COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan

“It is with deep gratitude for our community’s extraordinary efforts this fall that I share Reed College’s spring 2021 plans. Supported by a sound COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan, the college will continue to offer a mix of in-person and online education.”

—Audrey Bilger, PresidentOctober 2020


Safeguarding Reed’s Program

Reed’s educational work is critically important, both for students at significant junctures in their studies and for faculty pursuing valuable intellectual work. We believe that learning is strongest in the context of interactions between faculty and students and between students.

Caring for Our Community

Reed’s on-site operations are informed by local circumstances and regional readiness and are in alignment with national, state, and local guidelines. Keeping safe during the pandemic is a top priority. Reed’s course of action is multilayered and incorporates public health principles to reduce potential exposure to the coronavirus. Both the college and individuals play a critical role in sustaining the health and well-being of the community. The college will maintain a COVID-19 risk assessment working group chaired by Dean of the Faculty Kathy Oleson and Vice President for College Relations & Planning Hugh Porter. The college will continue to monitor the health of our community and adjust college operations accordingly.


Reed is committed to helping each student have a vibrant educational experience that supports progress toward graduation. Vital to this plan is the recognition that the impact of the pandemic varies among individuals. We are mindful that the pandemic is having an outsized impact on economically disadvantaged communities and communities of color. We have put in place a wide range of resources to lower barriers to participation in academic and other campus programs, including assistance with academic accommodations, financial emergencies, technology, on-campus work opportunities, counseling, and health care.

Return to campus

Training, Testing, Health Monitoring, and Contact Tracing

Reed’s course of action for promoting a healthy community rests on a set of prescribed public health measures, including a plan for required training, COVID-19 testing, a daily health check, and contact tracing.

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Individual Responsibility

All community members must comply with federal, state, and local COVID-19 public health guidance. We all play a role in helping to prevent the spread of the virus. Face coverings and physical distancing are now part of campus culture; so are isolating when sick and quarantining upon exposure. Students accessing campus are required to sign a form that outlines prevention expectations. Eligible community members are encouraged to get the vaccine. 

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Academics and Classes

Reed’s current academic program relies on a mix of in-person and online education. The 2020–21 academic calendar and classes have been modified to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.

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Technology Support

In response to growing needs, Reed is providing more tools and services to support remote learning, teaching, research, and work.

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Student Housing

Residential housing at Reed follows guidelines developed by the CDC for congregate housing and significantly reduces housing density while setting aside a dorm for isolation needs.

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College Operations Safety Measures

Stringent facility cleaning and air quality management practices are in place. Operations for dining services, the library, mail services, the bookstore, and the sports center have been modified to align with public health measures. The physical layout and capacity limits of rooms have also been modified to reduce density. COVID-19 safety signage has been added across campus.

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Start of the Spring Term

Everyone engaging in person with on-campus community members in the spring will be tested for COVID-19 in January. Students will be required to arrive on campus in phases and should complete a 14-day home quarantine prior to arrival. Students who live on campus must quarantine until they receive a negative test result from Reed. Students and faculty must have received a negative test result from Reed before attending an in-person class. All community members will be required to take the updated COVID-19 prevention and policy training prior to the start of the term. Employee work plans will be determined by each office and remain in alignment with public health regulations.

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For Students and Their Family Members

Students and their family members will have questions during this time of change in Reed’s operations. The college has compiled information about student support services, including a list of key resources and answers to questions about financial assistance.

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Visitors, Travel, In-Person Events, and Building Access

The Reed College campus is closed to the public to help limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Visitors must be approved. College-funded travel and study abroad programs are restricted. In-person events and access to buildings are limited. The admission office is offering robust digital resources, weekly virtual visit programming, and limited in-person admission visits.

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COVID-19 & Equity

Striving for equity is an inextricable component of maintaining community wellness. While viruses do not discriminate, the college recognizes that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected communities of color, and social-distancing requirements put unique strains on individuals from low socioeconomic backgrounds, with disabilities, with preexisting conditions, or at risk of stigma related to the virus. At Reed, we believe that equity is not merely an aspiration or a lens but a mandate to provide the resources to promote the success of each individual—regardless of race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or disability. Along with community health, Reed is putting equity concerns at the forefront of our actions to address COVID-19.

Resources and Support

Reed's response plan includes resources for academic, financial, emotional, and technological support as well as measures to ensure access to healthcare and accommodation of needs relating to disability. Recent examples include providing emergency funds to students with financial needs; ensuring accommodations for online learning environments; and increasing and adapting health and counseling services.

Community Involvement

Misinformation can lead to stigma, xenophobia, and bias. The Reed community can support the college’s equity efforts by staying informed and speaking up when encountering misinformation or bias. If you would like to report a bias incident, please see our Bias Incidents and Discriminatory Harassment Resource Guide.

COVID-19 news &

  • April 12, 2021
  • 2021–22 Housing Application is Open!
  • Learn more…
  • April 9, 2021
  • End of week recap from the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group
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  • April 9, 2021
  • Sign up for COVID-19 testing for the week of April 12
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  • April 8, 2021
  • Advising and registration for 2021-22
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View all COVID-19 news & announcements