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FAQ

OU Together The University of Oklahoma

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about OU’s COVID-19 planning and protocols. 

 

OU's Fall 2021 COVID Policies

Keeping the OU community healthy this fall will rely on all of us doing our part. Here are three things you can do to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Get vaccinated. The university strongly encourages the entire OU community to get vaccinated, particularly those residing in congregate housing.
  • Mask up. The university encourages masking indoors. The university strongly encourages masking for all individuals in high-density settings, such as classrooms and at special events.
  • Continue practicing healthy behaviors. Other behaviors, like frequent hand washing and staying home when you feel sick, should still be practiced, no matter the time of year.

While many universities around the country require COVID-19 vaccinations for returning students in the fall semester, Oklahoma law prohibits this. In accordance with Oklahoma Senate Bill 658, effective July 1, 2021, the University of Oklahoma may not:

  • “Require a vaccination against Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a condition of admittance to or attendance of the school or institution;
  • Require a vaccine passport as a condition of admittance to or attendance of the school or institution; or
  • Implement a mask mandate for students who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.”

At this time, in accordance with Oklahoma law, OU is not requiring COVID-19 vaccines for faculty, staff, or students, with the exception of those in patient-facing settings or those who electively participate in study abroad programs.

As we have since the start of the pandemic, OU is continuing to follow guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control. The university strongly encourages the entire OU community to get vaccinated and is offering vaccines free of charge to all community members through OU Health Services.

Read More: Getting Vaccinated at OU

Vaccination requirements are limited to two groups of OU community members:

  • Students, faculty, and staff who have patient-facing responsibilities and those who request to volunteer, shadow, or observe in patient care settings
  • All those who elect to participate in study abroad programs

Read More: Getting Vaccinated at OU

Under Oklahoma Executive Order 2021-16, Oklahoma state agencies, which includes OU, are barred from requiring a mask or COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of being allowed to enter a state building or office.

Executive Order 2021-16 states:

  • “On or before June 1, 2021, all buildings and office space, owned or leased by the State of Oklahoma and open to the public shall rescind any mandate for the wearing of masks in order to receive government services.
  • By the terms of this Executive Order, all state agencies are hereby prohibited from requiring a vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of admittance to any public building.”

Additionally, in accordance with Oklahoma Senate Bill 658, effective July 1, 2021, OU may not (in part):

  • “Implement a mask mandate for students who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.”

Masking IS still required at OU in the following settings, regardless of vaccination status:

  • Patient-facing settings, including clinical research participant areas and facilities and areas where patient care is the primary function (including Goddard Health Center)
  • Transit buses and shuttles due to Department of Transportation mandates

The university encourages masking indoors. The university strongly encourages masking for all individuals in high-density settings, such as classrooms and at special events. Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to continue wearing masks inside OU facilities. Any vaccinated person who wishes to mask indoors or outdoors may freely do so. The university will continue to proactively monitor the COVID-19 infection rate for unvaccinated individuals and will make any needed shifts in policy.

Read More: OU Masking Protocols

OU has eliminated its social distancing protocols in all areas except patient care and clinical research participant settings, making way for a resumption of in-person classes at regular capacity. Third parties may resume hosting events in university facilities following pre-COVID protocols. In accordance with CDC guidance, the university recommends COVID-19 vaccination for anyone participating in events on OU property. The university strongly encourages masking for all individuals in high-density settings, such as classrooms and at special events.

The university strongly emphasizes the importance of getting vaccinated. The university encourages masking indoors. The university strongly encourages masking for all individuals in high-density settings, such as classrooms and at special events. Unvaccinated individuals are strongly encouraged to continue wearing masks inside OU facilities. The university will continue to proactively monitor the COVID-19 infection rate for unvaccinated individuals and will make any needed shifts in policy.

