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 email@example.com, 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