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COVID‐19 Phase III Return Plan Norman Campus

OU Together The University of Oklahoma

Norman Campus COVID‐19 Phase III Return Plan

The OU Norman Campus is currently in Phase III of its return plan, which began on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.

As the nature of COVID‐19 remains dynamic, this plan will remain dynamic. This plan applies to all Norman faculty, staff, student employees, students, contractors, and invited campus visitors.1



I. Telecommuting, Workplace Flexibility, and Accommodations

Those employees who have been directed by their supervisors to return to work on campus will be required to do so on or before August 3, 2020.

A.   Remote working arrangements (telecommuting) will still be broadly encouraged, where practical and approved by supervisor during Phase III. 1

1)   Guidelines ‐ Human Resources will continue to update the University’s Telecommuting Guidelines as appropriate. Those guidelines are available here.

B.   Employee Accomodations – Employees who believe they have a condition that may prevent them from returning to campus and/or resuming their normal job duties may request accommodation through OU Human Resources.

C.   Staff Flexibility – Staff may also make requests for flexibility in their work arrangement in accordance with the staff flexibility guidelines provided by Human Resources.

1)   If a supervisor and employee have already agreed to remote working, the Staff Flexibility form does not need to be completed.


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II. Returning to Campus: Mandatory COVID-19 Screening and Reporting for Faculty, Staff, Students, and Visitors

A.   OU Faculty, Staff, and Students – Employees and students must complete the online COVID-19 Screening and Reporting Tool at before participating in on- or off-campus activity or responsibility each time they answer YES to any of the questions below. The employee or student will be notified via email of their screening results and will follow the instructions included for forwarding the email. NOTE: Individuals must also comply with the screening and reporting processes in place at their assigned locations/rotations.

1)    Are you experiencing symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, recent loss of taste or smell, and/or extreme fatigue? (Please also contact a health care provider regarding specific symptoms.)

2)     Have you had close contact (been within 6 feet, for approximately 15 minutes or more2), either at work, at home or in the community, with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days or with someone who has been tested for COVID-19 and whose results are pending in the last 14 days?

3)     Have you tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days, or are you waiting on results for a COVID-19 test you took because you had an exposure or are having symptoms?

4) Have you traveled internationally? If so, in addition to completing the Screening and Reporting Tool within 48 hours of your return, you must self-quarantine away from campus* for the period directed by OU Health Services.

5) Have you taken a domestic or international cruise? If so, in addition to completing the Screening and Reporting Tool within 48 hours of your return, you must self-quarantine away from campus* for the period directed by OU Health Services.

*Individuals who live in on-campus OU Housing will receive quarantine instructions from Residence Life staff.

Please note that under the new protocols, individuals returning from international travel or from domestic or international cruises generally will have to quarantine/isolate from campus for 7 days and receive a negative test prior to return. Faculty or staff traveling internationally or taking cruises must be prepared to take leave (paid or unpaid, as appropriate) during the quarantine/isolation period communicated by OU Health Services, particularly if their position or responsibilities are not approved for or appropriate for remote work. Students should take this isolation requirement into consideration and review their academic obligations when making cruise or international travel plans.

B.   Scheduled Visitors – Visitors who are scheduled to be on campus in a campus facility for more than 15 minutes must complete the visitor/vendor COVID-19 Screening and Reporting Tool prior to their arrival on campus. It is the responsibility of each department to ensure that its scheduled visitors have completed this tool and received clearance prior to their visit. Departments will advise their visitors to leave campus if they begin to experience symptoms of COVID-19 during their visit and notify the individual who invited them to campus. For purposes of this screening policy, ticket holders for University special and athletics events are not considered to be scheduled visitors; they will be required to accept and adhere to facility and University policies, procedures, and requirements for the specific event for entry and continued attendance at that specific event. For more information about Scheduled Visitors, click here.

C.   Scheduled Vendors – Vendors performing work inside university facilities for more than 15 minutes will be directed to complete the visitor/vendor COVID-19 Screening and Reporting Tool prior to their arrival on campus. It is the responsibility of each department to ensure that its scheduled vendors have completed this tool and received clearance prior to their visit. They will be advised to leave campus if they begin to experience symptoms during their visit and notify the individual who invited them to campus. (Third-party food vendors, as identified in Section V.A.1, who are on campus to deliver food, are not required to complete the Tool.) For more information about the Scheduled Vendor online reporting tool, click here.

