Update: December 16
Following a two-week freeze ordered by Governor Kate Brown to curb the rapid spread of coronavirus in Oregon, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released a new risk tier framework and updated guidance to begin December 3. The new guidance changes capacity limits and permissible activities, which renders the previous guidance we used in the fall semester inoperable. We are still digesting the latest FAQs and guidance updates from OHA; many of them were just issued this week. The previous combination of guidance for higher education and gatherings permitted some of our co-curricular activities to operate at relatively large capacities– sometimes up to 50 people. The newer guidance is more restrictive and more co-curricular activities1 will fall under the category of social and at-home gatherings. All of Pacific University's campuses are located in counties that are currently in the "Extreme Risk" tier, which means the limit on gatherings is six people from two households. When we get to "Low Risk," the limits on gatherings will be 10. Based on present cases in Washington County, where the Hillsboro and Forest Grove campuses are located, case rates must decrease by over 50% before we even enter the "High Risk" tier, when limited indoor recreation may be permitted. We will update our guidance before the spring semester. Until then we advise any university units or student groups that are considering in-person activities to adhere to the six-person limit, and be aware that such restrictive limits will persist for the near future, until the incidence of COVID-19 is a fraction of its current spread or vaccination is widely accomplished.
1See "Are higher education institutions subject to the State’s current restrictions on gatherings and indoor social get-togethers?” on page 3 of the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission's FAQ updated on December 10.
Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission guidance requires the University adhere to “relevant OHA guidance for the respective sector” for any function other than those addressed by the OHA and HECC guidance for higher education, i.e., in-person instruction, residential, and research activities (2020, July 24, p. 2). We have prepared this guidance for faculty, staff, and student leaders who consider organizing an in-person get-together, gathering, or event, in order to facilitate the University's adherence to the myriad of other relevant guidance. We will do our best to keep this guidance current as federal, state, and local requirements change. Federal, state, or local requirements that are stricter will always supersede this document when changes occur. Furthermore, the University reserves the ability to impose further limitations on in-person get-togethers, gatherings, and events to reduce risk to our continuing in-person instructional activities, students completing their education, students remaining housed on campus, and other mission-critical University operations.
Previous Guidance, Superseded Beginning November 18
Many capacity limits and permissible activities listed below are no longer operable and have been superseded by more stringent OHA guidance beginning December 3.
Maintained by Conference and Event Support Services (CESS) and Student Activities
Approved by University COVID Task Force on 8/3/2020
Last update on 7/30/2020
General Meetings, Online, and Hybrid Activities
Everyone is encouraged to consider online meetings and activities to increase inclusion for students who are unable to attend in-person meetings because they have higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, e.g., immunocompromised or other underlying medical conditions, they engage in most activities remotely for personal reasons, or they are practicing self-isolation or under quarantine due to SARS-CoV-2 exposure. Hybrid activities occur simultaneously online and in-person. Hybrid activities likewise increase inclusion for people who cannot attend, perhaps due to in-person attendance capacity or limitations for off-campus guests. Hybrid activities are resilient to in-person cancellations because a plan was already in-place to offer an online component.
Activity Intent and Scope
Current OHA guidelines limit indoor social get-togethers, e.g. “dinner parties…book clubs, game nights,” to 10 people regardless of Phase (OHA, 2020, July 24). This limitation does not apply to Pacific University when the activity is “leading towards a degree or certificate” or we comply with other sector-specific guidance (OHA and Oregon HECC). The guidance in this document is not intended for University functions operating within other sector-specific guidance, e.g., University health clinic operations, patient care, research operations, etc.
- In considering whether an activity is instructional, CESS and Student Activities will use familiar criteria from academic exceptions for film licensing and food demonstrations:
- the activity is only open to students registered for a specific course(s), and
- the activity is held at the scheduled course time or a time required of all students registered for the specific course(s). When an activity is instructional, all the guidance from OHA and HECC of which faculty have been apprised still apply.
- In determining whether a student club or student group activity meets the functional intent of a gathering or other sector-specific guidance, student leaders must work with Student Activities or a relevant University center, e.g. CCE, SMC, CGE, Veteran’s Resource Center, Hawai‘i Outreach, etc., or a student support area.
- Faculty and staff should consult with their dean or director in determining if an in-person get-together, gathering or event meets some other common purpose or function for the University beyond a social get-together.
Requirements for All In-Person Activities
Organizers of all in-person get-togethers, gatherings, or events are required to:
- Ask people to stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms. Organizers may remind participants in registration materials and should remind people when the activity starts or upon arrival.
