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OU Panhellenic Association elects to hold majority of recruitment virtually amid COVID-19

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Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma and surrounding states, OU’s Panhellenic Association has moved round three of its 2020 recruitment process online, per a Monday Twitter announcement.

Panhellenic Vice President for recruitment operations Heather Balliew told The OU Daily in a Monday email the association had planned to conduct the third portion of recruitment via in-person small groups, but the rising number of participants challenged the safety of that plan, forcing a move to online.

“We decided that round three would be difficult to perform in person in a one hundred percent safe way,” Balliew said in the email. “We didn't think this was worth the risk, as the safety of everyone involved is our first priority.”

Balliew said the first two rounds of rush were already set to take place through a Canvas course and Zoom, with the third portion now following suit. Balliew said participants will be sent videos containing information about each panhellenic chapter in advance, so Zoom meetings can focus on conversation.

Despite a round three adjustment, Balliew said the association still plans to hold round four in-person. Balliew said the last round is different from others in that it creates smaller groups that are less hazardous.

Balliew also said round four usually takes place in one evening, but will take up an entire day this year in order to maintain smaller groups and provide more time for sanitization measures. The association is also requiring masks and six-foot social distancing at all times.

“I am confident that having the first three rounds virtually will eliminate the risks of in-person contact,” Balliew said in the email. “Our chapters now have time to focus on round four as the only in-person round, and they are all preparing to have a limited number of people at each facility with cleaning being done in between each group.”

Rounds one and two are on Aug. 19 and 20 respectively, while round three is on Aug. 21 and 22. Round four is on Aug. 23, and recruitment will finish with Bid Night on Aug. 24.

Mason Young is a journalism sophomore and The Daily's assistant sports editor. He covers OU football and previously covered OU women's gymnastics and former Sooners in the NFL. He has also spent some time as a senior news reporter for The Daily.

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