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Fall Semester 2020 Plans

Faculty, staff, students, and administration have been involved in numerous meetings over the past two months planning the reopening of SWOSU for face-to-face classes. Preventing the spread of the virus among our community has been the key focus of our plan. The following items comprise a general outline of the plan.

Our plan is to teach traditional face-to-face classes. SWOSU will rely on guidance from state and federal health authorities if changes are needed. The following items provide details about fall operations on campus:

Classes will start on Monday, August 17. Campus will be closed on Labor Day, Monday, September 7. Fall Break will be cancelled and classes will meet on October 15 and 16. Commencement (delayed from May) will be held on November 20-21 with limited guest participation. Classes will meet as usual on November 23 and 24.

After Thanksgiving Break, in order to minimize the spread of the virus from potential holiday travel, all classes will transition to virtual. There will be three days of virtual Dead Days, November 30-December 2. Virtual finals will start on Thursday, December 3 and end on Wednesday, December 9.

SWOSU will require cloth facial coverings for students, faculty, visitors, and staff in hallways and classrooms for the fall 2020 semester. Students who choose not to wear a mask are encouraged to enroll in sections that will not require on-campus attendance. Students with questions regarding this requirement can contact Dean of Students Joshua Engle at 774-3767 or at

Thank you for taking the SWOSU face covering mandate seriously. You are helping us combat the spread of COVID-19 and remain open; it truly is the new normal to wear a mask indoors.

Gaiters will be allowed as face coverings, but we ask that you double them (fold the tube inside itself to provide two layers). A single thin layer may not be enough protection.

SWOSU encourages students to follow CDC guidelines on wearing masks and protecting yourself and others in order to keep the campus safe.

We are adjusting classrooms to maintain at least four feet between students. In some classrooms, we are placing clear plastic at the front of rooms and in front of podiums. SWOSU will provide hand sanitizer in hallways and classrooms and ask that students use it frequently throughout the day. We will also ask that faculty develop seating charts and track attendance at each class.  This will aid preventative measures in the event of a positive case among class members.

Commencement will be held on November 20-21 with limited guest participation. More details will be announced soon on the website. Commencement will be limited to two guest tickets per graduate.

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, contact your medical provider as soon as possible. Consider calling ahead to tell the health care provider’s office about any recent travel, symptoms, and concerns. Please also avoid contact with others and do not travel unnecessarily. The CDC provides this link for additional information about COVID-19 and its symptoms. To find out if you should be tested and where, call the Oklahoma State Department of Health Coronavirus Call Center at 877-215-8336 or visit the state’s coronavirus web site.

Signage will be placed on campus buildings to alert students, employees, and visitors of the safety policies within the building. When possible, buildings will have designated entrance and exit doors and signage designating traffic flow. Signage will also be placed on areas to increase the practice of social distancing, including stairwells and elevators.

The university will follow CDC guidelines in cleaning university buildings and rooms. Each classroom will be cleaned daily. Common areas will be cleaned frequently. Hand sanitizers will be located in hallways in campus buildings.

Residence Halls will implement measures to increase social distancing, including rearranging furniture in commons areas. Students will be expected to wear masks in commons areas. Staff will increase frequency of cleaning. Accommodations for vulnerable populations will be provided.

The Alma Mater Merc store space in the Student Union will have masks for purchase, including SWOSU masks. Additionally, department offices in each building will have free disposable masks when possible.

Students are encouraged to go through a voluntary self-screening check using this online checklist each day before arriving on campus.

Per the decision of the Great American Conference, fall sports have been delayed. The first day of practice will be August 31. No games will be played before September 28.

SWOSU will follow state and federal guidance when limiting attendance or changing the schedule for large events. Many large outdoor events such as the Organizational Fair will have safety measures to ensure social distancing. Indoor event attendance will be limited.

Public health restrictions on gathering sizes guide SWOSU’s plans regarding everything from club meetings to on-campus events. SWOSU is working to create safe ways for all students to engage in these activities.

Clubs, lectures, fraternities, sororities, study sessions, intramurals, and other activities that occur in person will be limited in size and are expected to observe precautions such as physical distancing and face coverings based on guidance from state and local public health authorities, university guidance, and the space used.

SWOSU will provide in-person activities to the extent that it is safe and practical to do so. We expect all of these activities to adhere to the precautions recommended by state and local health authorities.

The following guidelines are provided to balance the need for some events to take place at the university during COVID-19 and the obligation to mitigate the risks of these events. For purposes of this guidance, events include a coordinated gathering of 10 or more individuals at a SWOSU location for a purpose outside of a normal workplace or instructional meeting.

