University of Portland put on essential personnel status after possible COVID-19 exposure to employee’s loved one

By Madison Pfeifer | March 18, 2020 11:51am

The University of Portland has moved to essential personnel status after the loved one of an employee who works in Waldschmidt Hall may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Media Credit: The Beacon / The Beacon

A “loved one” of a University of Portland employee who works in Waldschmidt may have been exposed to COVID-19, according to University President Fr. Mark Poorman. He made the announcement via an email sent to all faculty and staff shortly before 10 a.m. when he also called for the University to move to “essential personnel status” across all of campus which means most UP employees will work remotely.

Below is the entirety of the email.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I write with an important announcement on our University’s continued operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This morning, we were informed that a University employee’s loved one may have been exposed to COVID-19. This exposure has not yet been confirmed. The subject University employee works in Waldschmidt Hall. Out of an abundance of caution, we have closed the first floor of Waldschmidt Hall and other selected areas for deep cleaning.

The University will today move to essential personnel status across the entire campus. Online instruction will continue as planned. 

All faculty and staff should closely monitor their UP email addresses for additional information about this very fluid situation. Any staff who have questions should direct them to Human Resources. Any faculty with questions should direct them to the Provost’s Office.

I am holding you and your loved ones in my prayers today, as are the members of the Congregation of Holy Cross here on campus. I ask that you pray for all who have been impacted by this pandemic, for our leaders and healthcare professionals, and for our UP community.


Father Mark

Stay tuned to The Beacon for further developments.

The Beacon has created a Facebook group for current UP students who are “navigating the new normal” amidst uncertainty. The page is a place for students to share thoughts, concerns, experiences and more while they adjust to remote learning.

Maddie Pfeifer is the News and Managing Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at