COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan


screen capture of youtube video of President Bilger speaking

“I am pleased to share that we are returning to campus in the fall with a measured and flexible approach that provides a mix of in-person and online education. . . . our return to campus will require every community member to diligently follow new protocols to keep each other safe. The plan we have set forth incorporates public health regulations that we all must adhere to.”
Audrey Bilger, President

June 30, 2020

Dear Reed community,

The college has arrived at a critical stage of our planning efforts, and we are in the position to share initial plans for the fall semester. I am pleased to announce that we are returning to campus, with a measured and flexible approach that preserves many of the emblematic elements of a Reed education.

We arrived at our decision understanding that the threat posed by the virus is still very much with us, but we are now better prepared to face it. Our plans take into consideration our guiding principles and account for the fact that an inextricable component of maintaining community wellness is ensuring equity.

We all must prepare for a different kind of campus when we return in the fall. I am optimistic for our return, and that optimism arises from my belief that Reed is a community that asks, “What do I need to do to protect the most vulnerable among us?” It will take the vigilance and determination of the community as a whole to reduce the risk for all of us. We will need to ask daily, “What can I do to protect my fellow Reedies?”—and I know we are the type of community that already asks that question every day.

Below I highlight the critical elements of our plan; however, I urge you to read through all the information on our COVID-19 website. Our working groups have done an extraordinary job addressing critical issues, yet it is also important to emphasize that our plans will continue to be refined. We will provide several updates to this information before and during the week of July 13.

Academic Program: Faculty are working to structurally design their courses as either in-person or online in order to best maintain the strong student-faculty and student-student academic interactions valued in a Reed education. Within these broad categories, many of the in-person courses will include a remote-access option to accommodate students who cannot return to campus. Similarly, many of the online courses will include a local-access option to provide opportunities for smaller group discussion, studio time, and research projects. Faculty in each department have worked both to ensure that students can make progress toward their major and access courses required for distribution credit regardless of their physical location. Details related to the design of each course will be available to students prior to summer registration. Learn more

Academic Calendar: The calendar retains August 31 as the first day of classes and continues through the fall term without the standard fall break. All in-person instruction will end on November 20, the Friday before the week of Thanksgiving. Classes will resume remotely after Thanksgiving on Monday, November 30. Learn more

Academic Policies & Programs: Under the Academics and Classes section of our COVID-19 website, information can be found regarding class registration, academic advising, academic support, leave policies, grading, research, and how the college will handle the physical education and community engagement programs. Learn more

Training, Testing, Health Monitoring & Contact Tracing: Reed’s course of action for promoting a healthy community rests on a set of layers of prescribed public health measures, including a plan for required training, COVID-19 testing of all community members, daily check-ins on a health monitoring app, and contact tracing. Learn more

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 are required in all indoor public spaces, in compliance with state requirements. Reed will provide two cloth face coverings to students, faculty, and staff. Physical distancing is now part of campus culture; so is isolation when sick and quarantining upon exposure. Learn more

College Operations: Plans for stringent facility cleaning practices and air quality management are in place. The physical layout and capacity limits of rooms will be modified to reduce density. COVID-19 safety signage will be added across campus. Learn more

Visitors, Travel & In-Person Events: Following state guidance, the Reed College campus will be closed to the public starting August 3 to help limit the spread of COVID-19. College-funded travel and study abroad programs are restricted. There will be strict limits on the nature and size of gatherings on campus, in adherence to state guidelines. Learn more

Arriving on Campus: Students will be brought back to Reed in stages beginning in mid-August to allow for COVID-19 testing. Information about campus arrival dates will be sent to students in July. Students will be allowed to arrive on campus only during their assigned dates. Learn more

For staff and faculty, the college will follow guidance from the state of Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission regarding work on campus. Learn more

Student Housing: Our plan for opening residential housing follows guidelines developed by the CDC for congregate housing and significantly reduces housing density while setting aside beds for students' potential isolation in quarantine. We will reduce the population in residence from our full capacity of 1,130 beds to about 820. All rooms will be single. On-campus housing for first-year students, incoming transfer students, international students, sophomores, and students with on-campus housing as a disability-related accommodation will be prioritized.

In partnership with the academic program, Reed's residence life office is implementing a "pod" or cohort model as a risk-reduction measure for new students in some halls. More information about the pod model will be available in the coming weeks.

The college will limit who will be allowed on campus and in residence halls on move-in day. While Reed staff will be on hand to welcome students to campus and help them move in, we regret that friends and family will not be permitted in the residence halls.

Orientation: New Student Orientation will be a hybrid of online materials provided in early August and then a week of virtual live events and small in-person socially distanced gatherings. Parent & Family Orientation programs will be held fully online. Learn more

International Students: The college is sensitive to our international students’ needs and the challenges they may face in planning a return to campus. International Student Services (ISS) is available to offer guidance. Learn more

Student Information Sessions: Student life will host a series of virtual information sessions in July to discuss plans for fall 2020. Specific dates and information session topics will be announced soon.

Resources for Students & Family Members: We recognize this is a time where you are processing a great deal of information and numerous challenges. On the COVID-19 website, you will find a section for support resources, including information about how Reed is committed to supporting students and families who are experiencing financial difficulty or incurring additional expenses as a result of the pandemic. Learn more

Case Notifications & Reporting: The college will maintain a web page that provides information on COVID-19 positive cases on campus. The page includes information on when community members will be proactively notified of reported cases on campus. Learn more

COVID-19 Risk Assessment Working Group: I have established a new risk assessment working group chaired by Dean of the Faculty Kathy Oleson and Vice President of College Relations & Planning Hugh Porter. This group will continue to monitor health and adjust college operations accordingly. Learn more

I would like to thank the entire community for your vigilance during this pandemic and for your interest in the college’s plans. The kind of collaborative work in evidence this spring bodes well for our ability to manage and respond to new challenges as they develop over the summer and this fall. I look forward to seeing you all soon and to continuing to pursue the important educational work we do together.

Be safe and be well.



Audrey Bilger