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University Masking Policy

OU Together The University of Oklahoma

OU Masking Protocols

Since the beginning of the pandemic, in instituting its COVID-19 protocols, the University of Oklahoma has monitored guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control. Taking into consideration the CDC’s current guidance on masking, Oklahoma state law, and the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Oklahoma, OU has adopted the following masking protocols for all three campuses.

OU Masking Protocols

Through January 31

Due to supply chain challenges around testing availability, and the need for vaccine boosters to be optimally protected from the virus, masking remains one of our best mitigation strategies.

For the first two weeks of the semester (through January 31) masking will be required in classroom settings. Beginning February 1, 2022, the Norman campus will revert to the Fall 2021 masking guidance, which is listed below, and encourages masking in the classroom and requires masking for a two-week quarantine period when a confirmed positive COVID-19 case in the class is identified.

As has been our policy since the start of Fall 2021, masking will continue to be expected in all indoor settings for all faculty, staff, and students. While cloth masks are still permissible, the university strongly recommends the use of KN95 masks or disposable surgical masks as they provide far greater amounts of protection against Omicron. KN95 and disposable surgical masks will be made available to OU community members. Campus Safety will provide masks to building supervisors to be made available at all entrances.

To the extent possible, in-person meetings should be replaced with virtual meetings (e.g., Zoom, Teams) or conference calls. When in-person meetings are necessary, masks are expected and social distancing is recommended.

Fall 2021 Masking Guidance

General Facilities - OU Community members are expected to mask indoors, especially in high-density settings, such as classrooms and at special events when not eating or drinking.

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.

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

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

Classrooms – Resuming February 1, should there be a confirmed COVID-19 positive case in class, the class will continue meeting in-person, but masking will be required for 2 weeks during the quarantine period.

Masks must cover the individual's nose and mouth. Bandanas, scarves, gaiters, buffs, and the like are not acceptable. Non-medical grade masks that have exhalation valves with or without filters (such as this) may not be worn on campus unless a surgical-style mask is worn.

Vaccination Requirements

The university strongly encourages the entire OU community to get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are available to all students, faculty, and staff on all three OU campuses at no cost to the individuals.

Read More: Getting Vaccinated at OU

Vaccination Requirements at OU

A federal court has temporarily blocked the enforcement of the federal COVID-19 vaccine requirement for federal subcontractors. This means that as long as the court’s decision is in place, university employees are not required to become vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022, and are also not required to seek exemptions to the rule, except as described below.

Vaccination requirements are limited to the following groups of OU community members:

  • Students, faculty, and staff who have patient-facing responsibilities and volunteers who shadow or observe in patient care settings.
  • All those who elect to participate in study abroad programs.
    • All eligible individuals participating in study abroad programs are required to receive a COVID-19 booster dose before departing for their study abroad destination. 
  • OUHSC employees must continue to comply with the vaccination requirements found here, which were in place before the federal executive order. Many OUHSC employees may also need to comply with additional vaccination requirements at other health care facilities where they practice or rotate, including OU Health facilities and programs.

Employees are still encouraged to complete the online vaccine verification form as they become vaccinated: hr.ou.edu/News/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information

For questions about vaccination requirements, contact Human Resources at vaccine@ou.edu.

Social Distancing

While OU has eliminated its social distancing protocol in all areas except patient care and clinical research participant settings, it is still strongly recommended.

Third-Party Events and Activities

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. OU expects individuals to wear a mask indoors, especially in high-density settings, such as classrooms and at special events when not eating or drinking.