Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a coronavirus?
There are seven known coronaviruses that affect humans. They’re named coronavirus because of the crown-like spikes on their surface. The first was identified in the 1960s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The newest coronavirus is known as the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
- What are the symptoms of the novel coronavirus?
COVID-19 patients have reported a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms may include but are note limited to:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
For more information about COVID-19, its symptoms and variants, visit cdc.gov.
- How do I prevent novel coronavirus?
Get vaccinated against COVID-19 — schedule an appointment here.
You can limit your likelihood of contracting the novel coronavirus with the same methods you would use to avoid the flu.
- Avoid crowds and close contact with people outside your household. Practice social/physical distancing (maintaining a distance of at least six feet).
- Wear a mask (When properly worn, masks should cover nose and mouth).
- Wash your hands often. Use soap and water and wash for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue into the trash.
- Disinfect frequently touched objects or surfaces.
- For more information on how you can prevent COVID-19, see the latest guidance from the CDC.
- How does the virus spread?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 spreads mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about six feet). The novel coronavirus spreads in much the same way as the flu or other respiratory illnesses spread, via respiratory droplets produced when a person coughs or sneezes. People who are infected but do not show symptoms can also spread the virus to others.
For more information from the CDC regarding COVID-19 transmission, click here.
- What screenings are being done by the university?
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, have been in contact with someone suspected of COVID-19 exposure, or have general questions, please call University Health Services at (405) 744-7665 during normal business hours. UHS offers free testing for students and full-time employees. For more information on how to schedule a test or to report a covid case or exposure, visit the UHS website.
- What type of COVID test does OSU’s University Health Services administer?
University Health Services offers both the PCR and rapid test, depending on patient needs. All results are reported to the state health department and are counted as part of state and local COVID statistics.
- Is testing at UHS available for those in the community?
No, they would not be eligible to receive services at the University Health Center unless they were an active student, OSU employee or an eligible dependent.
- Does UHS share student medical records with the Payne County Health Department?
OSU is not giving the county access to student records, card swipes or Wi-Fi access points. University Health Services can use this information in assisting to find a student. UHS helps frequently with tracking down students who are difficult to reach or who may need to isolate.
- What COVID-19 information is on the OSU dashboard?
The OSU COVID-19 dashboard reflects all University Health Services testing and vaccination data. All self-reported testing data is also included.
- Is there a shared COVID-19 database between OSU and the Payne County Health Department?
OSU and Payne County both have access to the state reporting database. University Health Services communicates with the Payne County Health Department daily about shared cases.
- What is my personal health responsibility?
The following outlines expectations for all OSU students and employees while on campus. These are not only to protect your health, but the health of our entire community. Your continued support of these guidelines is appreciated.
- All employees and students are asked to take special precautions to avoid exposure.
- Sick employees and students must stay home.
- Self screening should be performed each morning before arriving on campus.
- Temperature must be less than 100.4⁰ F/38⁰ C. See CDC's symptom checker
- Maintain social distancing guidelines.
- Remove unnecessary items in your personal work or living space to create clean counter spaces and support cleaning efforts on common surfaces. If additional cleaning is needed in an office space, please notify your supervisor.
- I'm sick. Should I be tested for coronavirus?
If you develop COVID symptoms and believe you have been exposed to COVID-19:
- Before going to a doctor’s office or to an emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your symptoms and your recent travel. Your health care professional will work with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the CDC to determine if you need to be tested.
- Stay home unless you are seeking medical care. Avoid contact with others.
- When should I seek emergency medical attention?
Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
- What are the guidelines for quarantining and isolation? And what do I do if I believe
I’ve been exposed to COVID-19?
The CDC has shortened the recommended time for isolation for people diagnosed with COVID-19 and the recommended quarantine period for those exposed.
