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Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

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Coronavirus Updates and Resources

The following guidance applies to the period during which in-person instruction and campus events are suspended, currently through May 11, 2020. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We currently anticipate no significant disruption in the application submission or review process. All official documents can still be received by Graduate Admissions via mail or electronically. Application review by academic units may be delayed by a few days in some cases.

We recommend submitting credentials electronically if possible, though we are able to receive regular mail and deliveries from DHL, FedEx, UPS, etc. Information about how to submit credentials is available here.

Email gradadm@ou.edu with other questions.

Graduate College staff are working, but our physical office is closed. Please email your Graduate College Academic Counselor or gradinfo@ou.edu if you have questions. Paper forms can be scanned or photographed and delivered via email.

For all paper forms, the Graduate College will accept a scanned copy sent to your Graduate College Academic Counselor with scanned signatures or indication of approval from an OU email address. If you don’t have access to a scanner, you can take a clear picture of each page with your phone.

Yes. Non-thesis exams, qualifying exams, general exams, prospectus defenses, annual evaluations, thesis/dissertation defenses, or other similar milestone events must be conducted remotely. Zoom should be used for events that involve oral discussion. The normal Graduate College approval for remote participation will not be required.

Defenses should be public. The Zoom meeting information can be shared with faculty and graduate students in the academic unit as well as other interested parties such as the candidate’s family and friends.

All committee members should participate. For absences, the current policy will apply (see Graduate College Bulletin sections 7.2.5.3 (master's thesis), 7.3.1.4 (master's non-thesis), 8.5.2 (general exam), and 8.7.3 (dissertation defense). 

If you have any questions about these policies, please email gradinfo@ou.edu.

You may wish to review this overview of Zoom’s meeting participant controls. We recommend the following:

  • Set the Zoom meeting to mute participants’ audio on entry.
  • Have all committee members’ phone numbers on hand in case anyone has trouble with their Zoom connection; they can join via speakerphone. 
  • Have a private Zoom meeting ready for the committee to join for their deliberations immediately after a thesis or dissertation defense. 
  • For general exam orals, use the place attendee on hold feature during committee deliberations. 
  • Do a test run to make sure everything is set up correctly. 

More information about Zoom, including how to request support, is available here.

Yes. Faculty have been asked by the Office of the Provost to work with students who need to return to their home countries to facilitate remote completion of their coursework. If you have plans or are making plans to return home, please contact your ISS advisor. If you live on campus, please also contact Luis Salvatierra.  If you are a graduate assistant, please see the next question and also contact Robyn Rojas.

If you are a graduate teaching assistant (GTA), your duties may change. You should still be working the same number of hours (20 hours/week for a .5 FTE appointment; 10 hours/week for a .25 FTE appointment). Please discuss remote work arrangements with your supervisor. Departments are required to track which employees are working remotely. If you are teaching your own class, visit the OU Teach Anywhere site for resources. If you need access to technology to do your work, discuss with your supervisor. 

All non-essential research activities that require access to OU facilities or field work are discontinued effective Mar. 24 at 5 p.m. We expect that all graduate research assistants (GRAs) can continue to work remotely and receive their stipends through spring 2020, pending granting agency approval. 

The following policy was developed in coordination with the Office of the Provost: Graduate assistants are highly valued members of the OU community, and their contributions to our teaching and research mission remain critical to our continued success. In light of this, it is our intention, whenever and wherever possible, to continue to support our graduate students and benefit from their professional contributions to the University. As such, we would like to clarify that for the remainder of the Spring 2020 term, all graduate assistants appointed by academic units, Student Affairs and Housing will receive their monthly stipend(s) and will remain eligible for any tuition waiver associated with their appointment, if applicable. It is expected that graduate students will remain in the United States and coordinate with their supervisors with respect to their assignments. However, in the event a graduate assistant determines due to COVID-19 travel restrictions they need to return to their country of origin, they should first contact Robyn Rojas (Director, International Student Services). The university will continue to provide updated guidance and instruction regarding the summer and fall semesters to all of our graduate assistants as more information becomes available. Please check for updates: OU Coronavirus Updates and Resources.

Students can continue to reside in university housing if they do not have other lodging options. Campus dining operations may be affected. The City of Norman is under a shelter-in-place order from midnight on Wednesday, March 25 through midnight on Tuesday, April 14. Whether you are living on or off campus, you may leave your residence only to perform essential activities as defined in the order.

Graduate teaching assistants taking an ECC Test and/or Screening Test can complete these tests via Zoom. Contact Jessica Reynolds AND Bushra Asif for more details. 

ETCS can also advise and register individuals for necessary assessments via email and Zoom. Please email the ETCS GA, Anusha Gajendragadkar, for details about these appointments. We encourage individuals to complete their initial appointments as soon as possible, to avoid delays in the certification process.

ECC Test reviews can be conducted via Zoom as well. Please contact Bushra Asif for details. 

Field work is suspended until further notice. Internship and practicum activity that can be completed 100% remotely, with no in-person contact, may continue.

