According to the Oregon Health Authority, there are currently 548 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Oregon, with 13 fatalities as of March 30, 2020. Due to increasing numbers of confirmed cases in the United States and Oregon, Multnomah University is taking proactive measures to ensure the safety of its campus and educate members of the Multnomah community regarding prevention. The leaders of Multnomah University have been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and the local and global responses to this new disease. The University will continue to release pertinent information as it becomes available.
This page contains all current and previous decisions regarding COVID-19, news updates, CDC information on the crisis, preventative measures, and answers to important questions about our day-to-day operations. Please review the decisions and scroll for more information and helpful links.
The Latest News
Beginning ASAP or no later than noon on Friday, March 20th and continuing through March 30th at the earliest:
- The campus will be closed to everyone except essential personnel required to work on campus and campus residents who were not able to relocate.
- If you are a campus resident who can relocate, we highly recommend that you do so as soon as possible.
- Essential personnel required to work on campus will be informed by the President’s Council Member in their area, Eric Linman, or Josh Harper.
- All other employees will begin to work remotely immediately and will not return to campus until March 30th at the earliest.
- No commuter students will be allowed on campus.
- At noon on Friday, the library will close completely.
- The Dining Hall will remain open for remaining residential students and employees required to work. New measures on food distribution may be implemented to safeguard the community.
- The Dining Hall will be closed entirely March 23rd-29th for spring break.
- All vehicular, campus entrances will be locked down. Please call Campus Safety if you have permission to enter or leave campus.
- We have added personnel staffing for Campus Safety.
- All campus residents are asked to remain in your place of residence unless you are seeking food or medical attention.
- We ask all professors to extend the due dates for assignments, etc. until at least April 3rd
- The food pantry in the Den will only be open from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Monday through Friday. To enter, please call (503) 974-4294. The food pantry will only be available to residential students.
- For commuter students who are food insecure, please contact Student Life at (503) 251-5311 or email@example.com for their list of food resources in the area.
Multnomah University employee COVID-19 test results were inconclusive. The employee is no longer displaying symptoms and isolated at home. While it is not clear what the employee had, we are relieved that symptoms ceased and we have not received word of any other COVID-19 tests among our faculty, staff, or students.
If you start experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, please call your healthcare provider immediately and self-quarantine. If you are a campus resident, please inform your RA or Campus Safety after seeking medical attention.
Beginning March 16th:
- We will teach all classes remotely for the remainder of the semester.
- All on-campus and off-campus MU events will be canceled for the rest of the semester.
- Any international travelers planning to come to campus before the end of the semester should cancel their trips.
- Students will not have an extended spring break since we move to teach remotely. Students will have spring break March 23rd-27th.
- All university-related international travel and nonessential business-related travel are canceled.
- Housing and the dining hall will remain open for athletes, employees, and students staying in the dorms.
- All who live on campus are encouraged to go home if they are able.
- The entire campus is closed to the public and outside guests.
- All buildings will be locked ASAP. Only students and employees will be allowed to enter. Contact Campus Safety if you need to enter a building and don’t have a key.
- Social-distancing of three to six feet will be expected of everyone.
- All group meetings should occur remotely unless meeting in person is essential. Please maintain social distancing.
- Graduation is canceled and all spring semester graduates will be encouraged to participate in our December 2020 graduation ceremony.
- All spring sports have been canceled by the NAIA, including practices.
- All the offices are closed.
- All buildings will be locked down.
- The Library will be closed.
- The Gym will be closed entirely.
- If you must work during this extended time off, you will be granted paid time off later. Discuss this with your supervisor.
- Faculty, staff, and students who travel outside of the Portland metro area must fill out our travel form.
- Faculty, staff, and students who travel to an area highly impacted by COVID-19 must self-quarantine for 14 days. Students living on campus will have meals brought to their rooms.
- We will establish a quarantine area for all students who become ill or who are confirmed with COVID-19.
- Employees who have any cold-like symptoms must stay home and self-quarantine until you have been completely symptom-free for at least 24 hours.
- Residential students who have any cold-like symptoms will need to self-quarantine and alert Student Life personnel. You may be moved to a designated quarantine area.
- If we have a COVID-19 case on campus, we will follow the requirements given to us by the local public health authorities.
- Sick employees should use their accrued sick leave first. Talk to your supervisor about further accommodations if you run out of sick time.
- If new information requires us to make additional changes, we will inform you ASAP.
- We will address all questions about refunds, regarding both housing and tuition, after the semester ends.
- We are implementing our Crisis Communication procedures. Institution-wide emails or communication with the press are designated to those who speak for MU which includes only: Austin Davis, Alin Vrancila, Gina Berquist and Craig Williford. Thank you for understanding the need to speak consistently on these issues.
Appreciation from the Board of Trustees
The Multnomah University Board of Trustees is unified in its appreciation for the impressive response to COVID-19 by Craig and his administration, the faculty, and staff of Multnomah. What we face is unprecedented. What we have at our disposal is manifold. We are, first and foremost, faithful. We know we can count on wisdom and guidance received through prayer for necessary actions. Using all available resources like the CDC we have excellent, skilled, educated personnel who are informed and prepared to make appropriate and responsible decisions on behalf of all Multnomah stakeholders, including students, and those who might be affected by us. We must stand together and represent our decisions uniformly knowing that, because what we face is largely unknown, adjustments will be necessary. Our patience and optimism greatly enhance the probability of success in responding to the crisis. Please express your support and appreciation for those working tirelessly to protect Multnomah from an indiscriminate, invisible threat. We will be proud one day to look back on this experience and the way we handled it.