As it has from the beginning of the pandemic, OU is monitoring guidance issued by the CDC. Current CDC guidance advises all individuals, even those who are fully vaccinated, to wear a mask indoors in public if in an area of substantial (orange) or high (red) transmission, according to its COVID-19 Integrated County View of Data. Plans will continue to be adjusted, based on the status of the pandemic, and in accordance with CDC recommendations and state and local guidelines.

Although we remain hopeful, we acknowledge that the pandemic has taught us to be nimble in our response. To help us keep making strides forward, we urge all OU community members to get vaccinated; to consider masking indoors; to continue practicing healthy behaviors, including frequent hand washing and staying home when ill; and to keep supporting one another.

As we have since the start of the pandemic, OU is continuing to follow guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control. New guidance from the CDC on June 15, 2021,  highlighted that “in most situations, the risk of infection from touching a surface is low. The most reliable way to prevent infection from surfaces is to regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizer.”

The university will resume pre-pandemic cleaning protocols, taking into consideration applicable government and industry cleaning and safety standards, as well as the understanding that COVID-19 is primarily spread by inhaling respiratory droplets or aerosols.

Last year, the university upgraded many facilities to support the healthiest possible environment, including converting air filters to hospital-grade standards; increasing outside air where possible; installing touchless, motion-sensor fixtures in public restrooms; and adding more hand sanitizer stations across campus.

Read More: Cleaning Protocols

Health and Safety

If you begin to experience symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19, please remain home and complete the Passport through the Healthy Together App. You will be notified through the app of your screening results and should follow the instructions for what to do next. You may also wish to contact your health care provider for advice.

If you are unvaccinated and experienced a known exposure, please complete the Passport through the Healthy Together App. For guidance on community-related exposure, visit the CDC website.

Vaccinated persons do not need to quarantine or test after exposure. If any COVID-19 symptoms develop, isolate and get tested.

Currently, only unvaccinated persons need to quarantine after a known exposure or after international or cruise travel.

All persons, regardless of vaccination status, should isolate if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive COVID-19 test.

More information can be found here.

The OU Norman campus is introducing the Healthy Together app – a convenient tool for COVID-19 screening and reporting. Students, faculty, and staff in OU Norman campus programs are strongly encouraged to complete the Passport through the Healthy Together app before participating in any on- or off-campus activity or responsibility each time they answer YES to any of the questions listed here.

The Healthy Together app’s Passport feature replaces the university’s online COVID-19 Screening and Reporting Tool, which was first implemented in March 2020.

Yes. On the Norman campus, schedule a testing appointment at Goddard Health Center by calling (405) 325-4441.

All students, faculty and staff can receive a COVID-19 test through OU Health Services. To cover the cost of the test, individuals are encouraged to file a claim with their insurance provider. Members of the OU community who do not have health insurance will not be charged. To schedule a COVID-19 test, visit healthconnection.ou.edu.

Employees and students who test positive should complete the Passport through the Healthy Together app. This will start the notification process for the employee or student and will protect the individual’s health information. The employee or student will be notified through the app of their screening results and should follow the instructions for what to do next.

Unvaccinated faculty, staff, and students who have been in close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 positive individual should complete the Passport through the Healthy Together app. This will start the notification process for the employee or student and will protect the individual’s health information. The employee or student will be notified through the app of their screening results and should follow the instructions for what to do next.

The CDC defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

No, you are not obligated to report their private health information. Instead, ask the individual who tested positive to complete the Passport through the Healthy Together app. If the individual discloses this information to you in person, ask them to return to their place of residence and ask that they complete the Passport through the Healthy Together app.

Unvaccinated faculty, staff, and students who have been in close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 positive individual should complete the Passport through the Healthy Together app. The employee or student will be notified through the app of their screening results and should follow the instructions for what to do next.

No.

If an unvaccinated student or employee discloses that they are a close contact to a positive case, ask that they complete the Passport through the Healthy Together app.

You will be provided any necessary instruction about self-isolation or quarantine after completing the Passport through the Healthy Together app. Generally, people need to self-isolate or quarantine if they have symptoms, test positive, or are considered a “close contact."