Isolation Length Masking Testing Other Tested positive, asymptomatic or symptoms resolving within 5 days Isolate for minimum of 5 days after positive test or symptom onset, or until fever has resolved without medication and symptoms improving (whichever is longer. 5 days (Day 5 – 10 from positive test or symptom onset.) N/A Monitor for symptoms 10 days from positive test. If symptoms develop, follow isolation recommendation (minimum 5 days, ending only when fever is resolved without medication and symptoms improving). Exposed None 10 days from date of exposure Test on day 5 if possible Monitor symptoms for 10 days from exposure. If you become symptomatic at any point, get tested. Exposed, unvaccinated Isolate for 5 days (Days 1-5 from exposure) 5 days (Days 6-10) Test on day 5 if possible Monitor symptoms for 10 days from exposure. If you become symptomatic at any point, get tested.
- Vaccinated: vaccinated with initial series AND received booster
- Unvaccinated: not vaccinated OR six months from initial series of Pfizer/Moderna (or two months from J&J) AND no booster
- Symptoms resolving: overall symptom improvement AND 24-hours fever free without using fever-reducing medication.
Report any symptoms of COVID-19 immediately to University Health Services, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you have a health emergency, please go to the nearest emergency room.
- Why do the new guidelines characterize me as unvaccinated even though I received my
initial series of the COVID-19 vaccine?
The CDC changed their definition of vaccinated for purposes of the new isolation and quarantine guidelines to include only those who have received their initial series of vaccination and booster unless you are less than 6-months from your Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 2-months from Johnson & Johnson. If you are outside of these timelines, you would need to receive your booster shot to meet the definition of vaccinated for purposes of the isolation and quarantine guidelines.
This new definition does not affect the federal contractor vaccine mandate, which is currently blocked in federal court. You are still considered fully-vaccinated if you received your initial series for purposes of that mandate.
- If I’ve been diagnosed with COVID or been a close contact of someone who has been,
when can I be around others?
Please refer to this guide for information on when you can regain contact.
- What is the process after a student tests positive for COVID-19?
The student will be given information from a health care professional regarding the need to isolate, whether in on-campus facilities, their current room if a private space or at home. Students who have a positive test will be entered into the state database. If a student tests positive off campus, they are asked to fill out a self-reporting form. The Payne County Health Department will work with them to contact trace and/or give further instructions. We are being proactive in asking our students to also contact Payne County Health Department so the process can begin as soon as possible.
- What should a student who tests positive for COVID-19 in an off-campus test do?
If students get tested elsewhere and are positive, they should still get a call from the county because that positive test will be entered into the state database. OSU may not be aware of it, however, so we ask for students to fill out a self-reporting form so we may ensure the student has everything they need, count them as a positive case on campus and help the health department with any needed contact tracing.
- What do I need to know if I've previously tested positive for the virus?
According to the CDC, a person who has recovered from COVID-19 may have low levels of virus in their bodies for up to three months after diagnosis. This means if the person who has recovered from COVID-19 is retested within three months of initial infection, they may continue to have a positive test result, even though they are not spreading COVID-19.
Following recovery, if a person develops new symptoms of COVID-19, they may need an evaluation for reinfection, especially if the person has had close contact with someone infected with COVID-19. The person should isolate, contact a health care provider to be evaluated for other causes of their symptoms and possibly be retested.
Whether or not they have had COVID-19, everyone should wash their hands regularly, stay at least six feet away from others whenever possible and wear masks.
If you have had a previous positive COVID test and have concerns about your need to self-quarantine again or test again, please contact your local health provider, Payne County Health Department at 405-372-8200 or University Health Services at 405-744-7665.
- What’s the process for athletes in being tested for COVID-19?
OSU Athletics maintains a separate dashboard and brings in additional staffing for COVID testing.
- What do I need to know if I'm traveling internationally?
The CDC advises international travelers to:
- Make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before you travel internationally.
- Check your destination’s COVID-19 situation and travel requirements before traveling. Countries may have their own entry and exit requirements.
- When you travel to the United States by air, you are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before you board your flight.
- Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is recommended in indoor areas of public transportation (including airplanes) and indoors in U.S. transportation hubs (including airports).
For more information about international travel guidelines, click here.
- What happens when there is a positive COVID-19 case on campus?
