• Sydnie Balcer

Update: What is the status of COVID-19 at other Oklahoma universities?

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

As SWOSU continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the university administration is keeping track of what other Oklahoma universities are doing. Here are the updates and statistics for some of Oklahoma’s major universities.

By Sydnie Balcer

News Reporter

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University’s cumulative total reported positive COVID-19 cases as of Oct. 14, 2020, was 1,514. In Stillwater, OK, where the university is located, there have been 2,194 total reported cases, which means the university’s cases account for more than half of the reported cases in the city. Stillwater, OK, is in Payne County, which is currently ranked fifth in the state of Oklahoma for counties with the most COVID-19 cases, the cumulative total of the county being 2,653.

The university has created a dashboard to keep OSU students, faculty, and staff up-to-date with the current COVID-19 statistics on the Stillwater campus, including statistics for: active cases, individuals in quarantine-housing, UHS- and student-reported statistics, cumulative cases, athletics statistics, and state and local totals.

On Oct. 6, 2020, OSU announced that they would be cancelling spring break for the spring 2021 semester. Classes at the university will begin a week later than originally planned on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, and students will end the semester at the originally scheduled date.

“Based on consultation with state and local health officials, we have decided to adjust the start date of the spring semester in order to give us the best chance to finish the term in person,” President Burns Hargis of Oklahoma State University wrote in the announcement. “We will… not be having spring break in order to avoid another possible surge in COVID cases due to student travel.”

The University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma does not provide cumulative totals or current active cases, but they provide the daily amount of tests conducted and the amount of tests that come back positive. Norman, OK, where the university is located, has a cumulative total of 4,138 reported COVID-19 cases. Cleveland County has a cumulative total of 7,941 reported COVID-19 cases.

Similarly to OSU, OU has created a dashboard for OU students, faculty, and staff to see the current COVID-19 data at the university.

Last month, however, some professors at OU expressed concerns about the numbers being shown in the university’s dashboard.

“It doesn’t include any of the students that are off-campus and any of the students that were tested at other facilities even here in Norman,” Professor John Schmeltzer said.

On the university’s current dashboard, there are only statistics provided for the tests conducted at Goddard Health Services, located on the Norman campus, and statistics provided by OU Medicine for tests conducted on-site in OU Housing.

On the same day as OSU, OU also announced that they would be canceling spring break for the 2021 spring semester. They will begin the semester on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, and they will finish the semester on the originally planned date, Friday, May 14, 2021.

“Since March of this year, our community has shown immense resilience in the face of the pandemic, dynamically adapting to the unique challenges before us,” OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. said. “In keeping with our robust mitigation efforts, under the guidance of Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler, we are making these modifications to the Norman campus academic calendar to maximize our opportunity to continue our in-person education while protecting the health and safety of our community.”

The University of Central Oklahoma

The University of Central Oklahoma’s cumulative total reported COVID-19 cases as of Oct. 21, 2020, was 383, with 61 of them being active cases. Oklahoma County, where the university is located, has a cumulative total of 22,669 reported COVID-19 cases, making it the leading county in the state for the highest number of positive cases.

The university, like OSU and OU, created a dashboard interested parties could follow for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 at the university. The dashboard provides statistics on the cumulative total for cases at the university, the active cases, student cases, staff cases, and the totals for Oklahoma County.

UCO has also released a contingency plan that addresses the different stages they would handle the COVID-19 pandemic in. There are five levels, level one being no restrictions and level five having all classes move virtual and closing the campus.

UCO was one of the first major Oklahoma universities to announce that there would not be a spring break for their students in 2021, and similarly to OSU and OU, they extended their winter break by one week and will begin the semester on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. They will finish the spring semester on the originally scheduled date, Friday, May 7, 2021.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

Northwestern Oklahoma State University does not provide their cumulative total for reported cases anywhere on their website, but they do provide a website with the most up-to-date active cases on both their Alva, OK, and Woodward, OK, campuses.

As of Oct. 16, 2020, NWOSU had nine active student cases and zero active employee cases.

NWOSU has not yet announced whether or not they will be cancelling spring break, and it is still marked on their 2020-21 academic calendar for March 15--19.