Covid-19 update: SWOSU starts phased reopening on June 1
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, SWOSU has converted to online classes for Spring and Summer Semester 2020, while the campus remains partially open. For Fall Semester 2020, SWOSU plans on being fully open again. Read and watch here the latest Covid-19 updates by the SWOSU Administration.
Updated by Johannes Becht
The latest updates on May 20:
Students, Faculty and Staff,
I hope that your summer is going well. SWOSU’s summer semester is about to begin and a new academic year will be here before you know it.
SWOSU received funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to distribute emergency financial aid grants to students. We acted quickly and was one of the first universities in the state to release these grants to students. By May 9, we had distributed more than $1.6 million to students.
Phased Campus Reopening
In the next few days, we will release information related to our phased reopening of the Weatherford and Sayre campuses set to begin June 1. Because we are offering summer courses exclusively online, our campuses are in a position to safely phase in the reopening process throughout June and July. We will follow local and state recommended guidelines in this controlled approach.
SWOSU is currently enrolling students for our fall semester. Remember, it is our intention to hold in-person classes this coming fall. Classes will begin on Monday, August 17. Please visit our new website for instruction on how to enroll for the fall.
We have several projects that will be ready for students, faculty and staff in the fall. The construction project on the second floor of the Al Harris Library is going well. It should be completed by the start of the fall semester. The renovations will include the Stafford Archives, which will be the depository for the papers of Gen. Thomas P. Stafford. The Berrong Music Hall will have a new addition. Also, the eSports Arena is being added in the Wellness Center. This arena will house SWOSU’s eSports program, host tournaments and broadcast competitions.
Finally, SWOSU will be producing one-minute video updates periodically this summer which will be posted on our website and social media. Please look for these features.
Have a safe summer!
Randy Beutler President
The latest information by SWOSU President Randy Beutler regarding Fall Semester 2020:
May 1, 2020
I know this has been a trying and challenging time for many of us in the SWOSU community. We have had our lives, careers and studies completely disrupted due to the pandemic. However, I also know that the Bulldog Nation is resilient and up to the task of continuing our mission as the best regional university in the nation!
We have also continued our tradition of an excellent education at an affordable price. The value of a SWOSU education is known far and wide. However, in order to sustain the quality of many of our programs, we cannot continue to rely solely on remote learning. Digital and virtual learning technologies are an important part of our educational system and will continue to be so, but these tools cannot be a long-term substitute for the facilities and support that our campuses at Weatherford and Sayre provide. Many of our faculty and students need access to our classrooms, library, rehearsal rooms and labs to fully engage with their learning, research and instruction.
With that in mind, I inform you of our intention to safely resume in-person teaching, learning, and residential life for the fall 2020 semester using a measured approach. It will be important to recognize that campus life will be different when we return this August. We will continue to monitor developments in our area and the state related to the virus. Using this information, we will analyze and develop ways in which our students, faculty, and staff can safely return to campus, including:
Safety protocols such as social distancing will be of utmost importance as we return to our classrooms, labs and residence halls.
The dining facility serving lines are being changed to improve safety.
Future plans will also include recommendations regarding the use of protective masks, testing and other tools.
We will also consider ways to reduce the density of groups in campus housing, dining facilities and classrooms.
Until a vaccine is developed, many members of the SWOSU community may not be able to risk teaching or attending in-person classes. We recognize the needs of our faculty and staff, our non-traditional students, and the members of our community with underlying health concerns. To these and others, we will develop strategies for fall instruction which will involve a blend of online and face-to-face classes.
I know there will be many questions about the logistics of how a return to campus will ensure a safe environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors on our campus. As we continue to work through this process, we will keep you updated in a timely manner. I look forward to seeing your eventual return to campus and the start of a great, new academic year.
The latest SWOSU update from April 17:
Students, Faculty and Staff,
I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy during these demanding times.
