OU to Phase In Updated COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies

Beginning June 1, 2021, vaccination requirements will be limited to two groups of OU community members: students, faculty and staff who have patient-facing responsibilities and those who request to volunteer, shadow or observe in patient care settings; and all those who elect to participate in study abroad programs. The university strongly encourages the rest of the OU community to get vaccinated, particularly those residing in congregate housing. Requirements will remain in effect leading to the fall semester, and any modifications to the policy will be announced.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, the health and well-being of the OU community has been our main focus and it will remain so,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “Based upon the information available at this time, we do not believe requiring vaccination for all of our students is necessary. While we’re not requiring widespread vaccination for our students, we do strongly urge them to consider being vaccinated if they haven’t already. There are two exceptions: we are instituting vaccination requirements for those who are interacting with patients and those who participate in our study abroad programs. We believe these requirements in certain university settings is both prudent and important.”

With the planned resumption of in-person classes at regular capacity university-wide for the fall 2021 semester, all three OU campuses will begin a phased modification of certain COVID-19 precautions. This summer, OU will also change its social distancing guidelines, moving to three feet from the currently instituted six feet in all areas except patient care settings and designated indoor eating areas, which will remain at six feet. OU will also incorporate new CDC guidance on reducing masking requirements for certain outdoor activities. Plans will continue to be adjusted, based on the status of the pandemic.

“As we approach a fully in-person semester this coming fall, we are carefully listening to the CDC and making adjustments to our mitigation strategies as appropriate,” said OU Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler. “We continue to advise all OU populations to be vaccinated and to wear a mask when indoors.”

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