You have permission to edit this article.

OSU answers key questions about upcoming semester, COVID-19

  • Updated
032920 Wild Art-9295.jpg

Edmon Low Library on Sunday, March 29, 2020.

The O’Colly obtained a report that was sent to Oklahoma State University faculty and staff on Wednesday that addressed many questions about COVID-19 on campus this fall. The report contains details about the OSU council of dean’s meeting with local public health officials on July 31 and outlines key concerns about the upcoming school year. The “key questions” portion is listed below: 


If the person who tests positive does express symptoms, but was wearing a mask will those whom they were with be contacted?   

  • It depends on the investigation, but it is likely that they WILL be contacted.



Will faculty members be notified if there is a student in their class who tests positive? 

  • Not necessarily.

  • Need to safeguard against anything that turns individuals who are COVID-positive into pariahs – need to protect their identity.

  • They CAN do this when the person who is positive isn’t reachable – the argument is that it’s a public safety issue. 

  • WIFI connection logs can be accessed if needed in circumstances when there are no other means of identifying possible contacts.

What if I know someone was found to be positive, but people I think should have been contacted have not been?

  • Generally, trust the contact tracing system.

  • For guidance, call Pamela Stokes at (University Health Services) (405) 744-7665.

  • Protect identity of the person who has tested positive; be sure you KNOW the person whom you think should be contacted meets the exposure guideline (> 15 minutes, <6 feet).


If a student tests positive, do they HAVE to quarantine at OSU facilities? 

  • No – it is fine for them to go home to convalesce if they want, especially if they can remain connected to online instruction; but do not let them fly home or take public transportation.


How will decisions be made about going to all online instruction during the semester? 

  •  It will be determined by the rate of increase of number of infections per day, number of hospitalizations per day, rate of decrease in availability of hospital beds, ICU beds.

  • There is NOT a case number threshold that would trigger the switch.


How reliable is the state data system?  

  • Reports are that it is being updated as we go. (Payne County Health Department director Kelli Rader) stated that PCHD has a good handle on local dynamics and local hospital loading.


Payne County is unique and different from other parts of the state so local decisions will be based on local circumstances, but not statewide conditions?

  • In Payne County, 70% of cases are young adults, which results in a lower hospitalization rate than areas where the ages of cases are older.


What should be done with (graduate teaching assistants) and (graduate research assistants) who test positive?  

  • Keep them employed and paid so they are not penalized by declaring their positive status and staying away and isolated.