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COVID-19 Coronavirus  Updated May 27, 2020 at 4:50 pm

Oregon Tech is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our university community and we are actively monitoring the news regarding the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

With this evolving situation, Oregon Tech will be continuously evaluating and updating plans and communicating them.

Announcements and Latest Updates


May 15, 2020: Klamath County’s plans to reopen will not immediately change Oregon Tech’s operational status. At this time Clackamas County, where our Portland-Metro campus is located, has not submitted a plan to the state for reopening. 

Gov. Kate Brown has approved Klamath County’s plans to allow some local businesses to start operating as early as May 15 through a controlled and phased reopening strategy. However, Oregon universities are subject to an executive order from the governor that suspends in-person instructional activities and limits campus operations through June 13 and university plans must be developed in consultation with local health authority for each campus location and meet any requirements of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

Two Reopening Work Groups are working to develop the reopening plan for the university. One group, led by Dr. Mott, is addressing the academic areas of the plan, including instruction, research, faculty, etc.  The other group lead by Dr. Foley is addressing all other functional areas (housing, dining, athletics, workforce, travel, etc.) of the plan. The goal is to develop what each of the three phases looks like for each functional area. The reopening plan will also address actions needed for a variety of scenarios; for example, if positive cases occur on a campus, if a larger resurgence occurs in the community, and any needed modifications depending on which phase the university is in.

 


April 10: Oregon Tech will hold two virtual commencement ceremonies, one for the college of HAS and one for the college of ETM, on Saturday, June 13, 2020. These college ceremonies will include graduating students from both campuses, Klamath Falls and Portland-Metro.

We would still like to provide the opportunity for graduates to have an in-person event. For those students who can return to campus in June 2021, they are invited to walk in the in-person ceremony at either Klamath Falls or Portland-Metro, joining with student colleagues in the class of 2021. More information is available on the Commencement FAQs page.

 

Oregon Tech has implemented the following plans:

  • University Events: All in-person university sponsored public gatherings and events will be cancelled unless otherwise announced. Work related events will provide remote participation options. Per orders from the Governor, all events will be strictly limited to no more than 25 participants and encouraged to be less than 10 participants and in spaces designed to accommodate at least double the number of occupants.
  • Sporting Events: The NAIA athletic conference cancelled the spring 2020 sports season.
  • Campus Housing: Student housing facilities will remain open to support those students who remain living on campus, with dining services adjusting operations to maximize social distancing in accordance with state guidance.
  • Employee Travel: Nonessential employee travel has been cancelled.
  • Continuity of Work and Remote Work: Wherever possible, Telework and Remote Work for employees will be approved. When employees are on campus, supervisors are working to maximize social distancing, and janitorial operations are being adjusted to increase disinfecting of utilized spaces.

Communications


May 20, 2020 Faculty and Staff Memo

3:49 pm

Dear Oregon Tech Faculty and Staff,

As you are aware, classified and unclassified staff furloughs began this week. In order to help you plan your interactions with the various administrative departments and support your other collaborative efforts, below are the tentative schedules for administrative units through August 2020, at which time revised schedules will be published.

  1. The following divisional administrative departments will be closed on Fridays to accommodate a consistent furlough schedule:
    • Academic Affairs (will be open for New Wings events) including:
      • Admissions
      • Educational Outreach and Partnerships
      • Financial Aid
      • Registrar
      • Retention and Advising
      • Strategic Enrollment Management
    • Finance and Administration, including:
      • Business Affairs
      • Cashier’s Office
      • Facilities
    • Foundation/Development
    • Legal Counsel
    • Staff of the President’s Office
    • Student Affairs
  2. Information Technology Services (ITS) will remain open; but will have limited staff on Fridays.
  3. The Office of Human Resources, Title IX Compliance, and Affirmative Action will be open on Fridays, but will also have limited staff.
  4. Marketing, Communication and Public Affairs (MarCoPa) will have modified and staggered schedules and limited staff will be available Mondays and Fridays.
  5. Campus Safety will maintain the same schedule by officers with 24/7 coverage.
  6. The College Union will continue to have the building accessible everyday (through spring term) for students to get meals, study and have access to other offices on Friday.
  7. We are very appreciative of the shared sacrifice of Oregon Tech’s staff in helping to manage the university’s budget as we anticipate reductions in state support. We ask that everyone have patience and understanding as we manage around furlough days, when staff availability is lowered to a 4-day-a-week schedule.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    Nagi G. Naganathan, Ph.D., ASME Fellow
    President

