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Class options, new technology to keep OSU-Tulsa “S.A.F.E.” in 2020

Published: Thursday, August 13, 2020

Face masks and social distancing are integral to the S.A.F.E. Campus reopening plan.

As Oklahoma State University-Tulsa reopens to students for the Fall 2020 semester, keeping students, staff and faculty safe is a top priority.

“Not every OSU-Tulsa student will be coming back to campus. Many prefer to remain remote,” said OSU-Tulsa President Pamela Fry. “But for those students who learn better on campus, we would like to provide that opportunity to them whenever possible – with safety protocols, of course. That is the basis of our S.A.F.E. Campus plan.”

The S.A.F.E. Campus reopening plan, which is based on OSU-Stillwater’s “Cowboys Coming Back” plan and tailored to OSU-Tulsa’s urban branch campus setting, focuses on social distancing and masks, access, flexibility and enhanced safety protocols. Masks are required in all campus buildings, including classrooms, and enhanced sanitation measures have been implemented throughout campus.

New technology has played an integral role in preparing campus for fall.

Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization

OSU-Tulsa is in the process of installing a Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization air cleaning system in each campus building, including the Temporary Library and Helmerich Research Center. Major universities such as Harvard and Clemson have adopted this technology, which uses ionization to help kill pathogens in the air. Third-party testing shows that Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization kills up to 99.4% of COVID virus with 30 minutes inside the chamber.

NPBI also kills MRSA, E-coli and mold spores through the campus HVAC system. It works by removing hydrogen from various pathogens and ionizes particles so they are caught in standard filters. This technology continually eliminates pathogens in all areas where the air circulates, including classrooms, offices and common spaces.

HyFlex courses among class options

“Students requested flexibility to learn in the way they feel most comfortable, so we are providing that,” said Susan Johnson, associate vice president for academic affairs at OSU-Tulsa. “Our Information Technology team worked through the summer to upgrade classroom technology to allow us to deliver as many courses as possible in our new HyFlex class format.”

HyFlex courses allow students to choose between attending class on campus or participating remotely using a teleconference app. Students who choose the on-campus option may transition to the live remote option at any time during the semester. The HyFlex class model is one of many strategies OSU-Tulsa has put in place to help ensure a S.A.F.E. campus.

For on-campus courses, classroom seating has been adjusted so students are spaced several feet apart. Larger spaces on campus, like the OSU-Tulsa auditorium and the B.S. Roberts room, will be utilized for larger class sizes.

Classes with components that require sessions to be held in person, such as certain labs, will generally be offered on site with limited contact, social distancing measures and safety shields when appropriate. Traditional online classes are also available, without a live-stream component.

Following fall break and the Thanksgiving holiday, all students will complete their final exams and projects online and will not return to campus until Spring 2021.

“We look forward to welcoming our OSU-Tulsa community back to campus with safety protocols in place,” Fry said. “We will continue to follow safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the recommendations of state and local leaders to guide our actions with the goal of continuing to provide a high-quality educational experiences.”

For a further detailed explanation of OSU-Tulsa’s S.A.F.E. reopening plan, including specific guidelines for students, faculty and staff, visit tulsa.okstate.edu/coronavirus. Classes begin Aug. 17 and students can continue to enroll through Aug. 24.

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Media Contact: Aaron Campbell | 918-594-8046 | aaron.ross.campbell@okstate.edu