Oklahoma State University is closing all campus buildings to visitors Wednesday in compliance with Gov. Kevin Stitt’s executive order closing non-essential business.

“As we continue to do our part as a university to respond to the spread of COVID-19, we are making daily decisions to do more as the situation continues to evolve,” OSU President Burns Hargis wrote. “The well-being and safety of our campus community is of the utmost priority.”

Campus closures begin 6 p.m. Wednesday, and will remain closed through April 15. Employees will have access to their buildings. Only essential personnel are being told to go on campus, though.

According to a release from the university, individuals who have serious underlying medical conditions or adults over 65 should be instructed to shelter in their home unless they are performing a mission-critical function and can maintain appropriate social distancing in accordance with Governor Stitt’s order of “Safer at Home.” People who could still be on campus might include researchers, and dining made available to the students still on campus.

"We are grateful for our dedicated staff and faculty who will continue to provide operational continuity through telecommuting and, for some, on-campus work to support essential and mission-critical functions," the release state. "These essential operations include research functions in labs which will continue to be open to our research personnel with the expectation that social distancing measures are in place."

The university moved classes for all campuses online March 18.

“Our dedicated staff and faculty will continue to provide services through telecommuting and, for some, on-campus work to support essential and mission-critical functions,” Hargis continued. “If you need access to a building during this time, please contact your advisor, supervisor or dean.”

He said that staff considered “vulnerable” to COVID-19, those 65 or older, who have underlying medical issues will be given priority options for telecommuting, but if it isn’t an option, will be provided administrative leave and paid leave provided by the proposed Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

“For staff and faculty who are unable to telecommute and are not in an on-campus essential/mission-critical position, administrative leave will be provided,” Hargis wrote. “If there are questions regarding this, please reach out to your supervisor and/or HR consultant for assistance and clarity.”

The university began to move students out of dorms last week, and Hargis said that the new orders do not alter the current process for relocating students, or those who might be delayed in finding new housing.

“Thank you for your patience and support of one another during this time,” he wrote. “As the Cowboy Family, we will continue to persevere and get through this together.”

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