OSU students returning to Stillwater; What that means to residents

Media Release

With Oklahoma State University returning for fall classes, many in the Stillwater community are wondering what that means for residents.

“We understand that you have questions about how 20,000 new residents will affect our response to this coronavirus pandemic,” City Manager Norman McNickle said. “The City of Stillwater, OSU, Payne County Health Department, Stillwater Medical Center and other agencies are working together to keep everyone safe and healthy.”

OSU is in the middle of its campus reopening plan called “Cowboys Coming Back,” which includes policies and guidelines for contact tracing, COVID-19 testing, touch-point cleaning and personal health responsibilities. For more information, visit https://go.okstate.edu/coronavirus/campus-reopening-plan/plan-at-a-glance/index.html.

According to OSU Director of Media Relations Monica Roberts, “OSU is mandating testing for all OSU students living on campus as well as those living in Greek housing. Testing is also available for the entire OSU campus community on a voluntary basis.”

Because of the increase in testing, residents will most likely see an increase in the reported number of Stillwater’s COVID-19 cases. For this information, visit https://looker-dashboards.ok.gov/embed/dashboards/79.

In addition to widespread testing, OSU has plans in place for aggressive contact tracing, space for quarantining and medical care available for those with the virus.

“We do not want a surge of cases, so we are asking that everyone do their part. This includes wearing a face covering, stay away from crowds and self-isolate if you are sick,” McNickle said. “To help protect vulnerable populations, we are asking that grocery stores and big box stores resume hosting specific hours, so they can shop without added stress.”

Best Practices For Protecting Yourself

The Payne County Health Department is asking that everyone continue to follow these simple tips to protect yourself and those around you during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Maintain social distancing by avoiding close contact with others (about 6 feet);
  • Wear a cloth face covering that covers your nose and mouth when in public settings; 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol;
  • If you are sick, take the following steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care;
  • If seeking medical attention, call ahead;
  • Avoid public transportation or ride-sharing;
  • Separate yourself from other people and pets within your home;

Anyone experiencing symptoms or that may have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is asked to contact their healthcare provider or the County Health Department for testing.  Residents are encouraged to follow the Payne County Health Department Facebook page for up-to-date information on testing opportunities.  Individuals testing positive or identified as a “close contact” during the contact tracing investigation will be contacted with further care instructions. 

Face Covering Ordinance

Stillwater City Council’s face covering ordinance 3452 is in effect until Nov. 30. The ordinance requires that everyone wear a face-covering in all public spaces, including educational institutions, food services, retail and personal service establishments that provide goods or services directly to the public. Exceptions outlined in the ordinance include, but are not limited to, persons with medical, mental or developmental conditions, children under age 5 (unless required by school or daycare to wear a face covering), and non-public areas or workplaces.

Proclamation Declaring State of Emergency Extended

Mayor Will Joyce’s Proclamation Declaring a State of Emergency that was set to expire Friday has been extended through August 31. This proclamation states that Stillwater remains in the Phase III Open Up Recover Safely plan.

Stay up to date on the current guidelines, case counts, plans for economic recovery and more relating to COVID-19 at stillwater.org/COVID-19.