Coronavirus Information

June 4, 2020 Statement from the president

Dear NSU Community,

It has been quite a journey for our institution since Friday, March 13, when we closed for Spring Break. COVID-19 changed everything. In some ways, the past 12 weeks have flown by. In other ways, the minutes, hours, days and weeks have dragged on and have been beyond challenging. There have been
bumps throughout the journey, and at times the path forward was fraught with uncertainty. Through our collective effort and a lot of hard work, we are in a good place now. However, we must remain vigilant in the effort to mitigate the damage of this virus.

At midnight tonight, Tahlequah officially moves to Phase III of Governor Stitt’s Open Up and Recover Safely Plan. Muskogee, Broken Arrow and the state moved to Phase III on June 1. This means all staffing limits are lifted, and our doors will open to walk-in guests. By now, our workspaces should be set up for social distancing. In other words, you should know where six feet is from your immediate work area. Many of you have marked the spot with an X or a sticker showing “6 ft”. It is imperative that we remain vigilant in following applicable CDC guidelines. As we reopen the doors on our three campuses on Friday, June 5, the following information will guide our operations over the summer.

  • You should continue with frequent hand washing, avoid touching your face, keep six feet between you and others, continue to check your temperature twice daily and stay home if you are not feeling well or go home if you start feeling ill while at work.
  • All employees should continue to complete the self-screening questionnaire prior to coming to work each day. If you have fever and/or answer yes to any of the questions, please contact your supervisor and stay home.
  • We strongly encourage you to wear a mask in more public areas where social distancing may not be possible. Certainly, if you wish to wear a mask throughout the day, please do so. Suggested guidelines regarding the use of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) can be found on the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html. The Northeastern State University Public Safety Department has received PPE from Oklahoma Emergency Management (OEM), Cherokee County Emergency Management, Wagoner County Emergency Management and NSU Human Resources. If your department is in need of any PPE resources, including a disposable mask to offer guests, please email Andi Smith, Emergency Manager, at smith38@nsuok.edu.
  • NEO Health Center and the deans at Muskogee and Broken Arrow will no longer screen prospective guests. Please require social distancing when interacting with guests and visitors.
  • If an individual workspace has not been reconfigured to maintain social distancing, the supervisor should reconfigure the space immediately or find an alternate workspace on campus. All staff should return to work at their respective campus. Exceptions must be approved in advance by your vice president.
  • Employees who are over 65 or part of a vulnerable population (See Return to Campus Plan), should continue following the Safer-at-Home policies until these policies are lifted by an executive order from the governor. You will be allowed to continue to have an alternate work plan if requested until the Safer-at-Home requirement is lifted by the governor. Please have frequent communications with your immediate supervisor to maintain a work plan that includes accountability measures.
  • The RiverHawks Wellness Center (The FIT) will open (6 am to 4 pm, Monday-Friday). There will be limits on how many people can be in the facility at one time, and hours will adjust as staffing needs and availability change.
  • The pool will open on a limited basis based on the availability of certified lifeguards. Contact the FIT (x3980) to confirm pool availability before arrival.  
  • River's Edge will be open in the UC from 8 am to 1:30 pm and 5 pm to 6:30 pm, Monday-Friday and 9 am to 1:30 pm and 5 pm to 6:30 pm on the weekends.
  • The UC will open to the general public.
  • JD Young will resume regular mail and print services to all campuses and through normal business hours and operating procedures.
  • The RiverHawk Shoppe bookstore, on both the Tahlequah and Broken Arrow campuses, will open to the public Friday, June 5, with reduced store hours (M-F 10:00 am to 2:00 pm) until further notice.
  • NSU Libraries will be open to patrons and operating according to CDC and the American Library Association guidelines. Patrons at the John Vaughan Library will be asked to use computers on the 1st floor only. Patrons should request items for checkout at the service desks, and library staff will retrieve them from the stacks. All guests will be asked to practice social distancing while using library computers and seating areas.
  • The College of Optometry clinical services will be provided in the Cherokee Nation Clinics. Hours and observed holidays are aligned with the Cherokee Nation Holiday schedule.
  • Organized sports and training activities for athletes will resume and shall follow all applicable guidelines from the NCAA and MIAA. Athletic sponsored day camps may be held as long as they meet appropriate safety protocols.
  • Summer camps, including athletic camps, may be held as long as they will follow all CDC guidelines. All camps must have their COVID-19 safety procedures approved in advance. A committee to include Chris Adney, Seth Clark and Andi Smith will review all plans. You may contact one of them for assistance or to submit your safety plan for approval.
  • The moratorium on out-of-state travel for all employees remains in place until at least June 30. According to Executive Order 2020-07 as extended by Executive Order 2020-20, any exception to the travel ban must be approved by the governor. Employees should not make arrangements for any out-of-state travel. If/when the travel restriction is lifted, you will be notified by your vice president.
  • Motor pool services will be limited only to essential university in-state travel. Travel to state group meetings is discouraged unless mandated by the Regents or RUSO. Should meetings occur, they should follow social distancing rules and encourage participants to wear masks. It is recommended that all state meetings continue through virtual means if possible.
  • Visitor parking spaces should be used only by visitors.
  • On May 22, Provost Landry formed the Course Delivery and Safety Task Force. This group will recommend a plan to Dr. Landry and the Cabinet for fall semester in-person course delivery that addresses the CDC recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols.
  • Prior to the beginning of the fall semester, all students and employees will receive an NSU branded reusable mask. You will be able to take the mask home and wash them as necessary. We hope that mask-wearing in public areas becomes the norm on our campuses.
  • It is our intention for the fall semester to be as traditional and normal as possible. We plan to be on campus for the entire 16-weeks to include finals week. However, in preparation for multiple scenarios, including the potential for a surge in COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma, we plan to move the two days in October scheduled for Fall Break to the week of Thanksgiving. This change reduces the number of times large groups travel away and then return to our campuses. The university will be closed Monday, November 23 through Friday, November 27. If there is a surge in positive cases in our communities, this will give us the option to move the last two weeks of the semester online and to close the residence halls.

