Preparing to Return to Pacific
On Friday, June 12, Oregon announced its guidance for colleges and universities to begin resuming on-campus operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have been working closely with state officials developing these requirements, and the new guidance is well aligned to the work we are already doing to prepare to welcome you back to Pacific.
Life at Pacific will look different this summer and fall as we strive to ensure the wellbeing of our community. But we will adapt together. We remain committed to offering the high-quality, personal learning experiences that prepare our students for further study, meaningful careers, and community engagement that advances justice in our world.
Where We Are Today
The state guidelines require universities to default to operations appropriate to their local conditions. For Pacific, that is complex. Our Forest Grove and Hillsboro campuses are in Washington County, currently in Oregon’s Phase 1 for reopening. Our Woodburn Campus is in Marion County, also in Phase 1. Lane County, home to our Eugene Campus, is in Phase 2. And our Portland office and clinics are in Multnomah County, which is in Phase 0.
This variety means that our operations may vary from location to location. What we do know is that with current state trends, it is likely we will be in Phase 2 when classes resume in the fall, and our planning is designed to meet those criteria. We will use these next few weeks to finalize procedures and expectations, to adjust our campus learning environments, and to keep in contact with you about what is ahead.
What to Expect
Our classes, labs and research will resume — carefully. We are measuring and adapting every learning space in our Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Eugene, Woodburn and Portland locations. Some classes will be smaller than normal. Some will be held in different, larger spaces. And a few will be offered online instead of in-person.
Hands-on healthcare training is essential. We will have additional precautions in place, including requirements for personal protective equipment, to ensure that students can participate in hands-on clinical skills training and get the practice they need to become skilled healthcare practitioners.
Clinical and practicum opportunities are also essential. Our education, health professions, and optometry programs are working closely with partners to continue offering placements for students, some of which are already in progress. Students will be required to follow the guidelines established by the placement sites.
Our residence halls will be open. Students will continue to have roommates in rooms and suites that meet space requirements. Common areas will be cleaned frequently, and halls will be closed to visitors. Room- and suite-mates will be considered a “family unit,” allowing students to relax precautions a bit and live normally. We will have housing set aside for any student who becomes ill or needs to be isolated due to exposure to the virus.
Dining services will be spread out and will start as grab-and-go. In Forest Grove, the University Center has been rearranged to provide more space between diners and less contact with food. We will start with grab-and-go meals, gradually returning to more traditional meal service. Starbucks will reopen with online ordering and pickup service only. The Hillsboro Campus Market also will be grab-and-go.
We plan to resume athletics this fall, though adjustments may need to be made for travel, competition, and fan spectating. We continue to work with our peers in the Northwest Conference, as well as with the NCAA, to determine exactly what that will look like, but we are committed to keeping our student-athletes safe while working toward a return to conference competition.
We are moving forward with relocating our Eugene Campus. Education and master of social work programs currently offered in downtown Eugene will move to our new location on the Lane County Community College campus on June 25.
The Early Learning Community will reopen in September with larger reconfigured classrooms and an emphasis on learning outdoors. You may see an increased presence of parents and children from 8:30 to 9 a.m. and again around 3 p.m. as we will utilize more socially distanced drop-off and pick-up of children.
We will work to keep our employees safe. Faculty and staff are here to serve students, and that often means on-site work. Our employees will return, most likely in planned work groups or with alternating shifts to avoid the potential of exposure to too many people. Depending on their function, some employees may continue to work remotely for some time. Some workspace will be adapted, such as with see-through barriers at service counters, to protect employees and the people they serve.
We will be here to support you. Our student support systems are available and expanding. We continue to enhance our creative solutions for connecting with and supporting one another as we modify how we serve students and our communities. Our academic, career, and mental health advising and counseling services remain available remotely and will also resume in-person service when able. Our Human Resources office is expanding employee wellness offerings. And our Student Health Center will be able to offer care, consultation and referral for those who need it.
How to Help
You will have an important role in contributing to the health and wellbeing of our campus communities.
- Students and employees will be asked to begin self-monitoring for any COVID-19 related symptoms and to take appropriate preventive actions, such as frequent hand-washing and wearing face coverings, 14 days before returning to campuses.
- Cloth face coverings/masks will be required in classrooms, shared offices, and any public areas of campus.
- We all will be expected to watch for symptoms, to use good hygiene practices, to stay home when sick, and to maintain physical distancing requirements.
- Students and employees will complete an online training on COVID-19 and prevention practices that will be followed as we reopen our campuses. Employees have been sent this training via PayCom. Students will be sent invitations to a Moodle course by their programs.
We are all in this together, and we all have a role in protecting not only ourselves but each other.
See You Soon
Please watch your email and visit pacificu.edu/coronavirus for more information as we continue finalizing details of our re-opening plan. If you have questions about your specific program, please contact your program director. We look forward to seeing you on campus as soon as possible and returning to our community of care, support, and learning.