April 28, 2021
Dear students, faculty, staff, and parents,
We write to you with the disappointing news that yesterday, due to rising COVID-19 cases in the area, the Oregon governor's office announced that Multnomah County, where Reed resides, will be moving back to the Extreme Risk category starting this Friday, April 30, through at least next Thursday, May 6. Last week, the state also made changes to the restrictions for each risk category, outlined in the Sector Risk Level Guidance Chart. In most cases, these changes reflect more restrictive rules.
Historically, Oregon has made changes to county risk levels only every two weeks; however, due to rapidly surging COVID-19 activity across the state, the governor's office has changed the schedule to re-evaluate risk every week. The next update to county risk levels will be announced on Tuesday, May 4. This being said, the Governor has indicated that counties will be in Extreme Risk for no more than 3 weeks, or through Thursday, May 20.
The change to Extreme Risk will impact the following activities at Reed:
In-person events may be impacted by the change to Extreme Risk (e.g., Reed's Thesis Parade and Commencement). Events approved by the appropriate vice president or dean, Reed’s COVID-19 Risk Assessment Working Group, and the conference & events planning office per our process are required to follow the Sector Guidance for Entertainment Establishments (indoor and outdoor, respectively). As such, events previously scheduled for periods that are now designated Extreme Risk may need to be adjusted or cancelled to come into alignment with new restrictions. At Extreme Risk, indoor events are capped at 6 participants, while outdoor events are capped at 50 participants.
Event organizers are currently working to modify plans or design alternatives to meet new requirements. Communications will be sent to the community related to those events as soon as possible.
Reed's planning for an in-person ceremony includes two scenarios: High Risk (Plan A) and Extreme Risk (Plan B). If the county is in High Risk on May 17, Reed will go forward with an in-person ceremony that gathers all graduates and faculty under a large tent on the Great Lawn. Guests will join virtually. If the county is in Extreme Risk on May 17, Reed will be restricted to no more than 50 people gathering outdoors in one location. In that case, under Plan B, graduates and faculty will likely be disbursed in pods around campus and moved to the main stage in groups of 50. Keep an eye out for more communications regarding Commencement as we get closer to the date. Questions: contact conference & events planning.
Informal events and social gatherings are required to follow the Sector Guidance for Gatherings. Under Extreme Risk, these gatherings are capped at 6 people from no more than 2 households, both indoors and outdoors.
Campus dining services falls under the Sector Guidance for Eating and Drinking Establishments. The Extreme Risk category prohibits indoor dining and limits outdoor dining (including under a tent with one or fewer walls) to 100 people. Dining operations will be restricted to take-out and outdoor dining only; indoor dining in Commons will be discontinued until permitted again. Note: the linked sector guidance documents still display a maximum of 50 outdoor diners; however, Gov. Brown indicated this would be raised to 100 before going into effect on Friday.
Workplace guidance under the Extreme Risk category is more restrictive, and remote work is required, if possible. At Reed, staff work plans are determined by department directors and associate deans. If you are a staff member who has questions about your work plan during periods of Extreme Risk, please consult your supervisor.
I'm sure many of you, like us, are disappointed that the cycle of surges continues. We are grateful to you for your continued investment in the prevention measures that have kept the Reed community safe and for your patience as we continue to accommodate changes in guidance.
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have a particular project, event, or activity that has been impacted by this change. We are happy to help develop creative ways to keep us moving forward safely.
The COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group
PS We are working on updating the COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan to reflect the changes stated above.
COVID-19 Risk Assessment Working Group
Kathy Oleson, Dean of the Faculty & Professor of Psychology
Hugh Porter, Vice President for College Relations & Planning
Cindy Anderson, Interim Dean of Students
Lorraine Arvin, Vice President and Treasurer
Gary Granger, Director of Community Safety
Mandy Heaton, Executive Director of Communications & Public Affairs
Karnell McConnell-Black, Vice President for Student Life
Madison Riethman, COVID-19 Response Coordinator and Health Project Manager
Suzy Renn, Professor of Biology
Timmie Rochon, Medical Services Director
April Sams, Director of Risk Management & Environmental Health and Safety