NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – University of Oklahoma administrators are limiting the university’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements and modifying its social distancing policy.
The requirements will be limited, beginning June 1, to “students, faculty and staff who have patient-facing responsibilities and those who request to volunteer, shadow or observe in patient care settings; and all those who elect to participate in study abroad programs,” according to an OU news release.
However, university officials “strongly encourage” all members of the OU community to get vaccinated, especially those residing in campus housing.
The new requirements will be in effect leading to the fall semester. Modifications to the policy will be announced.
“From the beginning of the pandemic, the health and well-being of the OU community has been our main focus and it will remain so,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “Based upon the information available at this time, we do not believe requiring vaccination for all of our students is necessary. While we’re not requiring widespread vaccination for our students, we do strongly urge them to consider being vaccinated if they haven’t already. There are two exceptions: we are instituting vaccination requirements for those who are interacting with patients and those who participate in our study abroad programs. We believe these requirements in certain university settings is both prudent and important.”
All three OU campuses will begin a phased modification of certain COVID-19 precautions in light of the planned resumption of in-person classes at regular capacity for the fall 2021 semester.
The university’s social distancing guidelines are also changing, moving to three feet from the six feet requirement in all areas except patient care settings and designated indoor eating areas, which will remain at six feet, according to the news release.
University officials also plan to incorporate new CDC guidance on reducing masking requirements for certain outdoor activities. Plans will be modified based on the pandemic’s status.
“As we approach a fully in-person semester this coming fall, we are carefully listening to the CDC and making adjustments to our mitigation strategies as appropriate,” said OU Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler. “We continue to advise all OU populations to be vaccinated and to wear a mask when indoors.”
All three OU campuses have COVID-19 vaccines available to all students, faculty and staff. Go to ou.edu/together/vaccine for more information about vaccine distribution at OU.
Visit ou.edu/together for further information and regular updates on OU’s COVID-19 response.