Aug 12, 2020

Panhandle State Communications

A Safer Start to A New Fall Semester at Oklahoma Panhandle State University

The Fastest Growing University in the Region is open for business, but that does not mean business as usual in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Oklahoma Panhandle State University is planning to open up safer after an unprecedented era in our nation’s history. COVID-19 changed the way things will be done in the Fall semester.

University President, Dr. Tim Faltyn commented, “This is sure to be a semester like no other we have experienced. It’s going to require a great deal more patience and flexibility from all of us on and off-campus.”

The COVID-19 Taskforce at OPSU has met and implemented measured planning during the pandemic based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the State Department of Health, and the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. This group was designed to strategize and implement new protocols, signage, and, most importantly, how we plan to open up safe.

Faltyn stated, “We are working toward the day we bring our students back to campus on August 17. We are committed to ensuring a safe as possible environment for our students, employees, and community members.”

OPSU plans to have smaller class sizes, increased sanitization, and sanitizer dispensers around every corner of campus.

Dean of College of Agriculture, Science, and Nursing, Shawna Tucker stated, “We have carefully analyzed each classroom meeting space and adjusted class size limits accordingly to ensure safe distancing protocols can be followed.” She continued, “This means we have added more sections of smaller class sizes. This approach maximizes the beloved and critical “college experience,” while mitigating risk.”

Vice President of Operations, Dr. Ryan Blanton stated, “In the event that we have a positive case of the COVID-19 virus, we are better prepared having these procedures in place. Our team has not only worked for many months to better our campus experience, but to also consider all situations.”

Most importantly, students are ready to be back on campus.

Senior, Naomi Rodriguez commented, “I am extremely ready for campus to open back up and excited to be back on campus and meet my new fellow teammates and see all the new Aggie faces on campus.”

“I am also very curious to see how different or not so different everything will be this fall.” She explained, “Going online was not new for me, the majority of the classes I take are online, but I will say that they have taught me to be more responsible and on time with turning assignments in and knowing when something is due and when I need to get it done.”

Part of being open, but not open for business as usual, will lead to changes in our Athletic programs and the fan experience. OPSU Aggie Athletics plays a major role in student life. When the spring semester was interrupted, many sports were not able to finish their season, we are ready, and adapting to start back up again.

Athletic Director, Meghan Mulcahy stated, “We plan to continue with athletics this fall while following all NAIA, Sooner Athletic Conference, and State guidelines. Our student-athletes’ health and safety are our main priority, and we will take all necessary precautions.” If there are scheduling changes or fan seating adaptations put in place, we will communicate those and any changes to our game day operations as quickly as possible.

Throughout the pandemic we have seen that plans sometimes must change. Panhandle State promises to be adaptable, prepared, and ready to serve our students and community.

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