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MANDATORY: OU requiring COVID-19 testing for students moving into on-campus housing

Posted at 2:28 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 17:31:35-04

NORMAN, Okla. — The University of Oklahoma announced students moving into OU housing on the Norman campus will be required to be tested for COVID-19.

According to an official press release, students will be required to take the test prior to arriving on campus.

Officials said the required testing is a part of the efforts OU is taking to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Over 5,000 students assigned to the below housing facilities will complete an at-home saliva-based coronavirus test prior to moving in:

  • Adams Center
  • Walker Center
  • Couch Center
  • David L. Boren Hall
  • Headington Hall
  • The Residential Colleges
  • Traditions Square Apartments

The test is part of a three-step process to gain clearance to move-in to campus housing:

  1. Complete an at-home COVID-19 test. OU has partnered with Vault Health to mail students an at-home saliva-based COVID-19 test to complete in advance of their arrival to campus.
  2. Receive a negative COVID-19 test result. Test results will be emailed to students and to OU Health Services up to four days after their test arrives at the Vault Health lab.
  3. Complete the university’s online health screening five days prior to the student’s return to campus. Students must complete this step regardless of their COVID-19 test result.

Officials say all steps of the three-step process must be completed to move into OU housing. Officials are encouraging students to self-isolate after they are tested and prior to arriving on campus.

This year, OU officials said they are expanding their move-in process to a six-day period to help with social distancing, starting Aug. 11. OU offers full-service move-in for students living in on-campus housing. This service allows students to arrive at their building and have their items unloaded and moved into their rooms.

Officials said guests will not be allowed to access residence halls during the move-in process to further protect the health of staff and residents.

What if a student tests positive?

If a student tests positive, they will be required to stay home, away from campus, until they are cleared by the OU Health Service to move into campus housing.

What if a student tests negative?

If a student tests negative, they will receive a date and time to move into their housing, and must complete OU's online health screening to be cleared to return to campus.

What if a student is from outside the U.S.?

If a student is from outside the United States, they will have to self-isolate at a location off-campus until they can complete the three-step process to move into on-campus housing.

Testing residential students for COVID-19, combined with the university’s masking requirement and social distancing protocols in classrooms and other shared spaces, are important precautions to take as we return to normal operations on the Norman campus.
OU Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler

Exceptions:

  • Kraettli Apartments: Students living at Kraettli Apartments are exempt from testing because the apartments have lower population and it has a higher proportion of family living arrangements.
  • OU Greek Chapters: OU Green chapters are independent entities and OU officials are encouraging them to mirror the same expectations related to OU Housing and community standards.
  • Cross Village: Cross Village will determine their own coronavirus testing precautions/protocols for students moving into its facilities.
Our fall 2020 semester will be different from any other, and throughout our fall planning, the well-being of our campus community has been at the forefront. Providing our residential students a simple and free way to complete this test before they arrive in Norman is part of our comprehensive strategy to reduce transmission of the virus on campus and in the broader community.
OU President Joseph Harroz Jr.

OU is implementing the following health and safety measures:

  • Masking requirement: OU has subscribed to a university-wide masking policy, which applies to faculty, staff, students and campus visitors across all three campuses.
  • Masks provided: Students and employees will be provided various types of face masks appropriate to their on-campus responsibilities.
  • Social distancing: Social distancing – keeping a distance of at least 6 feet between individuals – applies in all settings on campus, indoors or outdoors.
  • Mandatory online health screening: All OU employees and students must complete the online screening form prior to returning to campus or any time certain scenarios apply.
  • Enhanced cleaning: Through Clean and Green , OU’s campuses are being meticulously cleaned to support the healthiest environment possible. Daily cleaning protocols have been enhanced, with particular emphasis on touch points and common areas. Electrostatic cleaning treatments are used in common areas at least weekly.
  • Microbe-fighting devices for residence hall towers: Every room in Adams, Couch and Walker Centers will be equipped with a wall-mounted Synexis® Sphere device, which continuously produces Dry Hydrogen Peroxide (DHP™) to reduce viruses, bacteria and fungi in occupied spaces.
  • Facility upgrades: Touchless, motion-sensor fixtures have been installed in all public restrooms, air filters are being upgraded to hospital-grade standards, and more hand sanitizer stations have been installed across campus.
  • Classroom and instructional modifications: Through the Safe and Resilient Instructional Plan , OU’s goal is to provide in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible while promoting a safe and secure campus environment.
  • COVID-19 curbside testing: Any OU student, faculty or staff member may schedule a COVID-19 test through OU Health Services.

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