We follow the guidance of national and local health officials in our response to a positive diagnosis on campus. If we receive confirmation that an OSU student or employee has had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, there are important measures that will be promptly taken including quarantine or isolation, communication and facility disinfection. When a member of the OSU community self-reports they are symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19, please fill out a self-reporting form with University Health Services immediately. Learn more.
- What about contact tracing?
UHS and Payne County Health Department continue to provide public health support and guidance. Contact tracing efforts on campus will prioritize COVID-19 cases in communal living areas such as residence halls and Greek life housing. Faculty have been given guidance on notifying their class when a student tests positive without divulging identifying information about the student.
- Is virtual counseling available?
Virtual counseling is available through University Counseling Services. For more information, please call 405-744-5458.
- How do I get a free at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 test?
Starting January 15, most people with a health plan can go online, or to a pharmacy or store to purchase an at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at no cost, either through reimbursement or free of charge through their insurance. This applies whether you purchased your health plan on your own or whether you get health insurance through your job.
The test will either be free directly at the point of sale, if your health plan provides for direct coverage, or by reimbursement if you are charged for your test. Be sure to keep your receipt if you need to submit a claim to your insurance company for reimbursement. If your plan has set up a network of preferred providers at which you can obtain a test with no out-of-pocket expense, you can still obtain tests from other retailers outside that network. Insurance companies are required to reimburse you at a rate of up to $12 per individual test (or the cost of the test, if less than $12).
Vaccinations are now available for all Oklahoma residents over the age of 12. The state’s plan is available here.
- What is a comorbidity and how do I know if I’m eligible for the vaccine?
Information on high risk conditions associated with COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website. Everyone aged 5 and up is eligible for vaccination.
- Who can make an appointment at UHS?
Any phase eligible faculty, staff or student may make an appointment.
- What type of vaccine is being given at UHS?
UHS is primarily administering doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. This is a two-dose series given three weeks apart.
The CDC recommends that everyone ages 5 years and older get their primary series of COVID-19 vaccine, and everyone ages 12 years and older also receive a booster.
According to the CDC, getting vaccinated prevents severe illness, hospitalizations and death. Click here for more information about vaccines and boosters.
- What is the process for scheduling at UHS?
Information on weekly availability and scheduling may be found on the University Health Services website at uhs.okstate.edu
- How soon can I expect to get in for an appointment at UHS?
Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis and are scheduled out up to a week in advance. Please check the state vaccination registration site for regional opportunities outside of UHS.
- Is there a fee at UHS for receiving a vaccine?
There is no fee for receiving the vaccine on campus.
- How many vaccinations have been given at OSU thus far?
As of the close of the spring 2022 semester, University Health Services has administered over 25,000 total vaccine doses.
- How do I know I’ve been fully vaccinated?
Please refer to this guide from the CDC to accurately determine your vaccination status.
- Which COVID-19 vaccines are approved as booster shots, and how do I know if I’m eligible?
Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots have all been approved. For Pfizer, everyone 12 years and older is eligible if they’re at least five months from completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series. Moderna boosters are approved for anyone 18 and older and at least five months from their primary vaccination series. Individuals interested in the Johnson & Johnson booster must be 18 years or older and two months from their J&J vaccination. University Health Services carries Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Qualifying students and employees can make an appointment to receive a booster shot through the UHS patient portal. Eligible individuals can choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose.
- What will happen to my appointment in the event of inclement weather?
UHS will post announcements on the health services website if appointments need to be rescheduled due to weather conditions.
- Will OSU require vaccinations for all students?
Though students are not required to be vaccinated at this time, we strongly encourage everyone in the OSU community to get vaccinated as it will contribute to herd immunity and help safeguard the health of our community.
- Does OSU require vaccination for employees?
The federal vaccine mandate that applies to all university employees of OSU-Stillwater, OSU-Tulsa and OSU Center for Health Sciences as well as all OSU Extension and OSU Ag Research personnel statewide has been blocked in federal court.
