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Students Forced to Move Out in University of Tulsa's COVID-19 Response

Posted at 11:24 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 00:35:26-04

TULSA, Okla. — Students at the University of Tulsa are uprooting their college lives. Some of them were told to move out of campus housing to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

TU students away on spring break have been asked not to return to campus.

Starting Friday evening, all students will have restricted access to housing.

Sophomore Alec Wigton was told to move out by 5 p.m. Friday. He says the coronavirus scare reached campus last week.

“One of the students here has a sister who got back from Italy. I know everything over there is so bad and chaotic," Wigton said. "It wasn’t known how many students she interacted with. That caused a scare.”

After TU announced one of Tulsa County’s confirmed coronavirus cases is a family member of a student, classes turned online-only.

Wigton says, “At first, we were all, ‘Heck yeah. we’re out of school.’ It’s really gotten kind of scary the past couple days. Just 11:30 this morning, they gave us the deadline at 5 p.m tomorrow. Just all of a sudden. ‘Get out.’ Some of the people here, it’s really difficult. I know several people that don’t have really anywhere to go.”

Wigton says he will stay with his parents.

As with every other decision made recently, TU is evacuating campus for social distancing.

Students who are away on spring break should not return to campus. Effective Friday, March 20, at 5 p.m., students will have only restricted access to dormitories and student apartments; Campus Services will send detailed instructions for those who need to retrieve belongings and those who require a waiver to remain in campus housing. All staff will work remotely, with the exception of those few who are needed to support minimal campus operations.

I want you to know that our leadership team reached this decision only after extensive deliberation with our Crisis Management Team and the Board of Trustees and that we take these measures with profound regret for the impact they will have on so many of you and your families.

It is clear, however, that steps like these are the most powerful tools we can employ to check the spread of this pandemic, prevent the overburdening of our health care system and allow us to resume our normal activities as quickly as possible. On a residential campus where students live and study in close quarters, social distancing is simply not possible. Our decision is supported by guidance from public health officials and agencies and consistent with actions taken by other colleges and universities across the country.
Janet K. Levit Interim President

Levit says they will only offer virtual classes for the rest of the semester. Campus services will send instructions to the students who need to pick up their things and those who need a waiver to stay in campus housing, and most TU staff are now working from home.

TU will send out student information on room and board refunds by April 6. By April 1, they will decide how commencement will be held.

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