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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Key COVID-19 Information by Topic​ (FAQ) for Oregon College and University Partners​


​​Basic Guidance, Postsecondary Education Responses to COVID-19​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​State Guidance Related to Postsecondary Education

Please pay attention to the date last updated and to the dates effective with each resource posted here.  

In addition to the guidance below, see the Governor's Office COVID-19 web page for recent statewide information on Building a Safe & Strong Oregon: A Science-Driven Framework for Reopening Oregon.​ See the Oregon Health Authority ​for recent public guidelines related to Oregon public health and prevention.

Governor Brown on November 13, 2020 Announced Statewide Two-Week Freeze to Stop Rapid Spread of COVID-19. New measures take effect Wednesday, November 18. Learn more on the Governor's coronavirus website here.  The Executive Order 20-65, released November 17 contains the policy details.  
See page 7 of the Executive Order regarding exemptions for higher education.
NOTE: Executive Order 20-28 combined with the OHA/HECC standards require that all higher education activities not involving research or instruction related to a certificate/degree must adhere to any requirements that apply to their corresponding business sector. Therefore many of these activities (i.e.  retail, dining, fitness/recreation, museums, etc.) are subject to new restrictions described under the freeze. In addition, new social gatherings restrictions are applicable to students and other members of the college/university community, whether they live on or off-campus.

The Oregon Health Authority on October 19, 2020 released updated statewide guidance for face masks, face coverings, and face shields.​ This guidance applies to Oregon's public and private colleges and universities, and supersedes prior OHA/HECC standards/guidance on this matter. The OHA/HECC Guidelines document below has been updated to reflect this guidance.

Executive Order 20-28 Operation of Higher Education Institutions during Coronavirus Pandemic​​​​, June 12, 2020

HECC OHA Public Health Guidelines for the Conduct of In-person Instructional, Residential, and Research Activities at Oregon Colleges and Universities​​, first issued June 12, 2020, last updated October 22, 2020.

State of Oregon Equity Framework in COVID-19 Response and Recovery, Office of Governor Kate Brown, June, 2020.

See all Governor Brown's Executive Orders related to COVID-19 here, including:

HECC and ODE Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Oregon High School Based College Courses during COVID-19, September 30, 2020​.

HECC Guidance to Private Career Schools and Oregon-based Degree-granting Colleges Authorized by the Office of Degree Authorization

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Federal Guidance Related to Postsecondary Education

Please pay attention to the date last updated with each resource posted here.

In addition to the information below, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ​for recent federal public health guidance about COVID-19 in the U.S.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Communi​cating on College Campuses ​

Last updated March 25, 2020

Where can I find reliable up-to-date public health information on the 2019 novel coronavirus and COVID-19?​

Go to the Oregon Health Authority or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for public information on the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. As the situation evolves, the information here is updated regularly:

What is recommended for sharing information with students, staff, faculty, and families?

Colleges and universities are encouraged to share reliable information to help limit spread of COVID-19 among students, faculty, and staff.  Consider sharing the following resources.  

The Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Updates website: The OHA has the most up-to-date information on the virus in Oregon, available in multiple languages. This includes Frequently Asked Questions, current updates on the situation in Oregon, guidelines on prevention and travel, information for health providers, local public health authorities, families, schools, tribes, and more. Here are just some of the OHA resources: You can find these links below by visiting the OHA COVID-19 website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus Disease 2019 website, including: General CDC communications resources including videos, fact sheets, and posters. General CDC fact sheets help students, staff, faculty, and their families understand COVID-19 and the steps they can take to protect themselves.

