Health and Safety Expectations for All Community Members
The health, safety and welfare of every member of our community is paramount. Having said that, none of us know the course that COVID-19 will take, and none of us can guarantee a COVID-19-free environment. It would be disingenuous to suggest otherwise.
Nonetheless, working together, we can minimize the risk of COVID-19 infections (or any other spread of disease) at LC. This is a shared responsibility. This means adhering to national, state, and local health guidelines and requirements, and adhering to those measures LC deems safe and appropriate for our campus. Please review the following expectations carefully.
All community members are expected to review and follow the Centers for Disease Control’s guidance regarding COVID prevention and the latest requirements from the Oregon Health Authority.
Our Spring Semester COVID Testing Approach (1/27/21)
Dear Lewis & Clark community,
As we navigate the ongoing pandemic, we want to share with you how we anticipate monitoring, mitigating, and managing COVID-19 in our community this semester.
After completing re-entry testing of 2,275 persons studying or working on campus, we can say that initial results are encouraging. Thanks to a mix of measurement and behavioral tools: PCR saliva testing, effluent testing, and enhanced social distancing measures, we’re seeing a positivity rate of just 0.26%. The half dozen positive cases with current campus impact are being managed through rapid isolation, contact tracing, and quarantine protocols, as well as support for those living in isolation or quarantine on the campus. We owe a great debt of gratitude to staff, faculty, and students who are working tirelessly to keep our campus as healthy as possible.
Although encouraging, these results cannot allow us to become complacent, especially given the pandemic’s overall trajectory and the recent emergence of new and more transmissible variants of the virus. We must all remain vigilant about maintaining personal health and safety best practices: wear your mask, wash your hands, maintain social distance. In addition, we are beginning the semester with a multi-pronged approach to testing.
Our testing approach is built on three pillars:
- Implement surveillance testing: Starting next week, the College will conduct weekly testing clinics for a sampling of persons on campus (e.g., a portion of on-campus students, off-campus students, employees in close contact with students).
- Continue effluent testing: Monitoring the wastewater leaving our residential buildings on campus serves as an additional indicator of the presence of virus on campus, an early warning system of sorts. It helps us watch for potential hot spots and will help inform decisions about who should be included in surveillance testing samples.
- Learn and adjust: If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that situations change quickly and we need to remain as flexible and nimble as possible. As we did in the fall semester, we will assess the facts and modify our approach as needed. We will monitor and consider the trajectory of the virus in the metropolitan area. And we will communicate with the campus quickly, regularly, and transparently.
As we work to keep our community safe and healthy, it is imperative that each of us do what is required of us, particularly when it comes to testing. When you are contacted to come in for a PCR saliva test, please do everything in your power to comply. Our approach is designed to be as efficient and sustainable as possible. Tracking down individuals who have not been tested is time-consuming and wasteful. This process goes well only if we all work at the same purpose.
We will continue to monitor the availability of vaccines and will continue to advocate for members of our community to be prioritized as the vaccine rollout moves forward. We know that widespread administration of vaccines is essential to our ability to return to normal.
In the meantime, please watch for and read promptly any emails about testing and respond to any calls you might receive regarding contact tracing. It is more important than ever that we work together to protect ourselves and our community.
Hand Washing and Health Etiquette
All members of the LC Community are expected to perform appropriate hand hygiene upon their arrival to campus and regularly throughout the day: washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60-95% alcohol. Show respect for your colleagues: cover coughs and sneezes with an elbow, or a tissue, especially when not wearing a mask. Tissues should be disposed of and hands washed or sanitized immediately. Please review this short video from the World Health Organization about how to protect yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19.
Face Coverings (revised 10/27/20)
Consistent with executive orders from Oregon Governor Kate Brown JD ’85, face coverings are required whenever indoors (other than in private areas of your residence hall or when alone in your own single-occupancy office) and in all areas—indoors or outdoors—where social distancing is difficult to maintain. Face coverings are required in classrooms, meeting rooms and the dining hall. Face coverings can be removed while eating or drinking. Cloth face masks are the preferred type of face covering. However, face shields can be used either (a) as a supplement to a face mask; or (b) when a face mask cannot be worn for equity or accessibility reasons. Use of a face shield alone should only be done on a very limited basis. Wearing a face shield alone without a mask or face covering increases the potential for transmission of viruses to those in the same room as the individual without the mask or face covering. It is recommended that wearing a face shield alone be limited to situations when wearing a mask or face covering is not feasible, such as: (a) when a person has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask or face covering; (b) when people need to see mouth and tongue motions in order to communicate (e.g., for communicating with children in certain developmental stages or people with hearing impairments); or (c) when an individual is speaking to an audience for a short period of time and clear communication is otherwise not possible.