Thanks for your efforts to protect each other and the communities we serve as we adjusted our lives in response to COVID-19. Unless circumstances change quickly, this will be the last university update related to the coronavirus until we get closer to the fall semester. In the meantime, we will continue to work with officials in state, federal and municipal governments in the cities our campuses are located as well as CDC and state health department. NSU’s future plans will be developed in collaboration with these entities.

As we make plans for the fall semester, I ask you to do your part to make sure our campuses are as safe and inviting as possible. We need to be thoughtful, kind and encouraging in our interactions with our prospective students, current students and each other. Our unified message should be that NSU provides a quality education at an affordable price that is safe and closer to home.

All students, faculty and staff have a critical role in mitigating the impact of COVID-19. Together we move forward.

Thank you,

Steve Turner, President

May 1, 2020 Statement from the president

Dear NSU Community,  

I want to quickly acknowledge that COVID-19 has tragically taken lives, made many people sick and created disruption in so many aspects of daily life. COVID-19 is still a threat to our state, nation and world. These have been trying times, and the uncertainty of when everyone can be tested or when a vaccine will be readily available creates angst. We look and long for better days!

The collective response by NSU students, faculty and staff to meet the challenges of COVID-19 is inspirational and encouraging. Please keep supporting each other in the days and weeks ahead. Thanks for all that you have done and will do to support each other.

Social distancing and the limit on group size brought on by the pandemic took away our ability to hold commencement ceremonies as we would prefer to do. There is so much positive energy that comes from being in a large venue with our students and their loved ones. Commencement is absolutely the grandest celebration of accomplishment and reflects all that is good and right in higher education. However, I am pleased that on May 9 at 10:00 am, we will broadcast our first virtual commencement as we do everything possible to recognize the accomplishments of the NSU Class of 2020. The event will include all of the traditional elements. I am impressed and thankful that so many of you, and the families of our students, have posted messages and photos on the student portals. When the nation moves to Phase III, there will be limits on group size in large venues. This may mean the December commencement will also be virtual. We hope not but need to plan for it.

Many of you have asked me questions about the state funding outlook. Your inquiries are appropriate. COVID-19 and the collapse of the oil and gas market are creating considerable uncertainty on revenue projections for FY 21. This uncertainty is making it more difficult than usual to build the budget. Media outlets across the state are reporting different opinions about how much money will be available for appropriation and what the deficit will be. The Cabinet and the Budget Oversight Committee are considering multiple scenarios. On Monday, we submitted a narrative to House and Senate leadership about the impact of a 7.5 percent and 10 percent appropriations reduction. All state agencies were asked to provide similar information. The bottom line is we will not know what the budget looks like until related legislation is passed and signed by the governor. Please be patient as we sort through complex circumstances.

Here is the latest update as we systematically respond to the reopening of professional services and businesses in the communities we serve. Our plans will be modified if gating criteria are not met.

