Oregon Tech Community Members,
Congrats to a completing the fall term (or almost as grades are being submitted) and thank you for doing your part to allow for continued services and minimizing the COVID spread in campus community.
Oregon’s number of positive cases continued to increase this week with all-time high daily counts. The total number of cases increased from 81,437 (1,003 deaths) on December 4 to 91,421 (1,138 deaths) yesterday. Some of this increase is a result of the Thanksgiving weekend and OHA is reporting the numbers are better than predicted as Oregonians changed plans and followed the Governor’s recommendations. We are still months away from a vaccine being available to the general public. Thus, it is imperative that we all continue to minimize close contact with others, keep social gatherings small, wear a face covering, and regularly wash hands.
This week’s COVID-19 numbers
Currently, 3 KF students are in isolation (none on campus) which is 15 less than last week. Additionally, 2 employees are in isolation (down from 7 last week). There are no reports of anyone in isolation at the PM campus or from Chemeketa.
This week there were 3 new positive KF students, bringing the total to 57 positive students since the start of fall term. Three new positive cases reported for employees, bring the total to 8 employees. One new positive cases reported from the PM campus and no new cases from Chemeketa.
The Integrated Student Health Center (ISHC) staff will be available throughout the winter break to support students with COVID-related issues (with the exception of Dec. 24, 25, 31 and Jan. 1, when the university is closed). If you develop symptoms, receive a positive COVID test result, or have an exposure, please call ISHC at 541-885-1800.
Due to the surge of positive COVID-19 cases in the community, Klamath County Public Health (KCPH) has approved of and encouraged Oregon Tech to spearhead contact tracing for its own employees. Gaylyn Maurer, Director of the Integrated Student Health Center, will be taking the lead in this effort as she has been trained in this area and has worked closely with KCPH across the past 9 months facilitating contact tracing for students. Several other staff members will also complete the training in order to ensure efficient support for employees who may be directly impacted by COVID. Should you receive a call from Gaylyn or the contact tracing team, please keep in mind that the intention behind their efforts is to keep the campus community as safe as possible by quickly identifying anyone at risk for having been exposed to the virus and to keep those who are ill from transmitting it to others.
The Oregon Tech Foundation scholarship application is now available (due March 1, but don’t wait to do it – winter break is a great time to write your essays).
KF students living on campus housing, please complete the survey from Mandi about your return date to housing. This information is really important for planning purposes. If your plans change after you complete the survey, that is fine – just let Housing know of your new return date (email Housing@oit.edu). Also, please watch for an email with the information about your health screening for your return to housing.
Access to KF campus buildings over the winter break is extremely limited. The only building open during the break is the CU which will be open Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm, except for campus holidays (Dec 24, 25, 31 and Jan. 1). Please call or email any office from which you need assistance rather than going to an office in person.
This reminder will continue to go out: the first two weeks of classes in KF will be remote (lecture classes and labs), with the term starting on January 4. The other campus locations will start winter term with the same operations as fall term. Please watch for additional emails about winter term over the winter break.
As the COVID-19 spread increases, everyone must continue to practice all the precautions regularly: properly wear a face covering inside and outside, maintain 6 feet between you and others, frequently wash your hands, and regularly sanitize high touch surfaces.
The holidays are traditionally a time to enjoy time with family and friends, but we all need to think about doing things differently this year to slow the spread of the virus. Social gatherings are the prime source of transmission, so please make good decisions for the upcoming holidays. Remember, you may be asymptomatic so don’t give grandma or anyone else the virus; maintain at least 6 feet and wear a face covering (even when you are with family members that you think are “safe”).
This weekly update will be the last one until January 2, but watch for emails over the break for important information from me and or other staff.
Winter arrived yesterday with a beautiful snow fall, so be careful on the roads throughout the season. Please have a safe and restful break!
Erin M. Foley, Ph.D.
Vice President & Dean of Students