Office of the Governor
State of Oregon



On March 8, 2020, I declared an emergency under ORS 401.165 et seq. due to the public health threat posed by the novel infectious coronavirus (COVID-19). 

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced that COVID-19 is a global pandemic. 

On March 12, 2020, I directed public schools to remain closed statewide, from March 16, 2020, through at least March 31, 2020, to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in communities across the state. 

On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency. 

On March 16, 2020, the Department of Human Services imposed its most recent protective measures to restrict visitors to long-term care facilities and other residential facilities. The Oregon Health Authority has adopted similar measures at the Oregon State Hospital and other behavioral health settings, and has limited admissions to the Oregon State Hospital. The Oregon Department of Corrections has suspended all visits to state prisons. 

On March 17, 2020, I issued Executive Order No. 20-08, extending the closure of public schools through April 28, 2020. 

COVID-19 may cause respiratory disease leading to serious illness or death. COVID-19 spreads person-to-person through coughing, sneezing, close personal contact, including touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. 

State and local public health officials advise that the virus is circulating in the community and expect the number of cases to increase. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that COVID-19 is most contagious when the individual is most symptomatic, but may also spread before symptoms appear. CDC recommends measures to limit spread of the disease in the community, including limitations on events and gatherings. 

The number of presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Oregon. On March 8, 2020, at the time I declared an emergency, there were 14 presumptive or confirmed cases in Oregon. By March 12, 2020, there were 21. As of today, there are at least 75 cases and three deaths. 

Oregonians are depending on colleges and universities to remain operational to the greatest extent possible consistent with protecting public health, including thousands of students who expect to graduate in Spring 2020. 

Oregon colleges and universities can maintain academic continuity for many students by conducting courses through remote and online learning. 

Many Oregon colleges and universities provide essential housing, food, health care, and related services for students who have no other way to access those services, including international students and foster youth. 

Consistent with the mitigation strategies recommended by CDC with regard to COVID􀀉19, in order to slow the spread of the disease, and to protect Oregonians at the highest risk of contracting the disease, I find it is necessary to immediately implement measures for significantly reducing in-person operations at Oregon colleges and universities. 


1. For purposes of this Executive Order, "colleges and universities" include public universities listed in ORS 352.002, a community college operated under ORS chapter 341, and degree-granting private colleges and universities that operate in Oregon.

2. Pursuant to my emergency powers under ORS 433.441(3)(a) and (d), ORS 401.175(1 ), and ORS 401.188(2) and (3), it is ordered that colleges and universities shall be prohibited from conducting in-person classroom, laboratory, and other instruction from March 21, 2020, through April 28, 2020 ("effective period"), unless that period is extended or terminated earlier by the Governor.

3. Colleges and universities are exempt from the requirements of paragraph 2 of this Executive Order for the purpose of providing clinical, laboratory, or other in-person instruction associated with courses required for the completion of a health care-related certificate, license, or degree, or other certificates, licenses, or degrees that are essential to emergency response and resiliency efforts, where no remote or online alternative is practicable. When conducting any in-person instruction permitted under this paragraph, colleges and universities should employ social distancing measures, consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority. 

4. During the effective period, colleges and universities shall limit on-campus operations only to critical functions and shall employ social distancing measures, consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority, for all on-campus employees and residents. Critical functions may include, but are not limited to, the operation of dormitories, dining services, general administrative services, safety programs, childcare centers, research, medical facilities, and other activities critical to emergency response and resiliency efforts.

5. The Higher Education Coordinating Commission shall provide further guidance to colleges and universities regarding the directives set forth in paragraphs 1-4 of this ​Executive Order, as necessary.

This Executive Order is issued under the authority conferred to the Governor by ORS 401.165 to 401.236. Pursuant to ORS 401.192(1), the directives set forth in this Executive Order shall have the full force and effect of law, and any existing laws, ordinances, rules and orders shall be inoperative to the extent they are inconsistent with this exercise of the Governor's emergency powers. 

Done at Portland, Oregon this 19th day of March, 2020. ​

Kate Brown


Bev Clarno