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Frequently Asked Questions


Please email if you have a specific question related to university policy regarding COVID-19. For health-related questions, please contact University Health Services.


Health and Prevention


  • 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
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    For more information about COVID-19, its symptoms and variants, visit

  • 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.
    • 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 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 shares information about active cases on the Stillwater campus, and provides county and statewide data about community transmission levels and hospitalizations.

  • 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
  • I'm sick. Should I be tested for coronavirus?

    If you develop COVID symptoms , home tests are available at most pharmacies. Or, make an appointment to be tested with your healthcare provider, quick care or UHS. 

    Stay home unless you are seeking medical care and 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 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 recommendations for those exposed regardless of vaccination status.


      Isolation Length Masking Testing Other
    Tested positive, asymptomatic or symptoms resolving within 5 days Isolate for minimum of 5 days after positive test, or until fever has resolved without medication and symptoms improving (whichever is longer. 5 days (Day 5 – 10 from positive test.) 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.

    Symptoms are considered to be resolving when there is 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.


  • 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?

    If the student tests positive at UHS, the student will be given information from a health care professional regarding the need to isolate. 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 and wear a mask if it makes sense for your health needs.
    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.
    • 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 is no longer providing contact tracing service.

  • Is virtual counseling available?

    Virtual counseling is available through University Counseling Services. For more information, please call  405-744-5458.



COVID Vaccinations





University Operations


  • 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 has returned to pre-COVID-19 conditions and customers are allowed to serve themselves. . Health department regulations regarding buffet service are in 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.
    • 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).

  • 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, OSU is resuming a number of faculty-led study abroad courses and exchange programs. Programs that are scheduled to run will be 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 also resumed 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 and health care facilities 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 imposed some 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. 

    Please contact the Study Abroad/NSE Office for more information on study abroad and the School of Global Studies and Partnerships for questions related to faculty/staff international travel.







Faculty and Staff

For work-related questions and other resources, please visit this page.

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