You should notify any individuals who had “close contact" with you that they have been exposed and, if unvaccinated, to complete the  Passport through the Healthy Together app. The CDC defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

A certification documentation for work or class is available here (.pdf).

Students:  Students who test positive should complete the Passport through the Healthy Together app. Students will receive communication and instructions through the app that can be shared with their instructors informing them of the extended absence and request for accommodations if necessary. If additional support or communication is required, please contact Student Affairs (studentaffairs@ou.edu). Missing a class session or other class activity due to illness or isolation should not result in a grade penalty for the absence. Contact your instructors prior to your absence or inability to participate, if possible. The Provost’s Office has directed instructors to work with self-isolated/quarantined students to ensure they can complete their courses as planned.

Frequently used campus spaces are cleaned daily. Supervisors, RAs, faculty, staff, and others who are made aware that an individual in their area has tested positive should contact Facilities Management at (405) 325-3060 to confirm when cleaning of the space last occurred. This procedure should be followed in off-campus leased spaces as well, by contacting the leasing agent or building maintenance team.

As part of Phase IV of the Return Plan, the university will resume pre-pandemic cleaning protocols, which take into consideration applicable government and industry cleaning and safety standards.

University Responsibility: University Operations has increased outside air where possible and converted HVAC systems with hospital-grade filters (MERV-13).

Department/Area Responsibility: As was the case prior to COVID-19, each department/area manager remains responsible for obtaining appropriate cleaning supplies and providing for the cleaning of shared office equipment, furniture, surfaces, and environment. While supplies last, department/area managers may still obtain cleaning supplies that have been EPA/CDC-approved from Facilities Management. These cleaning supplies can be requested here.

  • COVID-19 Positive Individuals – Frequently used campus spaces are cleaned on a daily basis. Department/area managers notified of a COVID-19 positive individual in their space should contact Facilities Management at (405) 325-3060 to confirm when cleaning of the space last occurred. This procedure should be followed in off-campus leased spaces as well, by contacting the leasing agent or building maintenance team.

Individual Responsibility: As was the case prior to COVID-19, individuals are responsible for cleaning their personal and shared spaces and the office equipment.

OU has lifted its mask requirement for all three campuses with limited exceptions. Anyone who wishes to mask indoors or outdoors may freely do so.

OU Masking Protocols

General Facilities: The university encourages masking indoors. The university strongly encourages masking for all individuals in high-density settings, such as classrooms and at special events.

Health Care Facilities: OU continues to require masking for all individuals in patient-facing settings, including clinical research participant areas and facilities and areas where patient care is the primary function.

Transportation: Riders on transit buses and shuttles must wear masks, in compliance with Department of Transportation mandates.

OU Health Sciences Center Programs will coordinate masking requirements with hospital and clinic partners, as appropriate.

Being fully vaccinated is defined as being two weeks past the final dose of a two-dose WHO-approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinovac, or Sinopharm) or one dose of a single-dose WHO-approved vaccine (Janssen [Johnson & Johnson]).

The university strongly encourages the entire OU community to get vaccinated, particularly those residing in congregate housing.

Plans will continue to be adjusted, based on the status of the pandemic, and in accordance with CDC recommendations and state and local guidelines.

Read more about OU masking protocols here.

OU has lifted its mask requirement for all three campuses with limited exceptions. Anyone who wishes to mask indoors or outdoors may freely do so.

OU Masking Protocols

General Facilities: The university encourages masking indoors. The university strongly encourages masking for all individuals in high-density settings, such as classrooms and at special events.

Health Care Facilities: OU continues to require masking for all individuals in patient-facing settings, including clinical research participant areas and facilities and areas where patient care is the primary function.

Transportation: Riders on transit buses and shuttles must wear masks, in compliance with Department of Transportation mandates.

OU Health Sciences Center programs will coordinate masking requirements with hospital and clinic partners, as appropriate.

