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Hundreds of Oklahoma college students self-isolate after exposures to COVID-19
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Hundreds of Oklahoma college students self-isolate after exposures to COVID-19

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OSU campus - shrub with mask

Oklahoma State University campus features a masked shrub early this month. OSU has had nearly 100 students — less than half of 1% of enrollment — go through isolation since classes started last month.

Hundreds of college students — a small fraction of the student population — have been in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure, higher education officials told the Tulsa World roughly a month into fall semester.

The University of Oklahoma reported 320 students in isolation or quarantine last week, with some choosing to isolate off-campus.

“This, however, is not a confirmation that a student is COVID-19 positive,” explained Kesha Keith, OU’s director of media relations. Students might be isolating as they wait for test results or as a precaution after coming in close contact with someone who is confirmed infected.

“Students who have tested positive and are isolated in OU housing are checked on regularly by an OU community member,” Keith said, “and connected to resources and services as needed,” including health visits and meal deliveries.

Meanwhile, students can continue classwork remotely.

Oklahoma State University has had nearly 100 students — less than half of 1% of enrollment — go through isolation since classes started last month, coming nowhere near filling the 400 housing units set aside for the purpose, campus officials said.

“Meals are delivered daily, and our housing and residential life staff are diligent about checking in on them to make sure any other needs are being met,” said Monica Roberts, director of media relations at OSU.

Like OSU and OU, the University of Tulsa has certain housing units set aside for students who need to self-isolate because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or because they are experiencing symptoms of the virus.

TU students who have been exposed to someone with the infection may remain in their normal housing unit because every student has a private room this semester, said Chief Compliance Officer Matt Warren.

TU had 33 students — or roughly 1% of the undergraduate population — in self-isolation last week, some on- and some off-campus, Warren said. Some had tested positive for COVID-19 while others were experiencing symptoms and waiting for test results.

Like their counterparts at OU and OSU, however, more students at TU seem to be avoiding in-person classes even if they have not been exposed to COVID-19.

The majority of TU courses give students of the option of attending physically or virtually.

“Virtual attendance is up slightly from the first week of courses,” Warren said, “and no student is forced to attend a class in person if they decide they are no longer comfortable with in-person attendance.”


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Michael Overall

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michael.overall@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @MichaelOverall2

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