Maintain confidentiality

Maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed coronavirus infection. Do not share information about cases that has not already been shared by your local public health authority. Your local public health department and institution will communicate critical information about an outbreak in a college setting, but student confidentiality will be maintained in accordance with federal privacy laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.​

Keep rumors and misinformation from spreading

Sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is critical to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading. You can help by pointing people to reliable sources such as the OHA or CDC.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created a web page focused on Coronavirus Rumor Control here.​

​​​​​​​​​P​reventing Discrimination and Stigma

Last updated March 20, 2020

​​​​Reinforce anti-bias

Some individuals are experiencing stigma and discrimination in the United States r​elated to COVID-19. This includes people of Chinese and Asian descent, as well as some returning travelers and emergency responders who may have been exposed to the virus. We need to counteract these trends. Discourage people from making assumptions of risk based on race, ethnicity or country of origin. It is important to remember that the virus doesn’t discriminate. There are no specific cultural groups or people of a particular heritage that are more or less likely to get COVID-19 following exposure or spread it to others. The CDC has information higher education institutions can share to reduce COVID-19-associated fear and stigma. Other resources:
​OHA anti-discrimination resources are available in multiple languages on their website. Links to English versions are below.​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Information-Sharing Among College and University Leadership

Last updated April 10, 2020

How can colleges and universities learn from each other in Oregon as this situation evolves?


State and institutional leaders in Oregon have established a system for information-sharing between those involved with planning and decisions related to the novel coronavirus at Oregon institutions. Individuals who have questions about their institution’s participation on this resource should contact their college or university leadership. 

Key Websites for Institution Partners


State:
Federal:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

US Department of Education COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel​


Information Hotline

Call 211 in Oregon, if it is not easy for you to get the information online. They can give you general COVID-19 information. ​

Guidance Related to Academic Programs

​Guidance Related to Institution Operations, Admissions, and Student Services

Admissions and Enrollment during COVID-19

Last updated April 27, 2020

What kind of assurances have higher education institutions made to current and future students who are impacted by COVID-19 as they pursue their college and career goals?

NEW! Joint Message of Assurance to Current and Future Students, from Oregon's Colleges and Universities. A joint message from associations representing 40 public and private non-profit colleges in Oregon: the Oregon Community College Association; the Oregon Council of Presidents; and the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities. April 27, 2020.

How is HECC supporting prospective students, including high school students, impacted by COVID-19?


How has college admission been impacted for current and future students impacted by COVID-19?   

If you want to pursue postsecondary education in Oregon now or at a future date and are worried about how disruptions to your schooling in spring 2020 will affect your eligibility for admissions, placement, scholarships, or more, reach out to the college or university directly. Oregon colleges and universities are offering a high degree of flexibility.

The admissions criteria and policies of public and private institutions in Oregon is stablished by the individual institutions under the authority of their governing boards. The following official statements have been issued by institutions or their associations related to their approach to admission and other student support.

Joint message to current and future students from associations representing 40 public and private non-profit colleges in Oregon: 
  • Joint Message of Assurance to Current and Future Students, from Oregon's Public and Private Colleges and Universities. A joint message from associations representing 40 public and private non-profit colleges in Oregon: the Oregon Community College Association; the Oregon Council of Presidents; and the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities. April 27, 2020.
    • Oregon Community College Association represents  Blue Mountain CC  | Central Oregon CC | Chemeketa CC | Clackamas CC | Clatsop CC | Columbia Gorge CC| Klamath CC | Lane CC | Linn-Benton CC | Mt. Hood CC | Oregon Coast CC | Portland CC | Rogue CC | Southwestern Oregon CC | Tillamook Bay CC | Treasure Valley CC | Umpqua CC
    • Oregon Council of Presidents represents: Eastern Oregon University | Oregon Institute of Technology | Oregon State University | Portland State University | Southern Oregon University | University of Oregon | Western Oregon University | Oregon Health & Science University
    • The Oregon Alliance of ​Independent Colleges and Universities represents: Corban University | George Fox University | Lewis & Clark College | Linfield College | Multnomah University | National University of Natural Medicine | Northwest Christian University | Pacific Northwest College of Art | Pacific University | Reed College | University of Portland | University of Western States | Warner Pacific University | Western Seminary | Willamette University
Statement of 15 Oregon Private Non-profit Colleges and Universities Represented by The Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities 
  • Oregon Private College Undergraduate Admissions Flexibility During COVID-19” statement,​ April 24, 2020. 
    • ​The Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities represents: Corban University | George Fox University | Lewis & Clark College | Linfield College | Multnomah University | National University of Natural Medicine | Northwest Christian University | Pacific Northwest College of Art | Pacific University | Reed College | University of Portland | University of Western States | Warner Pacific University | Western Seminary | Willamette University
Statement from Oregon’s seven public universities and OHSU related to the admission of incoming freshmen:
  • The Oregon public universities are committed to ensuring that incoming first year students who intend to enroll at our institutions are considered fairly in light of the educational interruption they have endured in their final year of high school. No student admitted to our institutions for fall 2020 will have their admission rescinded due to changes in grading policy or the inability to complete their coursework, as long as they graduate high school. Students who apply to our institutions are still subject to a review process that focuses on their ability to succeed in college, but the Oregon public universities recognize that some situations are beyond their control. We look forward to supporting students and high schools through this challenging time, both now and with future high school graduating classes impacted by the pandemic.”  
    • Joint statement of: Eastern Oregon University | Oregon Institute of Technology | Oregon State University | Portland State University | Southern Oregon University | University of Oregon | Western Oregon University | Oregon Health & Science University

