It’s Bedlam week in Oklahoma and while the Cowboys and Sooners are opponents on the field, they’re allies in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Oklahoma State and the University of Oklahoma are in the midst of the “Bigger than Bedlam” campaign, which encourages students to get a coronavirus test before returning home for Thanksgiving break.
OSU President Burns Hargis said this is the most vital time of the year to take safety precautions.
“As students leave campus for the long holiday break, it is critical they consider the well-being of vulnerable family and community members,” Hargis said. “Our students have done a great job following guidelines and staying healthy this semester, and I urge them to schedule a free test on campus before they leave.”
OSU and OU have dashboards on their websites that report their coronavirus numbers. As of Tuesday, they have a combined 990 active cases.
It’s important to know this figure is based on the positive tests at the schools’ health services and self-reports. It doesn’t include tests taken anywhere else.
Furthermore, young college students are typically asymptomatic, so there could be many more carrying the virus without knowing.
This is why OSU student Kelly Johnson is getting tested before going home to New York.
“It’d be a letdown to miss Thanksgiving with my family,” Johnson said. “But not as big a letdown as giving one of (her family members) COVID.”
Both universities will be switching their curriculum online to minimize travel and transmission.
OU President Joseph Harroz said he is encouraged by the cooperation between him and Hargis in keeping Oklahoma communities safe and hopes their initiatives will do the same for their students’ hometowns.
“Our teams may compete on the gridiron, but when it comes to protecting our loved ones and our communities against COVID-19, we all have the same goal,” Harroz said. “Bigger than Bedlam demonstrates our collective obligation as public universities to serve our state.”