May 15, 2020

4:54 PM

Dear Oregon Tech Colleagues:

Many of us are excited about the gradual re-opening of most of the counties in Oregon and it is important to remember that we need to continue making good choices in order to prevent further spread of COVID-19. For those of us in Klamath or Columbia counties and other places that are opening, we must all continue to be diligent, protecting our own health and the health of those around us. To that end, we are asking that you remain committed to the following:

Physical Distancing: Be at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with – this may become more difficult as more people begin to emerge back into the community. Stay home if you are sick. Stay close to home and avoid trips outside your community.

Protecting Others: Cover your cough and sneeze into an elbow or tissue. Avoid touching your face. Use face coverings in public.

Keeping Clean: Frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Frequently clean your work and living space, especially high touch places like doors and handles.

Let us continue to practice patience and tolerance. Remember that everyone is processing the pandemic in their own way, and you may interact with someone who views the re-opening as a “return to normal” or differently than you do. Let us model appropriate, healthy choices for the larger communities where many of our staff and faculty are, while demonstrating kindness to others, in true Oregon Tech fashion.

Let me also take this opportunity to thank all of our classified and unclassified staff -- for your very heavy lift this week in getting prepared for a fast start to Oregon Tech’s Work Share furlough program. Your shared sacrifice will enable us to continue operating with a full staff to support our academic enterprise and operations; and it also shows the university’s commitment to addressing early the budget deficit that we are facing. Special thanks to our colleagues in the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Payroll for the warp speed at which they got the university ready for furloughs.

The Oregon Tech community has demonstrated tremendous resolve in adjusting to the new and ever changing landscape we face. Thank you for continuing to be Oregon Tech Together!

Sincerely,

Nagi G. Naganathan, Ph.D., ASME Fellow
President

May 15, 2020 Faculty and Staff Memo

Oregon Tech community members,

As you may have heard, Governor Brown has approved Klamath County to move into Phase 1 of reopening Oregon (this is a three phase process). At this time Clackamas County, however, where our Portland-Metro campus is located, has not submitted a plan to the state for reopening. In light of this news, I want to inform campus of activities in progress for the reopening of Oregon Tech for each campus location, and to clarify that Oregon Tech is not moving into Phase 1 at this time.

Two Reopening Work Groups are working to develop the reopening plan for the university. One group, led by Dr. Mott, is addressing the academic areas of the plan, including instruction, research, faculty, etc.  The other group that I’m leading is addressing all the other functional areas (housing, dining, athletics, workforce, travel, etc.) of the plan.  The goal is to develop what each of the three phases looks like for each functional area.  The reopening plan will also address actions needed for a variety of scenarios; for example, if positive cases occur on a campus, if a larger resurgence occurs in the community, and any needed modifications depending on which phase the university is in.  Our reopening plan must be developed in consultation with the local health authority for each campus location, and must meet any requirements of the HECC. The goal is to have the plan by the end of spring term.  Reopening is a complex process and we want to be careful not to rush into reopening and risk compromising the health and safety of our university community.

The plan will be shared as soon as it is completed, as will any updates needed to address the current landscape dictated by the virus and community spread.  In the meantime, please send questions to me, and remember to continue taking appropriate actions to mitigate exposures (stay home as much as possible, practice physical distancing, wear a cloth mask). Thank you.

Stay well,

Erin

Erin M. Foley, Ph.D.

Vice President & Dean of Students

May 11, 2020

9:33 PM

Dear Colleagues:

As institutions around world – and each of us in our own lives – continue to respond to the impact of COVID-19, I want to share one of the immediate administrative steps Oregon Tech is taking to tackle the anticipated budget deficit stemming from the pandemic. The Program Reduction and Elimination Committee (PREC) also continues its work, including gathering data, and will provide its recommendations during the first week of June.

Because of expected state funding shortfalls, we estimate a $4.5 million gap in the 2020-21 budget. The pandemic has also impacted our current year’s revenue stream, particularly in auxiliaries such as housing and dining. It is important that we start implementing cost-saving measures right away to avoid taking the brunt of the budget gap entirely in the next academic year.

