Article first appeared in Around the O on August 3.
In a continued effort to combat the pandemic and maintain safety protocols for the campus community, the University of Oregon has joined the White House COVID-19 Campus Vaccine Challenge.
The UO joins more than 800 universities across the nation striving to vaccinate all students, faculty members and staff by the beginning of fall term. As of July 28, nearly 68 percent of Lane County residents have received the vaccination.
The university’s participation in the White House COVID-19 Campus Vaccine Challenge is a continuation of collaborative efforts to reduce the virus and protect the campus community. Last spring, the campus launched the #CrushCovidChallenge, encouraging students to compete for prizes by completing online challenges that focused on COVID-19 related information and safe practices, and informing others of specific ways they were adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.
The UO is one of 13 Oregon universities that have committed to take the White House COVID-19 Campus Vaccine Challenge by engaging every student and faculty and staff member; organizing efforts to vaccinate the campus community; and delivering vaccine access to all.
With the announcement by UO President Michael H. Schill that all in-person classes and activities will resume for fall, the university continues to implement public health guidelines to make sure that the campus community is safe and prepared for fall term.
As announced in May, all faculty members, staff and students are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or request an exemption before fall term. The deadline to receive a final vaccination shot before fall term is Monday, Sept. 13.
“Requiring vaccinations is critical for public health,” Schill said in announcing the vaccination requirement. “It will help us to reach the highest level of protection possible, reduce infections, limit many of the disruptions of COVID-19, and safeguard the community we live in. It will also allow our campus community to return to the in-person and on-campus experience that is the cornerstone of academic success, student experience, and research innovation.”
Free COVID-19 testing continues to be available for all asymptomatic UO employees and students, as well as the Lane County community, and vaccinations are now widely available. The state provides information about how to find a vaccine. Walk-ins are now welcome at Lane County Public Health clinics, but appointments are still encouraged.
“Faculty and staff are required to complete the employee COVID-19 vaccine requirement process and upload their information,” said Deb Beck, executive director of University Health Services. “Students seeking an exemption or wanting to upload vaccination records should visit the University Health Services website and log into the myUOHealth portal to be included in state and university reporting, by no later than Sept. 13.”
The UO campus community can join the White House Covid Campus Vaccine Challenge in two ways: by uploading their vaccination status on the University Health Services site, or by encouraging others to do the same through sharing on social media and using the hashtags #WeCanDoThis and #COVIDCollegeChallenge.
Each week, those uploading their vaccination status or sharing the hashtags will be entered into drawings to win $50 in Duck Bucks. The sooner students upload their vaccine status, the more chances to win. To be eligible, students must upload their vaccination records or exemption to the myUOHealth portal by Sept. 12. The last drawing for Duck Bucks will take place Sept.13.
“The safety and well-being of the UO community is our No. 1 priority,” said Kris Winter, associate vice president for student life. “We must all come together in an effort to end this pandemic and allow students to return to a healthy and vibrant environment that fosters student success. Getting vaccinated will ensure that happens as soon as possible.”
To learn more, visit the White House COVID Campus Vaccine Challenge website.
—By Jenn Sims, Student Services and Enrollment Management