Frequently Asked Questions
Oklahoma State University health officials are closely monitoring an outbreak of the coronavirus. Do you have specific medical questions about your health and the coronavirus? Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. For health-related questions, please contact University Health Services.
- 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?
Patients currently being treated for the novel coronavirus report mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
Symptoms may appear as soon as two days after exposure or as long as 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC.
- How do I prevent novel coronavirus?
You can limit your likelihood of contracting the novel coronavirus with the same methods you would use to avoid the flu.
- Schedule an appointment for the COVID vaccine.
- 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 is thought to spread 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 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), 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?
We are performing a PCR (Molecular Test) that is being processed by the Oklahoma State Diagnostic Lab on campus. According to the FDA, currently there are two types of diagnostic tests, which detect the virus – molecular tests, such as RT-PCR tests, which detect the virus’s genetic material, and rapid antigen tests that detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus. All results are reported to the state health department and are counted as part of state and local COVID statistics.
- Is OSU doing any randomized testing of the student population?
Yes. In an effort to increase our overall sample collection, University Health Services started a randomized sample testing program on Sept. 1. Five hundred students will be notified via email each week and asked to make an appointment for on-campus testing. Participation is voluntary and free. The Randomized Testing Program will give the university a better picture of how COVID-19 is affecting campus by actively looking for where the virus might be present.
- 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 dashboard reflects all University Health Services testing data — random and scheduled. All self-reported testing data is also included. With the conclusion of the Spring 2021 semester, OSU will pause further updates to the Covid-19 dashboard. The university will continue to monitor public health conditions via state and county health statistics.
- 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 self-screening checklist.
- 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 a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath 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 healthcare 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.
- Wear a mask if you need to leave your home when sick.
- How would I know if I was potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19?
The university is actively working with the public health department to facilitate contact tracing. The process begins once a positive case is confirmed, and includes a review of campus WiFi access points, class schedules, card swipe data, and residential and workplace locations. Using this data, Payne County health officials will notify anyone who has come within six feet or less for 15 minutes or more with that positive case. If you are not notified by a health official, you are not considered to be exposed even if you had been in similar locations as the positive case.
- What if I feel like I’ve been exposed to the virus?
Stillwater-based students who feel as though they have been exposed to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), are asked to stay home and call University Health Services (405-744-7665) during normal business hours, or your primary health care provider. A brief screening will be performed by a nurse over the telephone and further instructions on care will be given at that time. There is also an Oklahoma hotline through the Oklahoma State Department of Health for any individual with questions: 1-877-715-8336. If you are having a medical emergency, please go to your nearest emergency room.
Tulsa-based students who think they may have been in contact with someone who has or who is suspected of having the novel coronavirus and develop a fever with a cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of contact, call your physician immediately to discuss your history. Call first instead of going directly to the hospital, where you may infect other people. If you need information about free or low-cost health care clinics in Tulsa, please contact OSU-Tulsa Campus Life.
What does it mean to isolate or quarantine?
According to the CDC, isolation separates sick people from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease.
Based on the UHS screening, and in coordination with local and state health officials, individuals may be asked to self-monitor their health or be prepared to self-quarantine for up to 14 days at home or another off-campus location.
If you are asked to self-isolate or self-quarantine you should stay home. Follow these guidelines for self-isolation: Report any symptoms of COVID-19 immediately to University Health Services, Monday thru Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you have a health emergency, please go to the nearest emergency room.
On Dec. 2, 2020, the CDC updated its COVID-19 quarantine guidance, providing options to shorten quarantine to 10 or seven days in certain circumstances.
If a student is exposed to someone with COVID, and they remain symptom free up to day 10, their quarantine can end. If they receive a negative test result from a sampling on day five after the initial exposure or later, their quarantine can end on day seven.
In all cases, whether their quarantine can end on day 10 or day seven, students will be expected to monitor symptoms and wear a face covering when around others until at least 14 days after last exposure.