- If an attendee appears ill or demonstrates symptoms of COVID-19, i.e., coughing, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, or feverish, the organizer shall ask the person to leave. The organizer may ask to speak with them privately or may hand them a note from their event kit that states, “I am sorry that you appear to be feeling ill. You are exhibiting symptoms associated with illness and it is my obligation to ask you to leave. Please seek assistance from the Student Health Center by calling them at 503-352-2269 and describing your symptoms. Until you are symptom-free or released by a healthcare provider, you should not attend in-person get-togethers or gatherings.” File a Care Report at http://pacificu.edu/PacificCare about the attendee and incident, so that Student Life staff may follow-up with support for the individual. If the individual refuses to leave, indicate this in your Care Report too.
- Familiarize yourself with the current-state wide mask requirement at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-face-coverings. Per campus policy and current state-wide order, require all attendees to wear a face covering at all times except when:
- they are engaging in a permissible activity that makes wearing a face covering not feasible, such as: eating or drinking, communicating with a person who needs to read lips or see facial expressions to communicate, or playing a wind instrument, for which at least 10 feet of distance is advised.
- they have an underlying medical condition or disability that precludes them from wearing a face covering, and maintaining at least six feet of distance from others at all times during the in-person activity is determined to be the reasonable accommodation.
- When an attendee does not have a face covering, e.g., lost, damaged, etc., provide them a disposable one from your event kit. If an attendee refuses to wear a face covering when required, you may ask them to leave. If they refuse to leave, file a Care Report at http://pacificu.edu/PacificCare about the attendee and incident, so that Student Life staff may follow-up with the individual about requirements.
- Maintain physical distancing at all times between all participants of at least six feet. Even more distance is preferred at times when removing a face covering is permitted. While it is possible and advisable to sing with a mask, group singing, e.g., worship, ceremony, is still not recommended. Individual performers should be spaced at least 10 feet apart from any others if singing or playing a wind instrument. Event organizers must appoint at least one person to serve as a physical distancing monitor, who should ensure distance is maintained and instruct people to space out when they congregate too closely, e.g. line up at an entrance or exit. Additional volunteer staffing may be required depending on the size and nature of the activity. Even students who are roommates or intimate partners must be encouraged to assist others by role modeling appropriate distance.
- Encourage attendees to practice good hygiene, including:
- frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds or use of hand sanitizer with 60-95% alcohol content, which may be offered at the start of an activity or whenever touching common objects, e.g., audio-visual equipment, game or crafting equipment, etc.;
- covering coughs and sneezes with elbow or tissue, and immediately discarding the tissue in garbage and washing hands; and,
- avoiding touching their face.
- Plan activities that facilitate all of the above behaviors, in other words:
- No activities that include physical contact or close spacing, e.g., dancing with a partner or close together; face painting, tattooing, or body art; games, sport, or team builders that involve any touching between participants.
- Limit touching of shared or common objects to the maximum extent possible.
- No interactive exhibits or “hands-on demonstrations” that are touched by every willing attendee.
- Strongly encourage participants to bring their own materials, i.e., pens, scissors if crafting, game controller for gaming, etc, or distribute individual materials at individual, socially-distanced stations when participants arrive.
- Avoid passing papers, handouts, etc. among participants. Arrange any materials in ways that allow participants to look-and-take rather than touch-to-find. For example, spread markers or individually-wrapped candies on a table so each is visible; do not offer such items from a container where attendees reach in to find the color they want.
- When materials must be shared, i.e., audio-visual equipment, board game, etc., ask participants to hand sanitize before and after touching and not to touch their face or eat food during.
- Organizers or event A/V personnel must disinfect or switch microphones and similar shared A/V equipment between every speaker or performer.
- Utilize air circulation as much as possible, i.e., open windows and doors.
- Maintain an accurate electronic record, including names and email addresses of all attendees:
- For social get-togethers of 10 people or fewer:
- Student groups that organize get-togethers must email the attendee list to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org within 12 hours of the conclusion of the get-together.
- Faculty and staff organizers must email the attendee lists to email@example.com within 12 hours of the conclusion of the get-together.
- It is ill-advised to use a shared paper-and-pen sign-in system. Have one person record names and email addresses electronically or use an advance electronic sign-up.
- For gatherings: Use a University-operated, advance registration or ticketing system, e.g., Ticket Spice, Marketplace, BoxerApps branded Google Form. The system should be commerce and privacy compliant with the intended use, e.g., Marketplace is not appropriate for ticketed events that are open to the public when public events are re-permitted on campus. When public events are re-permitted, phone contact information and address is also required for contact tracing. You may accept new electronic registration or ticketing requests up to the time of event as your capacity allows. Capacity must include all organizers and event personnel. Email final attendee lists to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com within 24 hours of the conclusion of the activity.
