OSU Institute of Technology has compiled a list of most frequently asked questions about COVID-19. Please review for answers to your questions as well as other important information.
Coronavirus Update – Shifting to Online Instruction for Remainder of Term
From the President
The last few weeks have been very challenging for all of us as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and follow guidance from public healthcare officials. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that these are unprecedented times in our history. Right now, your health and safety, along with the welfare of our students, is our number one concern.
While many of you were on Spring Break, we sent several important messages out regarding changes to operations in order to minimize the virus’s spread. I want to summarize a few of these important announcements and bring you up to speed on the very latest developments. You can follow all of our updates on our Coronavirus informational website.
Student Support and Resources
Today, we made the decision to shift all classes to online instruction for the remainder of the term. It is important that we provide a great deal of support to our students right now as many of them have never taken online classes before, and some may not even attempt or know how to make the transition. This challenge is probably one of the biggest we face, and it will require a great deal of innovation from faculty and support from our staff to retain as many of our students as possible. We’ve added a collection of useful tips and tutorials to our Student Resources section on the website.
During this period of uncertainty and holding ourselves accountable to CDC recommendations, we had to make the difficult decision to reduce our housing occupancy levels for the remainder of the spring trimester. Last week, we notified our residents that many of them would not be able to return to live in our dorms until this health crisis is over. Residential Life is working closely with those students who have no other housing options and will assist them on a case by case basis. Know that this decision was not made lightly—we fully understand that this creates an additional economic hardship for which no one was prepared.
For those of you returning to campus, our custodial staff has implemented enhanced protocols for cleaning and disinfecting our facilities, including increased frequency and using bleach solution in high-touchpoint locations. Please be sure to follow social distancing guidelines, and for many employees, this may include shifting to teleworking where possible. All supervisors have been asked to evaluate their areas to decide when and if telework is appropriate. We have provided a telework toolkit with helpful information.
Also, if you traveled abroad over spring break and/or if you have symptoms of the virus, please follow the self-reporting guidance that is outlined on our website.
Reduction in Services and Cancelled Events
In order to flatten the curve of the outbreak, we are being very intentional about balancing operational needs while keeping our employees safe. As a result, we’ve made the following changes:
- Most campus services from the Grady Clack Center will be delivered through alternative methods such as phone calls, emails, texting, and other technology-mediated channels.
- OSUIT’s Childcare Center and Covelle Hall have been closed temporarily.
- The OSUIT Library will be open from noon to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, on a call-ahead basis.
- Most buildings will have limited access.
- Student Union operations, including the bookstore and post office, will resume limited business hours. The Cowboy Café will close all dining rooms and offer a limited menu for take-out.
- Culinary Arts has discontinued meal service for the remainder of the term.
- All of our guided campus tours have been suspended temporarily. However, we will be offering virtual tours via Facebook Live.
Also, we will be announcing this week that all spring graduation events have been cancelled. It is our hope that graduates will have the opportunity to participate and be celebrated in the summer exercises, and we will communicate updates as soon as we have them.
Adjusting and Adapting
The COVID-19 pandemic has required more adaptation from us than we ever anticipated, and every day has introduced something new for us to confront. OSUIT’s Pandemic Response Team will continue to meet daily until this crisis ends, and I thank them for their guidance. To our faculty and staff, we appreciate your flexibility and adaptability right now. My sincere thanks go out to all of you.
Reporting Travel and/or Symptoms of Illness
OSU Institute of Technology, along with the entire OSU System, is continuing to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, no one knows how severe this outbreak will be. Given this uncertainty, we ask for your help in maintaining a healthy workplace.
Report Travel to Affected Regions
Any employee that is returning from a cruise ship, air travel, or location that is a level 2 or higher, where a known case has been reported (e.g. stayed in a hotel where cases of COVID-19 were reported), should follow these procedures:
- Report to your supervisor that you may have been exposed and the supervisor will notify the appropriate Dean or Vice President who will notify HR.
- Monitor your health and limit interactions with others for 14 days. See Social Distancing below.
- If you are experiencing fever, cough or difficulty breathing, follow the steps outlined below.
Report Symptoms of Illness
It’s important that you stay home if you are not well. Faculty and staff who have symptoms of respiratory illness must stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g., cough suppressants). A fever is defined as a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius or higher taken by an oral thermometer.
If you are experiencing these symptoms:
- Call your supervisor. Do not come to campus to notify them you are showing symptoms. The supervisor will notify the appropriate Dean or Vice President who will notify HR.