- 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 for 10 days, whether in on-campus facilities, their current room if a private space or at home. OSU and Payne County work together to conduct contact tracing. University Health Services is often the first to know when there is a case, especially after hours, so we begin initial contact tracing and notify Payne County Health Department. Students who have a positive test will be entered into the state database. The Payne County Health Department will work with them to contact trace and 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 it to be reported 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.
- If I am traveling internationally, do I need to quarantine?
Yes, the CDC recommends any international travelers self-quarantine for 14 days when returning to the United States.
- 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, contact tracing, communication and facility disinfection. When a member of the OSU community self-reports they are symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19, please contact University Health Services 405-744-7665 immediately. Learn more.
- Is virtual counseling available?
Services are also available through MDLive. If you have any questions, please call 405-744-5458.
Vaccinations are now available for all Oklahoma residents over the age of 16. The state’s plan is available here.
- What is a comorbidity and how do I know if I’m eligible for Phase 4?
Information on high risk conditions associated with COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website. Additionally the state’s online vaccination platform can help identify eligibility based on medical history.
- Who can make an appointment at UHS?
Any phase eligible faculty, staff, or student may make an appointment. Phase 4 within the state’s vaccine distribution plan identifies any Oklahoman over the age of 16 as eligible.
- What type of vaccine is being given at UHS?
To date UHS has been administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. This is a two-dose series given three weeks apart.
- What is the process for scheduling at UHS?
Information on weekly availability and scheduling process may be found on the University Health Services website at https://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 much capacity does UHS have for providing vaccines?
OSU receives a vaccination allotment each week from our local county. To date, we are able to run vaccination clinics one to two days a week and anticipate providing 500-1,000 vaccinations per day for future clinics. Capacity and overall pace of administration are largely dependent on vaccine allocations from the county.
- Should I register with the state vaccination platform?
For the purposes of regional availability outside of health services, university community members are strongly encouraged to register with the state’s online platform. By registering, members can identify eligibility and also identify regional vaccine clinics outside of campus specific efforts.
- Where else can I go for a vaccine?
As part of the state’s effort to accelerate vaccinations, distribution across the community will be a mix of both on-campus and off-campus opportunities as pharmacies and other clinics come online with vaccines. University community members are also encouraged to register with the state’s online platform to determine eligibility to receive the vaccine through regional clinics outside of campus-specific efforts. Vaccine doses purchased with taxpayer dollars are free in the U.S., however, private health care providers may charge an administration fee for giving the vaccine.
In order to expedite the process, OSU employees who qualify for this phase of vaccinations are also encouraged to register for a vaccine on the state’s website at vaccinate.oklahoma.gov. You can also sign up for text message alerts regarding vaccine openings at vaccine-alerts.com. OSU employees will be able to take administrative leave for your vaccination appointment – please check with your area’s HR consultant re: maximum administrative leave allowable.
- How many vaccinations have been given at OSU thus far?
OSU has completed more than 11,000 vaccination series with nearly 20,000 total doses administered.
- 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 masks still be required on campus?
According to the CDC, although COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting sick, scientists are still learning how well vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, even if you do not get sick.
If you are vaccinated against COVID-19, you may still be exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. After exposure, people can be infected with or “carry” the virus that causes COVID-19 but not feel sick or have any symptoms. Experts call this “asymptomatic infection.”
For this reason, even after vaccination, face coverings will continue to be required on campus, even for those who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19. Strict adherence to social distancing and public health safety measures are of the utmost importance throughout the semester as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions.
- Will OSU require vaccinations for all students and employees?
We strongly encourage all in the OSU community to be vaccinated as it will contribute to herd immunity. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. Review current COVID-19 information at go.okstate.edu/coronavirus
- If I’ve been vaccinated and have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, do I need
If exposed to someone with COVID-19, vaccinated people do not have to quarantine if they meet all three of the following criteria:
- If you are fully vaccinated and it has been at least two weeks since your final dose
- If you are within three months of receiving your final dose
- If you have remained asymptomatic since the exposure.
