COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan


September 4, 2020

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

I write to you with our weekly update on the Indicators for Risk Assessment from the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group.

Campus Health: As of today at 3:30 p.m, we have identified one (1) new positive COVID-19 case since our weekly summary last Friday. Contact tracing was initiated within minutes of learning of the positive case. The college continues to track the number of COVID-19 cases on this web page. There are no students in isolation living on campus who have the virus. Our new surveillance testing program for students and staff who live on campus started this week. Between September 1 and the end of the day today, we conducted more than 600 COVID-19 tests for Reed community members, including 67 students, faculty, and staff who had high exposure to students during the arrival-on-campus period. All tests completed on Tuesday and Thursday came back negative, and the results were delivered to Reed within 24 hours. As a reminder, this week and next week we are testing students and staff who live on campus once a week. Starting the week of September 14, we will begin testing them twice a week, and we will begin our surveillance testing of community members who live off campus.

Public Health: On August 28, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced that Multnomah County made progress in reducing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and has been removed from the state's COVID-19 watch list. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) dashboard tells us that positive cases continue to be on the wane. Note that national holidays can lead to an uptick in cases among people celebrating in unsafe ways. This Labor Day weekend, we remind you not to let down your guard!

Community Compliance with Preventative Practices: Overall, community compliance with preventative practices was good this week. Our second weekly survey, which seeks to measure our on-campus community's adherence to important public health guidelines, was completed by 681 Reed community members. 92.8% of respondents reported observing people in shared spaces wearing face coverings properly most or all of the time; however, 26.7% of respondents reported observing people following physical/social-distancing guidelines only sometimes or half of the time in shared spaces on campus. Thus, we think there may be confusion regarding the expectations of community members in shared spaces, so we clarify below a few important points regarding face coverings and physical/social-distancing.

  • Face coverings are required outdoors when a physical distance of at least 6 feet is not possible.
  • Face coverings are required outdoors under the Earth, Wind, and Fire classroom tents.
  • Face coverings are not required outdoors when you can maintain a physical distance of six feet.
  • A cloth face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing. The means if you are wearing a face covering you still need to physically distance, outside and inside.
  • The plexiglass barriers that have been installed on each table in the Quad tents outside of commons provide a suitable substitute for 6 feet of distance as long as there is just one person on each side and the tables themselves are six feet or more apart from each other.
  • It is possible to sit six feet apart on Reed picnic tables if you and another person sit on either end of the length of the table. It isn't possible to sit more than two people at the picnic table at the same time while physically distancing.

This week, 903 community members on average completed the Daily Health Check, and 98% were issued a green GO message every day. Those who received a STOP message were quickly in contact with HR or the HCC. As a reminder, it is OK to ask anyone on campus to show you their GO message. Here is a way to politely ask: "For your health and safety, I want you to know that I have completed the Daily Health Check. Here is my GO message. For my health and safety, would you mind showing me your GO message?"

As of Thursday this week, 89% of campus community members have completed the COVID-19 Prevention and Policy Training.

Community safety reported that we continue to see a decline in the number of visitors on campus who have had to be reminded that the campus is closed. However, over a third of you reported having observed unapproved visitors on campus, and this will remain an area of focus for the community safety team. Please remember to contact dispatch to report these observations. Even if we cannot respond in time to interact with visitors, this will help us to be aware of the level of this concern. You may text dispatch at 503-849-8678 or call 503-517-5355.

Campus Capacity: We are pleased to announce that the college has hired a COVID-19 coordinator, Madison Riethman. Her first day is September 14. Madison will lead the implementation of strategies to reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 on campus, track the virus on campus, implement culturally responsive strategies to promote behaviors that create a healthy campus environment, and track official communication from local, state, and national public health officials. She will also implement strategies to ensure that community members receive relevant vaccinations and testing.

In this week's survey, 94.4% of respondents said they had adequate access to cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) on campus, and open-ended comments regarding where cleaning supplies and PPE are needed decreased by 50% from the week prior.


  • BE KIND AND REMIND: In last week's survey, many respondents asked for help figuring out how to tell someone to properly follow public health guidance like mask wearing. Public affairs wrote this article about the fine art of promoting preventive behavior at Reed.
  • PODS: In this week's survey, we received questions about the pod strategy that was implemented to support the college's efforts to curtail the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Pods were implemented this summer when first-year students registered for classes. Pods are groups of students who are enrolled in the same Humanities 110 section and one shared in-person course. The residential pods are dictated by building architecture subdivided by access to common areas (lounge, kitchen, and restroom) and hold 10--26 students each, although most are 10--14 students. Pods provide designated social groups or community units. While physical distancing standards are maintained, these pods are designed to allow for greater social interaction, particularly around academic endeavors. Because the sizes of a residential subdivision, a Humanities 110 conference, and, for example, an in-person lab section are not identical, some pod boundaries are not as tight as others. Students in the same pod still need to wear face masks and practice physical distancing in classrooms and residence spaces.

If you have questions, please send an email to the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group at

Mandy Heaton
Public Affairs
Reporting on behalf of the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group