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'Your well-being is our top priority': TU interim president addresses plans for fall in letter to students

'Your well-being is our top priority': TU interim president addresses plans for fall in letter to students

Building Book

The McFarlin Library stands on the University of Tulsa campus. TU will start its fall semester Aug. 24 but concerns about COVID-19 will bring changes. Tulsa world file

The University of Tulsa will start its fall semester Aug. 24 as planned, but concerns about COVID-19 mean more than a few changes for the school.

In a letter to students Thursday, Interim President Janet Levit said the university’s goals remain the same, but the school will be ready for whatever the semester holds. The changes range from the instruction model to a mask requirement for everyone on campus.

“As a parent of a rising first-year student myself, I want more than vague reassurances or sweeping statements that don’t reflect the seriousness of the moment,” Levit said in the letter. “Your well-being is our top priority. To that end, I have convened a Medical Advisory Committee composed of physicians, infectious disease specialists and public health experts to review our plans for reopening.

“As the interim president, it is my obligation to ensure that TU is as prepared as possible to handle whatever may come this fall, that we respond thoughtfully to emerging developments and that we are able to keep our beautiful campus open.”

The most obvious change coming for students is an earlier semester end, with on-campus instruction scheduled to end Nov. 20. After that, students will see virtual instruction and, depending on the situation, in-person exams before Thanksgiving or remote finals after the holiday break, according to the letter.

In-person classes will be scheduled over a longer day with about 30% classroom occupancy to accommodate 6-foot social distancing, according to the letter.

Class start times also will be staggered to minimize hallway traffic, and every class will have a back-up faculty member assigned. A later start to the spring semester may also be considered, according to the letter.

Levit also added that “a majority” of classes will be a mix of in-person and remote instruction, and “almost every course” will have an online option to accommodate those needing or choosing to study remotely.

For student life on campus, resident students will be guaranteed private rooms with mobile and carry-out food service in lieu of dining halls. Masks will also be required for everyone on campus, according to the letter.

Levit said the changes remain plans for now, adding that “much needs to take place between now and August to ensure the success of these changes.”

“Life at TU, or at any university, will be different for all of us,” Levit said.

“However, I can assure you that your experience here will be rewarding and fulfilling. We are all looking forward to seeing you on campus soon.”


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Stetson Payne 918-732-8135

Twitter: @stetson__payne

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Staff Writer

I cover breaking news, general assignment and other stories. I previously worked at the Enterprise-Journal in Mississippi. I'm from Broken Arrow and graduated with a journalism degree from Oklahoma State University. Phone: 918-581-8466

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