If it has been more than three months since your final dose, you will need to quarantine while health officials study the length of immunity afforded by the vaccine. For additional information please see the CDC website.
- Is the university closed?
Every campus in the OSU system is open.
- Will telework options remain available?
As we plan for a gradual phased reopening of our campus, we recognize that the threat of COVID-19 is not over and are planning several safety precautions to ensure we all feel safe upon our return.
OSU will continue to offer temporary telework work options to faculty and staff as an option to continue working, as directed by their supervisor. During temporary remote work options, employees should plan to be available during normal business hours to perform their regular tasks, as well as to attend meetings virtually. Employees working remotely may be required to report to campus at certain times such as for certain meetings and may be asked to return to their regular, in-office work location with short notice. To make a request for accommodation, contact the Office of Equal Opportunity email@example.com or by phone 405-744-9153. As always, non-working time away from the office should be coordinated with and approved by supervisors regardless of whether you are working on campus or virtually.
- Is the Student Union closed?
The Student Union is open. Current building hours are 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. Hours will be adjusted as students return to campus. Many of the services in the building have resumed regular operating hours. The most up-to-date Student Union, University Store and University Dining Services information can be found here. Some departments housed within the building are still telecommuting. 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. If an emergency response is required, FM has several third-party professionals ready and available to treat or remediate campus locations.
- What measures is the university taking to keep dorm residents safe?
The student housing plan includes reducing or rearranging shared spaces, increased frequency of cleaning, acquisition of specialized disinfecting equipment and dedicated rooms reserved for student quarantine. Accommodations for vulnerable populations will be provided.
- How are dining services impacted?
University Dining Services has reduced the capacity for seating to allow for social distancing within OSU dining facilities. Some dining operations are only available via the online ordering app Grubhub to reduce waiting time and exposure risk. Take-out and delivery options are strongly encouraged. Learn more here.
- What is being done at the Colvin Recreation Center to keep patrons safe?
A minimum of two housekeepers 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). Maximum capacity is 180 patrons. Learn more here.
- How does contact tracing work for OSU student or employee cases?
Contact tracing indicates individuals who have been in close (six feet or closer) contact with a positive COVID case for 15 minutes or more. You may hear of cases in your class or office space, but that does not necessarily mean you were exposed. If you were, you will be contacted by a university or county contact tracer for more instructions including a recommendation that you be tested and quarantined for 14 days.
University Health Services is working in tandem with the Payne County Health Department to identify cases and respond accordingly. Select University Health Services employees are trained on the state and county’s approach and technology for contact tracing and are available to assist with those ongoing efforts. Leveraging existing campus technology, OSU has developed analytics to identify employee and student movement across the OSU campus via WiFi access points. This location data will be held in extreme confidence and shared only with leadership of University Health Services when cases arise for which location information is useful. Location data -– not device content, which is NOT collected by OSU — will be stored for seven days and solely used to aid in contact tracing. Additional data, including class schedules, OSU ID card transactions and office or student housing assignments, may also be used to assist health officials in tracing efforts.
- Are masks required on campus?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Oklahoma State University has been committed to following the guidance and directives of the CDC and local and state health officials. In response to CDC guidance released May 13, 2021, and again in consultation with local and state health officials, OSU will no longer require the mandated use of masks or social distancing on campus or at any OSU sponsored activity. Two exceptions exist: Masks will still be required on transit buses due to Department of Transportation requirements, and masks will be required in certain areas of University Health Services. Although mask mandates for campus will no longer be in effect, community members may continue to voluntarily wear masks based on their own needs.
- I have health-related concerns with wearing a face covering. Am I still required to
If you have a health-related concern with wearing a face covering for work, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity at 405-744-7607 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a student with health-related concerns regarding wearing a face covering for class, please contact Student Accessibility Services at 405-744-7116 or email@example.com.
