tell you that the individual began exhibiting symptoms on March 14 and followed protocol by self-quarantining from that point forward. The College of Optometry employee is not in a role with regular direct student contact but may have interacted with members of the public and other employees prior to developing symptoms. The employee’s location on campus has limited university traffic and has been closed for immediate deep cleaning without disrupting any ongoing university operations.

Guidelines state that information about possible exposure will be communicated by the proper health authorities, as they are able. Additionally, the university is continuing to contact individuals who are known to have been in close contact (within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) for a prolonged period of time) with the COVID-19 positive employee. Based on CDC guidance, we are asking those employees to remain home, practice social distancing and monitor their conditions.

We emphasize the importance of following the social distancing mandates issued by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and ask members of the Pacific community to do their part to help slow the spread of this virus. Stay home and avoid unnecessary contact with other people.

At Pacific, we will continue to limit in-person interactions and the number of people on campus. No in-person classes or labs are currently taking place, and all courses will be online by April 1. We are encouraging residential students who are able to return home safely to do so. Those who stay will see new practices implemented in residence halls, dining and other on-campus facilities to encourage social distancing.

We also are encouraging more employees to work remotely (find an updated remote work policy here) in order to limit the number of people on campus and increase social distancing.

Our students’ education remains critically important to us — as does the health and wellbeing of our entire community.

We wish a quick return to health for our ill employee, and continued good health to all others in our Boxer community.

Please find additional and evolving information about Pacific’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic at

Sunday, March 22, 2020