Should current students stay enrolled?

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) strongly encourages students to continue their enrollment at Oregon institutions during spring term and beyond to the greatest extent possible as we navigate this challenging time. 

​​​​​​​​​​Student Financial Aid during COVID-19


Have there been any changes to state-administered financial aid in Oregon?


​​The HECC Office of Student Access and Completion has made minor adjustments to some financial aid programs due to COVID-19. OSAC staff are communicating any program changes through direct emails to impacted students and financial aid staff. Students, counselors, families, and partners should go to OregonStudentAid.gov​ and see the specific grant or scholarship program page for the most current updates on each program.
Recent program changes related to COVID-19 are summarized below (10/1/2020):  

  • Due to the ​emergency declaration, students awarded an Oregon Opportunity Grant or Oregon Promise Grant for the fall 2020 term can apply for a term waiver. For more details, contact your school’s financial aid office or visit the Oregon Promise Grant FAQs page. Contact your college financial aid office to begin the waiver process.

I heard that the federal government has offered student loan relief for some borrowers. Where can I find out more?
 
The CARES Act, signed in to law on March 27, 2020, provides some relief for federal student loan borrowers. The Federal Student Aid Coronavirus website includes key information for students, borrowers, and parents about several provisions of the Act.



​​Funding and Relief
​​

​​​CARES Act Higher Education Provisions: Relief to Oregon Students and Institutions

Last updated May 21, 2020
 
In March, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, more commonly known as the CARES Act. The Act contains several provisions that resulted in direct and in some cases indirect relief for students and institutions. HECC has updated its summary of the CARES Act provisions for higher education and their distribution among Oregon institutions, available here​. 

The institutions are responsible for distributing their allotted student relief funds, so students with questions on this funding should contact their college or university.

​​Federal Grants During COVID-19​

Last updated April 23, 2020

In addition to staying informed on the CARES Act provisions for higher education, Oregon college and university partners are encouraged to stay up to date on federal grant opportunities during the pandemic by signing up on the https://www.grants.gov/​ website or through the mobile app available on that site. 

​​State Budget Development Process

Last updated April 23, 2020

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission is responsible for developing and submitting the agency’s recommended budget for the comprehensive postsecondary education system to the Governor, so we are working closely with the public colleges and universities as they identify the financial impact of COVID-19.

The HECC budget development process has already started, and we will need to submit the recommended budget at the beginning of September. The extent to which the pandemic might affect the budget request may not be known until an updated state economic forecast is available incorporating the recent impact of COVID-19. 

Partners can find any public meeting documents focused on the budget development process in Commission Meeting Materials here. The typical budget development timeline is described on the HECC Budget Development webpage here.​



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