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Oklahoma City Community College to conduct fall semester online amid rise in state COVID-19 cases

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OU Memorial Union

A view of the main entrance of the Oklahoma Memorial Union on Jan. 15.

Oklahoma City Community College has announced fully online classes, and Oklahoma State University has announced professors cannot require attendance in the fall, while OU continues to focus on primarily in-person classes.

According to an article from The O'Colly, attendance will not be mandatory in any class during the fall semester. The article said OSU faculty members were asked to accommodate students who miss class due to illness or anxiety from the pandemic. 

OSU professors have been asked by university officials to record and post lectures to Canvas and provide students who do not feel comfortable attending class in person with a live-streamed lecture, according to the article.

OCCC previously planned to conduct a hybrid of in-person and online classes for the upcoming semester, according to a Tuesday press release. After the increase of COVID-19 cases across the state, OCCC's executive committee unanimously recommended the fall semester move entirely online.

In the release, OCCC President Jerry Steward said it would be "clearly unsafe" to invite the college's 17,000 students back to campus in the fall.

"... In the midst of record-breaking new cases of COVID-19 in and around our community … It is just not safe to have classes in person at this time," Steward said in the release.

Leading a student population of about 21,000 undergraduate students, according to the university website, OU administrators have continued to prioritize in-person instruction, although President Joseph Harroz recently acknowledged the possibility of a fully online semester. 

OU's Interim Senior Vice President and Provost Jill Irvine announced in an email that all OU schedule changes would be finalized yesterday in accordance with OU's Safe and Resilient Instructional Plan. Irvine said in the email the goal of the schedule modifications is to allow for in-person instruction to continue in the fall. 

According to the release sent out by OCCC, its campus will remain open so its students can access resources such as free wifi, the library and computer labs. One-on-one services like private tutoring and certain labs and trainings will take place in person.

OCCC Provost Jeremy Thomas said in the release it's important to keep OCCC's students and staff safe during this time.

"We can't educate students, and students can't get a proper education if we're all ill," Thomas said in the release. "It's up to us to keep each other safe."

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