 

  • Tahlequah, Muskogee and Broken Arrow have primarily adopted the three-phase Open Up and Recover Safely Plan put forward by Governor Stitt. Since Tahlequah is also using the 14-day gating criteria included in President Trump’s Opening Up America Plan, the schedule of opening selected businesses is appropriately one week behind other municipalities in the state. NSU will extend the current telework/rotational work schedule (NSU Phase I that began on March 23) through May 16. Our plan is to start resuming somewhat normal operations for staff who are teleworking or in a rotational schedule on Sunday, May 17, if this is a regular workday for you or Monday, May 18, for all other staff. These dates are after dining, entertainment, gyms, places of worship, tattoo parlors, movie theaters and sporting venues can operate while using CDC recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols. For Broken Arrow and Muskogee, the above businesses can reopen on May 1 and in Tahlequah, May 8. Employees will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms each day. Much more detail will be provided through internal communications, and I encourage you to have regular conversations with your immediate supervisor. NSU’s Return-to-Campus Plan will include consideration for those 65 and older and vulnerable individuals and includes individuals with serious underlying health issues, such as high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma and those whose immune system is compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy.

 

  • NSU’s Return-to-Campus Plan is guided by a working group created by the Cabinet. The group includes Jon Asbill- Facilities Management, Patti Buhl- Public Safety, Jean Logue- Human Resources, Dr. Sallie Ruskoski- Medical Laboratory Sciences Faculty, Scott Rosenthal- NEO Health Centers, Dr. Sheila Self- Student Affairs and Angela Shaw- Cherokee County Health Department.

 

  • All courses will remain online for the summer semester with a possible exception for the NSU Oklahoma College of Optometry (OCO). We will work in consortium with the Cherokee Nation to determine when patient contact can resume. The final decision for OCO will be made on or before June 1.

 

  • It is our intention to be fully operational in the fall semester. This means in-person classes will take place, and residence halls will be open. Certainly, we recognize there will be modifications to what fully operational means. First and foremost, we will focus on the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the communities where our campuses are located.  Each of our unique functions will follow appropriate CDC protocols and state regulations. For example, we cannot have classes or gatherings with more than 50 persons in attendance. If, as some health experts predict, there is a surge of new cases in the late Fall or early Winter, we will quickly move to an online and mostly teleworking environment. We have proved that we can pivot quickly when and if necessary.

 

  • We are now prepared to distribute $2.8 million in CARES Act assistance to eligible students. These funds are to be used for COVID-19 related expenses. Earlier today, three different letters were sent to students, one in each of these categories: 1)those who are eligible and have a FASFA on file; 2)those who may be eligible after filing their FASFA; and 3)those who according to the USDOE are ineligible or have been excluded for other reasons. Here is the link to eligibility information https://www.nasfaa.org/covid19_heerf

 

  • We have a few remaining summer camps scheduled for small groups. The decision to hold camps will be made after the City of Tahlequah moves to Phase III on June 5.

 

  • Starting May 8, students will be allowed to return to campus by appointment to move out personal items from student housing. All move-out processes will follow appropriate protocols.

 

  • Although gyms are scheduled to reopen in Tahlequah on May 15, the RiverHawks Wellness Center (The Fit) will not open until at least May 25, provided we have enough staff to operate safely. There will be limits on how many people can be in the facility at one time. No decision has been made about when the pool can safely reopen. For reference, the Open Up and Recover Safely Plan-Phase II takes effect on May 15 in the state. Bars will be operating with diminished standing-room occupancy and under social distancing and sanitation protocols. Funerals and weddings will resume, and children’s nursery areas in places of worship will be open. For Tahlequah, Phase II is scheduled for May 22.
  • Computer Labs continue to be available for students between 8 am and 8 pm Monday through Friday. In addition, these labs will be open prior to finals week between 8 am and 8 pm on Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3, in the following locations:
    • Tahlequah – Webb Tower 307
    • Broken Arrow – B&T 137
  • A WiFi hotspot covering the parking lot of the Webb Tower continues to be available. Students can access the internet in this location by connecting to the network labeled ‘NSU-ParkingLot’.

