COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan


July 29, 2021

Dear Reed students, faculty, staff, and parents,

It is just shy of one year ago that Reed hired me as the COVID-19 response coordinator and health project manager, and what a year it has been. As a member of Reed’s COVID-19 Risk Assessment Working Group, I have been highly impressed with how the Reed community has prioritized health. Together, we prevented any COVID-19 outbreaks on campus, maintained a COVID-19 test positivity below one-tenth of one percent, navigated uncertainty and many policy changes, developed tools, and set a few ground rules. We adapted, and because of that, we thrived.

Looking to the future, I am encouraged by the progress we have made. Evidence demonstrates the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, even in light of emerging variants. Here at Reed, more than 80% of the entire Reed community is fully vaccinated, with additions made to this list every day. Infection rates remain low, with only two COVID-19 cases identified since March 1, 2021. We have found ourselves in a moment of relief—not to celebrate the end of the pandemic, but rather to enjoy a deep breath of cautious optimism.

While we may relish glimpses of the normal we knew before COVID-19, we still have work to do. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to surge in communities with low vaccination rates and, in response, public health officials have had to take a step back, reinstating face covering recommendations we’d hoped were a thing of the past. The pandemic has done more than cause infection and take lives: it has highlighted long-standing inequities, fractured connections, and eroded trust that will take time to heal and rebuild. Our next challenge—examining public health from a new perspective that goes beyond responding to a disease—requires working to identify and support all aspects of a healthy life for everyone.

In this endeavor, community is our greatest strength. Over the last year, we have found ways to keep one another safe while also respecting and nurturing different perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds. We can move forward by supporting one another in pursuing personal growth, forging relationships with new people, having challenging conversations, and finding common ground within disagreements. These values are part of our foundation and are what make Reed strong. In short, we’ve got this.

Below, Reed’s COVID-19 Risk Assessment Working Group shares important operational updates. These updates, and more information, can be found in our COVID-19 Prevention and Response Plan, or by reaching out to a member of the group at

With deep appreciation,

Madison Riethman, MPH, CPH
Reed’s COVID-19 Response Coordinator and Health Project Manager

Reed’s COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan Updates

Vaccination Status

The August 1 deadline for students to upload a copy of their complete COVID-19 vaccination record or valid exception to Reed’s Health and Counseling Center (HCC) Student Health Portal is fast approaching. All students are required to either be fully vaccinated for the 2021–22 academic year with a World Health Organization–authorized COVID-19 vaccine or to provide documentation of a valid exemption. As of today, approximately 77% of students have reported being fully vaccinated. Reed staff has been working diligently with students to assist with this process, and will continue to share reminders and additional information with those who have not yet complied with this policy.

We are pleased to report that 95% of Reed faculty and staff have been fully vaccinated, as verified by the college.

College Operations Safety Measures and Individual Responsibility

While most operations will be more in line with pre-pandemic operations, Reed will continue to follow cleaning, disinfecting, and ventilation recommendations.

Each Reed community member has an individual responsibility to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. At this time,* everyone on campus should carry a face covering and wear it when asked. Generally speaking, face coverings are welcome but not required on the Reed campus. Some exceptions apply:

  • If you are not fully vaccinated, you should wear a face covering in all indoor public places.
  • Following CDC guidance that states masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation, the college requires face coverings while traveling on Reed-provided group transportation. See Reed’s Risk Management website for additional Reed bus, van, and transportation use protocols.
  • Event and program managers have the right to require all attendees to wear face coverings indoors.
  • Faculty members have the right to require all students to wear face coverings during indoor classes.
  • Face coverings are required in the HCC and at the COVID-19 testing site.

*This week, Multnomah County Public Health issued new mask guidance that strongly recommends that everyone five and older (two and older, if tolerated) wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated. Additionally, the CDC issued new mask guidance that includes masking in public, indoor settings—even if you are vaccinated--if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.

Start of the Fall Term

For students living on campus, move-in to on-campus housing will occur during time slots on designated days, which students must sign up for in advance.

On July 15, we were thrilled to welcome back staff who had been working remotely.

Faculty, new students, and families are invited to the convocation on Monday, August 23 at 5 p.m. The ceremony will take place outdoors, and will be recorded for those who are unable to attend.

Classes begin on August 30.

New Students

New Student Orientation Week takes place from August 23 to 29. International students planning their arrival on campus for the first time are encouraged to attend International Student Orientation. Note: Sophomores who were remote last academic year have been invited to attend the new student orientation; confirmation of attendance must be received by

Orientation attendees should be prepared to wear face coverings, when designated.

Parents & Family

Move-in: Each student can bring two guests or family members to campus for move-in. To prevent crowding and promote physical distancing, one guest at a time is permitted to enter the residence hall with their student. Based on new CDC guidance this week related to mask-wearing indoors, we also ask that all family members bring a face covering to wear in designated areas.

Parent & Family Orientation is scheduled in coordination with the start of New Student Orientation.

Parent & Family Weekend is scheduled for October 29 and 30.

Info session: Parents are welcome to watch the June info session that was held for new students and transfer students, where Student Life and Reed's COVID-19 Response Coordinator covered the latest updates from the college. We also have a Resources for Students and Family Members section on the COVID-19 website.


Community members who have not submitted vaccination records to HR (faculty/staff) or the HCC (students) are required to test once during each week in which they will be on campus.

Additionally, any student who has not submitted documentation of full vaccination will be required to complete a COVID-19 test upon their return to campus. These students should obtain a molecular COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their arrival and share it with the HCC via the Student Health Portal. Reed will also have limited testing available on scheduled move-in days, although students utilizing this option will be required to quarantine while awaiting their test results.

Health Monitoring

Due to the high level of vaccination coverage, faculty and staff are no longer required to complete the Daily Health Check; however, everyone must continue to monitor for symptoms and to avoid close contact with other people when sick. All students should continue to complete the Daily Health Check before coming to campus or leaving their residence hall room each day.


As of June 1, 2021, Reed has reopened campus to the public; however, until August 15, 2021, most buildings remain closed to the public, with use restricted to current Reed students, faculty, staff, and approved visitors. Starting August 16, 2021, building access will be more in line with pre-pandemic operations. Some exceptions apply: Until further notice, the library and all sports center facilities, including the ski cabin, are only open to current Reed students, faculty, and staff.

In-Person Gatherings and In-Person Events

There are no longer capacity limitations for in-person gatherings, meetings, events, or classes; however, the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group must approve all in-person activities of 300 people or more.

Any campus facility use by groups or organizations must be approved through Reed’s conference and events planning (CEP) office. Events coordinated by outside organizations must also be approved by the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group.

Event program managers have the right to require all attendees to wear face coverings indoors.

Study Abroad

Students are able to study abroad in fall 2021, although the college has canceled any fall 2021 programs in countries with a State Department travel advisory at Level 4. Students are encouraged to work with Allison Blizzard, director of international programs, and their faculty advisor to find alternative options if their program is at Level 4.

Reed COVID-19 Dashboard

Since March of this year, the college has reported only two students, faculty, or staff members who tested positive for COVID-19 and had been on campus at least once in the 14 days prior to testing positive.

We recently modified the dashboard format to include relevant information on community COVID-19 transmission and vaccination rates, and we will continue to update this information weekly or as more data become available.