Though OSU employees are not required to be vaccinated at this time, we strongly encourage everyone in the OSU community to get vaccinated as it will contribute to herd immunity and help safeguard the health of our community.
- What if I’ve been fully vaccinated and have been exposed to someone with COVID-19?
The CDC has recently changed its recommendations for quarantine and isolation. If you are within six months of your completed Pfizer or Modern vaccine, within two months of your Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or you have received a booster shot, you need to wear a mask around others for 10 days, test on day five if possible. If you develop symptoms, get a test and stay home.
If you are more than six months from your Pfizer or Moderna primary series or more than two months from your Johnson & Johnson vaccine and have not received a booster, stay home for five days. After that, continue to wear a mask around others for five additional days. If you can’t quarantine, you must wear a mask for 10 days. Test on day five if possible.
- Besides vaccination, how do I protect myself from the COVID-19?
- To maximize protection from Covid-19 and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
- Wearing a mask is most important if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. If this applies to you or your household, you might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area
- Also, remember to wash your hands often. Use soap and water and wash for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Can I get a flu shot when I get a COVID-19 booster shot? Or, do those shots need to
be a certain number of days or weeks apart?
You can get both at the same time. There does not need to be a delay between COVID-19 booster shots and flu shots.
- Where can I get a booster shot?
- I’m not sure if I qualify for a booster. What do I do?
Please review the information from the CDC on boosters and eligibility. If you still have questions after review, please consult with a health care provider or call UHS at 405-744-7665 to speak with a nurse.
- Is the university closed?
Every campus in the OSU system is open.
- Is the Student Union closed?
The Student Union is open. The most up-to-date Student Union, University Store and University Dining Services information can be found here. For other departments housed within the building, contact those offices directly to check availability. Find their contact information at directory.okstate.edu
- What cleaning measures are in place across campus?
OSU Facilities Management provides touch-point cleaning and disinfecting daily in campus buildings and multiple times daily within areas of increased-use or higher risk. OSU maintains alcohol-based hand sanitizer and replacement wall-mount dispensers to refill the currently installed hand sanitizers located throughout campus. Facilities Management will work to procure and distribute necessary cleaning supplies for individual departments. Facilities Management (FM) has also purchased electrostatic and hydrogen peroxide vapor disinfection equipment for applying preventive disinfectant coverage to targeted areas. Additionally, we continue to use enhanced MERV 13 hospital grade air filters throughout the campus.
- How are dining services impacted?
University Dining Services plans regular operations for the fall semester. Some dining options are available via an online ordering app to reduce waiting time and take-out is encouraged.
- What is being done to sanitize dining areas?
- Tables and seating areas will be cleaned frequently.
- No reusable condiment containers (salt, pepper, ketchup, sauces); condiments will be provided in single serve containers and discarded after use.
- Buffet service is permitted provided that an employee serves patrons and is the only person touching service utensils or the buffet counter. Patrons shall not touch buffet service utensils or otherwise serve themselves from buffets. Health department regulations regarding buffet service are otherwise in full force and effect.
- Employees shall not touch prepared food with hands; food shall be handled only with tongs, spatulas, single-use disposable gloves and similar food preparation/service instruments.
- Hand sanitizer bottles or stations will be available to patrons.
- All restroom surfaces including floors, sinks and toilet bowls shall be cleaned and disinfected. Paper products shall be stored in a closed cabinet.
- Trash cans shall be placed near the door or within reach of the door.
- Restrooms shall be supplied with liquid soap and paper towels; cloth towels are prohibited
- How will the Campus Convenience Store operate?
- Hand sanitizer will be provided, along with soap and water, or effective disinfectant at or near the entrance of the facility and in other appropriate areas for use by the public and employees, and in locations where there is high-frequency employee interaction with members of the public (e.g. cashiers).
- Contactless payment systems will be provided or, if not feasible to do so, all payment portals, pens, and styluses will be disinfected after each use. Other high-touch surfaces will be regularly disinfected.
- What is being done at the Colvin Recreation Center to keep patrons safe?