These emails are intended to keep you updated on actions the university is taking during the pandemic and also let you know that we care about your progress as a student and your health and safety as an employee.
As you know, we have announced that all summer classes at SWOSU will be online. However, at this time, a decision regarding the possible cancellation of academic and athletic camps on campus has not been determined. We will continue to monitor and follow the advice of state and federal professionals in public health as we make our decisions.
To our SWOSU Students:
Please stay vigilant with your studies!
Even though these are challenging times, your academic progress is of the utmost importance. Continuing your studies and matriculating through the educational process—these are the best steps you can take to properly prepare for your future.
SWOSU is making it easier for students to enroll for the upcoming 2020 summer and fall semesters by providing information on the home page of the university’s website—www.swosu.edu. Students can click on the “How to Enroll for Summer and Fall 2020” link near the top of the home page and find several helpful links.
To the SWOSU Family:
As detailed in a previous announcement to faculty and staff, SWOSU is taking steps to prepare for negative effects of the pandemic on our budget. We have implemented a temporary hiring freeze and continue to monitor the situation to determine if we need to adjust the next fiscal year budget.
I realize that there are several events and special occasions on campus that we have had to cancel or postpone due to the pandemic. It may not seem fair or reasonable that such things have happened. But, we must deal rationally and wisely with the situation that we have before us. As the late Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court William Brennan said, “We must meet the challenge rather than wish it were not before us.” I know that each of you will meet this challenge.
Randy Beutler SWOSU President
On April 7, SWOSU President Randy Beutler announced moving all summer courses to virtual format. Moreover, the planned graduation ceremony in May has been postponed to Saturday, December 12.
Students, Faculty and Staff,
I continue to be proud of how students, faculty and staff are responding to this time of uncertainty. A recent executive order from our governor and our concern for the safety of our SWOSU community have led to the extension of campus safety measures through April 30 and the move of all summer courses to virtual format (SWOSU may authorize some in-person clinical experiences and internships; that decision will be made by May 15). The changes are detailed below.
On April 2, Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an executive order with further directions regarding COVID-19 in the State of Oklahoma. Here are a few of the added measures:
A moratorium has been placed on out-of-state travel for all state employees and officers that is paid for, in part or whole, by the State of Oklahoma.
People over the age of 65 and persons of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions shall stay at home except if working in a critical infrastructure sector and in the conduct of essential errands. (For further SWOSU information, please see this link: https://www.swosu.edu/coronavirus/employee-information.aspx.)
Social gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.
The closing of non-essential businesses shall extend to April 30, 2020 (had previously been April 15, 2020).
All persons who enter Oklahoma from an area with substantial community spread of the virus shall quarantine for a period of 14 days. This does not apply to persons employed by the airlines or those performing military, emergency or health responses.
If you wish to read the executive order, please find it at this link: https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/executive/1928.pdf.
All executive orders can be found here: https://www.sos.ok.gov/gov/execorders.aspx.
It is our duty and obligation to care for our family, friends, neighbors and fellow Oklahomans by practicing social distancing and other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution to further protect the health and well-being of our SWOSU community, the following measures will be implemented:
1. SWOSU will continue to restrict access to as many buildings as possible through April 30 to eliminate the need for regular custodial services.
2. Computer labs are available for students in the following locations. Gloves will be available in each lab and extensive disinfecting practices have been implemented.
a) SWOSU Weatherford – Stafford 128 will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For students who need lab time between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., please call Karen Klein at 580-330-0008 and arrangements will be made to open the lab.
b) SWOSU Sayre – two computer labs open for student use only. The labs will be open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The labs are Alexander 119 and Mackey Hall 111.
3. All Summer courses will move to a virtual learning environment. Students who have already registered for summer courses will be contacted in the event that their enrollment needs to be modified. Faculty members can visit the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning for guidance on moving courses online.
4. Bursar enrollment holds have been temporarily removed. SWOSU has temporarily removed these holds so that students with a remaining balance may enroll for summer and fall courses. It is our hope that this will assist students’ progress towards degree completion.
