Oklahoma State University will begin reopening campus operations in phases this summer to ensure classes resume normally in August.
OSU President Burns Hargis announced his plans to resume in-person instruction at each campus during the 2020-21 school year in a public letter Friday afternoon. The news came a week after the University of Oklahoma revealed its own plans for reopening campuses. Both colleges transitioned to distance learning in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like OU, Hargis said OSU is working on several strategies to ensure the well-being of community members as they return to campus.
“The sweeping plans will consider classroom size, class structures and schedules, safety in student housing and protective methods for monitoring and maintaining our collective and individual health,” he said. “We will assess our plans and timeline as we closely monitor the state’s decline in COVID-19 cases and will share with you detailed plans this summer.”
Starting June 1, OSU will begin a phased reopening of its campuses to visitors and employees, with staggered department schedules for in-office work. This date aligns with the third and final phase of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s plan to reopen the state economy.
University supervisors reportedly will receive detailed guidelines on how and when to reopen their departments within the next week. Employees who reported to work during the pandemic will continue to do so, while those who have worked from home won’t return until at least June 1.
OSU’s phased reopening plan will depend on the decline of COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma. Hargis said he and other administrators will continue to seek guidance from state health officials in the coming months.
“I applaud each of you on your diligence in social distancing to help our community, Stillwater and the state flatten the curve,” the president’s letter reads. “We have come together as a Cowboy Family by staying apart and contributing to the fight against COVID-19 in countless ways. As we look to a future where we can come back together safely, we cannot let our guard down. I ask you to remain diligent and support the protocols we will put into place for the successful reopening of our campus.”