Frequently Asked Questions | COVID-19

Get quick answers to your questions about Pacific University's COVID-19 protocols. Jump to the topic of your choice:

Current Guidelines

Can students study online?

In Fall 2021, Pacific University is teaching almost all courses in person. Limited online courses are offered in specific programs that are designed as hybrid or remote programs.

Can students live on campus?

In Fall 2021, Pacific University residence halls are open and housing students.

Can I work from home?

Pacific University is teaching classes in person in Fall 2021. Individual faculty members with health concerns can work with Human Resources to determine if an accommodation is appropriate.

Faculty and staff are, generally, expected to work in person.

The university’s remote work policy, however, has changed through the experiences of the pandemic. Some job functions can be appropriately fulfilled through remote work, and individual departments may determine appropriate remote work arrangements.

What current COVID-19 protocols are in place at Pacific University?

All Pacific University students and employees are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Learn more about vaccine requirements, exemptions and availability.

Face masks are currently required in common indoor areas, as well as outdoors where physical distancing is not practical. Learn more about face mask requirements.

Guests at campus events also are required to be vaccinated. Vaccination requirements do not apply to Pacific University health clinics, where additional protocols are in place. Vaccine requirements also do not apply to students and families in the Early Learning Community, which has its own school-based protocols.

Why are these protocols in place?

Pacific University bases COVID-19 protocols on science and public health guidance, as well as regulations from regional, state and other governing bodies.

We take a multi-faceted approach that layers various precautions to best protect our communities. 

Vaccination is the best way to prevent illness from COVID-19. Vaccinations are highly effective in reducing the impact of the disease. People who are vaccinated are less likely to become seriously ill or to spread the virus.

However, we also know that the new Delta variant is highly contagious and can be carried even by those who are vaccinated — posing risks to the vaccinated and especially to those who cannot be vaccinated. Face masks, in addition to vaccination, help decrease this spread.

This multi-faceted approach keeps all members of our community more safe and helps ensure less spread — and mutation — of the virus. 

These precautions are the best way to make sure that we are able to continue delivering the high-quality, in-person educational activities that are central to our university mission.

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Face Masks

When should I wear a mask?

Masks are required in all indoor common areas, as well as outdoor areas where physical distancing is not possible.

Do I need to wear a mask to class?

Students and employees are required to wear face masks in classroom settings. Exceptions may be made for certain class activities, such as dental hygiene clinical skills practice, music rehearsals, or ASL classes, for example. Faculty should request exceptions from their dean.

Do I need to wear a mask outside?

Masks are required in outdoor areas where individuals from more than one household are present and unable to maintain physical distance. For example, students who are studying outdoors, classes that meet outdoors, or large outdoor events would require a mask. Masks are not needed when individuals are walking or exercising alone or with members of their own household (such as when passing someone else on a walking trail). Masks also are not required when playing or practicing competitive sports. (Additional protocols are in place for student-athletes, under NCAA guidance.)

Do I need to wear a mask in a residence hall?

Students do not need to wear a face mask in their own residence hall room or when gathering with a small number of peers in another residence hall room. Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear a mask for their own protection in such gatherings, though.

Students should wear masks when practical in a shared restroom, lounge or kitchen area in the residence halls.

Do I need to wear a mask in my office?

Employees who work in shared office space should continue to wear masks. Employees with private individual offices do not need to wear masks when alone in their work space.

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Who is required to be vaccinated?

All Pacific University students and employees are required to show proof of vaccination or an approved exemption. Guests at university events also must be vaccinated and may be asked to show evidence of vaccination at some events. 

What if I can’t be vaccinated?

Limited exemptions are available for students and employees. Individuals who are unvaccinated are strongly encouraged to take additional precautions to protect their health by wearing face masks in more circumstances. Unvaccinated students and employees also will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and regular symptom monitoring.

Can I ask if someone is vaccinated?

No. The university is tracking vaccination and is providing additional requirements and support for those who are unable to be vaccinated. It is not appropriate for individual faculty and staff to ask students or colleagues about their vaccination status.

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Symptom Monitoring

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever or chills, cough, shortness or breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. 

What do I do if I am ill?

If you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, please report your illness

You will be asked several questions through the reporting process, and then you will be advised on next steps, which may include getting a COVID-19 test, quarantining or isolating, based on circumstances. Some examples of illness protocols are available here, but you must report your illness so that your specific circumstances can be assessed.

What is Datos?

Datos is a smart phone app designed by Kaiser Permanente and used by Pacific University to help students and employees monitor symptoms and report illnesses. The app meets HIPPA regulations for privacy of healthcare information. Access to information submitted on Datos is limited to the individuals who monitor infection rates at Pacific and provide guidance for those experiencing symptoms.

All employees and graduate/professional students (including bachelor's-level students in teaching or health professions programs outside the Forest Grove Campus) are expected to use the app daily to monitor symptoms.

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Campus Environment

Should we open doors and windows to increase air flow?

Pacific University buildings have been assessed and HVAC systems all meet OSHA standards. Opening doors and windows actually makes filters less effective, by introducing more outdoor contaminants. 

How are we keeping campus clean?

Though research indicates that COVID-19 is rarely spread through surfaces, Pacific maintains a thorough cleaning protocol for campus facilities. Bathrooms are sanitized daily, and high-touch areas are cleaned frequently.

Frequent hand-washing is the most important part of reducing surface transmission. Pacific encourages everyone to wash with soap and water frequently, or to use hand sanitizer when soap and water is unavailable. Hand sanitizer stations are set up around our campuses.

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Visiting Campus

Do I need to be vaccinated to visit campus?

Guests at campus events also are expected to be vaccinated and to follow all university COVID protocols. While exceptions to the vaccination requirement may be made for patients of Pacific University health clinics, students and families in the Early Learning Community, or other small groups, Pacific may request proof of vaccination at larger events. 

What do I need to do to attend an athletics competition?

Under the current athletics spectator policy, all spectators at athletics competition must show proof of vaccination. If vaccination is not available, spectators can instead show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. Vaccination or test documentation will be checked at the entrance to athletic events.

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