For the latest CDC update, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

 

April, 6 2020 - A message for students from President Turner

April 3, 2020 Statement from the president

Students, Faculty and Staff, 

In a recent update from state health officials and Governor Stitt, we were all informed that the
executive order closing non-essential businesses had been extended from April 15 through April 30. I
understand this extension may cause some additional stress, however, we must acknowledge this
amendment will assist the NSU Family and Oklahomans with social distancing and slow the spread of
COVID-19. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution to further protect the health and well-being of our NSU community, the following measures will be implemented:

  • NSU will continue to close down as many buildings as possible through April 30 to eliminate the need for regular custodial services.
  • Computer Labs are available for students between 8 am and 8 pm Monday through Friday in the following locations:
    • Tahlequah – Webb Tower 307
    • Broken Arrow – B&T 137
  • A WiFi hotspot covering the parking lot of the Webb Tower is now available. Students can access the internet in this location by connecting to the network labeled ‘NSU-ParkingLot’.
  • All Summer courses will move to an online learning environment. If conditions improve and NSU can safely offer face-to-face or blended courses during the summer session, course options will be communicated by May 15.
  • A commencement ceremony will take place virtually on May 9 at 10 am. Students will also have an opportunity to participate in a December commencement ceremony. Students graduating this Spring will receive further information.

I am encouraged by the commitment to learning demonstrated by our students and the adaptability of our faculty and staff. Your efforts have kept our institution nimble and well-positioned to provide a high-quality education while protecting the health and well-being of our NSU community. Thank you for your support and the kindness you have shown to one another. With all of us working together, we will get through this!

For the latest CDC update, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

Update to Lab Access Effective March 26, 2020

NSU Students: Please note the following labs will be open between 8 am and 8 pm Monday through Friday, starting Friday, March 27:

Tahlequah – Web Tower 307

Broken Arrow – B&T 137

Additionally, the university has set up an online resource center for technology and online learning assistance. If you have questions or need assistance, please access the resource center website at service.nsuok.edu. When visiting these labs, it is important to practice social distancing. 

march 25, 2020 statement from the president

Students, Faculty and Staff: 

First, let me thank you for your cooperation as we adjust to the recent announcements from our local and state governments. I assure you that the health and well-being of our campus community is our highest priority. We believe the adjustments made yesterday and the following changes to our contingency measures are necessary to continue to protect our community. 

  • NSU remains closed to the public.
  • Essential employees that are required to continue to be on campus to perform their duties will do so. These individuals have been notified by their supervisor.
  • Employees who can complete their duties by teleworking will do so.
  • Employees with no ability to telework, who have "been deemed not critical to agency services and can't be redeployed to critical services" (state's language), will stay at home and use leave.
  • The library on the Tahlequah and Broken Arrow campuses will close. Library staff will provide assistance to students via telework.
  • We will close down as many buildings as possible during this 21-day period to eliminate the need for regular custodial services. 
  • All computer labs will close.
  • A process to refund students for unused housing and meal plans will be implemented and shared via email to the affected students.
  • Student housing will be provided only to those students with no other place to stay. All students who can go home should.
  • The University Center will have limited access for grab and go meals for those students who are cleared to stay in housing.
  • The Bookstore will remain closed.
  • Commencement and convocation ceremonies are postponed.

As a reminder, all classes will remain online for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester.  We know there may be bumps along the way. However, we are here to support one another as we adjust. Thank you for your cooperation and for the concern you have shown for the NSU community during this challenging period.     

For the latest CDC update, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

-Steve Turner, President

March 24, 2020 Statement from the President

Students, Faculty and Staff:

Good Evening!

I know that many of you listened to Governor Stitt’s news conference today and are worried about the growing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma.  Like you, I am also concerned about Oklahomans and our NSU family. As we work through the guidance provided by our governor, I want to provide our campus community with an update to our contingency measures below:

  • All classes will remain online for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester.
  • All public events have been postponed or canceled through April 30.
  • Operationalized plans will be communicated internally within 24 hours.

While Cherokee County does not have a confirmed case as of today, NSU has branch campuses in counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Please keep the county leadership and citizens of Muskogee and Wagoner counties as well the other 17 counties, listed below, with confirmed cases in your thoughts.

Canadian – Cleveland – Custer – Garvin – Grady – Jackson – Kay – Logan – Mayes – McClain – Noble – Oklahoma – Pawnee – Payne – Pontotoc – Tulsa - Washington   

The health and well-being of our NSU family is my greatest concern. Thank you for your cooperation as we work together and move forward with the best interests of our NSU community in mind. 

For the latest CDC update, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

-Steve Turner, President

March 24, 2020 Statement from the Provost's Office

Students, Faculty and Staff,

In a unanimous vote by Northeastern State University’s Academic Deans, NSU has implemented the following policies for spring 2020 grading options that allow students to choose between the standard letter grades and a pass/no pass option. I believe this change is a positive approach to students transitioning to the online learning format.

NSU’s policies will follow the recent guidelines established by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and applies to courses that are currently in progress. Courses that ended before March 13 will be graded following previously established grading policies.  

