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Oregon Governor Orders Colleges To Move Online, Keeps Dorms Open

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has ordered all public colleges and universities to move to online learning through April 28.

In an executive order, Brown prohibited in-class interactions but allowed schools to keep open "critical functions," such as dining services and dormitories.

That allows students with nowhere else to go to stay at school, while attempting to limit their interactions with students, faculty and campus workers. She told schools to implement social distancing practices on campus facilities that stay open.

Southern Oregon University issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying the school's Ashland campus would be open only to staff, faculty and students starting Saturday. All instruction will be delivered remotely during the spring term, through at least April 28. Dorms and dining facilities will remain open, but meals will be available only on a take-out basis. SOU last week cancelled all public gatherings, including sports, theater and music events. Employees have been instructed to work from home except for those essential functions that can't be performed remotely. Details and updates are available here.

Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls has put similar policies in place, but extended remote instruction through the entire spring term, ending June 12. OIT also has a web page with more details and updates.

Neither university has made a public decision on graduation ceremonies, now scheduled for mid-June.

The governor's order is also consistent with the direction that University of Oregon and Oregon State University – the state's largest residential universities – had been taking, but backs them with the governor's authority. Those public universities have been administering final exams this week, and taking steps to maintain the key priority of "social distancing" to limit coronavirus contagion.