Just as all areas and groups of employees are affected by the pandemic, no one area or group of employees can or should bear the full brunt of cost reductions. We are Oregon Tech Together. We will be better off as an institution, if we pitch in together to delay and/or minimize the need for layoffs at Oregon Tech.

It is in that spirit, we are implementing a furlough program for classified and unclassified staff, to save approximately $2.0 million between now and the end of the calendar year. To ease the financial impact on our employees we are applying for participation in the Oregon Work Share program. Employees, through the university’s participation in Oregon Work Share, are eligible for unemployment for the days they are furloughed. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), offers some additional benefits for various types of unemployment scenarios, including furloughs. Additional information on the unemployment insurance and CARES Act provisions is available at Oregon Unemployment Insurance Benefits Overview (PDF).

We will begin our furlough program on May 17, and it will operate through December 31, 2020. We anticipate that nearly all of our classified and unclassified staff will participate in Work Share at a 20% furlough (1 day a week), with some employees up to 40% (2 days a week). This range of furlough percentage is one of the requirements of the CARES Act provision related to unemployment. Each department supervisor, in consultation with their divisional leaders, will determine each employee’s schedule and the furlough percentage, which may vary from week to week, based on changing work needs.

One advantage of the Work Share program is that employees will not need to apply for unemployment, because much of the work is completed between the university and the state’s Unemployment Department. Oregon Tech’s Offices of Human Resources and Payroll will work directly with the state on behalf of our employees. Also, through July 25, 2020, the federal CARES Act provide an additional fixed cash supplement of $600 per week to qualified employees.

If you are a recipient of these benefits from the federal program, you are encouraged to save as much of the additional federal payment as possible to help offset reductions between the end of July and the end of December. Regular unemployment insurance through the Work Share program is anticipated to cover approximately 65% of lost wages for employees on furlough up to a weekly maximum benefit of $648 per week; this amount will be pro-rated according to the furlough percentage. This is in addition to the $600 per week CARES Act funds mentioned above. The precise economic impact will vary from employee to employee, but those who make less will see the least impact, while those making higher incomes will experience a greater percentage loss. The table below shows the approximate impact the Furlough and CARES Act funding could have for three different salary levels.

Furlough + CARES Act Funding Impact Scenarios
Annual Salary Level $35,0000 $60,000 $85,000
President's voluntary reduction
Estimated cumulative salary impact including CARES Act Funding +21% +7% -1%
-10%

We most sincerely appreciate the engagement and collaborative leadership of our SEIU Local and our Administrative Council in developing this approach. After meeting over the past two weeks to discuss the Work Share program, among other options, the University and SEIU signed a Letter of Agreement last week; Administrative Council leadership have also shared their support. My thanks to Darryn Stevens, President of SEIU Local, and Zach Jones, Chair of the Administrative Council, as well as their fellow officers for their caring engagement in working through the looming budget challenges in a spirit of shared sacrifice, shared mission, and shared focus on our students.

As Darryn said, “We want to thank the Oregon Tech administration for the time they have spent communicating with us about Work Share and putting together this agreement. We’re grateful for the collaboration and how well SEIU represented employees at Oregon Tech are being recognized as valued members of our university community. I would also like to thank my SEIU team at Oregon Tech for their support in being part of this process, despite the difficulty of the situation we are all facing in the COVID-19 environment.”

And Zach said, “In times of crisis, we all take a moment to consider what matters most. For many of us, the obvious things come to mind: shelter, food, and family. But what also matters is Oregon Tech and its continuity in our communities for generations to come. During this time of uncertainty, the phrase in our mission, ‘to meet current and emerging needs of Oregonians as well as other national and international constituents,’ truly resonates and reflects our values. All of us on the Administrative Council pledge to do our part to support Oregon Tech in meeting the emerging needs of our students, staff, and faculty when they need us most. We will overcome this; we are Oregon Tech Together.”

More information will be forthcoming. In closing, please let me thank you all in advance for your continued hard work during this extraordinary time, and your support in this process.

Sincerely,

Nagi G. Naganathan, Ph.D., ASME Fellow
President

May 8, 2020

May 1, 2020

1:17 PM

Dear Oregon Tech Faculty and Staff,

On this first day of May, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the distance we have traveled over the past 30 days. Not unlike March, April was another unprecedented month of change, uncertainty, and a tremendous amount of hard work across the university.