The College will provide two reusable cloth face masks to all students, staff and faculty. Please review this short video from the World Health Organization about the proper use of cloth face masks.
Classrooms will be set up so that students and faculty can maintain a minimum of six feet of social distance between one another. The same will be true in the dining halls, student support buildings, and the student center. Plexiglass barriers are being installed in areas that require them for your protection.
Self-Screening (revised 11/19/20)
All members of the LC Community are responsible for a daily self-check for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to a campus. Individuals are to stay at their residence if they have COVID-19 symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms are as follows:
- Primary symptoms of concern: cough, fever or chills, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing
- Note that muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, nasal congestion, and runny nose are also symptoms often associated with COVID-19, but are non-specific.
- Emergency signs and symptoms that require immediate medical attention:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to awaken
- Bluish lips or face
- Other severe symptoms
- Those who have a chronic or baseline cough that has worsened or is not well-controlled with medication should stay at their place of residence.
More information about COVID-19 symptoms can be found on the CDC webpage.
Students with the symptoms identified above are expected to immediately self-isolate in their residence, complete the COVID Self-Check and Reporting Form (SCARF), available through the Health Information Portal; consult with a healthcare provider; and follow the directions of that healthcare provider. This consultation can be provided by Health Service staff between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. Anytime the Health Service is closed, students can access the Nurse Consultation Service at 1-844-915-2069. Students with symptoms need to follow the Guidelines for Self-Isolation.
Employees with the symptoms identified above are expected to stay at their residence and may not come to campus. Employees should notify their supervisor and/or HR, should seek medical advice from their regular health care provider or public health authority, and are expected to comply with the COVID-19 Monitoring, Isolation and Quarantine Plan for Lewis & Clark Employees, Academic Year 2020-21.
The College is currently planning to utilize a multi-pronged COVID-testing program in an effort to quickly identify the presence of the virus on the campus. This program may change in response to circumstances and medical advances. The testing plan includes:
Effluent Testing (updated 10/12/20)
Lewis & Clark has partnered with Clean Water Services to conduct sewer surveillance of the College’s residential facilities where doing so is feasible based on the configuration of residence hall sewer lines. Samples from sewer lines out of Akin, Alder, Copeland, East, Forest, Hartzfeld, Holmes, Howard, Manzanita, Odell, Platt, Roberts, Stewart, and West halls will be taken and analyzed regularly. The samples will be concentrated by filtration upon a negatively-charged 0.2 micron filter. The SARS-CoV-2 RNA will be extracted from the filter and detected using an established protocol of reverse transcriptase digital droplet polymerase chain reaction (RT-ddPCR) and reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) at the Oregon State University Gene Laboratory. As we learn more over time, we will continue to evaluate the efficacy of effluent testing and determine the frequency of monitoring.
If significant virus concentrations are detected, we will determine next steps based on the information available at the time (such as the viral concentration, the availability of other test results, etc.). Students may be required to isolate in their residential facility, and individual follow-up testing may be conducted using a combination of the College’s on-site and off-site resources.
On-Site COVID Testing for Symptomatic or Exposed Students (updated 9/28/20)
Lewis & Clark’s Health Service has received two Abbott ID-NOW testing instruments and test kits. These instruments will be used by qualified Health Services staff to conduct point-of-care (nasal swab) testing on students. These instruments generally provide same-day results. These instruments will be used primarily for the testing of symptomatic students or students who have come in close contact with an infected person. All students—including graduate and law students—have access to testing in Health Services if they are symptomatic or have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID.
Undergraduate Student COVID Surveillance Testing
It is an institutional expectation that all undergraduate students participate in surveillance testing. All undergraduate students studying on campus in Portland, with limited exceptions, will be tested in the Wellness Services COVID-19 Testing Clinic over the course of the first week of the semester, at no expense to students. These tests will be analyzed by an external laboratory, with results expected within 2 days. Should a student test positive, Wellness staff will notify public health officials, per Oregon law; reach out to ensure the student is supported into isolation; and collaborate with public health officials on contact tracing efforts. A positive test result may be disconcerting, but know that we will provide any student testing positive with support resources.
Surveillance testing will be done using a PCR saliva test. Students should familiarize themselves with this procedure prior to their test date by reading this testing consent form. (Students must bring their own pen with them on the testing date to sign the consent form.) If a student refuses to participate in this testing, they will not be allowed to attend in-person classes. If you wish to make this choice, please contact email@example.com.
We will determine the extent and frequency of subsequent testing as we learn more over time.
