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COVID-19 Ongoing Response

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.

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

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. In addition, face shields may be worn by faculty, in lieu of a face mask, while teaching, if doing so better allows students participating remotely to hear the faculty member or otherwise better allows students to participate fully in the class, provided that six-feet of social distancing is maintained by the faculty member. Other classroom exceptions may be permitted by the relevant dean if necessary to address equity or accessibility issues, provided that six-feet of social distancing is maintained.

Any student seeking an accommodation related to this requirement due to a disability must contact Student Support Services. Any employee seeking such an accommodation must contact Human Resources.

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.

Social distancing

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.


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.

We are considering a self-assessment checklist or phone app to assist with daily self-screening and will share more information as it is available.

Students with the symptoms identified above are expected to immediately self-isolate in their residence, consult with a healthcare provider, and follow the directions of that healthcare provider. This consultation can be provided by the Health Service. Anytime the Health Service is closed, students can access the Nurse Consultation Service at 1-844-915-2069. Students with symptoms will need to follow the COVID-19 Monitoring, Isolation and Quarantine Plan for Lewis & Clark Students, Academic Year 2020-21.

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 care and COVID-19 testing 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.

COVID-19 Testing

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 Health Service 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.

We expect that the vast majority of the student body will test negative. For that reason, we will only be notifying students of their results if students test positive. 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.

The testing that will be done is a PCR saliva test. Students should familiarize themselves with this procedure prior to their test date by reading this testing consent form and the fact sheet. (Students must bring their own pen with them on the testing date to sign the consent form.) It is an institutional expectation that all undergraduate students participate in surveillance testing. 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

We will determine the extent and frequency of subsequent testing as we learn more over time.

Employee Testing

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 9/16/20)

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. Unless you were in close contact with the person who tested positive, you will not be notified. Lewis & Clark follows Oregon laws and federal privacy laws, including the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Research Labs

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

Water fountains on campus will be available for bottle filling only.