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OU announces mask guidelines, adjusted dining options, COVID-19 testing protocol in Phase III Return Plan

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OU Mask w/ black background

OU released its COVID-19 Phase III Return Plan July 24 — emphasizing mandatory COVID-19 reporting, precautionary measures and policy enforcement. 

The university will enter Phase III Aug. 3, marking the return of employees who have been directed by their supervisors to return to campus. The plan was signed by OU President Joseph Harroz and OU’s Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler. 

For the duration of the fall, OU has decided to close the Bookmark Café at Bizzell Memorial Library, Starbucks at the Oklahoma Memorial Union, the Jan Marie and Richard J. Crawford University Club at the Oklahoma Memorial Union, Freshens at Sarkeys Fitness Center, Bedrock Café at Sarkeys Energy Center, Redbud Café at Sam Noble Museum, and The Trailer at OU. 

Sarkeys Energy Center and the Bizzell Memorial Library will continue to update their hours of operation on their websites. Goddard will remain open during its normal hours of operation — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — and has divided itself into a general and respiratory clinic to help combat COVID-19. 

Couch Restaurants, Residential Colleges and Wagner Dining Halls will only accept meal plans and the Oklahoma Memorial Union, Cate Center and the National Weather Center will accept meal plans or credit cards to help maintain venue capacity limits instituted throughout campus.  

Students, faculty and staff will be required to wear masks and observe social distancing of 6 feet in public settings including classrooms, labs, food courts, libraries and break rooms. Masks will not be mandatory in outdoor environments where social distancing can be observed. 

Disposable surgical-style masks can be worn for five days and fabric masks should be washed and dried after each day according to CDC guidelines. Student Affairs and OU’s Personal Protective Equipment Task Force will provide masks to students via on-campus orientation events while employees can acquire masks by filling out a request form

Restrooms will permit one person at a time when social distancing cannot be maintained and require masking. Public seating areas will allow one person per 6 feet and elevators will allow four masked occupants. 

OU will require students, faculty or staff to fill out a COVID-19 screening tool if they are absent from campus for seven consecutive days or more, travel outside of Oklahoma, attend a gathering of 10 or more people who fail to follow OU’s social distancing or mask guidelines, come in close contact with COVID-19 positive individuals, experience symptoms, test positive or have a positive-testing household member. 

Employees and students will be notified via email of their screening results. Visitors and vendors entering campus will also be required to fill out a screening tool before entering campus. 

If an employee or student tests positive, they will fill out the screening form and may not report to work/campus until cleared by Goddard Health Center. Departments will contact Facilities Management for disinfection assistance, and faculty, staff or students who have been in close contact with a positive individual — defined by the CDC as being within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes two days before the onset of illness — must fill out the COVID-19 screening tool. 

To maintain proper sanitation, OU plans to increase the cleaning and sanitization of frequently used facilities and common areas through no-touch disposal receptacles, hand sanitizers and signage encouraging proper hygiene throughout campus. Department managers can also request cleaning supplies for their workplaces.  

Individuals who fail to comply with any portion of the Phase III Return Plan will be subject to disciplinary action enforced by Masking Mentors, which includes university faculty, staff, and student employees. Consequences include verbal warnings, formal education training, fees, mandatory meetings with hearing officers and suspension. 

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