In general, all events and gatherings should follow the same mask and social distancing requirements in place for the fall semester. These requirements include the wearing of masks and responsible distancing of at least four feet between individuals in all classrooms, hallways, and commons areas. Outdoor events and gatherings should include responsible distancing.

Organizers should follow state guidelines for the preparation and serving of food and drink.

Decisions regarding gatherings must be made in the interest of the health and safety of our university community and in accordance with current public health guidance. SWOSU will continue to reassess this guidance and update these temporary restrictions as appropriate.

Student Gatherings

The normal Student Organization Activity process will still be in place for student events.

Requests can be submitted to via the Application for Approval of Student Organization Activity (Green Sheet) located on the Dean of Students student organizations webpage.

Employee/Department Events and Gatherings

Employee gatherings, outside of normal daily business and similar interactions, must follow all applicable rules and public health guidance, as outlined by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Requests requiring a reservation of academic space can be submitted by going to SWOSU’s Calendar of Events webpage and clicking on the Submit An Event link.

SWOSU-Sponsored Events

Events sponsored by a university department must follow all applicable rules and public health guidance, as outlined by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Organizers of these events are encouraged to submit a safety plan to their Department Head or Division Director for approval. The plan should include the date, time/duration, and location of the event; the names of attendees; and steps outlined to ensure social distancing, the wearing of face coverings and other measures designed to ensure the healthiest possible situation.

SWOSU Special Events

Guidelines for spectators attending NCAA competitions are still being drafted by the relevant bodies. The university will follow all rules as outlined by the CDC, NCAA, Great American Conference and Oklahoma State Department of Health when it comes to these kinds of gatherings.

All concerts and similar performing arts presentations scheduled to take place at SWOSU will follow safety rules as outlined by the CDC and Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Community Special Events

Community members seeking to rent space at SWOSU for an event must ensure the event follows all applicable rules and public health guidance, as outlined by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, including steps to ensure social distancing, the wearing of face coverings and other measures designed to ensure the healthiest possible situation.

Students who test positive or are exposed to someone known to be positive to COVID-19 should contact the Dean of Students.

Faculty or staff who test positive or are exposed to someone known to be positive should contact Human Resources.

In both cases, the Custer County Health Department will be notified and will coordinate contact tracing with SWOSU. If a student tests positive, or if a student has been in close contact with a person who tests positive, the student will be required to quarantine at SWOSU, which has designated living arrangements on campus for students living in the Residence Halls who cannot go home.

On-campus faculty will choose to hold office hours as normal, virtually or in person, and will notify students and advisees of those hours.

Library hours are listed below; however, access to study rooms will be limited for responsible distancing.

Fall schedule for Weatherford:

  • Monday – Thursday: 7:30am to 8:00pm
  • Friday: 7:30am to 5:00pm
  • Saturday: 1:00pm to 5:00pm
  • Sunday: 4:00pm to 8:00pm
  • Fall schedule for Sayre:
  • Monday – Friday: 9:00am to 5:00pm
  • Saturday & Sunday: closed

Until further notice, out-of-state student and faculty travel and study abroad will be postponed. Field trips and other experiential learning activities will occur where possible.

The following outlines expectations of all SWOSU students 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 students are asked to take special precautions to avoid exposure for at least two weeks prior to the start of the fall semester.
  • Students showing symptoms of COVID-19 must not go to class on-campus.
  • Self-screening checklists should be performed daily before arriving on campus. Temperature must be less than 100.4⁰ F/38⁰ C. 

Maintain social distancing guidelines

  • Students should avoid gathering in groups where responsible distancing cannot be maintained. Even outdoors, if distance cannot be maintained, wear a mask.
  • Students should also avoid gathering in confined areas, including elevators. Elevator occupancy is limited to two masked persons.
  • Masks should be worn at all indoor gatherings.
  • Students are expected to wear cloth face coverings (masks) in all campus buildings excluding individual residence hall rooms. Masks are optional for outdoor activities where 6 feet of social distancing is possible.
  • Students should avoid using anyone else’s phones, computer equipment, desks, workstations or other personal items, work tools and equipment. There are some situations where work tools must be shared. In those situations, students should take precautions to sanitize them between use.
  • Common spaces in the residence halls, academic buildings and student union will have furniture rearranged or restacked to promote social distancing.
  • Please observe all campus signage pertaining to social distancing protocols. Doors may be designated for entrance and exit, and stairwells may be designated for up and down travel.

