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Students and OSU's COVID-19 guidance

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Some classes at Oklahoma State have been moved online.

As the spring semester begins, students and faculty are still figuring out how to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically the omicron variant. 

From virtual classes to rescheduled Student Union Activities Board (SUAB) events, the spring semester is echoing the beginning of the pandemic to some students. Although professors are trying to accommodate the changing campus guidelines, some students think it is not enough. 

Darla Jirousek, a senior, said the new guidelines, while annoying, will hopefully help the rest of the semester. 

“It’s annoying right now,” Jirousek said. “But hopefully the precautions we take now will help the rest of the semester not be as restricted.” 

In Oklahoma, 48,143 active cases have been recorded since Jan. 8, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and OSU’s University Health Services (UHS) is reporting 498 active cases since Tuesday. Before students returned to campus, OSU partnered with the app Healthy Together, in an effort to help reduce the spread of infections.

The app can be used to track symptoms, record COVID-19 vaccines and testing. Student can report symptoms and stay up to date with COVID-19 guidelines through its daily “health pass."

Although the university has adopted this app Carman Montgomery, a sophomore, said she had never heard of the app.

“It sounds useful, but if no students know about it, then what good does it do?” Montgomery said.

Along with the new app, Dr. Johnny Stephens, the senior vice president of health affairs at OSU, emailed student this week updating them on COVID-19 guidelines for the spring semester.

“With the explosive growth of omicron cases in Oklahoma, it is highly likely that individuals would unknowingly return to the classroom COVID-19 positive,” Stephens wrote in the statement. “This is why the temporary modification applied to the first two weeks of school assumes there will be infected individuals in the classroom.”

Though some students are excited about the list of school events, Cheryl Kleeman, the transfer and veteran student success director, sent an email explaining how Winter Welcome Week activities have been rescheduled. 

“Due to unavoidable circumstances, we are having to reschedule some of our Winter Welcome Week activities,” Kleeman said. “We apologize for the late notice about the schedule changes, but (the activities board) are trying to ensure the health and safety of all of (OSU’s) staff and students.”

 news.ed@ocolly.com