D.   Tenants – Tenants must adhere to University guidelines whenever in public areas on campus. Public areas include common areas in buildings (like hallways, public restrooms, building entries, community or shared kitchens, etc.), elevators, parking facilities, and other areas of public ingress and egress. Once inside your respective suite or leased premise, each company must follow its own COVID-19 protection and prevention protocols.

E.   New Employees – New employees who are unable to log into the online reporting tool may access this form.

Temperature Checks - Departments are discouraged from conducting temperature checks. If a department will require temperature checks, the manager must obtain prior approval from the Office of Human Resources.

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III. Social Distancing

Social distancing refers to keeping a distance of at least 6 feet between individuals. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is one of the most effective methods of avoiding infection and reducing the spread of COVID‐19. Social distancing requirements apply in all settings on campus, including public settings, common areas, and shared spaces.

A.   On Campus – When on campus, individuals must maintain a social distance from others of at least 6 feet.

1)   Indoors – Individuals must also wear a surgical-style face mask (see Section IV).

2)   Outdoors – Individuals are strongly encouraged to wear a surgical-style face mask. If social distancing cannot be maintained outside, individuals must wear a surgical-style face mask (see Section IV).

3) Tents – If the tent has panels, it is considered an indoor space. Masking in the tent is mandatory, and social distancing must be observed. If the tent has no panels, it is considered an outdoor space. Masks are encouraged, and social distancing is mandatory.

B.   Social Distancing Alternatives – When social distancing of at least 6 feet is not possible in a public setting, common area, or shared space, additional mitigation, such as the following options, must be implemented where possible:

1)   staggered breaks or shifts

2)   reconfigured physical spaces

3)   reconfigured seating designations

4)   revised workflow processes

5)   flexible meeting formats, such as video or teleconferencing

C.   Capacity Guidelines – All gatherings and events on University property, as well as OU-sponsored events held off campus (including classes, athletic events, co-curricular events, registered student organization events and general campus events), must adhere to the COVID-19 capacity limits as determined for each venue. The type and date of an event can impact capacity limits. All gatherings and events must also observe the University’s masking and social distancing guidelines. Third-party events unaffiliated with the University are prohibited through at least May 18, 2021, unless approved by the Campus Scheduling Office. Reservations and commitments for events unaffiliated with the University may not be accepted for calendar year 2021 until further notice.

1)   As the majority of instructional spaces on the Norman campus cannot accommodate class sizes larger than 40 people with social distancing measures in place, in-person class sizes will be limited to 40 students or fewer for the 2020 fall semester and winter intersession. Food and drink are not permitted in academic classrooms/spaces.

2)   Co-curricular events, registered student organization events and general campus events, including social gatherings, will be allowed up to the maximum COVID-19 capacity of non-academic campus spaces.

a.   Event organizers must structure events to observe the COVID-19 capacity of spaces and allow for the University’s social distancing and masking mandates.

b.   Hand sanitizer must be available at each door to the room.

c.   If there are multiple entries to a room, one should be designated (signs posted) for entry and one for exit.

d.   Extra masks must be available in the room.

e.   The group managing the event must wipe down the room using CDC-approved sanitizing materials after the event.

f.   Food and drink are permitted in event-specific spaces, so long as social distancing is observed, and masks are worn while not eating or drinking. Food must be individually plated or prepackaged. Self-serve, buffets, and passed food are prohibited.

g.   Food and drink are not permitted in academic spaces.

h.   The group managing the event must ensure the above requirements are met throughout the event; this may require reminders to attendees and a monitor at the door to maintain COVID-19 capacity. Click here for COVID-19 capacity limits.

i.   Events may be held in outdoor spaces without capacity restrictions, so long as the University’s social distancing and masking mandates can be observed.

1.    Attendees must wear masks.

2.    Hand sanitizer must be available at the gathering.

3.    Extra masks must be available at the gathering.

j.   Events in semi-covered structures, such as tents and parking garages, are considered indoor venues for purposes of determining COVID-19 capacity, social distancing, and masking requirements.

D.   Special Event Planning Details – All special events involving third-party vendors are required to go through the OU Special Events Committee approval process. Please submit your request at least 15 days before you wish to have the event. Information on planning special events.


