Owen Preece, OMN Photographer
For the spring term, the Oregon State University Corvallis campus will continue to offer classes remotely, with less than 10% of courses being taught in person. OSU-Cascades will offer a mix of in person, remote and hybrid classes.
The decision includes keeping tuition values unchanged, and that student fees for the spring term will be determined from recommendations made by student leaders on the Corvallis and OSU-Cascades campuses.
Rebecca Mathern, associate provost and university registrar at OSU, said that “OSU follows the health guidance of Benton County Health authorities, [Oregon Health Authority] and the governor when making resumption decisions; our focus remains the safety, wellness and success of OSU faculty and students.”
Mathern said there was not any significant reduction in positive COVID-19 cases. She noted that not enough people would be vaccinated by the time spring term begins, leaving OSU with no other option but to continue with mainly remote instruction.
OSU’s pandemic response and planning began in early 2020, and discussions focused both on long-term and short-term needs. The commitment to maintaining spring term remote learning was made this January so that faculty and students could plan ahead.
“The spring term schedule of classes will be updated before registration begins in mid-February with the teaching modalities for each course listed, so that students can select the classes that work best for their schedule, location, needs and current circumstances,” Mathern said.
Vice Provost of Enrollment Management at OSU, Jon J. Boeckenstedt, said that since last summer, the university still had hopes for fall 2020 instruction to be somewhat traditional. Since then, there were necessary decisions to be made for the terms to follow.
“We made our first decisions quite soon, trying to wait as long as possible to see what would happen, but there was a need to recognize that people needed some certainty in order to make plans for the terms,” Boeckenstedt said.
Some changes to the spring term still may happen, as stated in an email by OSU President F. King Alexander. If there is solid improvement in public health conditions by spring, the university may be able to increase onsite and extra-curricular activity to a very modest degree. If so, students shall receive support if they choose to stay away from Corvallis or Bend throughout 2021.
Dan Larson, associate vice provost at OSU, reiterates that if health conditions allow, the university will work to support on-site interests, such as student activities, work and research, while still providing remote instruction.
Public health projects such asTRACE-OSU, will operate the same way as it is currently in winter term.
Expectations for fall 2021 will also follow guidance from public health authorities, who shall inform the university on how to proceed. But there is still much to happen until the start of the next academic year.
“We remain hopeful that with vaccinations, regular testing, public health safety measures and state guidelines we will be able to return to primarily in-person instruction in fall term,” Mathern said.