As of March 8, Oklahoma entered Phase 3 of the state’s vaccination plan. This means that college students and those who work in early childhood care centers are now able to get the vaccination for COVID-19.
The University of Tulsa has encouraged all students and faculty to get their vaccinations, as it will help reduce the spread of COVID-19, especially on campus. It is crucial that both students and faculty receive their vaccinations if campus life is to return to more normal conditions in the next academic year.
Casey Reed, Senior Vice Provost of Enrollment Management and Dean of Students, said that “the sooner the campus community gets the vaccine, the sooner the university will be able to retire the mask mandate and physical distancing requirements.”
Until that occurs though, TU will continue to follow CDC guidelines, despite the fact that Gov. Kevin Stitt has lifted the remaining COVID-19 precautions in Oklahoma. This revokes limits on public gatherings, limits attendance at indoor sporting events and lifts the mask mandate in state buildings, according to the Oklahoman. Though Stitt’s executive order goes against CDC guidelines, local governments are still allowed to retain their COVID-19 precautions.
Reed added that “fully vaccinated individuals will not need to wear masks or exercise physical distance when they are with other fully vaccinated people.”
TU is hopeful about our ability to return to in-person classes, as Reed stated, “The majority of classes will be in-person, but there will be some online courses available for students who want or need that option.”
It is unlikely that the pandemic will be completely over by Fall 2021, so there will still be options for students to take some classes virtually if needed. “Students who need online courses can complete the Application for Accommodations through Student Access,” Reed stated.
Since classes will be returning to normal, living situations for students next year will also look more similar to what life was like before the pandemic. Students living in dormitories can “choose to have roommates or may prefer a single for the 2021-2022 school year,” according to Reed.
A campus-wide email sent out in February stated that students will be able to have more social gatherings next year and clubs and that organizations will be allowed to meet on campus.
As far as monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases on campus, Reed shared that the university is still deciding on “whether or not [they] will need to conduct large scale continuous testing on campus through an outside lab.” However, students who suspect that they might be positive for COVID-19 next semester can still be tested at the Alexander Health Center.
To schedule an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, visit the state’s appointment portal at vaccinate.ok.gov or check with your local pharmacy, Walmart or Sam’s Club as they are also giving out vaccinations.