A housekeeper will be on staff at the Colvin during all operating hours continually cleaning areas by zone as well as repeatedly cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces (handrails, door handles, push plates, etc.) multiple times daily. Fitness floor staff will clean equipment continuously throughout the day including equipment touch points (I.e. seats, handles, bars, and pins).
- Are masks required on campus?
Masks are encouraged in all indoor, public spaces. The more effective N-95, KN-95 and surgical masks are preferred over single-layer cloth masks. Should there be a positive case in a class, faculty have the option to choose to continue with in-person instruction with masks required, be online only for two weeks, or have a hybrid model with masks required for the in-person portion.
- What else should I do to protect myself at work?
Whenever possible, stay at least six feet from other people. Wash your hands often, try not to touch your face, and frequently disinfect work areas and high-touch items in your workplace with disinfecting cleanser. Do not share work materials or equipment, especially equipment used near the face. Monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms by utilizing the self-screening checklist. and staying home if you experience any symptoms or otherwise feel ill.
- What do I need to know about travel and study-abroad programs?
The U.S. Department of State and Centers for Disease Control continue to advise citizens to use an abundance of caution when planning any type of travel. Nations are implementing entry restrictions as new variants of the COVID-19 virus emerge. Access to vaccines for local, host-country populations is limited in some areas, and reliable information on local vaccination rates is difficult to find. Although numerous countries are beginning to open their borders to vaccinated travelers with vaccination boosters from the United States, these policies remain unpredictable. University officials are continually monitoring global developments and will update this guidance when warranted.
With these circumstances in mind, a reduced number of faculty-led study abroad courses are currently planned for the remainder of the 2021-2022 academic year. These programs are primarily during Summer 2022, with a few still scheduled for spring break pending outcomes of the recent spikes in COVID cases globally from the omicron variant. Programs to be run in 2022 are in countries and regions where health and safety conditions and local regulations allow for responsible travel. Faculty/Staff international travel, student exchange, and long-term study abroad programs have resumed on a limited, case by case basis considering a variety of health and safety parameters including current conditions in the destination country. The university asks that faculty planning study abroad programs carefully consider all risk-related variables, including the availability of testing in overseas locations.
As OSU joins our peers in resuming student international travel, travel policies are being reviewed regularly and students should be assured that their health and safety is a primary concern of the University. Those considering overseas travel should be aware that vaccination (including booster shot requirements), mask wearing, frequent COVID testing, and other health and safety precautions are expected of travelers. Most destinations and travel providers require vaccinations to enter the host country and have strict limits on access to public facilities and transportation based on vaccination and other factors. Because conditions remain fluid, both in terms of access to overseas destinations for US travelers and the evolving infection rates, students planning to participate in study abroad should be prepared for changes to the course or travel plans before and during their program. All travel involves some level of personal and financial risk, but OSU is continuously working to mitigate those risks as possible for travel courses. The university reserves the right to cancel previously approved programs if situations in the USA and/or the host country change.
- Will quarantine spaces be available if a resident tests positive for COVID?
At this time we will have a limited amount of quarantine spaces. Students will be encourage to rest at home or contact the covid hotline for availability.
- What type of precautions is Housing putting in place to protect residents and student
There has been a multi-layered response to keeping students safe in the residence halls including: plexiglass shields on desks, centrally-located hand sanitizer stations in the halls, filter changes and the establishing a protocol for students who need to quarantine or isolate.
- I will be a resident of Family and Graduate Student Housing (FGSH). What types of
programming will be offered for me, my family and my children?
The Family Resource Center offers a variety of programs for adults and children living in FGSH. Children have access to free afterschool and toddler programs. Adults have access to hobby and language classes, including Cooking Demonstration, Leadership, and English Conversation classes. Monthly activities and events provide residents ample opportunities to meet neighbors, make friends, and learn about the world around them. The Family Resource Center has a wealth of information and resources for FGSH residents, including a computer lab, library, community garden, and food distribution initiative. Learn more here.
Faculty and Staff
For work-related questions and other resources, please visit this page.