University Of Oklahoma To Consider Virtual Classes In Response To Coronavirus

Tuesday, March 10th 2020, 12:15 am
By: Bonnie Campo

Some Oklahoma universities are considering their next move when it comes to the coronavirus, COVID-19.

Officials with the University of Oklahoma said Monday they are considering moving classes online following Spring Break. The university said they will most likely provide an update Tuesday.

“There are a lot of knowns; there are a lot of unknowns. I think what is clearly known is that we are entering a phase that containment is not a realistic goal at the national level,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Kyle Harper.

With the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Oklahoma, schools are asking, "What's next?" Thirty-eight OU students studying abroad in Italy are already on their way back home.

“There is a heightened awareness, and we began to think about, 'What does that mean for our students' safety?'" said Chris Walker, Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Affairs.

OU students will be out for Spring Break from March 14-22. OU is considering moving all courses online for two weeks after the break due to COVID-19 concerns.

Journalism student John Barry said he still plans to move forward with his plans to go on a cruise to Mexico with about 50 friends. He said he's done his homework and feels safe.

Barry also said Carnival would not be offering him a full refund, and that impacted his decision.

“They are pre-screening everyone’s passports. If you have been out of the country and to any of the affected areas, you are not allowed to get on the cruise at all,” said Barry.

As journalism major, Barry has to film and record interviews. He said a virtual classroom comes with a lot of questions.

Still the largest question remains: What if COVID-19 were to hit the Norman campus?

“We have a lot of international students. If they come back on campus, and it breaks out, who knows what will happen?” said Barry.

OU officials want to emphasize: they are not planning for a complete campus closure.

The Board of Regents is expected to make a decision soon.