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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 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?

    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. 

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • 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.
  • How does the virus spread?

    The novel coronavirus is believed to have originated in a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It now seems to be spreading from person-to-person, in much the same way as the flu or other respiratory illnesses spread, via respiratory droplets produced when a person coughs or sneezes. The CDC believes it is spread between people who are in close contact.

  • What screenings are being done by the university?

    University Health Services is taking calls from individuals who have concerns about COVID-19. Any individual who feels as though they have concerning symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), have been around someone being investigated for COVID-19, or have general questions can call UHS at (405) 744-7665 during normal business hours.

  • 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, that 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.

  • Why isn’t OSU administering antibody tests?

    The idea of utilizing antibody tests to detect those who may have already been exposed or to validate positives and exposures continues to be looked at. At the national level there has been documented issues with the reliability of antibody tests and also with interpretation of those findings so largely there has been a reluctance to dedicate resources towards that type of testing. We are dedicating our time and energy at the health center into PCR testing to try to quickly identify cases and to limit the overall spread of the disease. We are also trying to keep up with the needs of patients in other areas as well. We will continue to work with our state and local health department on best approach to managing our populations here on campus.

  • 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. The dashboard data is updated at 3 p.m. each Tuesday and Friday.

  • 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 of all OSU students and employees while on campus. This is not only to protect your health, but the health of our entire community. Your continued support of these guidelines is appreciated.

    • All OSU students, staff, faculty, contractors, vendors, suppliers and visitors must wear a face covering (mask) upon entering any public building.
    • All employees and students are asked to take special precautions to avoid exposure for at least two weeks prior to the start of the fall semester.
    • 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. You are also expected to wear a face covering if working near or are encountering others. If you do not have a face covering, please contact your supervisor and one will be provided.
    • 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.
    • Limit elevators to single occupancy when possible.
  • 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.

  • 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.


    Click here to self-report a positive case

  • 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 to self-quarantine for 14 days when returning 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?

    University Counseling Services has moved all counseling to video or phone counseling. Services are also available through MDLive. Click here for more information. If you have any questions, please call 405-744-5458.

  • How were the guidelines determined for the campus reopening plan?

    The guidelines were developed based on the most current information from the CDC along with local and state health officials and the OSU Center for Health Sciences.

  • Who was involved in forming the plan?

    The plan was created by the Pandemic Response Committee through wide-ranging input from units across all parts of campus. This group included representatives from public health, the OSU medical school, human resources, academics, student affairs, legal, facilities management and many other units. You can find that list here.

  • What was the process for creating the plan?

    After months of reviewing federal, state and local health guidelines, leaders from the various units on campus began to create specific guidelines from their areas. That information was condensed by Brand Management into one overarching plan for the wider campus community and approved by senior administration.

  • When will additional updates be forthcoming?

    This plan is evolving and will be updated as new information becomes available by health officials. The campus will be notified on a regular basis regarding changes and updates to the plan.

  • Are temperature checks part of the plan?

    We are asking all members of the campus community to self-screen each morning before arriving on campus. As part of that checklist, campus community members are asked to take their temperature to ensure it is below 100.4.

  • What is being done with regards to testing the campus community on a broad basis?

    We know testing is key to understanding the scope of the virus relative to our campus population. A public health taskforce has been discussing the logistics and feasibility of testing for our campus community. University Health Services has a “swab pod” on campus, east of their building at 12020 W. Farm Rd, to allow for voluntary testing at no charge. University Health Services is also holding a mass testing week to test all students returning who will be living in campus housing. Additional testing will be occurring throughout the semester by UHS, as well as through their close partnership with Payne County Health Department.



University Operations


  • Is the university closed?

    The Stillwater campus 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. Any request for accommodation contact Office of Equal Opportunity at 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.

  • Am I eligible for pay under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

    All current employees, regardless of classification, are eligible for the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA), which allows up to 80-hours of paid leave for certain circumstances.  

    Learn more about it here.

  • Is the Student Union closed?

    The Student Union is open. Current building hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. 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

  • 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, if necessary. 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’s being done at the Student Union to keep everyone safe?

    In addition to campus protocols for social distancing and the wearing of face coverings, the Student Union will increase disinfection protocols for all high-touch areas. Restrooms will be sanitized every two hours.

  • How will the library be kept safe and operational?

    Library business hours will be reduced during the fall semester to allow time for overnight cleaning and sanitizing. Furniture in public spaces will be arranged to ensure appropriate social distancing and barriers or shields will be erected to allow more than one user at library tables. When possible, library services will continue to include options for users who are unable to come into the library. For example, curbside pick-up for books and library laptops and chat reference assistance. The Library Browsing Room and Reading Room will not be available for events or public gatherings until social distancing requirements are no longer in place.

  • 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 (6 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 be tested and quarantine for 14 days.

    University Health Services is working in tandem with the Payne County Health Department to identify cases and respond accordingly. Select UHS 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 UHS when cases arise for which location information is useful. Location data – not device content, which is not collected by OSU – will be stored for 7 days and solely used to aid in contact tracing. Additional data including class schedules, OSU ID card transactions and office or student housing assignments will also be used to assist health officials in this matter.

