COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan


aerial photo of the Reed front lawn looking north

“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, President
October 2020

October 28, 2020

Dear students, parents, faculty, and staff,

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.

Reed students have demonstrated resilience in the face of uncertainty and an impressive commitment to following the protocols that keep fellow community members safe. Faculty members, in their dedication and willingness to make necessary modifications to the academic program, have fulfilled Reed’s central promise to deliver a robust and engaging educational program. Staff have supported this program and students’ success by implementing critical initiatives from technology to cleaning to testing. Our operational plan has worked to date because of these collective, collaborative measures, and together, we will be able to forge ahead.

Below are critical elements of Reed's spring plan. While we plan for these operations, we continue to monitor the indicators for risk assessment. We will quickly inform the community of any changes and post updates to the news & announcements page of our COVID-19 website.

Academic Calendar: The first day of classes for the spring semester will be January 25, as previously scheduled. All in-person instruction will end on April 9, and spring break has been moved to April 12–16. Classes will resume remotely after spring break, and final exams will be held May 10–13. Seniors will be able to continue necessary thesis work on campus following spring break, and thesis orals may be held in person. Learn more

Academic Program: With insights gained from the fall, faculty have designed their courses as either in-person or online to best maintain the strong student-faculty and student-student academic interactions valued in a Reed education. 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 discussions, studio time, and research projects. Learn more

Testing: An essential component of our on-campus plan is our COVID-19 testing capacity. Currently, we have the ability to conduct upwards of 1,700 diagnostic and surveillance tests per week. This fall, all Reed community members who accessed campus and engaged in person with others were included in the college’s routine testing practices as appropriate for their individual level of risk. Details of the fall 2020 testing strategy can be found here.

These testing practices will continue through spring 2021. All community members who wish to take part in in-person, on-campus activities will be tested at the start of the semester, and routine surveillance testing will be conducted throughout the term. Further details on the spring 2021 testing strategy and requirements will be shared with the Reed community prior to the start of the semester.

Individual Responsibility: All members of the Reed community are expected to follow the protocols outlined in the Reed College COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan and to fulfill specific individual responsibilities. These responsibilities include participation in training, testing, health monitoring, and contact tracing. An updated COVID-19 Prevention and Policy Training will be issued prior to the start of the spring semester. Additionally, all students who plan to access campus in the spring will be required to sign an updated agreement that outlines prevention expectations.

Visitors, Travel & In-Person Events: Following state guidance, the campus will continue to be closed to the public. College-funded travel and study abroad programs are restricted. If Multnomah County, where Reed resides, remains in phase one, we will continue to limit indoor events to 25 people, indoor social get-togethers to 10 people, and outdoor events to 50 people. Learn more

Start of the Spring Term: All students, faculty, and staff who will be on campus in the spring will be asked to complete a COVID-19 surveillance test at the start of the semester. Tests will be offered January 14–15 and January 20–21.

Students are asked to complete a 14-day home quarantine period prior to their return to campus and must quarantine until they receive a negative test result. Those who live on campus will be required to arrive in phases in order to allow time for testing. Students living off campus will not be allowed to participate in on-campus activities until they have received a negative test result. Electronic access to campus buildings may be suspended for students who fail to meet testing requirements.

Employee work plans will be determined by departments and remain in alignment with public health regulations. Learn more

Student Housing: Living on campus can help students feel more connected to the campus and the Reed community. From a public health perspective, Reed has the capacity to offer single-occupancy options to all students residing in residence halls and houses. Students who do not currently live on campus but are interested in on-campus housing for the spring semester are encouraged to submit an interest form. New housing assignments for the spring will be finalized by the end of the fall semester.

In March, there will be an application process available for students, including seniors, who need to remain on campus past April 11. Seniors approved to remain on campus may stay through Commencement (see below).

Students who currently live on campus are not required to remove belongings from their rooms if they intend to return for spring semester; however, we recommend that students take essential items home with them.

Resources for Students & Family Members: During the week of November 9, 2020, Reed will host spring term information sessions for students and their families. These sessions will address academics (e.g., registering for spring classes, course formats, finals, thesis, and senior celebrations); COVID-19 guidelines for returning to campus in the spring; student engagement programming; how to plan for summer; and more. The sessions will be recorded and added to the resources for students and family members page. To participate in an information session, click on one of the following links.

Wednesday, November 11, at 5 p.m. PT
Thursday, November 12, at 1 p.m. PT

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

Paideia: Paideia will be held virtually this year. It will start on January 16, 2021, and the online format will allow more students, faculty, staff, and alumni to participate. Alisa Chen ’21 and Hellie Smith ’22, student Paideia czars, are leading Paideia planning; they will send out a call for applications to teach classes in November.

Commencement: It is our goal to have a ceremony that honors our seniors and their remarkable achievements. The college plans to host an in-person commencement ceremony for our graduating seniors on Monday, May 17, as previously scheduled. The college has confirmed with the state of Oregon that an in-person commencement is considered a gathering and is subject to statewide gathering restrictions. This means that even if Multnomah County advances to phase two by May, the college would only be able to host 100 people maximum. Therefore, spring 2021 Commencement will likely consist of in-person and virtual components. Graduating seniors will be invited to attend Commencement in small in-person segments, and families and guests will be invited to attend virtually.

We recognize that questions about Reed’s spring semester plan will arise over the course of the coming months. Please don't hesitate to contact the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group with questions.

Reed’s educational work is critically important, both for students at significant junctures in their lives and their studies and for faculty pursuing valuable intellectual work. Thank you for your dedication to Reed’s mission during this challenging time.

All my best,


Audrey Bilger