May 13, 2020

Panhandle State Communications

Oklahoma Panhandle State University Plans a Three-Phase Reopen to the Public on July 6

As our Spring Semester comes to a close at OPSU, planning has begun for a return to traditional operations for the Summer and Fall Semesters. For many parts of Oklahoma, communities have started to reopen, but given the environment around COVID-19 in our region, OPSU has decided that the safest decision is to remain closed to the public until July 6.

It is impossible to mitigate all risk. A detailed plan with a three-phased, tentative timeline is being developed about how and when to have employees return to campus before the July 6 opening. The plan will be shared with OPSU employees for input next week and will be made available to the public as quickly as possible. This delayed approach to reopening campus is still a fluid situation, and any timelines communicated are estimations and considered to be tentative.

While the campus is closed, non-OPSU employees can only visit campus by invitation, and only if CDC, OSDH, and OMES health and safety guidelines protocols can be followed.

The second summer session will commence on June 22 as scheduled, with courses offered online and in hybrid format. Hybrid modes of instruction will begin when campus is open and it is safe to do so. Students should check their Aggie Scholars site for details about their summer courses.

Participants in other campus events or activities will be notified by the proper OPSU official about their planned event or activity. All previously scheduled events and activities will be allowed to proceed by invitation if they can be conducted according to CDC, OSDH, and OMES health and safety guidelines.

Remote work/telecommuting will continue for approved employees during this time. Employees who will be returning to work will be contacted by their supervisor to best develop a plan for their particular work assignments. If you do not feel safe returning to work at this time or have extenuating obligations or circumstances, please contact your supervisor to make alternative work arrangements. Supervisors will be flexible during this time for absences and remote working.

Employees returning to work are encouraged to follow CDC, OSDH, and OMES guidelines and continue to practice social distancing, wash hands frequently, and avoid all gatherings of 10 or more people. Employees are further encouraged to avoid in-person meetings and group activities and to stay home if feeling sick or if exposed to someone who is sick.

The CDC recommends that the general public use cloth masks and leave the healthcare-grade masks for healthcare workers because of the short supply. We strongly encourage employees to obtain their own cloth face mask to wear while at work and especially in common areas such as hallways and breakrooms.

University President, Dr. Tim Faltyn stated, “It is important to note and thank the essential employees that have continued to work on campus since this crisis started, as well as those who have adapted rapidly to telework and distance learning in these unprecedented times.”

“Even though the number of cases in our region has risen, we must begin planning on returning to our traditional operations. We will only return when it is deemed safe to proceed,” Faltyn continued, “We will be more flexible to ensure that our students, faculty, staff, and community are safe. There are some excellent ideas about how not to lose what makes us special.”

OPSU will continue to provide updates at and through social media as the timing and conditions of reopening continues to develop.

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