- Wipe down tables and commonly touched surfaces with disinfectant provided in the room or from your event kit at the beginning and conclusion of the activity. Depending on the activity, organizers may be required to appoint a volunteer(s) to serve as a sanitation attendant. For small get-togethers, this could be the same person as the physical distancing monitor.
On-Campus Activities, Events and Gatherings
Reservation Requests, Times and Spaces
Staff, faculty, and designated student leaders may continue to request to reserve campus space via EMS: http://schedule.pacificu.edu/. The EMS user must review all these guidelines prior to requesting space.
- The inventory of spaces that organizers are permitted to use will be fewer due to requirements for cleaning, prioritization of academic instructional activities, or use limitations. For example:
- Residence hall spaces shall only be reserved by residence life staff for residential activities to eliminate non-resident access to living areas;
- The UC lounge and dining areas shall only be used as a study and eating area until OHA sector guidance can be implemented to allow gatherings; and,
- Tabling in the UC to promote organizations or activities is unavailable until traffic flows are assessed and facility load limits change.
- EMS users may review the most accurate availability in EMS. Spaces drafted for student organizations to gather and their occupancy ratings are at the end of this document.
- Times may be limited due to requirements for cleaning and common facility load concerns, i.e., restrooms, exits, foot traffic between events. Curfews may also be imposed depending on campus conditions or local, state, or federal guidance. For the fall, activities should end by 10:00 p.m. and event organizers should be cleaned-up and out of any reserved spaces by 11:00 p.m.
- OHA guidance for gatherings requires us to “clean restrooms hourly during the event” (2020, July 24, p. 2). This added requirement for gatherings necessitates that Custodial Services, CESS, and Student Activities manage any groups’ EMS request accordingly. Again, times that may appear available in EMS may not be permissible due to staffing resource limitations.
- To ensure proper precautions, under no circumstances shall new reservation requests be considered less than two weeks prior to an in-person get-together, gathering, or event.
Attendance Limits: Guests, Public
Indoor social get-togethers, gatherings, and events for fall 2020 shall be limited to Pacific University students, faculty, and staff only. Organizers of events for prospective students or alumni may consult with their area vice president regarding University-permitted essential functions and proceed accordingly. This restriction shall be reviewed for potential revision, lifting, or exceptions, e.g. student performances planned by student clubs, in advance of spring semester 2021. According to OHA and HECC guidelines, “Campus spaces and buildings should not be open to the general public,” and functions that are open to the public must “follow the relevant OHA guidance for the respective sector” (2020, p. 2). Any gathering open to anyone other than Pacific University students, faculty, staff, or prospective students necessitates adherence to a host of OHA guidelines depending on the nature of the activity, e.g., Restaurants and Bars if food service is involved, or Venue and Event Operation, which requires maintaining contact information for contact tracing. Guests incur added risk of exposure to the Pacific University community. CDC (2020, “Maintaining healthy operations”) likewise recommends colleges “limit any nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations.”
Attendance Limits: Invited Contractors, Speakers, Performers
Event organizers may invite or hire performers, guest speakers or trainers, or other contractors or service providers to their event. Faculty and staff should work with their dean or director with any required adjustments to the letter of agreement or contracting process. Student leaders must work with Student Activities regarding required adjustments to the letter of agreement or contracting process. Additional requirements may apply, so organizers are encouraged to work well in advance of their event. For example, the state could impose a quarantine period for individuals traveling from other locations. Event organizers shall require any performer, speaker, or contractor to conduct the same self monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms required of faculty and staff prior to reporting to campus. Conduct them to HRs guidance (p. 8) here: https://pacificu.app.box.com/s/jvc9uvc4u8s4ralypep1xjsx2e589erv. Event organizers indicate the presence of a performer or speaker on their EMS event requests. No guest housing is available during the fall semester in order to conserve housing space for managing quarantine, social isolation spaces, and other pandemic needs.
Attendance Limits: Size
Occupancy shall not exceed the maximum capacity for the activity according to OHA guidance for the respective sector and re-opening phase, and the maximum rating for the space under OHA and HECC COVID guidance, whichever is lower. OHA and HECC guidelines for in-person instruction require a minimum of 35 square feet per person and most OHA guidance for other sectors is the same. Event organizers shall be responsible to:
- know the current occupancy limit for the respective phase and activity, e.g., if you are approved for an indoor social get-together, your limit is 10 and you may not increase to 12 just because the room is rated for 12;
- familiarize themselves with occupancy limits the University has established for the specific space;
- make plans to adhere to them, e.g., requiring advance registration, utilizing waitlists, staggering or scheduling attendance, etc.
