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Message from the President: OCU Begins Preparations for Fall 2020 Return to Campus

May 6th, 2020

Campus Community,

As we wrap up the Spring 2020 semester, we are looking ahead with excitement and intention to the Fall 2020 semester. Based on current information and predictive modeling, Oklahoma City University will resume an on-campus presence for Fall 2020. Our return to campus will be guided by public health information and recommendations from local, state, and federal agencies.

We are fortunate that our learning environment is built around small class sizes and personalized attention. Our small class sizes, most of which are less than 20 students, and our attention to individual student success allow us to proceed with our planned return to campus, while thoughtfully examining important aspects of individual safety and campus health. Now, more than ever, we are benefitting from our longstanding ability to nimbly navigate and implement changes necessary to ensure that our learning environment responds to the needs of our community. We will continue to do our very best to make the right decisions for our students, faculty, and staff.

It will be necessary for us to respond to this crisis by making modifications to our daily lives at OCU. We will make adjustments methodically and thoughtfully, to best ensure a safe and welcoming environment for our students.

Our preparations to resume an on-campus presence will be centered around six primary areas:

  • Planning for social distancing in the in-person campus environment;
  • Providing education and training for students, faculty, and staff to keep our campus safe;
  • Implementing illness protocols to assist in managing positive cases;
  • Providing accommodations for vulnerable populations;
  • Enhancing cleaning and sanitization protocols; and
  • Providing appropriate personal protective equipment and supplies.

Our phased-in return-to-work for OCU staff is set for June 15, with full implementation by August. 3. We will be implementing a variety of safety measures and training sessions prior to June 15.

We will continue to craft the structure for in-person fall classes, residential living and campus life.

Throughout our process of returning to campus for work and in-person classes, the safety of our students, employees, and visitors will remain our top priority. More information will be shared throughout the next several weeks, as we further develop safety standards for returning to campus.

Our Emergency Operations Center Team has met weekly since March 2nd to evaluate the evolving pandemic and to make informed policy recommendations. The university’s EOC policy group, which is comprised of senior administrators, continues to meet several times each week to plan for our return to in-person campus operations. I’ve been pleased with the flexibility and swiftness of decision-making from our leadership team, which has driven our ability to implement new procedures. OCU’s size, culture, and close-knit community will continue to serve us well as we move toward returning to campus.

The last seven weeks have been a challenging time of learning and innovation for all of us as we have transitioned to an online environment for studying, teaching, and working. Thank you for coming together as a university family to meet these challenges. I have never been more proud of our campus community!

During this pandemic, we have held true to our 116-year mission to Create, Lead, and Serve. I look forward to carrying our tradition forward to an even brighter future.

Martha A. Burger

President

OCU CARES Emergency Grant Institutional Acknowledgement - May 28, 2020

On March 27, 2020, Oklahoma City University signed and returned to the Department of Education a Certification and Agreement assuring the Department that the institution will use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Oklahoma City University received $768,334 from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

As of May 18, 2020, all $768,334 received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students has been awarded to students.

Oklahoma City University encouraged all students to apply for funding if they have incurred expenses as a result of the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19, such as food, housing, transportation, technology, course materials, health care, and child-care expenses.

All currently enrolled students at Oklahoma City University were emailed on April 28, 2020, May 1, 2020, May 5, 2020, and May 14, 2020 explaining the grant and inviting the students to apply. The text of the email messages can be found here.

Based on eligibility confirmed by the completion of the FAFSA, there are an estimated 2005 students at Oklahoma City University verifiably eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

As of May 18, 2020, 432 students received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

All student applicants with demonstrated need, as indicated on their applications, received an OCU CARES Emergency Grant of the following amounts:

  • 1 category of need indicated on their application: 1000
  • 2 categories of need indicated on their application: 1500
  • 3 categories of need indicated on their application: 1600
  • 4 categories of need indicated on their application: 1700
  • 5 categories of need indicated on their application: 1800
  • 6 categories of need indicated on their application: 1900
  • 7 categories of need indicated on their application: 2000

Out-of-state student applicants with demonstrated need, as indicated on their applications, received an additional $500 as part of their OCU CARES Emergency Grant.

Student applicants residing in emergency summer housing with demonstrated need, as indicated on their applications, received an additional $500 as part of their OCU CARES Emergency Grant.

In following guidance issued by the Department of Education, students who are ineligible to receive federal financial assistance received no consideration for an OCU CARES Emergency Grant.

Update: June 1, 2020

All currently enrolled students at Oklahoma City University were emailed on April 28, 2020, May 1, 2020, May 5, 2020, and May 14, 2020 explaining the grant and inviting the students to apply. The text of the email messages can be found here.

Message from OCU Police Chief Dexter Nelson Regarding E-Mail Scams

There has been an uptick in e-mail scams since everyone has been working remotely from home and we have had less contact with coworkers and associates. Scammers take advantage of the fact that we are forced to use electronic communications on a more regular basis and that many of us are more likely to send a message rather then call someone on the phone. Once your email is compromised, scammers will try to dig into your contacts to send messages, using the emails of those who respond.

To stay safe and protect your identity from identity theft and internet scammers:

  • Please delete any email requests from unknown sources.
  • Do not open attachments from unknown or unexpected sources.
  • If you receive a message from someone you know requesting money, call them on the phone to verify the request.
  • Never provide your full name, date of birth, social security number, or any account numbers to unknown persons or to anyone in which you did not initiate contact with and whom you have not verified as a reputable source.
  • If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam.
  • You will never be required to send money for any reason in order to receive money in return (This is a red flag for a Scam).
  • No legitimate agency will contact you asking for your personal bank or financial information or account numbers via email unless you have initiated some prior business contact with them first. Even then, verify by phone using a phone number that you look up yourself.
  • If you receive a message from a friend or family requesting help or money, confirm the request directly by phone with the individual making the request and/or with other family members.
  • Scammers will create a sense of urgency in hopes of causing you to make a quick emotional decision.
  • Never forward possible scams and unknown messages to others. You can preserve them in a screen shot for use by law enforcement.

COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

On March 27, 2020, Oklahoma City University signed and returned to the Department of Education a Certification and Agreement assuring the Department that the institution will use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Oklahoma City University received $768,334 from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. [more]