August 6, 2021
We are excited for classes to begin Aug. 16! A key to maintaining a safe and healthy campus is having as many of our students, faculty and staff vaccinated as possible. We cannot encourage vaccinations enough. According to the latest data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, only 0.16% of fully-vaccinated Oklahomans have experienced breakthrough cases. A breakthrough case is a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in someone who is considered fully vaccinated. Vaccination is the best way to prevent contracting the virus. For these very rare “breakthrough” cases, research indicates that vaccination limits the severity of the illness.
The following frequently asked questions have been compiled below to help everyone prepare for the fall semester. We must all do our part to help ensure the health and safety of our fellow Cowboys.
What is OSU doing to encourage student vaccinations?
The Oklahoma State University Stillwater campus is hosting Poke-a-thon, an eight-week campaign complete with prizes available to Stillwater students who are fully vaccinated. Top prizes include three $3,500 bursar credits, free parking, football suite tickets and more. Learn more about how to upload your vaccine card or where you can get a vaccination on campus.
University Health Services will be offering Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines Monday through Friday, and walk-ins will be accepted. COVID-19 vaccines will be available during move-in week, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 9-12. No appointment is necessary, and the vaccinations are free. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination is also available on certain pre-planned dates. Visit uhs.okstate.edu for more information on vaccines. After move-in week, UHS will also provide pop-up clinics on campus throughout August.
Why isn’t OSU mandating COVID vaccines and masks for our campus community?
To reduce the risk of being infected with the delta variant and possibly spreading it to others, and in keeping with recently updated CDC guidance, OSU encourages the use of masks indoors in public, especially in situations in which social distancing is not possible and for activities with close contact with others. Masking is recommended even if you are fully vaccinated. Please consider wearing a mask at upcoming events such as convocation.
You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission 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 a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. At this time under Oklahoma law (EO 2021-16 and 70 O.S. 1210.189), we are not permitted to require masks or vaccinations on campus.
What about the delta variant of COVID-19?
Researchers have learned the delta variant of COVID-19 spreads more quickly, and those infected with delta have over 1,000 times the viral load of the original strain. Symptoms may also be a little different than the original COVID-19 strain, but research shows the vaccines are working, they’re safe and well-studied.
I am having symptoms that could be allergies or something else. Is it OK to come to campus?
If you’re feeling ill, even if you believe it’s just allergies and not an illness, please do not come to campus. OSU students and employees should go through a personal health checklist each day. Monitor your symptoms and seek medical attention if needed. A COVID-19 test continues to be your best way to monitor the virus, even if you’ve received the vaccine. You can schedule a COVID test at UHS through the health portal.
Do I need to quarantine after I’ve been exposed to COVID-19?
Those who have been fully vaccinated and come in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they show no symptoms. According to the CDC, if you’ve been fully vaccinated and had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms. You should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative. You should isolate for 10 days if your test result is positive.
Individuals who have not been vaccinated should quarantine for seven days if they’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, as well as provide proof of a negative test, which should be taken after day five from point of exposure.
Those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days.
Why do I have to wear a mask on the OSU transit system?
Masks are required on the transit system because of a current federal mandate. This directive applies to The Bus, OSU’s public transit system serving the campus and Stillwater community, and The BOB — OSU’s shuttle running between Stillwater and Tulsa.
Is OSU going to resume updating the COVID-19 dashboard?
In the fall 2020 semester, OSU launched an online dashboard to track and share COVID-19 testing data on the Stillwater campus. Dashboard updates with UHS vaccination and testing data will resume the week of Aug. 16.
Common COVID-19 Myths
There are many myths circulating online and on social media regarding COVID and vaccine safety. It’s important to understand the facts and how you can best protect yourself and others. Our UHS team is also available to visit with any member of the Cowboy family who would like to discuss concerns about getting the vaccine. Call 405-744-7665 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MYTH: If I’ve already had COVID-19, I don’t need a vaccine.
There’s not enough data to say how long immunity lasts after being infected with COVID-19. People who have been infected may still benefit from receiving the vaccine.
MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine can affect women’s fertility.
The vaccine will NOT affect fertility. Confusion came from a false report that circulated on social media. The incorrect information said the spike protein on the coronavirus was the same as another spike protein involved in reproduction. The two spike proteins — the one on the coronavirus’ surface and the one involved in reproduction — are different. According to the CDC, the COVID-19 vaccine will not have an effect on pregnancy or the fertility of women hoping to become pregnant.
MYTH: Getting the COVID-19 vaccine gives you COVID-19.
The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19. The vaccine does not contain the virus itself. It includes a protein that helps your body recognize the virus so it can launch an immune response and fight it.
MYTH: Getting the vaccine is worse than getting COVID-19.
While the response to the vaccine varies from person to person, the vast majority of individuals report mild to no adverse reaction to receiving vaccinations.
Dr. Johnny Stephens,
Interim Senior Vice President for Health Affairs