- 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.
- Why should I wear a face covering?
Many people with COVID-19 have no symptoms, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly advises wearing cloth face coverings as a way to protect one another from infection. It is important to note that face coverings are not a substitute for other prevention efforts, such as hand-washing and social distancing. Continue to stay six feet from others whenever possible and clean hands frequently. You should carry at least two face coverings with you daily to ensure that you have a replacement if one becomes unusable while you are on campus.
- What is the proper way to wear a face covering?
This page provides guidance on the proper way to wear a face covering.
- How often do you need to wash your cloth face covering?
The CDC recommends cloth face coverings be washed after each use.
- I have a face covering that covers my entire face. May I wear that to work?
No. With the exception of religious practice, a covering that hides or obscures the wearer’s eyes or forehead is not an acceptable face covering.
- If I see someone on campus who is not abiding by these guidelines, should I confront
the individual and explain the requirement? Should I contact OSU PD?
If you come into contact with any individual who is not wearing a face covering and should be under these guidelines, you may offer educational advice to them in a polite and nonaggressive manner. Please note the individual may have a medical condition preventing them from wearing face coverings. This is not a police matter — it is a policy matter and should be referred to the appropriate office for remedy:
- Student violations: Student Conduct Education & Administration; 405-744-5470 or submitted online.
- Faculty violations: Office of the Provost; 405-744-5627or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Staff violations: OSU Human Resources; 405-744-7607 or email@example.com
- Vendor violations: OSU Purchasing; 405-744-5984 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Visitor violations: Contact your local administrator or supervisor
- How do I report an employee or student not adhering to the guidelines for face coverings?
If you have concerns about an employee or student not adhering to the guidelines for face coverings, we encourage you to bring your concerns to your supervisor or the appropriate office contacts:
- Student violations: Student Conduct Education & Administration; 405-744-5470 or complaints can be submitted online.
- Faculty violations: Office of the Provost; 405-744-5627 or email@example.com
- Staff violations: OSU Human Resources; 405-744-7607 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vendor violations: OSU Purchasing; 405-744-5984 or email@example.com
- Visitor violations: Contact your local administrator or supervisor
OSU Human Resources developed this information for the convenience of the OSU campus community. It is a brief interpretation of more detailed and complex materials. If further clarification is needed, the actual law and policy should be consulted as the authoritative source. OSU continually monitors benefits, policy, and procedures and reserves the right to change, modify, amend, or terminate programs at any time, with or without notice.
- Will quarantine spaces be available if a resident tests positive for COVID?
Quarantine and isolation housing may be available. Contact 405-744-5592 for additional information. Please visit the Housing and Residential life Quarantine Protocol page to learn more about quarantine policies and procedures.
- 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 resident halls including: installation of social distancing markers, plexiglass shields on desks, centrally-located hand sanitizer stations in the halls, designated entrance and exit doors, designated up and down stairwells and installation of new air filters in every air handling unit. Additional signage has been installed throughout Housing and Residential Life to remind everyone to wear a mask, wash their hands and to use water fountains with caution. Learn more.
- 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?
All programming offered by the Family Resource Center will be offered virtually. The staff is busy preparing virtual events for children, teens and adults. The Family Resource Center has a wealth of information and resources for FGSH residents, including a lending closet, shopping shuttle, computer lab and food distribution. Learn more here.
- The University of Oklahoma has announced the installation of Synexis machines in all
of their traditional rooms. Is OSU planning to implement a similar project?
OSU Housing and Residential Life has purchased a limited number of Synexis hydrogen peroxide machines. These will be used as needed, and may be used in conjunction with CDC-recommended cleaning measures. At this time, there are no certified lab results that guarantees that Synexis and/or vaporized hydrogen peroxide can kill COVID. Also, the use of this type of technology does not prevent individuals from being exposed to COVID.
Faculty and Staff
For work-related questions and other resources, please visit this page.