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OU Tornado Shelter Policy Spring 2020

Department of Campus Safety Wordmark

 

Norman Campus Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Local community spread of COVID-19 has made choosing a place of refuge much more difficult when severe weather threatens. During tornado threats, the University of Oklahoma will take as many precautions as possible to provide refuge for the reduced number of students, faculty and staff remaining on-campus. At this time, OU Norman Campus building access is restricted to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to the campus community. Therefore, it is critical each individual reviews their home safety plans to prepare for Oklahoma severe weather.

 

Important Tornado Terminology:

When a Tornado Watch is issued by the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, on-campus residence hall refuge areas at Couch, Walker, Kraettli, Cross Village, Traditions East and Traditions West will be activated for access using a valid OU student ID. A Tornado Watch is used to notify you to pay attention to the possibility of tornadoes during the next several hours. Weather information for the OU-Norman Campus is available from the OU Department of Campus Safety at www.ou.edu/campussafety/university-meteorologist/weather. In addition, make sure that your mobile contact phone number at account.ou.edu is accurate to receive important OU-Norman Alert warning information.

When a Tornado Warning is issued by the National Weather Service - Norman, do not leave the building you are in. Proceed immediately to the appropriate severe weather refuge area in your building. A Tornado Warning means that a tornado is imminent and quick action is necessary. You will be advised of a Tornado Warning via the OU-Norman Alert system. The locations of each building’s severe weather refuge areas are listed athttp://ou.edu/campussafety/emergency-management-department/prepare/refuge-on-campus.

 

If You Do Not Live On Campus, Prepare to Seek Refuge at Home

You are highly encouraged to create a plan and prepare your home environment for a tornado threat. Identify safe refuge-in-home options utilizing the “get in - get down - cover up” strategy. Specifically, select an interior room away from doors and windows on the lowest level of your residence and prepare to use a bicycle helmet, pillows and blankets to protect yourself from possible debris. The shelter-in-home option will also assist in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Add masks, tissues, gloves, hand sanitizer and a plastic bag to your personal or family’s tornado refuge area supply list. Make sure any cough or sneeze is into a tissue or clothed sleeve. Use the gloves to dispose of used tissues into a plastic bag.

 

If You Are On Campus During a Tornado Event:

  • Place of Refuge Protocol | 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    • If a Tornado Warning is issued during traditional business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m.), all remaining on-campus students, staff, and faculty should take refuge using the building’s designated severe weather refuge areas. Students in on-campus housing when the tornado warning is issued should use their appropriate residence hall refuge areas at Couch, Walker, Kraettli, Traditions East, Traditions West, Cross Village, the interior stairwells at David L. Boren Hall and Headington Hall, and the basements at Headington College and Dunham College. These areas are controlled access, meaning that you must swipe your OU student ID to enter the place of refuge. Exercise social distancing and use appropriate personal hygiene measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. The locations of each campus building’s severe weather refuge areas are listed at http://ou.edu/campussafety/emergency-management-department/prepare/refuge-on-campus.
  • Place of Refuge Protocol | After Hours, Evenings, and Weekends
    • Students Living in On-Campus Housing
      All residence hall refuge areas will be activated when a Tornado Watch is issued. When a Tornado Warning is issued, proceed immediately to these refuge areas (Couch, Walker, Kraettli, Traditions East, Traditions West, Cross Village, the interior stairwells at David L. Boren Hall and Headington Hall, and the basements at Headington College and Dunham College). These areas are controlled access, meaning that you must swipe your OU student ID to enter the refuge area. Exercise social distancing and use appropriate personal hygiene measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.
    • Students Living in Greek-Affiliated Chapter Housing
      Chapter facilities each have an in-house severe weather refuge area. Students living in chapter facilities may also utilize the controlled-access residence hall refuge areas at Couch and Walker, but pay close attention to weather conditions and arrive at the residence hall refuge area well in advance of the tornado threat. Make sure to bring your OU student ID for card-swipe access. Exercise social distancing and use appropriate personal hygiene measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.
    • Students Living in Off-Campus Housing
      During the COVID-19 pandemic, students living off campus with a valid OU student ID may also utilize the controlled-access residence hall refuge areas at Couch and Walker, but pay close attention to weather conditions and arrive at the residence hall refuge area well in advance of the tornado threat. Make sure to bring your OU student ID for card-swipe access. Exercise social distancing and use appropriate personal hygiene measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.

 

OU Buildings will Remain Closed After Hours Until Further Notice

OU buildings will remain closed to the public to reduce COVID-19 spread. If a tornado threat occurs and you have historically used an OU building as your primary tornado refuge, prepare now to seek safe refuge at home. Use the “get in - get down - cover up” strategy. Specifically, select an interior room away from doors and windows on the lowest level of your residence and prepare to use a bicycle helmet, pillows, blankets to protect yourself from possible debris. The refuge-in-home option for tornadoes will also assist in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Add masks, tissues, gloves, hand sanitizer and even a plastic bag to your personal or family’s tornado refuge area supply list. Make sure any cough or sneeze is into a tissue or clothed sleeve. Use the gloves to dispose of used tissues into the plastic bag.

 

This policy will be in place for the remainder of the Spring Semester 2020, and is subject to change.