I informed our university community earlier this week that additional steps will be taken to address the financial impacts of COVID on the state and our university. Below are some first steps, we are putting in place through December 31, 2020, as we continue to assess short-term and long-term scenarios. There will be more steps as planning and conversations develop over the coming week and weeks.

  • For those of you who have been part of Oregon Tech for over a decade, you may recall the 2009 Voluntary Reduction in Full Time Equivalent Program that was developed for directors and above. This was implemented across the state system at that time. We are currently looking at modernizing such a volunteer program and hope to have details ready to share with qualifying employees as early as next week. We are carefully reviewing the possible benefits recently made available under the federal CARES Act to see whether any of its provisions may make operational and fiscal sense for our institution and our employees.

  • The position of President is one that does not qualify to be reduced less than one FTE to participate in the above program. So instead, I am voluntarily taking a 10% reduction in my salary—effective immediately.

  • Some time ago, we started trimming our business travel and business expenditures—those measures will continue for the foreseeable future.

  • The partial hiring freeze I recently announced will continue.

Additionally, as already shared, the Program Reduction and Elimination Committee (PREC) is meeting later today to begin its recommendation process; analyzing whether we have departments or programs that can be eliminated—or perhaps consolidated—to realize additional cost savings through increased efficiencies.

Addressing the anticipated financial challenge will require us to take a multi-faceted and multi-stage approach to cut expenses and grow revenue. Now more than ever, focusing on supporting our students and each other is key. I ask that you continue to offer suggestions, as we work together to carve a path forward.

Sincerely,

Nagi G. Naganathan, Ph.D., ASME Fellow
President

FAQs from Oregon Health Authority


How can I prevent from getting novel coronavirus?

If you are traveling overseas (to China but also to other places) follow the CDC’s guidance: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel. Steps you can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent coronavirus:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds (2 rounds of the ABCs song). If not available, use hand sanitizer (60% alcohol based or higher).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

Currently, there are no vaccines available to prevent novel coronavirus infections. 

The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to take basic precautions to prevent flu and colds.

What is novel coronavirus?

Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus strain that has only spread in people since December 2019. Health experts are concerned because little is known about this new virus. It has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people and there is not a treatment.

How does novel coronavirus spread?

Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:

  • the air by coughing and sneezing
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes

How severe is novel coronavirus?

Experts are still learning about the range of illness from novel coronavirus. Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (similar to a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization. So far, deaths have been reported mainly in older adults who had other health conditions.

What are the symptoms?

People who have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus have reported symptoms that may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms often include fever, cough, and some trouble breathing. Some people have mild symptoms, others can get quite sick.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

Call your healthcare provider to identify the safest way to receive care. Let them know if you have traveled to an affected area within the last 14 days.

Who is at risk for novel coronavirus?

Currently the risk to the general public is low. To minimize the risk of spread, health officials are working with healthcare providers to promptly identify and evaluate any suspected cases.

When should you self-isolate?

The Klamath County Public Health Department has confirmed that while we want to be conscientious and protect others, currently the only time self-isolation would be warranted is if: you had DIRECT contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

You would NOT need to self-isolate in these scenarios:

  • Someone you interacted with has come in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, but you did not have direct contact yourself.
  • Someone you interacted with claims to have COVID-19 but is not confirmed.
The CDC has provided a flowchart to help in knowing when you should self-isolate – see the chart here.
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The Integrated Student Health Center on the Klamath Falls campus will continue to offer both medical and mental health support services during Spring Term. They are able to offer in-person, telephone and video conference counseling to students. Medical appointments will continue to be in-person. The ISHC in coordination with Klamath County Public Health is following the guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority to screen students who call to schedule a medical appointment. Call ISHC at 541-885-1800 to schedule either type of appointment.

Counseling Services are available to Portland-Metro students via telephone and video conference. Appointments can be made by calling 503-821-1313.

Students: If you are on the Klamath Falls campus and begin to feel ill (cough, trouble breathing, fever), or would like to speak with a counselor, call ISHC at 541-885-1800. If you are a student on the Portland-Metro campus or on another site and begin to feel ill, please call your healthcare provider.

Faculty/Staff: If you begin to feel ill (cough, trouble breathing, fever), please call your healthcare provider. 

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