Oklahoma Universities Respond To Coronavirus Threat

Monday, March 2nd 2020, 6:43 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

State health officials are testing another Oklahoman for coronavirus. And the University of Oklahoma announced they are bringing all students in their travel abroad program in Italy back home.

The health department said one of the two tests they have been waiting on over the weekend has come up negative. They are still waiting on the other test and now this new possible case.

At OU Health Sciences Center and the rest of the university locations across the state travel to the impacted countries of Italy, Iran, Japan, South Korea, and China by any students and staff is being restricted. Those returning home have to do a phone screening and then the university is recommending a 14-day quarantine before they can return to campus.

“We are working closely with our academic units to continue instruction, look for variative ways to contain and self-quarantine to make sure instruction is not interrupted,” said Kate Stanton, Vice president for student affairs at OU Health Sciences Center. 

OU announced Monday the closure of its programs in Italy effective Thursday telling the 38 students and two faculty members to try and be home by Friday.

“We’re working closely for them to return safe and for their ultimate wellbeing,” said Stanton. 

OSU said they are also restricting travel to impacted countries and asking study abroad programs to determine risk assessment for their programs.  In addition, all faculty leading spring break trips abroad are required to provide a contingency plan in case the virus is found in the host country.

At the University of Central Oklahoma, a spokesperson said they have two students studying abroad in South Korea and have offered to pay their travel expenses for their return, but both have decided to remain in South Korea. 

Oklahoma City University has canceled a trip to Taiwan that had been scheduled for this summer.