- Seek medical advice. Call ahead before going to your doctor’s office or emergency room. If you do not have a primary physician, you may call the OSUIT campus physician at 918-752-1080; Do not come to the OSUIT Campus Infirmary.
- Tell your doctor about your symptoms, recent travel, and people you may have been in contact with that could have been exposed.
- Limit interactions for 14 days. See Social Distancing below.
Social distancing means staying out of crowded places, avoiding group gatherings,
and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.
Employees are encouraged to use telephone and video conferencing instead of face-to-face meetings as much as possible during this outbreak. Technology support services are available to employees who need assistance with this technology.
Your assistance in maintaining a healthy work environment is critical right now. Together, we can stop the spread of this deadly virus.
Guidance for After Spring Break
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in an effort to follow the CDC recommendations for social distancing, OSU Institute of Technology will move to online-only instruction for two weeks following spring break. While today there are no known cases directly linking COVID-19 to any OSU campus, we believe this decision is a prudent step to help protect against the spread of the Coronavirus. The safety and well-being of our campus community is our top priority.
Online Classes Two Weeks After Spring Break
Beginning March 23 through Friday, April 3, all classes will be conducted online. Students leaving campus for spring break should take all instructional materials including textbooks and devices to prepare for online learning.
Campuses Remain Operational
OSU campuses will remain open. Faculty and staff should report to work as usual. All facilities will remain open during regular business hours following spring break.
The Emergency Management Team will continue to closely monitor the status of COVID-19 and will keep you informed of additional developments impacting our campus. Please refer to our COVID-19 informational page for regular updates and useful FAQs. As we have seen, the situation has been evolving rapidly. We will keep you posted on any new developments over spring break. Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we adjust through this challenging issue.
From the President
OSU Institute of Technology is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We are taking every step possible to assist our students and employees and ensure the safety of our campus. We are also working closely with our colleagues on all OSU campuses while following the guidance of local, state, national and global health officials as we contemplate the timing of contingency plans and next steps.
Health and Safety
The OSUIT Emergency Management team is actively reviewing the protocols for contagious disease and will decide what actions are necessary to protect the campus community. We work closely with state and local health departments and, in step with their guidance, encourage everyone to take reasonable measures to protect themselves to prevent infection. More information on health precautions can be found below.
Contingency Plan for Course Continuation
At this time, there is no imminent plan for closing the campus or canceling classes. However, contingency plans are being explored at the academic level should the spread of this virus warrant such an action. Students and faculty are advised to take any course materials and devices with them as they leave for spring break in the event it becomes necessary to move face-to-face instruction online for a time. Additional information will be made available to students and faculty in the event of such a development.
New Travel Restrictions
OSU has issued new domestic and international travel guidelines:
- Effective March 13, all university-sponsored international travel is prohibited until further notice.
- International travel for personal reasons is strongly discouraged.
- Effective immediately, all non-essential university-sponsored domestic air travel is suspended until further notice.
- Effective immediately, all out-of-state travel for University-related business or academic purposes is suspended until further notice, unless such travel is essential to the university.
- There are no current restrictions on in-state university-related travel.
While many of our students and employees will be traveling over spring break, we hope those who do will familiarize themselves with the protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and heed their advice and recommendations.
We will continue to provide updates as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and patience as we make decisions regarding this matter.
Oklahoma State University health officials are closely monitoring an outbreak of a new Coronavirus that causes pneumonia. The Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is believed to have originated in a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
Officials are actively screening international travelers at most major airports.
The CDC confirmed that some limited person-to-person spread of the virus is occurring, but “CDC continues to believe the risks of Coronavirus to the America public at large remains low at this time.”
In an abundance of caution, we encourage all members of the campus community to follow basic steps to prevent the spread of illness:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Seek medical assistance as soon as you can if you become symptomatic during or after traveling
If you are returning from international travel, please contact your Health Care Provider for a brief phone screening. If you need medical assistance, please contact your Health Care Provider or contact the OSUIT Campus Health Services Clinic at 918-293-4946.
- The Centers for Disease Control has created a website to provide current information about the 2019 Coronavirus.
- Johns Hopkins University has created a map to monitor the spread of the virus:
Do you have specific medical questions about your health and the Coronavirus? Contact your Health Care Provider or the OSUIT Campus Health Services Clinic at 918-293-4946.
Information provided by Oklahoma State Department of Health.