COVID-19 Updates: What we know

University suspends all in-person classes

By Madison Pfeifer | March 12, 2020 3:12pm
Image provided by CDC. Canva created by Claire Desmarais.

The University of Portland has announced that all in-person classes will move online starting March 18. The Beacon will be posting updates surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak here.

University Provost outlines how online learning will work

On Thursday afternoon, University Provost Thomas Greene sent an email to all undergraduate and graduate students outlining specific instructions for online learning. 

Students should routinely check their email and the University website for updates. Moodle, the University’s learning management system, will be used for online instruction. Some faculty members may use additional software tools like Microsoft Teams to interact with students.

Students will need access to a laptop, tablet or desktop computer in order to earn credit. Anyone who does not have access to one of these devices should contact their Dean’s office or the help desk at

During each class session, faculty members will post lectures or directions for the class on Moodle, along with other handouts, articles and more. Faculty members are required to record attendance during each class session by looking to see which students access Moodle by the time the normally scheduled class ends.

Students must complete class activities within the normal class session so attendance is recorded and credit can be given. Assignments will be submitted via Moodle or email. Faculty members will have office hours via email or telephone. 

Academic offices and centers will maintain normal hours if possible. The Clark Library will not be open for students to study but librarians and online resources are available. The library will post hours of operation for borrowing books and media. 

Advance Registration for fall semester 2020 will begin on March 23. Students can still register using their alternate pin, which must be obtained from their adviser. 

Greene’s email also included answers to frequently asked questions:

Are we going to have Commencement exercises?

At present, there are no plans to cancel the University’s Commencement exercises in May.

Will I graduate on time?

If you are current with the requirements for your degree before the beginning of this semester, and successfully complete this semester, you will graduate on time.

What should I do if there seems to be a problem with my course or faculty member?

Contact your Dean’s Office. 

When will face to face instruction resume? 

Information on resuming face to face instruction will be provided as appropriate. Please continue to check your email for further announcements.

Are Academic Buildings open to students?

If you have a specific meeting or reason to enter a building, then you may use card access.

Gov. Kate Brown announces new restrictions 

This Thursday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced new restrictions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Group gatherings over 250 people will be banned for four weeks. Brown’s office advised that all school-related group activities and gatherings should be canceled, but school closures are still a last resort. As of March 12, there are 24 cases in Oregon.

The new restrictions have affected many popular on-campus events such as Rock The Bluff, Weekend on The Bluff and Founders’ Day which have all been canceled. Additionally, smaller events and gatherings will be canceled or postponed until further notice. 

University of Portland suspends face-to-face classes

Thursday morning, University President Fr. Mark Poorman announced that the university would be suspending all on-campus classes starting March 16. There will be no classes Monday and Tuesday to allow faculty time to prepare for transitioning to online learning.

Students are encouraged to return home to permanent addresses for the time being but residence halls will remain open and on-campus dining will be available. 

All University-sponsored and/or reimbursed travel is canceled or postponed unless the Provost and/or a University Vice president grants an exception.

Senior nursing students still able to complete clinical work

Senior nursing students who are required to complete 180 hours of on-site clinical work for their capstone will still have the opportunity to complete those hours, despite the university moving to online learning. According to Capstone Coordinator Theresa Duda, as long as clinical facilities such as hospitals still allow for it, students can continue to work to complete their hours.

Student nurses are not permitted to care for patients in respiratory isolation or assist patients with symptoms related to COVID-19. Students will not receive COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) training. 

Public Research Fellows Symposium postponed 

The University of Portland’s Public Research Fellows Suffrage Centennial Symposium has been rescheduled to Aug. 28, according to an Eventbrite update from the organizers. The program was supposed to host a symposium of student fellows’ presentations, a roundtable with local women leaders, and a keynote address by Professor Brittney Cooper of Rutgers University. 

The Public Research Fellows program has organized programming throughout the 2020-21 academic year related to the centennial of U.S. women’s suffrage. The rescheduled date of Friday, Aug. 28 falls during the week of the actual U.S. suffrage centennial, the organizers wrote. 

Beauchamp Recreation and Wellness Center closed until further notice

In an email sent to Beauchamp staff, Recreation Operations Program Manager Kaitlin Bourne informed staffers that Beauchamp will be closed until further notice, starting March 12. Deep cleaning of the facility will be done, but a reopening date hasn’t been determined. 

A sign was posted outside the Beauchamp entrance as well to notify community members. 

Maddie Pfeifer (News and Managing editor), Claire Desmarais (Editor-in-Chief), Austin De Dios (Reporter) and Dora Totoian (Opinion Editor and Reporter) contributed to this story.