Jan 11: An Update on Our Return to Campus

The following message was sent to the University of Portland community on January 11, 2022.

Dear UP Community Members,

As we begin our second day of classes, I write to you, first, with a word of gratitude. I am grateful to students for following our health and safety protocols as they have returned to campus. I am grateful to staff and faculty for pivoting to a modified operating status for the start of our semester. And I am grateful to all in our UP community for the flexibility and goodwill you have demonstrated.

Temporary Online Instruction to Continue from January 17-21

We remain resolute in our goal: a safe, successful, and in-person spring semester. The online learning measures we have implemented to start the academic term are temporary and we have no intention of continuing widespread online learning any longer than necessary. As we demonstrated last fall, it is possible for the UP community to navigate the challenges of COVID and succeed in an in-person format. We intend to build upon our successes from last semester.

While we had hoped to return to in-person learning this coming Monday, I announce today that online learning will continue for the week of January 17 through January 21. (Since Monday is a holiday, this means for four more days.) I know that many will be disappointed to hear this news. I share in this disappointment. Ideally, we would be able to wait until after the completion of all post-arrival testing of students to make this determination. However, in order to allow for our community to prepare for another week of remote learning, we feel that making this announcement today is prudent. We made this decision after conferring with University, Academic Senate, and ASUP leadership and health professionals on campus, and we note that this approach is consistent with the actions of many other higher education institutions.

Continuing online instruction for another week is intended to help us return to in-person instruction in a safe and lasting way. Extending online learning for another week means that students who test positive during post-arrival testing this week will likely be able to complete their isolation period without missing an in-person class. Further, because we anticipate some COVID positivity in our community once our post-arrival testing begins tomorrow, keeping classes online will likely reduce the number of class absences we can expect in days to come. Also, with each passing day, more and more members of our community receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster. We hope to return to in-person instruction as soon as possible, likely on Monday, January 24.

Post-Arrival Testing

I also take this opportunity to ask all students to comply with our post-arrival testing program beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, January 11. Students have received information from the Student Affairs Division on how our program will operate. It is vitally important that students participate in this process, promptly and honestly report their results, and remain with us in Portland so that the testing program serves its purpose. Doing so will help us return to normal operations as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

As we move forward with hope, we will be in regular contact with community members to provide further updates. Once again, thank you for your understanding, flexibility, and commitment to a safe, successful, and in-person semester.

Sincerely,
Herbert

Herbert A. Medina, Ph.D.
Acting President
Provost