Organizers and other event personnel are counted towards attendance limits, e.g. if you require an audio-visual technician, a Bon Appétit server, a guest performer, you must count them towards your attendance limit.
Additionally, for some events, organizers are required by OHA guidance to have social distancing monitors. For example, for large outdoor events, OHA guidelines require at least “one (1) outdoor physical distancing monitor per 50 people to ensure physical distancing requirements are maintained at all times” (p. 4).
Maximum Attendance Sizes By Phase
The occupancy limit for a specific room on campus may be less, dependent upon the rating by square footage for that space and the overall facility load.
none, 10, or 25*,
10 or 50*
10 or 50*
*Current OHA guidelines limit indoor social get-togethers, e.g. “dinner parties…book clubs, game nights,” to 10 people regardless of Phase (OHA, 2020, July 24). Even if we follow all OHA guidance for a relevant and bona fide sector type to open an event to the public, we are maxed out at 100 people for a gathering indoors, 250 outdoors.
Food and Refreshments
Organizers are limited to using Bon Appétit for food service or following the non-catered food standard for commercially-prepared, individually-packaged foods only. Self-service of food and beverage from any common container is prohibited by OHA guidelines in Phase 1 and Phase 2. In other words, you may not purchase two liters of soda and let attendees pour their own and you may not purchase a dozen donuts from a bakery and let people grab their own. You could let people take individually-wrapped granola bars or bags of chips. Individually-wrapped items should be served or arranged so people only consume what they touch. Consuming food requires people to remove masks. Furthermore, eating food at tables will necessitate extra attention to arrange distance between attendees. Food safety review requests for outside catering, self- or home-prepared foods, or food fundraisers of any kind shall not be considered. Student club and organization funds for food for in-person, on-campus activities may only be used for Bon Appétit or commercially-prepared, individually-packaged food. See our Alternative Student Group Event Ideas for alternatives to events with outside catering. This restriction shall be reviewed for potential revision, lifting, or exceptions in advance of spring semester 2021. Event organizers indicate and receive approval for their intention to use Bon Appétit, the relevant non-catered food standard, or no food service on their EMS event requests. Additional information and examples for the COVID-approved, non-catered food standard are available under the “Food Service Plan” section when organizers make or revise an EMS event request.
CDC. (2020, May 30). Considerations for institutions of higher education. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/considerations.html
Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission. (2020, July 22). Guidance for the conduct of in-person instructional, residential, and research activities at Oregon colleges and universities. State of Oregon. https://www.oregon.gov/highered/about/Documents/News-Updates/OHA-HECC-higher-education-health-standards-covid-FINAL.pdf
Oregon Health Authority (2020, December 3). Sector guidance – Gatherings. https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2351G.pdf
Oregon Health Authority. (2020, December 3). Sector risk level guidance chart. https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le3461.pdf
Oregon Health Authority. (2020, November 10). Reopening guidance – Specific counties on pause. https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2342k.pdf
Oregon Health Authority. (2020, July 24). Oregon COVID-19 Mask Requirements. https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-face-coverings
Oregon Health Authority. (2020, July 24). Phase 1 reopening guidance – Restaurants and bars. https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2342B.pdf
Oregon Health Authority. (2020, July 24). Phase 2 reopening guidance – Restaurants and bars. https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2351B.pdf
Oregon Health Authority. (2020, July 24). Phase 2 reopening guidance – Operators of indoor and outdoor entertainment facilities. https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2351A.pdf
Oregon Health Authority. (2020, July 24). Phase 2 reopening guidance – Venue and event operators. https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2351D.pdf
Oregon Health Authority. (2020, July 24). Statewide Gatherings, Indoor Social Get-Together Guidance. https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2351G.pdf
Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission. (2020, December 10). Clarifications on public health guidance: Related to the guidance for the conduct of in-person instructional, residential, and research activities at Oregon colleges and universities, issued June 12, 2020. https://www.oregon.gov/highered/about/Documents/News-Updates/QA-HECC-higher-education-health-standards.pdf
Pacific University Human Resources. (2020, July 16). HR return to campus guidelines for faculty and staff. https://pacificu.app.box.com/s/jvc9uvc4u8s4ralypep1xjsx2e589erv