Endemic Msg Pres Bailey

Dear Raiders,

As you know, Southern Oregon University has been a role model in the way we have fought to keep each other safe and healthy despite the challenges of the pandemic.

After careful consideration and attention to health leaders, I am announcing the following changes to our COVID-19 policies, as we transition from pandemic to endemic footing on March 18 – the end of winter term. We recognize that COVID may not disappear anytime soon, but we feel we can safely return to largely normal operations by exercising caution and following the advice and recommendations of scientific and public health experts.

I want to thank our COVID-19 Advisory Committee – led by Dr. Neil Woolf, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs – for carefully considering our policies and protocols, and using input from local, statewide and federal health authorities to chart a clear path forward for SOU. The guiding principle of that group, and of our university, is that the health and safety of students, employees and community members will always be our highest priority.

Masks will not be required either indoors or outdoors at SOU starting on March 19, but those who prefer to wear masks for their own safety are welcomed and encouraged to do so. SOU will continue to have N95 masks available in most campus buildings.

The isolation period for those who test positive for COVID-19 will be reduced to five days, from the 10 days now required, bringing us in line with current recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mandatory weekly testing for those who have been granted exemptions under SOU’s vaccination policy will be discontinued as of March 12, and the designation of “cleared for on-campus activities” will be removed for both students and employees.

Our vaccination policy will remain in effect, with all students and employees required to attest that they have received all CDC-recommended COVID vaccines – including boosters – or that they have been granted exemptions for medical, religious or other reasons. New students will be required to attest that they are fully vaccinated or apply for exemptions, and any students may be randomly selected to show proof of current vaccination as a means of ensuring compliance with the policy.

Guests and visitors to campus will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination for attendance at indoor or outdoor events.

Please note that all of these changes may be subject to further revision depending on evolving conditions. We will continue to monitor the environment as we have done since the beginning. 

SOU has weathered two years of the pandemic as well as anyone could have hoped, largely because all of you have taken responsibility for your own safety and that of those around you. Our team effort must continue as we move ahead with a mix of optimism, excitement and caution. Please respect the choices and comfort levels of those around you, and help us succeed in our recalibrated approach to COVID – and a brighter future.

With appreciation to all Raiders,

Rick Bailey

President, Southern Oregon University

March 7, 2022