Chair, Board of Trustees at Multnomah University
What is Coronavirus (Via the CDC)?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2”, and the disease it causes has been named “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”). COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. COVID-19 was first detected in China and has now been detected in 60 locations internationally, including in the United States.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure, and can include:
- Shortness of breath
There is currently no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
What does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend?
- “Everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
- It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
- If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure.
- If you are a resident in a community where a person-to-person spread of COVID-19 has been detected and you develop COVID-19 symptoms, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms.
- For people who are ill with COVID-19, but are not sick enough to be hospitalized, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness.
- If you have been in China or another affected area or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity for up to 14 days. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow the spread of this virus.”
How can I stay healthy during cold & flu season (Via the CDC)?
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. As a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well should wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Per the CDC, it is currently flu and respiratory disease season. Many people will experience flu-like symptoms. Do not panic. If you do feel sick or begin to show signs of an upper respiratory virus, or coronavirus (specifically if you or someone you have been in contact with has recently traveled to infected areas), we ask that you stay in your residence and seek medical attention. It is recommended to call medical professionals in advance to notify them of your symptoms. We also ask that you notify Campus Safety at firstname.lastname@example.org to support the wellness of the campus overall. For support taking medical leave, students can contact Christy Martin, Associate Dean of Academic Success at email@example.com. Staff can reach out to Tracy Moreschi, HR Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How is Multnomah University responding?
President Dr. G. Craig Williford has designated Josh Harper, Chief of Campus Safety, as the Incident Commander for Multnomah University. As such, Mr. Harper has full authority over Multnomah University’s response to any and all threats to the university, including the growing concern regarding the Coronavirus.
In response to the current situation, the following actions are being taken:
- The University Emergency Operations Plan and Response Plans have been reviewed and the university is in Activation Level: Partial, which includes institutional communication, proactive prevention, and inventory of resources.
- Multnomah University’s Incident Commander will be meeting with Directors and Chiefs of Campus Safety Departments from as many as 26 institutions to assess the situation and glean from each other regarding how to best address the situation in higher education.
- Multnomah University’s Incident Commander has met with representatives from other Emergency Management Agencies, including communication with Governor Brown’s task force regarding the Coronavirus.
- Hand sanitizer stations around campus will contain sanitizers that kill 99.9 % of germs and are sufficient to neutralize viruses.
- The university requests that all students, faculty, and staff report any travel outside of the Portland Metro area to student Life and Campus Safety via this fillable form.
Will spring break be affected?
- Students will not have an extended spring break since we move to teach remotely. Students will have spring break March 23rd-27th.
- March 23rd-27th all offices will be closed on campus unless information requires us to close earlier.
- Staff will return to their offices on March 30th unless future information requires us to close the entire campus for that week.
- Supervisors discuss with student employees your expectations/work schedules for spring break.
- During spring break, we may implement deep cleaning procedures.
- Housing and dining hall will remain open for athletes, employees, and students staying in the dorms.
Is Multnomah going to cancel university-related trips?
Yes, all university-related international travel and nonessential business-related travel are canceled.
Is Multnomah going to cancel classes?
Effective March 16, 2020, all classes will be taught remotely. We will not teach any in-person classes for the remainder of the semester. If the situation escalates, students, faculty, and staff will receive communications with further instructions and cancellations. The university will follow the CDC and State Department advisories regarding any future cancellations.
Is Multnomah going to cancel events?
Yes, all events are canceled, including:
- Multnomah Community Chapels held on Thursdays are canceled. There will be no chapel attendance requirement for the spring 2020 semester.
- The Global Mission Conference is canceled.
- The Athletic Banquet is canceled.
- Our graduation ceremony, including all events related to graduation, are canceled.
The following will continue as planned:
- We plan to teach out the semester remotely.
- All students who are eligible to graduate this spring will be able to do so.
- Online registration for Fall 2020 will continue as scheduled.
If the situation escalates, students, faculty, and staff will receive communications with further instructions and cancellations. The university will follow the CDC and State Department advisories regarding any future cancellations.
What if I’m planning to travel overseas during spring break?
Please see the CDC’s travel advisories regarding specific countries here. The University requests that all students, faculty, and staff report any personal, international travel to Student Life and Campus Safety via this fillable form.
What is Multnomah’s plan moving forward?
Multnomah University’s President’s Council and Emergency Preparedness Committee, in partnership with the Incident Commander, will be monitoring this situation closely. The health and safety of Multnomah students, faculty, staff, and community are of the utmost importance. All decisions will be made prayerfully and in agreement with CDC and State Department advisories.
For questions about Multnomah’s response to COVID-19, please contact:
- Josh Harper, Chief of Campus Safety, at email@example.com
- Austin Davis, Public Information Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org
This situation is constantly changing. This webpage will be updated once a week with new numbers and information until the threat has subsided.
For more current information regarding COVID-19 worldwide, please visit cdc.gov. or Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases Map by Johns Hopkins CSSE.