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Classes, Online And Off, Resume At The University Of Tulsa

Chris Polansky
A student wears a mask to walk on the University of Tulsa on Monday, Aug. 24th, the first day of classes for the fall semester.

Classes resumed Monday at the University of Tulsa, with students attending virtually, in-person, and some combination of the two.

According to Interim President Janet Levit, 3,809 students are enrolled for the fall semester, with 2,115 living in on-campus housing. About 35% of all classes are all online, about 15% are all in-person, and the remainder are "hybrid" courses involving both online and in-person instruction.

Students on campus Monday said the COVID-19 pandemic is still top of mind, but many expressed pleasant surprise at how seriously others are taking things like mask wearing and socially distancing.

"In the freshman dorm I work at, everyone's been taking it really seriously, which is nice to see," said Kathryn Horwath, a senior from Omaha, Neb., majoring in anthropology. "I'm actually kind of impressed. I wasn't expecting it."

Horwath said events at other colleges like the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and Michigan State University, which brought students back to campus only to then go all-virtual due to major outbreaks of the virus, are top of mind, but that she hopes TU can make it through the semester.

"I'm taking it one day at a time," Horwath said.

Ben Bolin, a senior mechanical engineering student from Lawton, Okla., said he's "cautiously optimistic" TU can avoid having to shut down.

"I was pretty impressed when I was walking over, because even outside, walking alone, a lot of people had their masks on," Bolin said. "I was surprised about that."

The vast majority of students seen on campus Monday were wearing masks, which is a requirement inside campus buildings.

In a Friday email to students, Associate Vice President for Campus Services Melissa France urged students to be responsible.

"We have transformed our physical spaces and our internal processes to provide students with a safe and healthy living and learning environment," the email reads. "To keep us living and learning together, we need you to fully commit to following health and safety guidelines – on and off campus."

"Our well-being depends on each of us following" rules, including students taking their temperatures every morning, and not attending parties where masking and distancing is not practiced. "As such, any student engaging irresponsible behavior that endangers our community will lose the privilege to remain on campus."
NOTE: TU holds the broadcast license for KWGS / Public Radio Tulsa.

    Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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