You are also expected to wear a face covering if you are near or are encountering others.

Wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Keep a supply of hand sanitizer (as possible). 

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw it away. Wash your hands afterwards.

Disinfect all high-touch areas in your living area on a regular basis. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

A SWOSU identification card is required for entry into the Wellness Center and cloth facial coverings are required in all areas of the Wellness Center. Increased cleaning procedures have been implemented due to Covid-19; therefore, the Wellness Center will operate under a revised schedule, with additional precautions.

Monday – Friday               7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Saturday                              10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday                                 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Weight Room

  • The weight room is limited to 20 patrons per session.
  • Sessions are limited to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Patrons will sign in with the student worker, register their beginning time, and leave their student ID card.
  • Student worker will monitor time to ensure patrons rotate out of room at the appropriate time.
  • Patrons may sign up on a waiting list if the room is full.

Cardio Equipment (upstairs)

  • Separated by plexiglass, so all stations are open.

Strength Training Machines (upstairs)

  • One patron per machine.

Running/Walking Track

  • Patrons will practice appropriate social distancing.

 Indoor Basketball Courts

  • Indoor courts are not open for team activities such as basketball, soccer, or volleyball.

Rock Wall

  • The rock wall is closed until further notice.

Intramural Sports

  • No fall intramural sports are scheduled at this time but the university will continue to monitor the situation.

Student Employees

  • During peak operating hours (3:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.), one student worker will be stationed at each of the following areas: front desk, weight room, upstairs cardio area.

We ask that you wear your mask in the Student Union and continue wearing it until you are seated with your food.

Duke’s Diner

When you enter the Duke’s Diner you will notice some changes. You will be asked if you will be dining in or if you would like take out.  The staff will be serving all food items to you. Please make them aware of what food choices you would like.    If you are dining in, they will fill your plate for you and you will be allowed to fill your own drink.  Condiments will also be available in prepackaged containers. Seating is limited, so please enjoy your food and then let us clean it for the next guests.

If you choose take out, the staff will also fill the to go container for you.  Your container will be placed in a to go sack with silverware and condiments, you will be given a to go cup for your drink.  At that time, you can move to the salad bar to make your selections.

The Salad Bar has changed in that we will only have prepacked items.  You will have your choice of a green salad /spinach salad and then be able to select other items as well.  We will rotate different choices each day.  Desserts will also be prepacked and you can make that choice also.

The Food Court/Grill

In the Food Court we have hung Plexiglass in many areas and ask that you practice social distancing.

Your food items will be placed in take-out containers and all condiments and silverware are prepackaged for you.  You are allowed to sit and eat in the Student Union dining area, we just ask that you social distance yourself and no large groups.

The Beanery

The Beanery has had Plexiglass installed at the counter area.  We ask that you social distance yourselves when in the beanery and to be mindful of others waiting on their drinks. There is limited space for studying/sitting in the Beanery this fall, but we know some of you are ready for your coffee so we will be open as usual.


Our catering has changed some in that we have to serve all food items to the guests.  So, when considering an event, please communicate with us and we will work to make it a successful event for you.

Grab n Go/ The Merc

The Grab N Go store has been converted into the temporary Alma Mater Merc.  This will be great for SWOSU clothing shopping and bookstore needs, until the new location is renovated and ready.

An assortment of items like chips, breakfast bars, donuts, and other Grab N Go items are available through the grill area.

Guide to Reopen SWOSU Campus

The purpose of this guide is to provide the SWOSU community with information and direction on how to reopen the campus safely. The reopening process will be implemented in four phases. These phases are based off the plans provided by the State of Oklahoma.

Beginning: June 1, 2020

  • Offices will reopen staffed at 50%.
    • Departments with three or fewer employees may choose to reopen at full capacity at this time.
    • The Remote Work Task Force will work with individuals over age 65 or with underlying health conditions and similar issues on a case-by-case basis.
    • In anticipation of increased remote work requests, this task force will review ongoing remote work requests to determine whether certain positions can qualify for ongoing remote work.
  • Offices will open to on- and off-campus visitors, but buildings will remain locked.
    • Visitors are expected to make an appointment prior to their visit.
  • Offices are expected to limit the number of visitors in each office at a time.
    • Departments may contact SWOSU Safety Coordinator, Rick Dahlgren, for recommendations or assistance.
  • This phase will include refined protective measures.
    • These measures may include the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), heightened hygiene practices and increased cleaning.
  • Offices will continue practicing responsible distancing.
    • Primary contact should be through remote options, such as telephone, email or Zoom.
  • All student workers may return to work on campus.