1. NSU faculty will assign letter grades for the Spring 2020 courses in progress. A grade of W will not be assigned unless a student has withdrawn from a course.

2. After grades are posted, students can elect to change from a standard letter grade for a Spring 2020 course to P/NP grading options. 

Undergraduate students: 

-Grades of A, B, C or D may be changed to a P

-Grade of F may be changed to an NP

Graduate students:

-Grades of A, B, C may be changed to a P

-Grades of D and F may be changed to an NP

*College of Optometry will adapt its grading policies appropriate to its programs

1.     Once a student elects to change from a standard letter grade to P/NP, the student cannot later request the grade to be reversed to the original standard letter grade.

2.     Students must submit the request for each class using the Grade Mode Change Request form no later than 11:59 P.M. on May 19, 2020.  Requests submitted after the deadline cannot be considered due to state reporting requirements.

Please note the following:

Students should consider the possible implications of changing a grade to P/NP on graduate school applications or ongoing continuing education.

  • Grades of “P”, “NP”, “W”, and “AW” are grade neutral, but the credit hours associated with the course will count in hours attempted for retention. A grade of P will count in earned hours for graduation.
  • A letter grade of “F” is calculated into the GPA.
  • Before you decide to change to a pass/no pass option, we urge you to contact Financial Aid at FinancialAid@nsuok.edu. Financial aid calculations for satisfactory academic progress (SAP) may result in a different outcome than your academic GPA.  For questions concerning the impact of changing to P/NP on financial aid, please email FinancialAid@nsuok.edu.

The NSU’s faculty and staff are committed to providing a quality educational experience and the services our students need to be successful in the online learning format. We believe the new grading policies give students some flexibility as they adjust to today’s new normal.

Dr. Debbie Landry

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs 

March 22, 2020 Statement from the President

March 22, 2020

Students, Faculty and Staff:

Good Morning!

First, I want to thank you for your patience and kindness during the difficult, unprecedented and uncertain time we find ourselves in. Personally, I appreciate the kind words of encouragement that many of you have sent my way. Your health and safety has been and continues to be our top priority as we move forward in the coming weeks. Your willingness to be flexible and to adapt to our ever-changing circumstances is appreciated and critical to our mission to provide high quality, high value higher education. 

In my efforts to keep you informed of critical changes coming our way, I think the amount of information provided may have complicated the fundamental message. Some of the responses and questions to my earlier messages indicate that some clarification of our plan moving forward would be helpful. I want to thank Dr. Renee Cambiano, Faculty Council Chair, and Sara Barnett, Staff Council President, for their efforts to clarify key points. We will get through these trying times together. It may be bumpy in the beginning. Based on our discussions, I want to briefly reiterate that starting Monday, March 23, 2020:

  • Faculty who can telework should do so. All NSU classes will be offered online at least until April 5, 2020. The decision whether or not to continue online instruction through the end of the semester will be made on or before April 1. 
  • Faculty are expected to be available online for office hours and to assist students. Our students depend on you for guidance and support. Thank you!
  • Students, all courses have been moved online at least until April 5, 2020. You are not required to be on campus and we recommend that you stay at home and keep up with your coursework. We want you to be successful in the online format.
  • Staff members and administrators who can telework should do so. The Cabinet will continue their efforts to move as many of our employees to telework as soon as possible. Please be patient. This is a large task.
  • Staff members and administrators who perform essential functions that cannot be completed by telework have been advised to report to campus and to follow CDC protocols and university instructions.

Thank you for your dedication to NSU. We will continue to evaluate the situation as it evolves and provide updates to you. Please contact your immediate supervisor if you have any questions or concerns. All of us at NSU care about our community and your safety is paramount to us. I want to sincerely thank the Cabinet for their work throughout Spring Break. Rest assured they are working with your best interests in mind. Stay safe and well.

For the latest CDC update please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

-Steve Turner, President

March 21, 2020 Statement from President Turner

March 21, 2020

Dear NSU Community,

Upon the review of information gathered to date regarding hundreds of NSU required travel forms recently filed by students reporting travel over Spring Break, we must modify our student housing strategy. In spite of ever-changing CDC reports, it is apparent that many traveled to destinations frequented by Spring Breakers. Like you, I have watched news footage of young people in Florida who not only ignored warnings about COVID-19; many scoffed at them.

In a perfect world, I understand why most young people, or perhaps most of us, would want to spend time enjoying the sand, sun, water and warmer temperatures. However, we do not live in a perfect world. College students are not invincible. And as I said in a previous update, I am concerned that they have been unknowingly exposed to the coronavirus.