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IV. Masks

University Mandatory Masking Policy – In Phase III, all individuals inside University facilities and vehicles must wear fabric or disposable surgical-style face masks that cover the individual’s nose and mouth. Bandanas, scarves, gaiters, buffs, and the like are not acceptable. Non-medical grade masks that have exhalation valves with or without filters (such as this) may not be worn on campus unless a surgical-style mask is worn over it. Individuals may remove masks only if:

1)   They are in their own enclosed private workspace or dorm room with no one else present. For purposes of the masking policy, a cubicle is not considered “enclosed.” An office is considered “enclosed” if the door is closed or slightly ajar.

2)   They are participating in activities in which a face mask cannot practically be worn, such as:

●  eating and drinking;

● playing a musical instrument or singing for academic purposes, provided, however, that schools, departments, and classes may elect to require masks in class; or

●  for students living on campus, bathing or sleeping.

3)   They are outdoors and are able to socially distance from others by 6 feet or more, unless otherwise required by the University, such as for certain events.

If individuals are outdoors and are not able to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet, an appropriate face mask must also be worn. ⁽ᵃⁿᶜʰᵒʳ ᶠᵒᵒᵗⁿᵒᵗᵉ ³⁾

A.   Masks for Faculty and Staff – The University will make masks available to employees as appropriate to their on‐campus responsibilities. Masks used for daily wear are expected to last five days.

1)   Employees ‐ Masks may be obtained from the campus’ central inventory. To obtain masks for their employees, managers or their designee should complete the Mask Request Form available here(pdf). Masks will be delivered on Fridays. To manage mask supplies, the mask order maximum is the number of masks needed in a 30-day period.

2)   Personal masks may also be used if they adhere to CDC guidelines.

3)   Re‐Use ‐ To conserve the University’s mask supply, employees must observe the following re‐use guidelines:

●   Surgical-Style Disposable Masks ‐ Disposable filtration surgical‐style masks worn in non-clinical/non‐surgical areas should be worn on campus for five consecutive days, or until soiled, whichever occurs first. (Those worn in research and clinical areas are subject to departmental re‐use policies.)

●   Surgical-Style Fabric Masks ‐ Fabric masks should be washed and fully dried after each day’s wear. Individuals should follow the CDC guidance for washing cloth face masks available here. Appropriate cleaning of the mask is the responsibility of the individual.

B.   Masks for Students – The Division of Student Affairs, in coordination with the PPE Task Force, has provided masks to students on the Norman campus through various distribution channels. Masks are available for students throughout the semester Student Life, Housing and Food, and Fit + Rec, and will be available for purchase at various vending machines across campus.

●   Students may also provide their own masks that comply with the OU masking policy.

C.   Masks for Visitors, Vendors, and Contractors ‐ Visitors, vendors, and contractors must wear masks on campus and should be asked to bring their own. The University will make surgical‐style masks available to visitors, vendors, and contractors who do not provide their own approved masks. Additional masks have been and will continue to be provided to department receptionists and located throughout the campus in vending machines.

D.   Enforcement - More information about the enforcement of masking policies, here.

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V. Building Access and Amenities

A.   Building Access ‐ Access to campus buildings returned to normal operations on August 3, 2020.

1)   Food Delivery for All Buildings - Third-party food delivery services may not enter or be given access to enter campus buildings. Individuals ordering from these services must arrange to meet the delivery person outside of the building.

B.   Building Amenities ‐ All common areas must be maintained in a manner that provides for social distancing and safe hygiene practices, including at a minimum the following:

1)   Elevators ‐ Masks are required while using any elevator and recommended occupancy is no greater than 4.

2)   Seating Areas ‐ Generally, seating at tables and benches is limited to one person per 6 feet. ⁽ᵃⁿᶜʰᵒʳ ᶠᵒᵒᵗⁿᵒᵗᵉ ⁴⁾

3)   Restrooms ‐ Restroom facilities should not be used by more than one person at a time if social distancing cannot be maintained. Face masks must be worn while in public restrooms.

4)   Cleaning ‐ Custodial teams will continue with enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures in all campus buildings.

5)   Hygiene ‐ Hand sanitizer and wipes will be regularly provided to all campus offices and departments through Facilities Management.

6)   Drinking Fountains ‐ Use of drinking fountains that are not touch‐free is discouraged.

