Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) News

Dear Students and Campus Community,

I hope this finds you well and staying safe during these challenging times.

This message is to share some information and invitations for you each to learn more about our ever-evolving plans for the coming academic year. Our Law School community has spent each day since May working, researching, analyzing, deliberating, and planning for the year ahead with the safety of our students, faculty, and staff at the forefront of our thoughts.

I would like to thank the tireless leaders and members of the Law School Emergency Planning Task Force (EPTF) for their constant and thorough work since the Spring:

Cheryl Burns, Co-Chair
Kelly Monroe, Co-Chair
Jennifer Prilliman, Liaison to the University’s EOC
Ross Branton
Madelynn Buckman
Paula Dalley
Alana House
Laurie Jones
Cheryl Morgan
Don New
Loretta Radford
Susan Urban

With their help, we have built plans and developed policies, in coordination with the University’s Minimum Mitigation Standards and Return to Work Policies and Procedures, as well as updated information from the City-County Health Department and the State of Oklahoma. For your benefit, please also consider the City-County Health Department information for details and specifics to our Oklahoma City region:  https://www.occhd.org/COVID-19

Please know that all plans are subject to change depending on events and conditions in in the coming weeks. Our current plan is to have as many classes take place in person as possible. To do that, we have made a number of adjustments. We have also made changes to the calendar in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we implement – and revise – these plans, we seek the input of our students. Students should have received an email about our upper-class student surveys. We have also provided them below. Please complete the applicable survey as soon as possible.

Rising 2L Survey

Rising 3L/4L Survey

Health and Safety Precautions

The school is adopting many health and safety precautions in the building and classrooms. You will receive detailed information about this in the future, but here are some examples: Social distancing will be required at all times; masks must be worn in class and throughout the building; stairwells will be one-way only; classroom capacities will be capped so that students will be at least six feet apart. 

We have developed new cleaning protocols, and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the building. Once inside the building, there will be new rules for you to observe.

  1. In accordance with university policy, masks that fully cover the mouth and nose are required in the building at all times. If a student has a medical condition that does not allow them to wear a mask, they must seek accommodation and will be asked to attend classes virtually.
  2. The Law School building will be open to students Monday – Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Students will not be permitted in the building outside of these hours unless otherwise notified. Announcements will be made 15 minutes prior to closing.
  3. Students will not be permitted on the 4th floor unless they have an appointment with a faculty or staff member or have been otherwise instructed.
  4. All meetings with staff and faculty will be by appointment only or as designated by the faculty or staff member.
  5. Students are welcome to study throughout the first, second, and fifth floors. Students are required to abide by all room occupancy limits and socially distance as instructed. Students may not rearrange or move furniture.
  6. Guidelines for the use of the Student Bar Association and Law Review offices will be distributed to students needing access to those spaces.
  7. Students are required to abide by all directional signage.

Students may not come to the building if they are ill, exhibiting symptoms, or have an ill member of their household. If you are ill, have been exposed to someone with Covid-19, or suspect you have been exposed to Covid-19, we urge you to reach out to the Campus Health Clinic at 405-373-2400 or your healthcare provider immediately to seek guidance and testing. Information shared with the Campus Health Clinic is confidential. If you are tested by the Campus Health Clinic, the Campus Health Clinic will provide you guidance and begin campus contact tracing. If you are tested at another facility and receive a positive test result, you are asked to notify the Campus Health Clinic as soon as possible so they can begin working on campus contact tracing and other precautionary measures to keep you and the campus community healthy and safe. Testing is covered by university and other insurance policies.

Failure to adhere to these policies or follow a law school employee’s request related to these policies will be considered a violation of sections 2.01(a) and 2.01(b) of the Oklahoma City University School of Law Student Code of Conduct and subject to disciplinary action.

Classroom Capacities and Schedule Changes

Students will be placed six feet apart in class. Larger classes will be accommodated in various ways, including turning McLaughlin Hall into a classroom, which means we will not be holding events for outside organizations in the building this year. We have adjusted the class schedule, and students have been informed of these changes. First-year students will have all their classes in the same room on the same day, with assigned seats.

Class times will be adjusted somewhat to allow time to clean classrooms between classes and to eliminate large numbers of students arriving and leaving parts of the building at the same time. Some classes will be held partly online and a few will be held entirely online.

