President’s Office

President’s speeches, letters, and articles

Subject: Returning to Campus

May 21, 2021

Dear staff,

With students returning to campus in increased numbers in the fall, the college is beginning the process of bringing staff and faculty back to their workplaces on campus in order to be fully ready for the fall semester. We recognize that many employees are now working on campus and many others are currently transitioning back to working in their offices.

We expect that all offices will complete this transition by July 15. While we know work can be accomplished from home, we believe that it is best accomplished alongside each other and in the presence of our students. Reed remains a student-centered, campus-centered endeavor. As before the pandemic, occasional work from home can be authorized by department directors.

The president’s staff developed the following plan to transition back to campus safely in the context of ongoing transmission of COVID-19. This planning is based on our positive experience preventing virus transmission on campus in 2020–21 and recommendations from health authorities. College operations will follow OR-OSHA regulations that were created in May and that have been revised and extended. Given various new recommendations from public health authorities, these regulations have been updated and further changes are likely. The COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group (CRAG) will track updates and provide advice to college leadership on changes in college operations.

Due to individual medical circumstances, some employees may require accommodation to continue to work from home. If you believe that you may need medical accommodation, contact the human resources office to get started with an accommodations request.


  • The college will require students to be vaccinated, with exceptions allowed under Oregon law, including medical accommodations. We understand that we need to make accommodations under ADA and Title VII for those who request and receive exemption from this requirement.
  • CRAG is reviewing the best ways to encourage and support vaccination of faculty and staff.
  • We will soon announce a process to collect vaccination information from students, faculty, and staff.
  • Additional surveillance testing may be required for those who are not vaccinated.
  • We will post information on vaccination on Reed's Vaccine FAQ.

Workplace Density

  • Following recent announcements by the CDC, OR-OSHA, and Oregon Governor Kate Brown, the college will likely make adjustments to workplace density.
  • Large or more-crowded workplaces have been assessed to provide at least six feet of physical distancing between employees performing their regular work responsibilities and to minimize clustering of employees in spaces where distancing is not possible. April Sams, director of risk management and environmental health and safety, is coordinating assessments of workplace areas and making recommendations for modifications.
  • All staff with individual offices will be able to work on campus with the exception of those needing medical accommodations as noted above.
  • In rare instances where workplaces do not allow for required distancing, managers will create schedules and design operations to support remote work to reduce density.
  • While state guidelines are likely to allow changes, under current guidelines the space constraints of most workplaces will require that meetings larger than three or four people will need to be held in reserved large office spaces—which are not generally available—large classrooms, outdoors, or with video conferencing technology such as Zoom.

Testing and Contact Tracing

  • All staff working on campus are asked to participate in weekly surveillance testing, even when vaccinated. During the fall, the college will continue to offer testing on campus. Our surveillance testing programs for the fall will evolve based on public guidance and the college's assessment of what will be useful to maintain a safe working environment.
  • We will continue to follow up on positive test results and identify any close contact on campus in coordination with relevant county health authorities.

Face Coverings

Until further notice, face coverings are required on campus. It is likely that this guidance will change.

Daily Health Check

We continue to require all employees to complete the Daily Health Check every day before going to campus.

Support in Times of Illness

Through Reed's leave policies and health benefits, the college will continue to offer strong support for faculty and staff who face health challenges. These items remain prioritized in the college's budget planning completed this year. Given widespread vaccination, we will eliminate the use of the special category of C19 pay at the beginning of next fiscal year, July 1.

The COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group will continue their work and will be updating Reed’s COVID-19 Prevention & Response Plan with additional information about fall operations no later than June 15.


Audrey Bilger

Lorraine Arvin
Vice President & Treasurer

Mary James
Dean for Institutional Diversity & A.A. Knowlton Professor of Physics

Karnell McConnell-Black
Vice President for Student Life

Kathy Oleson
Dean of the Faculty & Professor of Psychology

Hugh Porter
Vice President for College Relations & Planning

Milyon Trulove 
Vice President & Dean of Admission and Financial Aid