• Sydnie Balcer

COVID: UCO begins semester online - What do other Oklahoma universities do?

Updated: Mar 10

By Sydnie Balcer

For The Southwestern

Oklahoma university classes are under way, and the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) begins online, highlighting issues counties and universities still face with the COVID-19 pandemic.

UCO began the spring 2021 semester online, unlike other Oklahoma universities, due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma County and concerns about hospitalizations. The university plans to keep most classes virtual through Feb. 7, 2021 and continue the same COVID-19 precautions established in the fall 2020 semester upon returning to in-person classes. As of Feb. 3, 2021, UCO had 49 active COVID-19 cases and 776 cumulative cases.

The issues faced by UCO and Oklahoma County present current issues universities face despite COVID-19 vaccinations rolling out. SWOSU Provost and Vice President James South said there is still a possibility SWOSU could go virtual for similar reasons if cases surge in Custer County.

Oklahoma State University (OSU) returned to in-person classes Jan. 19, 2021 after extending their winter break due to the cancellation of spring break. Oklahoma State University has a regularly updated dashboard that provides COVID-19 statistics on both the Stillwater, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa campuses. As of Jan. 31, 2021, OSU had 32 active COVID-19 cases and 1,345 cumulative cases.

The University of Oklahoma (OU) returned to in-person classes on Jan. 25, 2021 after extending winter break as OSU had. The university is continuing the same COVID-19 regulations from the fall 2020 semester. As of Feb. 3, 2021, OU had 184 students in isolation or quarantine and 1,205 cumulative COVID-19 cases.

All universities are distributing COVID-19 vaccinations to those in phase two of vaccination priority under the Oklahoma State Department of Health guidelines and offering COVID-19 tests to university students and employees. Those wanting a vaccine can sign up for an appointment through the OSDH website and find out what phase they are in.

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