This is a watershed moment in our country’s history. The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to shift focus rapidly and to reassess our strategies for continuing to meet our critical mission – to provide students with a high quality, affordable education so that they can reach their highest potential and thrive in an increasingly complex, global society.
The spread of the coronavirus across the world has changed what this week – and many to come – look like. It has been challenging, but I am proud to say that our university communities – our administration, faculty, staff and students - have been responsive, attentive and flexible in this time of uncertainty.
Our university presidents are in regular contact with each other and with the governor, we are developing contingency plans for the future, and we are committed to guiding and protecting our students and employees.
As of my writing this, all six RUSO universities are planning alternative instructional delivery methods for all classes in the weeks following. We are being intentional about revising residence hall policies, converting food service and deep cleaning all of our facilities. On-campus events and classes have been suspended for now, because the well-being and education of our nearly 38,000 students remain the top priorities.
We will learn from this moment. This crisis is an opportunity for us to recommit to innovation in education, to embrace information technology solutions vigorously, and to become leaders in online education and other alternative delivery methods. This can be a catalyst for us to offer the best blend of virtual and face-to-face education. Oklahomans’ ability to look after each other in a time of crisis gives me confidence that we will continue to serve, educate and inspire in the coming months. And we will do it with inclusion, innovation, strengthened relationships and the clarity that comes with facing this changing landscape together.