Earlier today, I read what WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said about exposure to COVID-19. “The choices made by the young can be the difference between life and death for someone else.”

Given the seriousness and uncertainty of the coronavirus, I have made the decision that NSU will keep Student Housing closed for two weeks. Students who stayed in the Residence Halls over Spring Break because they had nowhere else to stay, and they, in fact, did not travel out of the state, can continue to stay and use take out meal services.

This is a difficult decision to make but one that must be made. A slight disruption to some, will likely add another level of protection to countless others. Because all coursework has been moved online through at least April 5, we know most of our students did not plan to return to campus at this time.

A request for limited exceptions is being developed. On a case by case basis, we may consider requests from students who stayed in the area with family and friends over Spring Break, did not travel out of the state and do not have reliable internet away from campus to return to student housing. Student Affairs will provide additional information in a separate email to students. All exceptions will be reviewed by Dr. Jerrid Freeman, Vice President for Student Affairs.

-Steve Turner, President

March 20, 2020 Statement from President Turner

March 20, 2020

Students, Faculty and Staff,

Responding to COVID-19 is a balancing act between protecting the NSU family and continuing to meet the educational needs of our students. NSU is constantly monitoring information and guidance coming in from health and government officials and adjusting our sails as we navigate the situation. While we are uncertain how long the COVID-19 outbreak will last, we must continue to work together to maximize the overall health and well-being of students, faculty and staff. I expect that by now, you are practicing social distancing and regular hand washing as a part of the guidance provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and CDC. Thank you!

As we move forward and deal with the situation in front of us, NSU must remain diligent with contingency planning so that we can provide a healthy educational environment for our NSU Community. We feel the best way to serve our students is to remain open, provide the critical services our students need for success and limit guests visiting campus. There are also many essential functions that must be provided to support our fellow employees (payroll, IT, Human Resources, maintenance, custodial, public safety, etc.). To do this, we must have our healthy dedicated faculty and staff working at our campuses. As a result, we have updated NSU’s contingency plan to immediately include the following measures:

  • All NSU campuses will reopen for students, faculty and staff as scheduled on March 23.
  • Guests wishing to visit one of our campuses for any reason  must call the campus number provided below  prior to the visit and follow all guidelines issued. Exterior doors to all buildings will remain locked throughout the day. Signs will be posted on each door with information on how to arrange a meeting. Unapproved guests will be asked to leave campus immediately. Community members needing to seek shelter due to the immediate threat of tornado are still welcome to utilize the campus shelter, at their own risk, as needed and without prior approval. We cannot guarantee social distancing in such an event.
    • Tahlequah – 918-444-2577
    • Broken Arrow - 918-449-6136
    • Muskogee - 918-683-0040
  • Students are required to make an appointment directly with the faculty member, department, or service area to ensure access and efficiency. You may access the directory at  https://www.nsuok.edu/directory/Directory.aspx
  • When returning to campus for work or school, please do not congregate in groups larger than 10, practice social distancing, and good hygiene.
  • All courses have been moved online through Zoom and/or Blackboard through April 5.
  • Students with practicum, internships, student teaching, or clinicals should contact their respective college dean for guidance.
  • Students requesting reasonable accommodations related to a disability should work with their faculty member to continue those services. If the online format creates other needs due to a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services, 918-444-2042 or sdstah@nsuok.edu, for assistance.
  • It continues to be our intention to resume classes to their previous format of delivery on April 6. If necessary, we will adjust accordingly.
  • Academic Advising and other student services will be available through Zoom and in person.
  • Computer Labs are available for student use at all three campuses. Labs will open at 8 am and close at 10 pm M-F to ensure deep cleaning, they will also be disinfected regularly during hours of operation.
    • Tahlequah - WEB 307
    • Broken Arrow - B&T 137
    • Muskogee - Administration 116 will be open 8-5 M-F
  • Food Service will be available at the Tahlequah campus in the Market Café for take-out/grab and go service only. The Underground in Tahlequah and Hawks Nest in BA will remain closed.
  • NSU libraries will open at 8 am and close at 10 pm M-F for deep cleaning.
  • Residence Halls will remain open. Students who are in a safe environment and who do not desire to return to campus during this time frame are encouraged to remain where they are best served and practice CDC guidelines for social distancing.
  • Student workers should contact their supervisor regarding their ability to work. Students feeling ill should not come to work and should self-monitor and seek medical care if needed.
  • The FIT will not open until the CDC advises resuming normal operations.
  • The MIAA conference has suspended athletic competitions indefinitely. Student Athletes are encouraged to stay home if they have reliable internet capability and are in a safe environment.
  • All other public events are either postponed or canceled through April 5. Communication with event organizers will take place through their respective Vice President.
  • Any student, faculty or staff member traveling out-of-state during Spring Break must inform the institution by completing a travel form  here. Travelers may have to complete an additional screening before returning to work (employees) or students who return to campus after Spring Break.
    • For those who traveled during Spring Break, we recommend constant monitoring of health symptoms for the next 14 days, including taking your temperature twice daily as recommended by the CDC to detect any sign of fever. If fever is detected, please stay at home and contact your personal health professional for assistance.
    • If you traveled to New York, Boston, California, the state of Washington, Florida or other locations frequented by large groups of Spring Breakers or took a cruise, I implore you to self-quarantine for 14 days upon your return. There is a significant risk that you may have been unknowingly exposed to COVID-19. Please do not come to campus and put others at risk. We can only maintain essential services to our students and employees by staying healthy. Honesty about your travel and health is paramount in the days, weeks and perhaps months ahead. Let’s be clear, this is the single most significant health crisis facing our nation in recent history and we have a responsibility to ourselves, our families and coworkers.
  • If you are ill, self-isolate and contact a health professional for assistance.  
  • All non-essential out-of-state student, faculty or staff travel remains suspended.
    • “Essential” travel is travel that is necessary to the ongoing operations of the University’s core academic, research or operational functions.
    • Only “essential” out-of-state travel on behalf of NSU will be considered for approval by your respective Vice President or President. There will be heightened scrutiny in the approval process of any out-of-state travel until further notice.
    • No one should register for a conference until further notice, regardless of the conference date or location. This does not include online webinars or conferences. 
    • Please refrain from purchasing airline tickets personally. The institution cannot, due to state rules and regulations, reimburse an individual for a flight not used.
    • Individuals who believe domestic air travel is “essential” will need to contact their Dean or Director, who will make a recommendation to the appropriate Vice President.
    • Planned or approved in-state travel will continue without interruption at this time. However, this could change without much notice due the rising number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.        