Calendar

The calendar has been changed so that Fall semester exams will be complete before Thanksgiving break. Information on the revised calendar is available here:  Revised Fall Calendar.pdf

Mid-Semester Changes

All faculty will receive additional training in providing effective distance education and will be required to have a plan in place to deliver their classes entirely online, if necessary. Students are required to have the equipment and internet capacity necessary to take classes online. Click here to see the new technology requirements:  Mandatory Technology Requirements.pdf

If you will have any problems satisfying the technology requirements, please report those problems on the Student Support Survey: Click here to take the survey.

Some or all instruction for all or part of Academic Year 2020-2021 may be delivered remotely or in a hybrid format. Tuition and mandatory fees have been set regardless of the method of instruction and will not be modified or refunded in the event instruction occur remotely or via a hybrid model for any part of the Academic Year. In the event, Oklahoma City University cancels in-progress courses because of a campus closure or institution-wide transition to remote instruction, and such cancellation results in a change in a student’s enrollment status, Oklahoma City University may, at its discretion, refund a portion of the student’s tuition and/or course-specific fees (such as lab fees).  Should the University determine, in its sole discretion, that a refund is appropriate, such a refund may be made via credit to the student’s Spring 2021 semester account.

Temporary or permanent changes to the method of instruction, regardless of when they are implemented, are not grounds for refunds under the University’s tuition and fee refund policy.

We believe the value of an Oklahoma City University education and degree, whether in-person or remote, continues to greatly exceed tuition. Moreover, our main educational costs are continuing, as the services they provide are continuing; our infrastructure costs are continuing; and we are incurring additional costs for online education and actions we are taking to respond to the pandemic. As such, Oklahoma City University does not refund tuition because of changes to the method of instruction.

We continue to work with students and families who are in financial distress due to the coronavirus pandemic, and we encourage you to reach out if you need help. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

At-Risk Students

Students who are in vulnerable populations or who are caring for those in vulnerable populations will be permitted to participate in classes remotely. We are committed to work with all of our students regarding their unique situations to keep them safe while providing them the best educational experience possible. We will have a procedure for making those requests, but if you are in this category feel free to let Dean Dalley know at any time.

Please remember that we are here to help in any way we can. We understand that some of these changes may cause considerable upheaval. It is also possible that these plans will have to change dramatically if conditions change. We welcome any questions you have – feel free to contact any office by email or telephone. Dean House and Dean Dalley are ready to answer questions and address your concerns.

Events

For the academic year 2020-2021, Oklahoma City University School of Law will not host external events or activities. Space will not be available to rent or use by an external organization. Masks are required for all attendees at all events. Event attendance shall not exceed the following limitations based on the current operational alert level for the university as set forth in guidelines established by the CDC and local guidance:

  • Low – maximum attendance of 250 people
  • Moderate – maximum of 50 attendees
  • High – maximum of 10 attendees
  • Very High – events will not be held during this alert level

Exceptions for events with more than the institution’s adopted limit of 250 attendees must be approved by the Emergency Operations Center Policy Group. Whenever possible, events should be held outdoors or conducted virtually. All attendees and visitors must be sent the Voluntary Assessment form at least 24 hours prior to the event and Cheryl Morgan and Kelly Monroe must be notified. It is the responsibility of the Event’s convener to insure the distribution of this form to law school guests. Student organization activities must be approved by the Law School Office of Student Services and follow the guidelines provided by the Office.

Spring 2020 Graduation

At this time, we are working to reschedule graduation for spring 2021.

OCU Law Food Pantry

If you need access to the food pantry or items in the food pantry during this time, please contact Law Student Services at lawstudentservices@okcu.edu.

Law Technology Support

Law Technology Services will continue to address support issues remotely. If you need technical support, please contact us at LTS@okcu.edu or (405) 208-5803. For those issues that require in-person support please see the guidelines below.

  • The helpdesk will be limited to one person at a time. Appointments are encouraged with walk-ins available only for emergencies. The area will be sanitized after each person leaves.
  • When supporting technology in a confined space, LTS will ask employees or students to leave the space to maintain adequate social distancing of 6 feet.
  • LTS personnel will provide their own keyboard and mouse when possible, before working on a student’s or employee’s computer.

Library Services

The Law School building and library will be open to students Monday – Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Students will not be permitted in the building outside of these hours unless otherwise notified. Closing announcements will be made 15 minutes prior to closing and library staff will sweep the building prior to closing.

The library will be closed to the public for the entire fall semester.

Many library services will continue to be available online. Please click here for more guidance about using library services remotely and available resources to assist you with your classes.

You may find all fall 2020 policy changes here.

As our students and their families continue to face challenges posed by COVID-19, we plan to continue our efforts to support those who face hardships due to the pandemic. You can contribute to this effort by clicking below.