Being fully vaccinated is defined as being two weeks past the final dose of a two-dose WHO-approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinovac, or Sinopharm) or one dose of a single-dose WHO-approved vaccine (Janssen [Johnson & Johnson]).

The university strongly encourages the entire OU community to get vaccinated, particularly those residing in congregate housing.

Read more about OU masking protocols here.

Vaccine

To schedule a vaccine appointment at Goddard Health Center, visit the OU Health Services webpage. For more information about vaccine distribution at OU, visit the COVID-19 Vaccine Update page. COVID-19 vaccines are available to all students, faculty, and staff on all three OU campuses at no cost to the individual.

OU Health Services provides health care for the university community, which includes OU students, faculty, staff, dependents, and retirees. Please refer to the COVID-19 Vaccine Update page for the latest information.

Beginning June 1, 2021, vaccination requirements will be limited to two groups of OU community members:

  • Students, faculty, and staff who have patient-facing responsibilities and those who request to volunteer, shadow, or observe in patient care settings
  • All those who elect to participate in study abroad programs

The university strongly encourages the entire OU community to get vaccinated, particularly those residing in congregate housing. Requirements will remain in effect leading to the fall semester, and any modifications to the policy will be announced.

Yes. There is no cost to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have insurance, OU Health Services will bill your insurance only for the cost of vaccine administration. There is no co-pay required.

Yes. At this time, you must continue to comply with this and all other requirements of the Norman Campus Phase IV Plan. Although the risk that fully vaccinated people could become infected with COVID-19 is low, any fully vaccinated person who experiences symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should isolate themselves from others, be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, and tested for COVID-19 if indicated. The symptomatic fully vaccinated person should inform their healthcare provider of their vaccination status at the time of presentation to care.

No. All members of the OU community should continue to abide by safety precautions, including those who have been vaccinated. OU community members should continue monitoring health symptoms and frequently washing hands to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Anyone who wishes to mask indoors or outdoors may freely do so.

If you received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, you must have the second dose to achieve maximum effectiveness. The Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine only requires one dose for full vaccination.

Classes and Academics

The university is planning for a resumption of in-person classes at regular capacity university-wide for the fall 2021 semester with necessary safety precautions in place.

Students who test positive should complete the Passport through the Healthy Together app. Students will receive communication and instructions through the app that can be shared with their instructors informing them of the extended absence and request for accommodations if necessary. If additional support or communication is required, please contact Student Affairs (studentaffairs@ou.edu). Students should contact their instructors prior to their absence or inability to participate, if possible.

University Operations and Events

For the latest updates, visit ou.edu/together.

OU is open and operational. The summer 2021 semester will include in-person, hybrid and online courses, and students should have a majority of their classes in person. The university is planning for a resumption of in-person classes at regular capacity university-wide for the fall 2021 semester with necessary safety precautions in place.

Many faculty and staff on the Norman campus have returned to work on campus, though some employees may still be working remotely. As part of Phase IV of the Return Plan, all Norman campus employees are expected to return to working their full schedule on-campus by August 2, 2021. More information on the return to campus plan of action for all three campuses is available at hr.ou.edu/News/Return-to-Campus-Remote-Work-Policy

OU eliminated its social distancing protocols in all areas except patient care and clinical research participant settings, making way for a resumption of in-person classes at regular capacity. The university will use the summer to phase back to normal classroom capacities. Workspaces may immediately eliminate social distancing.

Third parties may resume hosting events in university facilities following pre-COVID protocols. In accordance with CDC guidance, the university recommends COVID-19 vaccination for anyone participating in events on OU property. Read more about getting vaccinated at OU here.

OU has lifted its mask requirement for all three campuses, with limited exceptions. Anyone who wishes to mask indoors or outdoors may freely do so.

Read more about OU masking protocols here.

Third parties may resume hosting events in university facilities following pre-COVID protocols. In accordance with CDC guidance, the university recommends COVID-19 vaccination for anyone participating in events on OU property. Read more about getting vaccinated at OU here.

