UCO COVID-19 protocols remain in place for the spring 2021 semester. Masks are required on campus when around others. Students, faculty and staff directly exposed to or test positive for COVID-19 should fill out UCO's COVID-19 Self-Reporting form. To learn more about current operations, view the university's coronavirus webpage. View a list of UCO's virtual services.
Face Mask Tips and FAQs
- Have your face mask with you at all times when you are on campus. The requirement is to wear a mask when around others, inside or outside of buildings. Even if you think you are alone, someone could come into the space you are in at any moment. Have it ready to put on quickly.
- Practice now wearing your mask for longer intervals, working up to a full class period. Though masks do not impact your ability to breathe, wearing one is different and can take some getting used to. If you need a break, go into a bathroom stall or another private area for a few moments.
- Ideally, you should wash your mask after each use to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus. Fabric masks, like your UCO mask, can be washed and dried with your regular laundry. It’s recommended that you use hot water and a high heat setting to dry. You can also hand wash your mask in hot, soapy water. Scrub for at least 20 seconds and dry on high heat in the dryer or in direct sunlight. Disposable masks are not meant to be washed and should be thrown away when they appear dirty or are damaged.
- Disposable masks and gloves should be disposed of properly in a trashcan. Masks left around campus or tossed on the ground could potentially make someone sick if they have to touch the mask to throw it out. If you find a used mask, be careful when handling it and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
- Feeling anxious about wearing a mask? UCO Health Promotion has a helpful guide for mindful masking.
Why is the university requiring face masks?
We like having you on campus, and right now that requires us taking extra precautions to reduce opportunities for the COVID-19 virus to spread. Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies face coverings, primarily solid cloth masks, as an effective tool in slowing the spread of the virus. Read more.
What kind of face mask/covering meets the requirement?
Solid cloth face masks and gaiters and disposable face masks are accepted. No face masks made of mesh fabric or anything with holes in it, bandanas or T-shirts tied around face or face shields will be accepted. Your mask must cover your nose and mouth to be effective.
Wait, why no face shields?
The CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. You could wear a face shield in addition to a mask.
How do I request an accommodation due to a medical condition?
Contact Disability Support Services at email@example.com. We also encourage those who think they cannot or do not want to wear a face mask to take online courses or extended classroom sections.
I am concerned that I won’t be able to understand the professor if I can’t read their lips/see their mouth. What can I do?
The university has options for professors to wear a mask with a clear/transparent cover over the mouth area, allowing students to see them speak. Communicate your concern with your professor or work with Disability Support Services.
What happens if I don’t wear a face mask when around others on campus?
If you forget one, there will be a limited supply in designated rooms of each classroom building. Faculty and staff also have access to these in their offices.
If you refuse to wear one, you’ll be asked to leave class and you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct for further action. Faculty, staff and students may be subject to disciplinary action.
Do I really have to wear my mask outside?
Yes, if you are outside and near other people, you still need to wear a mask.
What if I see someone who isn’t wearing a mask? What can I do?
You can remind them of the policy and ask them to wear one. Mention that it’s for the benefit of the entire community, reducing opportunities for the virus to spread and allowing us to stay on campus for classes. Check out these tips for having a conversation of care with a fellow Broncho.
If you notice someone continuing not to comply with the policy, you can file a report.
What happens if the limited supply of masks are gone?
UCO plans to keep a stock of disposable masks available as long as possible. You are encouraged to pick up your free UCO-branded cloth mask at the beginning of the semester and use it regularly. Also, many retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart and Amazon have affordable cloth masks available for purchase both online and in stores.
What is the policy on food and drink?
You are encouraged to only bring what you need to class. There is no universitywide policy prohibiting food and drink in classrooms, but individual professors may set their own standards. We recommend not bringing food to class since eating requires the removal of a face mask. Drinks are easier to sip quickly with a raise/lowering of your mask. You can eat in the food court, other campus dining locations or outside and lower your mask to eat.
As we continue to struggle with the changing realities of everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is clear: We have to work together, and all do our part to protect our community.
At UCO, wearing a mask and engaging in physical distancing are not just the rules; it’s the right thing to do. These practices have been shown to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. We encourage all Bronchos to help educate those around you to team up to do the right thing.
It can be awkward to address situations with friends and classmates who don’t want to engage in these practices, so we’ve provided some helpful ideas for addressing these issues with care and concern.
When You See Someone on Campus Without a Mask
- Don’t forget, UCO requires everyone on campus to wear a mask. Here’s where you can get one.
- Everyone at Central is wearing a mask to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Let me show you where you can get one.
- Remember to put your mask on when you are near other people.
- Can you please put your mask on correctly? Everyone on campus is supposed to wear one when they are around other people.
- It’s important to follow the rules to protect our campus community.
- My loved one is vulnerable to COVID-19; I need to do everything I can to keep them safe.
When People are Not Distancing
- Sorry, can you step back? I’m practicing physical distancing.
- Oops! I think we are too close. Remember, UCO is practicing physical distancing.
- Let’s go outside or find a bigger space, so we can better space out.
- Remember, six feet!
- No worries, I can come back later. I want to maintain proper physical distancing.
- I’m not comfortable with being closer than six feet. Do you mind spacing out more?
- It’s too crowded here, let’s go somewhere else!
- I’d hate it if one of us got sick. Let’s keep our six-foot distance for now.
Faculty, staff and students who refuse to comply with the guidelines and policies included in UCO’s Bringing the Bronchos Back fall reopening plan are subject to disciplinary action, in accordance with the applicable faculty, staff or student handbook policy.
If a faculty member, staff member or student indicates compliance is not possible due to medical reasons, the individual should be referred to the appropriate university office to request accommodations on the basis of disability.
Vendors, visitors and patients who refuse to comply are subject to having their access to campus suspended or terminated.