Employee Surveillance Testing (revised 1/14/21)
Employees (including staff from contracted vendors such as A&A, our custodial services provider, and Bon Appetit, our food services provider) who are expected to work on campus between January 15 and February 2, have been contacted via email about mandatory COVID-19 testing on either Friday, January 15, or Tuesday, January 19. Please see this FAQ for further information.
Testing for Symptomatic or Exposed Employees
Employees who are symptomatic or who meet OHA’s criteria for testing will access testing through their health care provider. The College provides health insurance to benefits-eligible employees through Kaiser Permanente. Information regarding COVID testing is available on Kaiser’s website. In addition, we have shared with the College community information from OHA about COVID testing locations in the state, which include an English language version and a Spanish-language version.
Positive Case Notification Protocol (updated 11/17/20)
In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our community, Wellness Services staff will be working to identify “close contacts,” who are generally only those who have been within six feet of the infected person for 15 minutes or more. Wellness staff will work with County Health Department personnel to notify anyone who is deemed at risk because of exposure as a “close contact,” whether the site of that contact was in a residence hall, a classroom, office, or elsewhere. Close contacts will be notified as soon as possible after the College becomes aware of the situation.
In addition to direct notification of close contacts, the College will notify employees and students on a particular campus (College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School and/or Law School) by email within 24 hours of becoming aware that a person with COVID-19 was on the campus when likely to have been contagious. This email notification will include a link to the COVID-19 Confirmed Cases Status Report for more detailed information.
Lewis & Clark follows Oregon and federal privacy laws, including the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Principal Investigators are responsible for making sure their research laboratories and facilities comply with applicable regulations; state, local public health, OHA, and HECC guidelines; and institution-wide expectations for the Lewis & Clark community as indicated on the these webpages. Prior to reopening an on campus laboratory for research activities or resuming fieldwork, each PI is required to submit a Research Reopening Application to their department chair for consideration. The department chair will make a recommendation to the SPARC Office, which will issue approval; the Dean’s Office will be consulted as necessary. In addition, students who will participate in research in each lab need to complete and sign a Return to Laboratory Research Agreement, which PIs will collect and keep on file. Research involving Human Subjects requires additional review and approval by the IRB. All activities should ensure appropriate physical distancing and limit the total person density on campus as much as possible. Non-essential travel is not allowed, and any permitted activities must be able to quickly transition to an earlier stage if required.
Public Access to Campus
Per the Governor’s Executive Order, campus spaces and buildings will be closed to the general public until applicable state restrictions are lifted. Libraries and recreation facilities that are ordinarily available to the public will be limited to members of the Lewis & Clark community only. Please review our Interim Policy Regarding Campus Visitors Policy During COVID-19 Pandemic for more detail.
In-person events and gatherings are limited to “mission-critical events” that are approved by the relevant dean or vice president and that can be conducted in a safe manner that complies with all applicable public health requirements. Events must be planned with care to limit potential exposure and spread of COVID-19. Event attendance is limited to those invited to participate in official College business and is not to be open to the general public. For more information, please see our Interim Policy Regarding Events During COVID-19 Pandemic.
Classrooms, residence halls, and dining spaces will be regularly disinfected. The campus cleaning schedule is being updated with enhanced disinfecting protocols, including electrostatic sprayers, and increased frequency in all campus buildings.
Heating, Air Conditioning and Ventilation (HVAC) Systems
Lewis & Clark continues to follow best practices regarding reduction of transmission. Person-to-person transmission via secretions like expelled aerosols and respiratory droplets remains the primary route of infection. Larger droplets tend to quickly fall to the ground close to the source, while smaller aerosols may linger and get carried further by air currents. These aerosols present a potential for transmission over distances further than the recommended six feet that social distancing provides, albeit at a diminished concentration. Any viral reduction benefits of HVAC strategies do not reduce the need for face coverings, regular handwashing, and social distancing as the primary means of reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Ventilation: Air handlers will be reprogrammed to draw 100% outside air during operating hours if feasible. While operating in this mode, all air from the space is exhausted to the outside, and no interior air is recycled. In those cases where this is not possible, air handlers will be turned off and passive sources of fresh air, such as doors and windows, should be used.
Filtration: All HVAC filters were recently replaced, and with upgraded filters if the system could accommodate them based on design. All air filters will be inspected and changed with increased frequency. To accommodate HEPA or similar filters campus systems would need to be redesigned and upgraded.
Sterilization: Ultraviolet technology cannot easily be installed in current campus HVAC systems. To do so would require redesign and replacement of large parts of the systems. This technology is currently not used in any LC buildings.
Water fountains on campus will be available for bottle filling only.