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OU amid coronavirus: Interim President Joseph Harroz considering keeping classes online for entire academic year, furloughs, among other options

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Then-interim OU President Joseph Harroz speaks during the regents' meeting in Bizzell Memorial Library on March 10.

Interim OU President Joseph Harroz said he is considering multiple options for classes in the upcoming academic year, including not returning to in-person classes for both the fall and spring semesters. He also mentioned the possibilities of furloughs for the first time.

During his address in Monday's virtual Faculty Senate meeting, Harroz said there are currently three options being explored on the topic of in-person classes during the next academic year: returning to in-person classes in the fall, returning to in-person classes in the spring, or remaining online for both the fall and spring. 

“This is a lot of scenario planning. We don’t have a lot of certainty,” Harroz said. 

The university announced it would move all classes online for the remainder of the semester on March 18 in an effort to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. OU has officially moved summer classes online through July 31, though no decision for the fall semester has yet been made. 

Harroz also mentioned the university may have to consider furloughs depending on how the situation with COVID-19 evolves. 

“As we approach this, we know we’re going to get through this. We know it’ll be a challenge,” Harroz said.

Emma Davis contributed to this report.

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