STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – Oklahoma State University’s president officially announced that the university will return to in-person classes this coming fall.
“Our campus leadership and COVID-19 Advisory Group are working on a variety of plans to ensure the wellbeing of our community remains paramount. The sweeping plans will consider classroom size, class structures and schedules, safety in student housing and protective methods for monitoring and maintaining our collective and individual health,” V. Burns Hargis said in a letter to OSU students, faculty and staff on Friday.
OSU officials moved all classes online in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
University officials will assess plans and timelines while closely monitoring “the state’s decline in COVID-19 cases.” They anticipate sharing detailed plans for the fall semester sometime this summer.
A phased reopening of the campus to employees and visitors will begin June 1.
Hargis said the university’s phased reopening is in accordance with the workplace opening date in the third phase of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s three-phase plan to reopen the state.
Functional areas of the university are working to make the campus a “safe and supportive” environment for employees and students to return to campus.
“This includes staggered department schedules for in-office work, surveying workspaces and classrooms for any social distancing changes, securing proper PPE, identifying cleaning protocols, setting limits on meeting size and educating our staff on how to work together safely and effectively,” Hargis said.
University officials will send all supervisors detailed guidelines and instructions for safely reopening their respective areas in phases, while considering the needs of employees with health concerns. Those guidelines and instructions will be sent within the next week, Hargis said.
Employees who worked on campus during the pandemic will continue to do so. Employees who have worked from home will generally continue to until June 1, subject to instruction from their supervisor, Hargis said.
“To be clear, this phased reopening plan depends greatly on the ongoing decline of COVID-19 cases in the Stillwater and surrounding areas. We will continue to seek guidance from health officials and will keep you updated on all return-to-campus plans,” Hargis said.
Hargis applauded OSU community members on their commitment to social distancing to help the campus community, City of Stillwater and the state prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We have come together as a Cowboy Family by staying apart and contributing to the fight against COVID-19 in countless ways,” he said.
But the diligence must continue, Hargis said.
“As we look to a future where we can come back together safely, we cannot let our guard down,” he said. “I ask you to remain diligent and support the protocols we will put into place for the successful reopening of our campus. Thank you for showing our state and the nation what it means to be the Cowboy Family.”