C.   Food Services -   

Closed for the Duration of Spring 2021: Bookmark Café at Bizzell Memorial Library, Starbucks at the Oklahoma Memorial Union, Jan Marie and Richard J. Crawford University Club at the Oklahoma Memorial Union, Freshens at Sarkeys Fitness Center, Bedrock Café at Sarkeys Energy Center, Redbud Café at Sam Noble Museum, and The Trailer at OU.

Scaled Service for Couch Restaurants, Residential Colleges, and Wagner Dining Halls for Spring 2021:  Couch Restaurants, Residential Colleges Dining, and Wagner Dining will accept meal plans only (Meals, Meal Exchanges, and Sooner Sense). At these three locations, there will be no cash or credit cards, no staff discounts, no departmental meetings, and no outside groups due to limited available seating required to facilitate proper social distancing. This will help Food Services focus on serving the student population.   

Scaled Service for All Other Food Service Locations for Spring 2021: All other Food Service locations (Oklahoma Memorial Union, Cate Center, National Weather Center, etc.) will not accept cash in order to help reduce contact during payment. Credit/debit cards, meal plans, and Sooner Sense will be accepted.

Coffee Trucks: Coffee Trucks will accept credit cards, meal plans, and Sooner Sense. They are under contract with the University and will be located on the South Oval and near the Oklahoma Memorial Union Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

D.   Signage ‐ University Operations has placed signage throughout the campus addressing building access and amenities. Managers who desire additional signage for their departments may order them here.

E.   OU Libraries - For up-to-date information on OU Libraries, including hours of operation, visit here.

F.   Sarkeys Fitness Center -  For up-to-date information, including hours of operation, visit here.

G.   Goddard Health Center - In response to COVID-19, Goddard Health Center has divided the clinic into a respiratory clinic and general clinic. The center is open during normal operating hours of Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours and availability of certain services may be limited or change depending on staff availability during the COVID-19 response. Many visits can be accomplished through online telehealth visits, but staff are available in the office to address those needs that can’t be accomplished remotely. To discuss the best option for scheduling an appointment, call (405) 325-4441. For more information, click here.


VI. Sanitizing Facilities and Equipment

Clean facilities and equipment require a commitment from all levels of the University community. Everyone has an important role and responsibility in maintaining a healthy campus environment.

A.   University Responsibility ‐ Taking into consideration applicable government and industry cleaning and safety standards, the University is providing daily cleaning and sanitizing of frequently used facilities and common areas, including elevators, restrooms, classrooms/lecture halls, and other high‐traffic spaces with the use of EPA/CDC-approved cleaning agents. For high‐traffic areas within facilities, the University has provided where possible: no‐touch disposal receptacles, increased volume of hand sanitizers throughout campus, and installation of additional signage encouraging good hygiene.

B.   Department/Area Responsibility ‐ Each department/area manager is responsible for obtaining from Facilities Management cleaning supplies that have been EPA/CDC-approved for the cleaning of shared office equipment, furniture, surfaces, and environment. These cleaning supplies can be requested here.

1)   Office Electronics - Cleaning instructions for many types of common in‐office computers and peripheral devices, including University‐owned equipment for individual use as well as shared‐use equipment, are available here. For equipment not listed on the web page above, individuals should refer to the manufacturer’s recommended instructions or contact their local IT support personnel.

2) COVID-19 Positive Individuals – Frequently used campus spaces are disinfected on a daily basis. Department/area managers who are notified of a COVID-19 positive individual in their space should contact Facilities Management at (405) 325-3060 to confirm when disinfecting of the space last occurred. If the positive individual has been in the space since it was last disinfected, Facilities Management will, in consultation with EHSO, assess what, if any, interim disinfecting is appropriate, and the supervisor should close off affected areas and/or open outside doors and windows, if instructed by Facilities Management while the assessment is pending. This procedure should be followed in off-campus leased spaces as well, by contacting the leasing agent or building maintenance team.

3)   Environment ‐ University Operations has increased outside air where possible and converted HVAC systems with hospital-grade filters (MERV -13).

C.   Individual Responsibility ‐ As was the case prior to COVID-19, individuals are responsible for cleaning their personal and shared spaces and office equipment.

1)   Workspace ‐ Individuals are encouraged to disinfect their individual workspaces (desk, phone, keyboard, etc.) daily. If an individual’s workspace is a work vehicle, the same guidelines apply.

2)   Equipment from Home ‐ Individuals bringing electronic equipment to University buildings from off‐campus locations should thoroughly clean before placing in OU work environments.