Graduate Student employees, Faculty and Staff(employees) we must continue to provide high-quality services to our students. To do so, our offices will remain open and  we will not implement a blanketed telework plan at this time. However, cabinet members are reviewing all positions to determine if some could be moved temporarily to telework status. If a telework solution becomes applicable to you, your Vice President will communicate through your departmental leadership. Office hours and services will remain intact. All healthy employees, including graduate assistants, are expected to report to work as scheduled and are asked to practice social distancing. If you have a chronic health issue, compromised immune system, have been directly exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, diagnosed with COVID-19 or have someone living in your home that has been diagnosed with COVID-19, please contact Human Resources at 918-444-2230, and discuss the utilization of personal leave. For those interested in donating to NSU’s Leave Share Program, please visit  https://offices.nsuok.edu/humanresources/Benefits/Leave-Share-Program and complete the form provided. 

Additionally, with the delay in reopening Oklahoma public schools until April 6, we understand there may be a temptation to bring children to the office with you. However, this is not a time to bring children to work. We understand the challenge and burden this may place on some of you. Please work directly with your supervisor if this challenge is too great. Our institutional leadership team is committed to assisting those with small children by providing a more liberal application of leave benefits through April 3. NSU’s standard leave benefits can be found in the employee handbook by clicking  here.   

COVID-19 is presenting our institution and community with unprecedented challenges and an undetermined timeline. We will continue to adjust our response to the outbreak as necessary and remain in close contact with the governor’s office, health officials and the Center for Disease Control for further guidance. We will continue to communicate any updates to the campus community as they arise through your NSU email and website. If you know a student or coworker who does not have access to NSU email away from work, please share this information with them by phone or text. We must get the word out through all possible means!

Practicing social distancing and good hygiene are keys to flattening the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, do not come to work, please seek medical assistance, refrain from attending group activities and practice self-isolation. For further information or assistance, you may contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health Coronavirus call center at 877-215-8336 or visit  coronavirus.health.ok.gov.

I thank you for your cooperation and assistance as we move forward with the best interest of students, faculty and staff. Together we will get through these difficult times.

