NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – As many businesses and schools have closed across the country to slow the spread of COVID-19, officials at the University of Oklahoma say they are taking additional measures to protect students and staff members.
On Wednesday night, OU announced that it would be transitioning to online courses throughout the rest of the semester.
Students enrolled at OU Health Sciences Center programs have received direct communications from their colleges about online instruction and modifications to clinical and community-based instruction.
When it comes to graduation ceremonies, officials say the ceremonies are postponed.
” We are actively exploring ways we can honor our graduates and their achievements at an appropriate time. This will likely look very different, perhaps even virtual, with an opportunity to participate in an in-person ceremony when it is safe to do so. We hope to reschedule these events for later in the summer, and we will communicate updates as we have them,” a note from Interim OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. read.
At this point, all in-person events with greater than 10 attendees on all three OU campuses are suspended until at least May 11.
“Our decision is based on recommendations from the CDC and our state and national leaders. This restriction includes events that are not University-sponsored as well, including conferences, symposia, and social gatherings. This does not preclude small internal meetings, where social distancing should be the touchstone. The OU Athletics Department has suspended all athletics competitions, as well as all out-of-season practices and workouts, until further notice,” the notice read.
As far as on-campus housing goes in Norman, officials say they will have a “reduced occupancy model” for the remainder of the spring semester with the exception of Kraettli and Traditions apartments.
“Certainly, students who have no other housing option will remain in on-campus housing, and we are committed to assisting all residents, including our international student community, in every possible way. On-campus housing residents can expect to receive specific information from OU Housing in the coming days. Regrettably, the rapid pace of this unfolding crisis does not allow us to have the answers for all questions at this time. We will, however, address all questions as quickly as is possible,” the letter read.
OU officials say employees on all three campuses are encouraged to telecommute as much as possible. On the Norman campus, all supervisors should institute telecommuting plans for staff through the end of the spring semester.
“COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge, but I’m confident as ever in the OU community’s ability to navigate the coming days with care, wisdom, and a collective resolve. My profound thanks go to all our students, faculty, staff, and residents for your patience and understanding,” Harroz said.