Air travel for professional purposes is currently prohibited until further notice. It is possible to request an exception for domestic air travel that is mission-critical, i.e., necessary to the ongoing operations of the University’s core academic, research, or operations functions. Most graduate student travel including conference presentation does not meet this standard. If you feel that your travel is mission-critical, you should discuss with your academic unit chair or director. Exceptions must be approved by the dean of your academic college and by the Senior Vice President and Provost.

If you choose to travel for personal reasons, you may be required to self-isolate and undergo health screenings on your return. Be sure to check the latest university guidelines and take everything you will need in case you are required to self-isolate for 14 days or more before returning to campus. Self-isolation requirements may change without notice.

If you received a travel or research grant from the Graduate College, and your travel has been affected, we will honor the award if the conference or research travel is rescheduled during the 2020-2021 academic year. We will try to cover any non-recoverable expenses you have incurred. If you are not able to use funds that were awarded to you, we will cancel the award and you will be eligible to apply for the funding for a future purpose.

Please contact Gail Shelton with questions about these matters.

All programs will be canceled or rescheduled for a later date.

Here are some things you can try. The National Alliance on Mental Illness also has great tips on dealing with stress, staying in touch with people, and getting help when you need it.

Create structure.

Write down a schedule for your day, indicating when you plan to get up, eat, work, exercise, do something fun, and go to sleep. Set alarms or reminders to help keep yourself on track.

Set attainable goals.

What can you reasonably get done, given the distractions you’re facing? Can you do 30 minutes of writing? Can you prepare a tasty lunch? Can you spend 20 minutes doing some household organizing? Write down your goals for the day.

Celebrate success and accept imperfection.

When you meet your goals, give yourself credit! If it didn’t work out, use what you learned to adjust your approach.

Move your body. Get outside if you can.

Fresh air is good. Stretching helps with blood flow. Free yoga and exercise videos are available online. No access to videos? Practice forms of movement that feel good to you. Try playing some music.

Plan some fun.

What would make your day better? Plan some activities you enjoy, bearing in mind the need to maintain good hygiene and physical distance from those who don’t live in your household. Consider singing, dancing, taking a warm bath, self-massage (focusing on your neck, shoulders, hands, legs, scalp, etc.), drawing, or writing in a journal.

Use technology to stay in touch.

Feeling isolated? Give someone a call or send them a message. Even if we can’t see each other in person, let’s try staying in touch in other ways.

Try to eat well.

Try not to eat too much sugar or salt. Try to have some protein. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are a good option if you don’t have fresh produce on hand. Stay hydrated. If you drink alcohol, avoid excess.

Practice gratitude.

Now is a great time to try a daily practice of recognizing the good things in our lives. There are even apps for that, such as Presently for Android or Gratitude Happiness Journal for iOS.

Breathe.

Breathing exercises can help reduce stress.

Limit the time you spend on stressful information.

Before you start looking at news and social media, set a timer for 20 minutes (or a time that seems right to you) and commit to closing those sites when the timer goes off. If you have trouble stopping, consider using an app that blocks selected web sites for a period of time. You can find info here.

Be patient and kind to yourself and others.

We are all doing our best. We may be grouchy. We may not get as much done as usual. Let’s keep moving forward, be flexible, and keep working to find the structures and practices that work for each of us.

Call for help if you need it.

The University Counseling Center, 405-325-2911, is open during regular business hours, and counseling sessions can be held by phone.

The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline, 800-985-5990, provides 24/7 crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters including infectious disease outbreaks.

SAMHSA also offers a 24/7 National Helpline for treatment referral.

The NAMI Crisis Text Line is open 24/7. Text NAMI to 741741.

If you are having thoughts of self-harm, you can call these numbers:

  • National Hopeline Network - Suicide prevention, awareness, and education. 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-442-HOPE (1-800-442-4673)
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

Here are some university resources:

University Counseling Services (appointments can be offered by phone)

Accessibility and Disability Resource Center

Writing Center

Sooners Helping Sooners (emergency financial support accepting requests to help with living expenses during the coming weeks) 

Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

If you are in Oklahoma and need help with rent, food, or utilities, call 211 or text 211OK to 898211. 

Information about online Alcoholics Anonymous meetings is being collected in this shared document.

Some locations have seen an increase in racism and xenophobia based on mistaken assumptions that the novel coronavirus can be attributed to particular groups of people. If you feel you are being treated unfairly, discriminated against, or harassed based on race, ethnicity, or national origin, contact the 24 Hour Reporting Hotline to report your experience.

Discriminatory and harassing behaviors are against university policy and have no place in our community. If you observe such behaviors, please speak out against them and offer support to the individuals targeted. 

If you have a concern that you don’t feel able to address with faculty or staff in your academic unit, please contact Dr. Rodney Bates, Director of Graduate Student and Postdoc Retention and Support, or Dr. Sherri Irvin, Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate College.

The ceremonies are postponed and will be significantly modified. President Harroz will communicate updates as they become available.