 -Steve Turner, President

 

March 13, 2020 Statement from President Turner

March 13, 2020 - Statement from President Turner:

Students, Faculty and Staff,

Information regarding COVID-19 is coming in at a rapid pace, and institutions across Oklahoma are working hard to examine and re-examine the appropriate plan of action for the reality of the situation we face. In an abundance of caution and with the best interest of students, faculty and staff, we have determined in order to maximize our NSU family’s overall health and well-being, we will implement the following measures immediately:

  • All courses will be moved online through Zoom and/or Blackboard from March 23 through April 5.
  • Students are encouraged to take home all course materials, textbooks and devices when they leave campus for Spring Break unless you plan to return.
  • It is our intention to resume classes to their previous format of delivery on April 6. If necessary, we will adjust our plan accordingly.
  • All NSU campuses will reopen as scheduled on March 23.
  • Computer Labs are available for student use at all three campuses.
    • Tahlequah - WEB 212, 213 and 304
    • Broken Arrow - B&T 137, COE 113 and BALA 118
    • Muskogee - Administration 116 and Synar 205
  • Student Housing, Food Service and NSU libraries will remain open after Spring Break.
  • The FIT will reopen with limited services after Spring Break.
  • All healthy employees are expected to report to work as scheduled.
  • Academic Advising and other student services will be available through Zoom.
  • The MIAA conference has suspended athletic competitions indefinitely.
  • All other public events are either postponed or canceled through April 5. Communication with event organizers will take place through their respective Vice President.
  • Any student or employee traveling out-of-state during Spring Break must inform the institution by completing a travel form here. Travelers may have to complete an additional screening before returning to work (employees) or students who return to campus after Spring Break.
  • All non-essential out-of-state student, faculty or staff travel is suspended.
    • "Essential” travel is travel that is necessary to the ongoing operations of the University’s core academic, research or operational functions.
    • Only “essential” out-of-state travel on behalf of NSU will be considered for approval by your respective Vice President or President. There will be heightened scrutiny in the approval process of any out-of-state travel until further notice.
    • No one should register for a conference until further notice, regardless of the conference date or location. This does not include online webinars or conferences.
    • Please refrain from purchasing airline tickets personally. The institution cannot, due to state rules and regulations, reimburse an individual for a flight not used.
    • Individuals who believe domestic air travel is “essential” will need to contact their Dean or Director, who will make a recommendation to the appropriate Vice President.
    • Planned or approved in-state travel will continue without interruption at this time.        

COVID-19 is challenging institutions and communities everywhere and requires constant monitoring and thoughtful action. NSU will continue to monitor the situation in partnership with health officials and the Center for Disease Control and communicate any updates and next steps to the campus community as they arise through your NSU email and website. We would like to emphasize that NSU has not had any cases of COVID-19 on campus.

Please do your part! If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, I urge you to consider seeking medical assistance and refrain from attending group activities. You can contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health Coronavirus call center at 877-215-8336 or visit coronavirus.health.ok.gov.

I thank you for your cooperation and assistance with keeping our NSU family healthy as we continue to provide a high-quality educational experience for our students.

-Steve Turner, President



 

 

Staying Healthy

Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is a flu-like illness caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2.  The best current medical knowledge indicates that around 80–85% of those affected experience only mild illness, with cough and fever. Around 14% (generally senior citizens or those with underlying medical issues) can suffer from more severe symptoms. Fewer still, about 5%, can become critically ill. 

The threat of this illness can generate very real anxiety with its own set of symptoms. That’s why, on this site, we’re providing information from trusted experts and resources and contacts to help students, faculty, and staff continue to be safe, comfortable, and productive.  Please visit the Center for Disease Control website frequently for the most up to date and accurate information.

Public health officials recommend everyone follow basic prevention guidelines to avoid spreading and contracting respiratory illnesses:

  • Try to get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
  • Keep your hands clean and wash them frequently with soap and water. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer and use it when you cannot wash your hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve. When you use a tissue, throw it in the trash immediately. Do not use a handkerchief.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Do not share cups, straws, or anything else you put in your mouth (especially vaping devices).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect surfaces that can be contaminated such as desks, phones, doorknobs, keyboards, etc.

Feeling Sick or Have Questions?

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please let us know by completing this form. We will make sure an appropriate response gets back to you as soon as possible.

CARES Act Report

As part of the reporting requirements by the Department of Education, Northeastern State University is providing a CARES Act Report to inform our community.  Click here to view the report.

keep-americans-connected-page-2In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the challenges that many Americans will face in the coming months, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai recently announced the Keep Americans Connected Initiative. In order to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as a result of these exceptional circumstances, he specifically asked broadband and telephone service providers, and trade associations, to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. So far, more than 550 companies and associations have signed the Chairman's pledge to Keep Americans Connected.  You can see Oklahoma Resources here.

Coronavirus-badge-300