Beginning: June 15, 2020 contingent on key indicators set by state and health officials

  • Offices reopen fully staffed.
    • The Remote Work Task Force will work with individuals over age 65 or with underlying health conditions and similar issues on a case-by-case basis. The Task Force is under the direction of Human Resources and can be contacted by calling 774-3275.
  • SWOSU COVID-19 Administrative Leave benefit ends.
    • Individuals may still qualify for COVID-19 Leave benefits through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Emergency Family Medical Leave Extension Act (EFMLEA). Individuals requesting additional accommodations should contact Human Resources.
  • Offices will continue practicing responsible distancing.
    • Contact through remote options such as telephone, email and Zoom is encouraged.
  • In-person meetings may resume with telework options available.
  • Buildings will be unlocked during normal business hours.
    • Visitors are expected to make an appointment prior to their visit.

Subsequent phases will be contingent on key indicators set by state and health officials. Details of these phases will include guidelines for camps, residential activities and other services. Information on these phases will be announced at a later date. These will include guidelines on methods for faculty to ensure safety with the resumption of in-person teaching for the fall 2020 semester.

Workplace Return Guiding Principles

  • SWOSU’s policies and protocols for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic will be based on safety for our students, faculty, staff, administrators and for the public we serve.
  • The goals for SWOSU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic are to protect public health and continue the institution’s vital educational mission.
  • SWOSU’s plans will also be aligned and consistent with local health orders as well as the State of Oklahoma’s Phased Reopening Plan.  SWOSU’s plans will also follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
  • Our knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 virus continue to evolve, and our policies and plans will be updated as appropriate as more information becomes available.

Workplace Expectations & Symptom Monitoring

  • All staff are expected to fully comply with the policies and protocols outlined in this guideline.
  • Staff who have been instructed to return to the workplace must conduct symptom monitoring every day before reporting to work. You must be free of ANY symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 to be eligible to report to work.
  • At this time, these symptoms include one or more of the following:
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Runny nose or new sinus congestion
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • Fatigue
    • New GI symptoms     
    • New loss of taste or smell
  • If you have any symptoms, please contact your health care provider. You should also wear a face mask to avoid possible virus transmission to others.  You should self-isolate until cleared by HR to return to work.
  • According to the CDC, individuals with certain conditions may have a higher risk for COVID-19 infection. Those conditions may include:
    • Older adults (aged 65 years and older)
    • People with HIV
    • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
    • Chronic lung disease
    • Diabetes
    • Serious heart conditions
    • Chronic kidney disease being treated with dialysis
    • Severe obesity
    • Being immunocompromised
  • Staff members whose health condition falls within one of the CDC High Risk Categories or is pregnant may seek a temporary workplace adjustment by contacting their supervisor and/or SWOSU Human Resources.

Personal Safety Practices: Face Masks/Coverings

  • All employees are expected to wear a cloth face covering or mask when it is NOT feasible to maintain responsible distancing measures (i.e. at least 6 feet of separation between others) between coworkers, customers and the public.  For example:
    • During work activities requiring two or more people to come within 6 feet of one another.‌
    • When you interact with coworkers, customers and the public where responsible distancing is not feasible.
  • Some employees, due to the nature of their work (food service, mail delivery, etc.), will be required to wear face coverings while working. Those so designated will be notified by their supervisor of the requirement.
  • Appropriate use of face masks or coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others near you. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The mask or cloth face covering is not a substitute for responsible distancing.
  • Some offices can choose to require visitors to wear face coverings before entering that office. Employees are expected to comply with those guidelines.
  • Disposable masks are now available on campus for your use at work. Please see your supervisor in order to acquire a disposable mask.  Disposable masks may only be worn for one day and then must be placed in the trash.
  • The use of cloth face coverings will help SWOSU reduce the need to purchase additional masks. Cloth face coverings must only be worn for one day at a time, and must be properly laundered before use again.
  • Tips for using cloth face coverings from the Center for Disease Control (CDC): :
  • Information on face masks from the Mayo Clinic:

Responsible Distancing

  • Keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus and slowing its spread. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to maintain responsible distancing when possible, even if you have no symptoms.
  • Responsible distancing is important for everyone, especially to help protect people who are at higher risk of getting sick.
  • Staff at work on-site should follow these responsible distancing practices:
    • Stay at least 6 feet (about two arms’ length) from other people at all times.
    • Do not gather in groups of 10 or more.
    • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.