3)   Shared Items ‐ Individuals must avoid using other’s phones, desks, offices, computers, work tools, etc., when possible. Individuals using shared office items, such as copiers, must clean and disinfect the item before and after use.

4)   Food Preparation ‐ Individuals may prepare food in common areas following social distancing guidelines and sanitizing after each use.

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VII. Testing, Isolation, and Contact Tracing

A.   Positive Tests ‐ If an employee or student tests positive for COVID‐19, the University will cooperate with the appropriate health department in its contact tracing efforts. Employees and students who test positive must fill out the COVID-19 Screening and Reporting Tool and may not report to work or campus until cleared by Goddard Health Center.

1)  Supervisors, RAs, faculty, staff, and others who are made aware that an individual in their area has tested positive should contact Facilities Management at (405) 325-3060 as described in Section VI.B.2 above for disinfecting assessment, if the individual was on campus in the past two days.

2)   Faculty, staff, and students who have been in close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 positive individual must fill out the COVID-19 Screening and Reporting Tool and may not report to work or campus until cleared by Goddard Health Center.

a.   The CDC defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

3)   For a list of frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19, visit here.

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VIII. Monitoring Workforce, Students and Visitors for COVID‐19 Symptoms – Mandatory Reporting Process

Please refer to Section II for information regarding monitoring for symptoms and mandatory reporting.

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IX. Travel

Except as provided in the Commuter Process, all employees, visitors, and students will comply with the travel guidance maintained here.

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X. Research and Academics – Return to Service

A.   Research - The Office for the Vice President for Research and Partnerships’ Framework for Restarting On-Campus and Field-Based OU Norman Research and Creative Activity provided a mechanism for research personnel to return to campus safely while the University was closed to all but essential personnel. As the University moves into the next phase, research will follow and adhere to the directions set forth in this campus Phase III memo. No additional Conduct of Operations plans beyond those already in existence will be required to access on-campus research laboratories and field sites at this time, but may be in the future if conditions change.

B.   Academics - As faculty return to the classroom in the fall, guidelines have been put in place to ensure that masking and social distancing are observed in the classroom The Safe and Resilient Instructional Plan describes the steps that have been taken to move online classes that have more than 40 students. Classroom space has been reconfigured to ensure social distancing in seating and class scheduled have been adjusted to allow for more time between classes. Signage is present in buildings directing students and faculty to practice social distancing. The Safe and Resilient Plan is available here.

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XI. Enforcement

The University encourages students, faculty, and staff to take positive steps when they see others taking actions that are not consistent with University policy related to COVID-19. Because it’s not always easy to have a conversation that may appear accusatory or confrontational, the University has developed these conversation tips. (pdf)


Faculty and Staff Enforcement

Employees who refuse to comply with this Return Plan are subject to disciplinary action, in accordance with the applicable faculty or staff handbook policy.


Student Mask Enforcement and Masking Mentors

Masking Mentors are faculty, staff, and student employees of the OU community. In addition to serving as role models, Masking Mentors will help hold individuals accountable who are not following the aforementioned policies and procedures using bystander techniques (pdf) and providing access to PPE. To further support faculty and staff, de-escalation, informal, and formal accountability processes have been developed and provided for ongoing support. Formal processes may include education through informal/formal resolution, fines, or further disciplinary action. For further information about the enforcement of masking policies, see here.


Vendors and Visitors

Vendors and visitors who refuse to comply with this Return Plan are subject to having their access to campus suspended or terminated.

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Joseph Harroz, Jr.
The University of Oklahoma

Dale W. Bratzler, DO, MPH
Chief COVID Officer
The University of Oklahoma

  1. Employees in OU-Tulsa Norman-based programs should refer to the OU-Tulsa Return Plan. The OU-Tulsa Return Plan is available here: (anchor to top)
  2. It is possible for COVID-19 to spread in shorter periods of time or in different distances, so individuals should monitor their health and complete the online Screening and Reporting Tool if they experience COVID-19 symptoms.
  3. If a faculty member, staff member, or student indicates compliance is not possible due to medical reasons, then the individual should be referred to the appropriate University office to request accommodations on the basis of disability (Human Resources for employees; Accessibility and Disability Resource Center for students). Individuals who would like to request a clear face mask should email Cloth face coverings should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance, per the CDC. (anchor to top)
  4. Reasonable exceptions include members of the same household sitting together and patients or students sitting with their caregiver or aide. (anchor to top)