Canceled sports. Virtual homecoming. No big chapel.
This semester at Oklahoma Christian University looks different than years past. From faces covered by masks to socially distanced classes, the campus is adjusting to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The Talon has gathered the necessary resources so students can stay informed about the exact measures Oklahoma Christian is taking to keep them safe.
Candace Bass, director of residence life and a member of Oklahoma Christian’s COVID-19 Task Force, said she hopes students will be mindful of others and consider their safety.
“I would encourage students to embrace Jesus’ words and our university’s motto this year: ‘Love Your Neighbor,’” Bass said. “Be kind, be understanding, be patient — it’s a crazy, stressful time for everyone.”
Face masks are now required in every building on campus and daily health screenings must be completed each day before students leave their room.
According to the Roadmap to Readiness, students must record their temperature every morning and document it on MyOC or the Oklahoma Christian app to ensure they are safe to enter campus.
COVID-19 tests are offered free of charge to students every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Students may also be tested at a location of their choosing and should send results to Oklahoma Christian’s campus COVID officer, Shawna Hood.
If students experience COVID-19 symptoms or test positive, then they must go into isolation for at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared. They may be considered recovered once they have experienced at least 24 hours with no fever (without fever-reducing medication) and symptoms have improved.
Individuals who have been exposed to an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days or until they receive a negative test. Those considered exposed to the coronavirus will have been in contact with a person who tested positive within six feet for at least 15 minutes.
Students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to receive a flu vaccination to reduce the risk of confusion between flu symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms.
Students must wear masks during all classes. Professors may teach without a mask if they are positioned at least 10 feet away from all students.
Additionally, students should communicate with professors in the event they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms or test positive. Professors should coordinate virtual options for these students who cannot attend class for health and safety reasons.
As Edmond Public Schools move to a blended learning model and Oklahoma City Public Schools have decided to opt for a virtual beginning to the semester, some Oklahoma Christian students may wonder what options are available should the virus spread across campus.
Chief Academic Officer Jeff McCormack leads Oklahoma Christian’s COVID-19 Campus Readiness Task Force and said campus leaders will adapt the plan in accordance with contact tracing and recommendations from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
“The Task Force meets daily to assess the current status of COVID on our campus and will take into consideration all factors to make decisions on the fall semester,” McCormack said. “The Task Force developed the OC Flex model for the fall semester to provide for the varied needs of students for in-class, hybrid or the possibility of online instruction.”
Residents are required to wear masks in all residence hall lobbies, laundry rooms or hallways. In addition, residents in dorms or apartments should wear masks in common areas whenever six feet of social distance is not possible.
When residents are in their own room or apartment, they do not need to wear a mask, but should wear masks when visiting friends’ rooms or apartments.
The Branch will be open for standard hours with increased safety measures and sanitation efforts. Seating will be spaced out in order to maintain a safe distance among students.
Candace Bass, recommends having open conversations about COVID-19 safety and concerns between roommates.
“Just like with any point of contention, roommates should practice Jesus’ model for conflict resolution in Matthew 18,” Bass said. “First of all, they should talk with their roommate, listen well to each other, and work toward a compromise. If that doesn’t work, then our ResLife team is trained in conflict mediation and will be happy to assist in finding a solution.”
Chapel in Baugh Auditorium has been canceled for the semester in favor of smaller, alternative chapels and other opportunities for students to get involved in spiritual life without attending large gatherings.
In a recent email, the Ethos team announced a new kudos requirement. Students must earn 20 kudos in the fall semester.All in-person Ethos events must require masks and social distancing.
Athletics and Intramurals
Three fall sports are postponed: soccer, volleyball and basketball.
The Lone Star Conference announced the three sports will be postponed until the spring 2021 semester until further notice, following the NCAA’s cancellation of all Division II fall sports championships.
Cross country and golf seasons may continue, except for championships. Additionally, all teams are allowed to resume practice on Aug. 24 with masks and limited amounts of individuals in spaces.
Oklahoma Christian’s swim team is still awaiting a decision regarding its season, as it is part of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and is considered a winter sport.
Fall intramurals including softball, flag football and cross country are scheduled to continue as planned, with fans encouraged to wear masks and equipment being sanitized regularly. However, volleyball’s season is still awaiting a decision regarding its approach.
Student Organizations and Social Clubs
All student events must follow mask and social distancing guidelines consistent with campus policies.
Social clubs must alternate in-person meetings with virtual meetings, and smaller events are encouraged. Meetings should primarily take place outdoors or in large indoor spaces.
Masks are required for all rush events and drinks and refreshments must be served in individual packages or bottles. Club night will be replaced with an alternative event.