5. Students wishing to enroll for the summer and fall semesters may do so by visiting the Self-Service site through Single Sign On or contacting their advisor.
6. Since May graduation was postponed, the university has made the decision to hold live ceremonies on Saturday, December 12, at the Pioneer Cellular Event Center in Weatherford. More details will be announced later.
Please remember that we are updating the information on our website constantly. Please review: https://www.swosu.edu/coronavirus/index.aspx.
I am encouraged by the commitment to learning demonstrated by our students and the adaptability of our faculty and staff.
Randy Beutler SWOSU President
On April 6, SWOSU President Randy Beutler spoke to the SWOSU students via video. Watch it here:
Here is the latest update by the Administration about dropping courses and choosing pass/no-pass grading.
We recognize that this unexpected shift to virtual learning is a difficult time for students, and we want to support your efforts to continue making progress toward SWOSU degrees. Therefore, we have implemented the following policies for the Spring 2020 semester.
The last day to drop a course with a guaranteed “W” has been moved to Friday, April 10. The date was originally April 3 but has been moved one week later to give students additional flexibility in this challenging semester. Students and advisors will be able to withdraw from courses through Self Service as normal. Complete withdrawals must still be processed through the Registrar’s Office. If you need assistance, contact the Registrar’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 580-774-3008. As always, students should consider the negative effect that dropping courses can have on financial aid eligibility. If you have questions, please contact the Student Financial Services office at email@example.com or 580-774-3786.
SWOSU students will be given an option to choose pass/no-pass grading for spring 2020 courses. In our system, these will show as S or U on the transcript and do not impact the GPA. At the end of the semester, faculty will submit A-F letter grades to the Registrar’s office. Students will have 7 days after the date final grades are posted to request a change to a pass/no-pass grade. For undergraduate courses, a grade of A-D would become an S, and an F would become a U. For graduate courses, A-C would become an S, D-F would become a U. There is no limit on the number of courses students can convert to pass/no-pass grading, and students will make the decision on a course-by-course basis. Students should consult with their advisor before making the choice, as changing a letter grade to a pass/no-pass grade may impact applications to professional or graduate school. The College of Pharmacy will not use pass/no-pass grading. Details of how to choose the option will be provided to students later in the semester.
Dr. James South
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Here is the latest update by SWOSU President Beutler from March 31, regarding financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic:
Students, Faculty & Staff,
I want to start by thanking you again for your continued dedication to SWOSU and for your support for the wide-ranging changes we have had to make in response to the immediate challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Please do your best to keep yourselves and those around you safe and healthy as this continues to impact every facet of our lives and our local communities.
STUDENTS: I know online classes take much discipline and patience. Please do not get behind in your work and seek help if you need it. Here again are some important resources for you: https://www.swosu.edu/coronavirus/student-information.aspx.
HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING UPDATE:
With this email, I am providing you with some preliminary information regarding federal and state efforts toward higher education during this crisis. As many of you may know, the federal stimulus bill (CARES Act) was recently passed and enacted into law.
This $2 trillion package would provide about $14 billion to higher education. It sounds like a lot of money, but many feel that the need of public colleges will be much more than that due to this crisis. There is certainly the possibility that further stimulus-type bills could be introduced and considered in the near future.
The CARES Act provides that of these emergency funds, 90% of the $14 billion would be distributed to institutions via a formula (75% based on the amount of Pell FTE of the institution and 25% on non-Pell FTE).
The bill is lengthy, but if you would like to read it, here it is: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6819206-CARES-ACT-FINAL-TEXT.html.
On the state level, the Oklahoma Legislature has not met for several days due to the pandemic. It is my understanding that they are currently working on finishing the FY-21 budget (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). It is believed the legislators will return sometime in April and pass the state budget. Even though state revenues are down considerably, it is thought that with use of reserve funds (Rainy Day Fund), the state will attempt to keep every agency at the same funding level as it was the year before.