Please refer to each campus' Response Plan for specific information about a particular campus.

OU-Tulsa: ou.edu/tulsa/coronavirus

OU Health Sciences Center: ouhsc.edu/coronavirus

Travel and Study Abroad

  • University Domestic and International Travel – Domestic and international air travel for University-related business or academic purposes is permitted only if the travel is considered mission-critical to the University.
  • Mission-critical Travel, Defined – Mission-critical travel is travel that is necessary to the University’s ability to meet its core academic, research, or operations functions. More specifically, the purpose and timing of the travel must be such that if the travel does not occur as scheduled, the University’s ability to meet its core academic, research, or operations functions is significantly impaired. Individuals who believe domestic or international travel is mission critical must contact their chair/director, or dean/Vice President, who will consider factors such as timing, State Department/CDC travel advisories for the destination(s), impact on competitive advantage, and actions of peer institutions, to make a written recommendation to the Senior Vice President and Provost for approval.

Over the past year, the OU Travel and Screening Committee, comprised of medical and public health professionals and university administrators, has met regularly to monitor the state of COVID-19 around the world and make recommendations for OU study abroad program locations. In a March 12 message (pdf), Provost Irvine announced that this screening process led to conditionally approving Summer study abroad options to 15 countries. On May 13, Provost Irvine announced that Fall study abroad is also conditionally approved to 14 countries and territories: China, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom.

This approval means the university can move forward with study abroad planning to these destinations with three important caveats:

  • First, various program and country-specific contingencies, most outside the control of the university, may lead to the necessity of cancelling programs, a possibility that always exists in study abroad but is obviously heightened by the context of the global pandemic. The College of International Studies and the OU Travel and Screening Committee will continue to closely monitor the situation and update the community and any affected program participants.
  • Second, multiple Fall study abroad countries recently saw an increase in their Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisory to Level 4, i.e., “Do Not Travel”. This change was due to an update in the Travel Advisory methodology rather than a re-assessment of conditions on the ground. DOS recommends travelers consider multiple sources of information when making travel decisions. This is how the OU Travel and Screening Committee has operated since it was established. The committee takes a broad range of data and indicators into consideration for each destination. Because traveling in a world affected by COVID-19 is not to be undertaken lightly, the university strongly encourages anyone planning for travel to exercise informed and careful judgement.
  • Finally, please note that the university recently announced the requirement for study abroad participants to be fully vaccinated before traveling to their destination countries. If you are considering participation in one of these programs, you are encouraged to complete your COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the OU Education Abroad Office at ea@ou.edu.

Tuition and Fees

OU is working to provide in-person courses to the maximum extent practical. OU has also added new, smaller, in-person sections to many classes – a large-scale effort that will benefit students. The online coursework proposed through the Safe and Resilient Instructional Plan is a temporary but necessary structure to protect the health of students, faculty, and staff. Although online instruction is different, its quality is based on a similar set of factors to in-person instruction – with instructor preparation and student engagement playing a key role in either scenario.

The payment of tuition for courses, no matter the delivery method, ultimately leads to the attainment of an OU degree – an achievement that will forever lead students to new opportunities. By completing a course online or in-person, students will meet degree requirements and will progress in their degree program.

 

Yes, tuition rates will remain unchanged, but no additional fees will be charged for courses that have been moved online due to COVID-19.

Should courses be moved entirely online, there will be no reduction of tuition or fees. If instruction were to move entirely online, the university will still remain open providing accessible services that are supported by student fees. Although online instruction is different, its quality is based on a similar set of factors to in-person instruction – with instructor preparation and student engagement playing a key role in either scenario.

The payment of tuition for courses, no matter the delivery method, ultimately leads to the attainment of an OU degree – an achievement that will forever lead students to new opportunities.

The university understands that many students and their families are presented with financial concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although transitioning courses in spring 2020 from in-person to online increased the cost of education for the university, those additional costs were not passed along to students.