A member of the University of Oklahoma's Norman campus has tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus, the university announced Sunday night.

In a letter to the OU community, Interim President Joe Harroz wrote that the university was notified Sunday that a community member has been diagnosed with the virus. Harroz' letter does not specify

"According to our preparedness plans, we will cooperate with Health Department officials in their efforts to track this individual’s recent interactions with others in our community," Harroz wrote. "In accordance with Health Department procedure, all those impacted will be notified and provided guidance for next steps to be screened and, if necessary, self-isolate. I know all of us join together in hoping for a full and quick recovery for our community member."

In response, OU is closing its Norman campus from March 16 to March 20, and has mandated that "non-essential" faculty and staff not report to work during that period. Harroz' letter asks that employees check with their supervisors should they question whether they are "non-essential," and notes that OU's leave reporting policy for inclement weather situations will apply this week.

Residential housing on the campus will remain open for students who have stayed over spring break.

"During the closure week, essential facilities personnel on the Norman campus will partner with a contractor who specializes in critical cleaning functions to deep clean the impacted areas on campus using disinfectants that kill the virus," Harroz wrote. "Involved personnel will follow CDC guidelines as they perform this necessary work."

The temporary campus closure does not apply to OU's Tulsa or Health Sciences Center campuses, where some individual classes are transitioning online.

OU announced Thursday that post-spring break, classes at the Norman campus would move online for two weeks. OU has also suspended any university-related events from March 14 to April 5, and has suspended sporting events until further notice.

As of Sunday, there were seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state across Cleveland, Payne, Jackson, Oklahoma and Tulsa counties. Tulsa County alone has three cases.

"We recognize that more cases are emerging in our communities, but that we can reduce the spread of infection by our individual and collective actions," Harroz wrote Sunday. "As we have in all circumstances, we will work together with a sense of common purpose and care for each other. I am heartened by the way everyone in our community is approaching this unique and developing situation with resolved optimism and understanding."

Emma Keith


Follow me @emma_ckeith


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