OU: Mandatory COVID Testing for Students Moving on Campus
Mike Seals - July 21, 2020 9:22 am
OU Announces Mandatory COVID-19 Testing for Students Moving into OU Housing
NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma announced today that students who will be moving into OU housing on the Norman campus will be required to be tested for COVID-19 prior to arriving on campus.
As part of the university’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus, the more than 5,000 OU students who are assigned to Adams, Walker and Couch Centers; David L. Boren Hall; Headington Hall; the Residential Colleges; and Traditions Square Apartments must complete an at-home saliva-based COVID-19 test before moving to campus.
The mandatory virus test is part of a three-step process to gain move-in clearance:
- Complete an at-home COVID-19 test. OU has partnered with Vault Health to mail students an at-home saliva-based COVID-19 test to complete in advance of their arrival to campus.
- Receive a negative COVID-19 test result. Test results will be emailed to students and to OU Health Services up to four days after their test arrives at the Vault Health lab.
- Complete the university’s online health screening five days prior to the student’s return to campus. Students must complete this step regardless of their COVID-19 test result.
All steps must be completed to move into OU Housing. Students are strongly encouraged to self-isolate after they are tested and before they arrive on campus.
Students will be permitted to move into OU Housing during their assigned move-in date and time if a negative test result is received and if they complete OU’s online health screening and are cleared to return to campus.
Students who test positive will be required to stay home and away from campus until cleared by OU Health Services to move to campus.
Students arriving from outside the U.S. who anticipate living in OU Housing will have to self-isolate at an off-campus site to complete the three-step process to gain move-in clearance.
Students living in Kraettli Apartments are exempt from the testing requirement due to its lower population density and because of its higher proportion of family living arrangements.
OU Greek chapters operate as their own independent entities and are encouraged to mirror expectations related to OU Housing operations and community standards.
Cross Village will determine any virus testing protocols for students moving into its facility.
“Testing residential students for COVID-19, combined with the university’s masking requirement and social distancing protocols in classrooms and other shared spaces, are important precautions to take as we return to normal operations on the Norman campus,” said OU Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler.
OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. noted that testing students before they move in will help foster a healthier environment for the entire Norman campus community.
“Our fall 2020 semester will be different from any other, and throughout our fall planning, the well-being of our campus community has been at the forefront,” Harroz said. “Providing our residential students a simple and free way to complete this test before they arrive in Norman is part of our comprehensive strategy to reduce transmission of the virus on campus and in the broader community.”
This year’s move-in process at OU has been expanded to a six-day period beginning Aug. 11 to help accommodate social distancing. As in years prior, OU is offering a full-service move-in for students living in on-campus housing. After students check in and arrive at their assigned building, items will be unloaded from the student’s vehicle and moved into their room.
In the interest of protecting the health of residents and staff, guests will not be allowed access to the residence halls during Move-In.
In the days leading up to the start of classes on Aug. 24, new students will participate in Crimson Welcome Week, which will feature small group meetings, socially distanced community building activities and trainings.
“Although COVID-19 has created unique challenges to our fall plans, we are taking proactive measures to create an on-campus living experience that is supportive and health-conscious,” said ShaRhonda Maclin, assistant dean of students and executive director for OU Housing and Residence Life.
Ongoing Health and Safety Measures
Ongoing public health measures at OU include:
- Masking requirement: OU has subscribed to a university-wide masking policy, which applies to faculty, staff, students and campus visitors across all three campuses.
- Masks provided: Students and employees will be provided various types of face masks appropriate to their on-campus responsibilities.
- Social distancing: Social distancing – keeping a distance of at least 6 feet between individuals – applies in all settings on campus, indoors or outdoors.
- Mandatory online health screening: All OU employees and students must complete the online screening form prior to returning to campus or any time certain scenarios apply.
- Enhanced cleaning: Through Clean and Green, OU’s campuses are being meticulously cleaned to support the healthiest environment possible. Daily cleaning protocols have been enhanced, with particular emphasis on touch points and common areas. Electrostatic cleaning treatments are used in common areas at least weekly.
- Microbe-fighting devices for residence hall towers: Every room in Adams, Couch and Walker Centers will be equipped with a wall-mounted Synexis® Sphere device, which continuously produces Dry Hydrogen Peroxide (DHP™) to reduce viruses, bacteria and fungi in occupied spaces.
- Facility upgrades: Touchless, motion-sensor fixtures have been installed in all public restrooms, air filters are being upgraded to hospital-grade standards, and more hand sanitizer stations have been installed across campus.
- Classroom and instructional modifications: Through the Safe and Resilient Instructional Plan, OU’s goal is to provide in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible while promoting a safe and secure campus environment.
- COVID-19 curbside testing: Any OU student, faculty or staff member may schedule a COVID-19 test through OU Health Services.
For the latest information on Norman campus operations, visit ou.edu/together.