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?

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?

Pacific University residence halls are open and housing students.

Can I work from home?

Pacific University is teaching classes in person. 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 up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. Learn more about vaccine requirements, exemptions and availability.

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.

Face masks are optional in most indoor campus spaces. Face masks will remain required in healthcare settings, including Pacific’s public clinics, Student Health Center and Student Counseling Center, and in public transportation settings, including Pacific buses and vans. Learn more about face mask requirements.

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.

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Face Masks

When should I wear a mask?

Masks are optional except in healthcare settings and public transportation settings, where they remain required under state guidance. 

Why is the mask mandate being lifted?

The state of Oregon, in cooperation with neighboring states, lifted the universal indoor mask mandate due to rapidly declining cases and hospitalizations. The CDC COVID-19 Community Levels tool assesses hospital bed availability, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases and provides prevention step guidance for different levels. As of mid-March, all Oregon counties with Pacific campuses are rated as “low,” and the CDC recommends staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and getting tested if you have symptoms.

OHSU’s predictive models show that community transmission is significantly declining toward pre-pandemic levels, even as people begin changing their behavior to take fewer precautions. From an epidemiological standpoint, between high vaccination rates and recent cases, our communities have reached the “herd immunity” that has been the goal.

What about people at higher risk?

We continue to be sensitive to the needs of our community members who are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19, who are immunocompromised, or who have family members at higher risk.

Unvaccinated individuals should consider whether or not they are now able to be vaccinated, as that is the single most effective preventive measure available against COVID-19. 

The low case rate in our state, counties and Pacific community, combined with high vaccination rates, indicates that the amount of virus circulating is low. Additionally, this study indicates that wearing a high quality, well fitting mask (KN95) reduces susceptibility to infection by as much as 80%, even when those around you are not wearing masks.

We completely support individuals who choose to wear a mask for their own well-being or comfort. Any individual who believes they may need an evaluation for a workplace accommodation for additional protection due to a disability or health condition should contact Human Resources for an evaluation of their individual circumstances.

Why are people still wearing masks?

Public health experts continue to recommend face masks for those who are higher risk, including those who are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, have underlying health conditions, are 65 or older, or live with someone in these categories. Pacific respects and supports the choice of individuals to continue wearing masks for their own protection and the protection of their communities.

Can we require masks in certain classes or programs?

As we have been throughout the pandemic, Pacific is committed to following science and the advice of public health professionals. We will follow the state’s guidelines requiring masks in healthcare facilities, and those guidelines may be applied in labs or clinics where students are practicing the skills they would use in such settings.

In settings where PPE, including masks, would ordinarily be required for health and safety irrespective of COVID-19, such as chemistry or biology labs or art studios, where hazardous materials are being used, masks may also be required.

We cannot allow individual programs to set conflicting guidelines that would create confusion or inequities based on personal perspectives, so unless mask use would be required irrespective of COVID-19, we cannot require masks to be worn.

No one should be discriminated against, coerced or pressured to wear a mask — or not wear a mask.

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Who is required to be vaccinated?

All Pacific University students and employees are required to be up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters or have an approved exemption. Guests at university events also must be up to date on vaccinations and boosters or be prepared to show proof of testing negative within 24 hours of arrival on campus.

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. The Omicron variant is showing milder symptoms for some people, especially those who are vaccinated, that may present like a cold. 

What do I do if I am ill?

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

You will be asked several questions through the reporting process, and then you will be advised on next steps. 

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 up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters and to follow all university COVID protocols. Guests who are not fully vaccinated must be prepared to show evidence of testing negative within 24 hours of arrival on campus. Exceptions to the vaccination requirement may be made for patients of Pacific University health clinics, and students and families in the Early Learning Community. 

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