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OU announces course syllabi will require masks in classrooms, outlines class protocols

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Coronavirus COVID-19

Updates to OU’s masking policy were provided to faculty in an email Friday from the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost. 

Interim Provost and Senior Vice President Jill Irvine said in the email to faculty that requirements may be updated further “as additional information becomes available.”

Additionally, a syllabus statement detailing the mask requirement and other classroom protocols is being written by the Provost’s Office and should be available no later than July 12, Irvine said in the email.

According to the email, faculty should include this statement in their syllabi and also show a PowerPoint presentation that is being prepared to inform students at the beginning of class.

Irvine said in the email the university is anticipating students will comply with the mask requirement, but instructors may ask a student to leave the class if they refuse to wear one. If a student refuses to leave the classroom, that class may be dismissed for the day. 

To combat the limited space that will be available in the Oklahoma Memorial Union and Bizzell Memorial Library, Academic Affairs is composing a list of alternative study areas around campus, Irvine said in the email. These will include classrooms that are too small to maintain social distancing between students during a regular class session.

Irvine said in the email that masks will be provided through channels such as in residence halls, at orientation events, in the Oklahoma Memorial Union, on the South Oval, from Greek chapter facilities and from Goddard Health Services Center. 

According to the email, when faculty return to campus they will receive two cloth and five disposable masks and are encouraged to disperse disposable masks to individuals seen without one “politely and courteously.”

Additional disposable masks can be requested through faculty members’ respective departments and will be delivered by University Operations on a weekly basis. 

Faculty needing clear masks to accommodate students can request these through their departments as well.

According to the email, labs and other “higher density areas” on campus will require additional personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes masks, gloves and safety glasses. 

Faculty in lab courses should include this equipment in their required materials list, though University Operations is obtaining a supply of masks in case students have trouble doing so. 

“It is important to be patient and courteous as we move through this period of cultural and behavioral change on campus,” Irvine said in the email. “Please model safe practices and respond with kindness to students and colleagues as we all adjust to our new normal.”

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Jordan Hayden is a journalism junior serving as a news reporter and copy editor at The Daily. Previously she served as the fall 2018 and spring 2019 assistant engagement editor.

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