  • Is the University providing health and safety materials for the campus?
    • Eight disposable surgical masks are being provided to all OSU full-time employees. The majority were delivered to departments in late May.
    • Two washable cloth face coverings are on order for all OSU full-time and temporary employees and one washable cloth face covering for all students.
    • 2 oz bottles of hand sanitizer will be provided for all OSU employees and students.
    • 16 oz bottles of hand sanitizer are on order for department use.
    • Stands for dispensing hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, and refills are on order.
    • 10 voluntary walk-up temperature monitoring stations are on order.
  • Why are we moving to online after Thanksgiving break?

    Pre finals and finals week follow Thanksgiving break, and are easily structured for online reviews and exams. This presented an opportunity to reduce the amount of travel for many students who might travel home and then back to campus, thus reducing the potential additional exposure to the virus.

    OSU fully intends to have in-person classes on campus for the spring 2021 semester.

  • Are masks required on campus?  

    Yes. All OSU students, staff, faculty, contractors, vendors, suppliers and visitors must wear a face covering (mask) upon entering any campus building. We know that COVID-19 can be spread when people are asymptomatic, which means they don’t know they are sick yet. Wearing face coverings has been shown to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to others. Learn more about face covering protocols.

  • Why are masks being required on campus?

    This is in line with CDC guidelines, as we know many people who are COVID-19 positive are asymptomatic. This measure is meant to protect one another, not just the individual wearing the mask.

  • Who is required to wear a face covering?

    The requirement to wear face coverings applies to all employees (students, staff, faculty, temporary workers) contractors, vendors, suppliers and visitors on campus.

    COVID-19 can be spread when people are asymptomatic, which means they do not know they are sick yet. Wearing face coverings has been shown to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to others. Face coverings do not replace the need to maintain social distancing, frequent handwashing, and rigorous cleaning and disinfecting routines.

  • Is Oklahoma State University providing face coverings?

    OSU is providing health and safety materials and supplies for the campus. Eight disposable surgical masks are being provided to all OSU full-time employees. Two washable cloth face coverings are on order for all OSU full-time and temporary employees and one washable cloth face covering for all students.

    Additionally, 2oz bottles of hand sanitizer will be provided for all OSU employees and students and 16oz bottles of hand sanitizer are on order for department use.

    You may wear your own clean, well-maintained, and professional face covering from home instead of the OSU-provided covering if you choose. Although OSU is providing facial coverings, it is advisable to secure your own personal masks for use.

  • Are employees required to wear a face covering in public spaces if there is a Plexiglas shield?

    Yes, in cases where other social distancing methods cannot also be in play. Plexiglas typically does not replace the need for employees to wear face coverings when outside of their office or if social distancing cannot be maintained. Please note face shields may be used in some cases in lieu of cloth face coverings should the situation warrant.

  • I have health-related concerns with wearing a face covering. Am I still required to wear one?

    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 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

  • When and where am I required to wear a face covering?

    All members of the OSU community are required to wear face coverings when outside of their private office and when physical social distancing measures are hard to maintain.

    Wearing a face covering in public settings helps protect others and prevent spread of the virus and is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Examples of public settings include areas outside of your enclosed private office such as:

    • Entering/Exiting buildings
    • Classrooms
    • Shared workspaces unless other social distancing measures are in play
    • Shared work vehicles
    • Common meeting space, break rooms or lounge areas
    • Dining facilities, except when eating
    • Public Restrooms
    • Student Union and public event spaces
    • Elevators and hallways
    • Outdoors if safe social distancing is not possible.

    You do not need to wear a face covering in your private office if it is enclosed, unless another individual enters your office. In this case, all individuals should wear face coverings.

  • What else should I do to protect myself at work?

    Whenever possible, stay at least 6 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 employee 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) advises Americans to wear cloth face coverings as a possible 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 6 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?

    If you are using a cloth face covering, the CDC recommends face coverings should be washed after each use. Two washable cloth face coverings will be provided for all OSU full-time and temporary employees.

  • How long are we required to wear face coverings?

    This requirement is in place until further notice and is subject to change based on guidance from the CDC, and University Health Services (UHS) in coordination with the Payne County Health Department.

  • Will I be required to go home if I report to work without a face covering?

    Yes; however, your office may have extra supplies that will allow you to obtain a mask should you forget to bring one with you to work. The Campus Reopening Plan states, “OSU students, staff, faculty, contractors, vendors, suppliers and visitors must wear a face covering upon entering any campus building.” You will be required to wear one in order to enter the workplace where you will encounter other employees in spaces such as hallways, elevators and stairways.

  • 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 the individual in a polite and nonaggressive manner. Please note the individual may have a medical condition preventing them from wearing face coverings. Please also note this is not a police matter – it is a policy matter and should be referred to the appropriate office for remedy.

    1. Appropriate Office Contacts:
    2. Student Violations: Student Conduct Education & Administration; 405-744-5470 or submitted online.
    3. Faculty Violations: Office of the Provost; 405-744-5627or
    4. Staff Violations: OSU Human Resources; 405-744-7607 or
    5. Vendor Violations: OSU Purchasing; 405-744-5984 or
    6. 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 you may use the following.

    Appropriate Office Contacts:

    1. Student Violations: Student Conduct Education & Administration; 405-744-5470 or complaints can be submitted online.
    2. Faculty Violations: Office of the Provost; 405-744-5627 or
    3. Staff Violations: OSU Human Resources; 405-744-7607 or
    4. Vendor Violations: OSU Purchasing; 405-744-5984 or
    5. 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.





Faculty and Staff

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

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