UPDATE (March 19, 8:31 p.m. PT) – More than a dozen of Oregon’s colleges and universities have announced remote classes for the spring semester. That includes all of Oregon’s public universities.
Most universities announced the decision in the wake of a recent executive order from Gov. Kate Brown ordering all universities to offer remote-only instruction through April 28.
“Making the decision now to deliver the spring term remotely is designed to provide certainty to our campus as faculty structure their courses for the term, and enable our students to more effectively manage their lives and plan during uncertain times,” University of Oregon President Michael Schill said in a statement sent to the campus community Thursday.
Most university residence halls will remain open. Dining halls have mostly remained open as well for those on-campus, offering takeout.
In addition to classes, events have been canceled through April 28 and at some schools, beyond that.
UO and at least four other schools have also canceled or postponed in-person commencement ceremonies, including Concordia University. Concordia’s commencement will be its last, after Concordia’s Board of Regents voted to close the school at the end of the academic semester.
Concordia’s commencement will be a pre-recorded video ceremony, citing federal guidelines limiting gatherings to 10 people out of concern for COVID-19.
Warner Pacific University has postponed its commencement. Along with UO, university officials are considering other methods or times to honor graduates.
“There is one promise we will make – you will have a commencement. While the date, format, etc. may have to change, there will be an opportunity at which we will proudly, and with great joy, celebrate your achievements,” reads guidance posted on Warner Pacific’s website Thursday.
Pacific University has also canceled its in-person commencement scheduled for May 16, but plans to hold a virtual ceremony and celebrate graduates in “innovative ways both this spring and in the future.”
At least one school, Reed College, has ordered students to move out of residence halls by Friday, March 27. Reed administrators updated the campus community on the decision Sunday, days after communication that campus would stay open.
“These changes reflect additional information from outside the college, careful attention to input from the Reed community, and consideration of the college’s ability to manage a situation in which a large number of people might become ill or in which our actions could be further restricted by government mandate,” Reed College president Audrey Bilger said in her Sunday message to the school community.
The campus is offering financial support to students through emergency loans, support for students with unfinished work awards, and other emergencies.
Other universities continue to plan for in-person commencement ceremonies, but those plans may change.
Oregon’s largest community college, Portland Community College, will hold classes online for most of spring term, but plan to reopen May 4.
Other Oregon community colleges will move remote instruction online at least through April 28, as ordered by the governor. Some community colleges, including Linn-Benton, Chemeketa, and Clark College in Vancouver will start spring classes later than scheduled.
There will likely be programs exempt from a fully-remote term. The Governor’s executive order lists health-care related clinical or laboratory classes as exempt from the order.
Tuition is likely to stay the same for students, regardless of classes going remote. Some Oregon students have protested that decision.