OU Announces Calendar Updates to Fall, Spring Semesters
Mike Seals - October 6, 2020 11:03 am
NORMAN, OKLA. – As part of its proactive strategy to safeguard its community during the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Oklahoma announced several modifications to the Norman campus fall 2020 and spring 2021 academic calendars. The following changes apply to OU’s Norman campus, including Norman campus programs that are delivered at OU-Tulsa.
Fall Instruction Following Thanksgiving
Instruction for Norman campus-based programs will move entirely online following Thanksgiving break through the end of the fall 2020 semester, with lectures and final exams to be offered online. This will include the week of regular instruction following the holiday, the finals preparation week that follows and the week of final exams. This change is also applicable to Norman campus programs that are delivered at OU-Tulsa. University facilities, including housing and library services, as well as research operations, will remain open.
Spring 2021 Semester and Spring Break
For the spring 2021 semester, the OU Norman campus, including Norman campus programs in Tulsa, will extend winter break by one week, with classes now beginning Monday, Jan. 25.
In doing so, OU will not offer a traditional spring break in 2021. These changes allow OU to stay on track to end the spring semester as planned on May 14. Additionally, the university will explore the possibility of offering an instructional break day during the semester.
Spring semester class schedules and delivery methods will be offered in a format similar to the fall 2020 semester.
“Since March of this year, our community has shown immense resilience in the face of the pandemic, dynamically adapting to the unique challenges before us,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “In keeping with our robust mitigation efforts, under the guidance of Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler, we are making these modifications to the Norman campus academic calendar to maximize our opportunity to continue our in-person education while protecting the health and safety of our community.”
Bratzler noted that while positive cases on the Norman campus and the surrounding community have fallen slightly in the last week, he urged the importance of continuing to follow public health guidance to prevent another wave of infections.
“When we brought students back to campus in August, we saw an uptick in cases, which we expected and planned for appropriately,” Bratzler said. “We anticipate this could happen again in November, and these steps will help mitigate the possibility of a resurgence. This is especially important as the seasons change, and the combined impact of influenza and COVID-19 spread could be incredibly detrimental to our campus and the surrounding community.”
Students who plan to travel home for Thanksgiving are encouraged to test through OU’s voluntary surveillance testing before returning home to their families. Students who plan to return to campus after Thanksgiving break are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 upon their return to campus.
OU Health Sciences Center Programs
At this time, the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters are continuing as planned for OU Health Sciences Center programs in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The unique characteristics of these programs – the generally non-residential environments, small class sizes and health care instruction components – do not require schedule modifications at this time.
Comprehensive Health and Safety Measures
Since the onset of the pandemic, the university has taken lengthy steps to protect the campus community. These measures include:
- Voluntary student testing program: Students living in OU housing who are not reporting symptoms of COVID-19 may participate in the voluntary testing program at Cate Center 3.
- Wastewater analysis: OU researchers are conducting regular sampling of wastewater from across campus to help identify areas experiencing higher levels of the virus.
- COVID-19 dashboard: OU launched an online dashboard, available at ou.edu/together/dashboard, to track COVID-19 testing data on the Norman campus – a community of more than 38,300 students, faculty and staff.
- Masking requirement: OU has subscribed to a university-wide masking policy, which applies to faculty, staff, students and campus visitors across all three campuses. Students and employees have been provided various types of face masks appropriate to their on-campus responsibilities.
- Chief COVID Officer: OU appointed Dr. Dale Bratzler, a nationally leading expert in infectious diseases and public health, to advise the university on its planning efforts with regard to the virus.
- COVID-19 testing requirement prior to move-in: OU required all students moving into on-campus housing to be tested for COVID-19 before arriving on campus.
- COVID-19 curbside testing: Any OU student, faculty or staff member may schedule a free COVID-19 test through OU Health Services.
- Social distancing: Classrooms, workspaces and common areas across campus have been configured to promote social distancing.
- Mandatory online health screening: All OU employees and students must complete the online screening form prior to returning to campus when certain scenarios apply.
- Enhanced cleaning: Through Clean and Green, OU’s campuses are meticulously cleaned to support the healthiest environment possible. Daily cleaning protocols have been enhanced, with particular emphasis on touch points and common areas.
- Facility upgrades: Touchless, motion-sensor fixtures have been installed in public restrooms, air filters have been upgraded to hospital-grade standards and more hand sanitizer stations have been installed across campus.
- Classroom and instructional modifications: OU’s goal is to provide in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible while promoting a safe and secure campus environment. To help accomplish this, class times have been extended throughout the day, and larger classes have been moved online.
For the latest information on Norman campus operations, visit ou.edu/together.