There is one other upcoming funding issue to consider. It is estimated that in our current fiscal year (FY-20), revenue collections will not keep up with spending. Therefore, the state could very well face a funding shortfall. If this does occur, it is believed the Oklahoma Legislature may come back into special session this summer in order to address this shortfall by accessing monies from the Rainy Day Fund.
Finally, please remember that we are updating the information on our website constantly. Please review: https://www.swosu.edu/coronavirus/index.aspx.
Randy Beutler, President
Here is the latest update by SWOSU President Beutler from March 25:
Regarding Governor Kevin Stitt’s recent executive order, SWOSU is considered an essential business operation and will continue to operate on a restricted basis to serve students and provide essential operations.
To further ensure the safety of the SWOSU community, all buildings at Weatherford and Sayre campuses are closed to the public until further notice. Only SWOSU faculty, staff, students and approved visitors should enter any university building. Several offices are providing services via email and phone.
As a reminder, students continue to have access to the designated computer labs on both campuses.
The university has taken additional steps to prevent and slow the spread of the virus through several actions, including the transitioning of classes to alternative instructional delivery methods for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.
As stated in earlier announcements, students are strongly encouraged to leave campus if possible. Supervisors are encouraged to communicate with staff about the methods in which essential functions of the university will continue to be completed.
Our highest priority is the safety of our students, faculty, staff and surrounding community. We continue to monitor developments in the COVID-19 pandemic and recommendations of state and federal health officials.
Before Spring Break, Beutler had already announced shifting to online classes for two weeks after Spring Break:
March 12, 2020
Dear SWOSU community:
As you know from previous communications, university leadership has been closely following events and public health recommendations surrounding the outbreak and spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
As a precautionary and protective measure, SWOSU is transitioning all in-person classes to an online learning environment for the two-week period following Spring Break, beginning Monday, March 23 through Friday, April 3.
Though our campus classes will not meet in person, the university will remain open. SWOSU employees will report to work as usual. University housing, computer labs, food service, health clinics, counseling services, research labs and all other aspects of the university will remain open during the two-week period from March 23-April 3.
As students leave campus for Spring Break, they should take all instructional materials, including textbooks and devices, to prepare for online learning. For more information, https://swosu.edu/resources/coronavirus-students.aspx
Additional information further defining the transition is included in the links below. These links will be updated as necessary.
General information for students, faculty and staff: https://swosu.edu/resources/coronavirus-general-information.aspx
Student learning details and answers to students’ frequently asked questions: https://swosu.edu/resources/coronavirus-faqs-students.aspx
Faculty resources for necessary technology: https://swosu.edu/resources/coronavirus-faculty.aspx
Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the SWOSU campuses at this time,we are implementing this plan to prevent large gatherings on campus. As a result, all events/activities/meetings are suspended from March 23 through April 3.
SWOSU is closely monitoring the current safety levels with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Continue to monitor the SWOSU website at www.swosu.edu and the coronavirus info quick link: https://www.swosu.edu/resources/coronavirus.aspx
This is a difficult and extraordinary time in our lives and the history of this institution. There is no perfect plan to deal with this current situation. However, we have outlined a plan that we believe is operable for the time being. We will work through this the best way we know how.
There will be issues that arise that were not foreseen. There will be issues that were not contemplated. However, we have good, dedicated people and students on our campus who will make this work.
Our goal is the safety of our students, faculty and staff and to create a safe learning environment for the time being. These are times that we hope we will not see again. In order to make this work, in many instances, we will have to improvise, think outside the box, and hope that this will be a one-time, temporary endeavor into the educational unknown.
The spread of COVID-19 may necessitate changes in the way we interact, but it does not change what we do. SWOSU will continue to operate and will continue to deliver the highest-quality education possible to the students we serve, and SWOSU employees will continue to perform their duties.