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COVID-19 Update & FAQ

Last updated April 13, 2021


COVID-19 Update from President Thomas Newsom

Southeastern Students, Faculty and Staff,

As we move towards the end of the Spring semester and commencement in May, we will begin a transition toward pre-COVID operations. As we are currently enrolling students for the Summer and Fall, I want to make you aware of some ongoing changes to campus operations, at both our Durant and McCurtain County Campus.

Spring Events – While we will still maintain our current COVID-19 protocols, with the requirement of face coverings, social distancing on campus, and contact tracing, we will begin to have some pre-graduation events and celebrations on campus. These will be coordinated by different student groups and organizations and will mainly be outside with COVID-19 protocols in place and the continuation of no participation from persons not directly affiliated with the University. We will also have some scheduled performances by different groups, like performing arts, that will be conducted in the same way that our current outdoor athletic events are held. Further information about these celebrations and events will be announced throughout the remainder of the semester. One exception to University visitors is that we have already resumed campus recruitment visits, on a limited basis, and will expand these to small groups prior the end of the Spring semester.

Summer Operations – After commencement in May, the University will resume pre-COVID campus summer operations, involving students, faculty, staff and University visitors, such as summer camps, curriculum programs, and events. This will include events on campus by off-campus groups and entities. These will be conducted with a COVID plan in place, and while some events may last for consecutive days, we will not allow overnight guests on campus or in the residence halls. We will also begin to reconfigure classrooms this Summer in order to move from the current guidance of 6 feet of separation to 3 feet. This change will be made throughout the Summer, as physically repositioning and replacing furniture throughout campus will take some time. This will allow us to prepare our classroom space for Fall 2021 occupancy similar to the Fall of 2019 for face-to-face instruction. This Summer we will also be hosting events for alumni and friends of the University, like the Gridiron and Presidential Golf Tournaments, and the Aviation Fish Fry.  Notification of events will be posted on the University website and on University and affiliate social media pages.

Fall 2021 – It is our intention to return to face-to-face classes and events in the Fall, with a full University calendar that allows for visitors on campus. This may be modified in specific instances based on conditions during the semester. Changes in course seat limits and delivery will be rolled into the schedule as the departments assess individual sections. As changes to mode of delivery on our current Fall schedule occur, students who are enrolled at that time will be notified. The University will return to pre-COVID operations in campus dining and in the residence halls. We will also begin planning for Homecoming weekend October 15-17, with our traditional celebrations like Distinguished Alumni and bonfire. The Savage Storm Football Team will be hosting Northwestern Oklahoma State on Saturday, and the Volleyball Team is hosting Ouachita on Friday and Henderson on Saturday.

Travel – Beginning immediately, domestic University travel that does not involve an overnight stay or transportation via airline, will no longer require designation as essential travel and require my approval. This travel will still require normal departmental and University approval.  All other travel will still require my approval until further notice.

At the current time we have not made a determination about campus face covering requirements for the Summer and Fall, but will communicate guidance when appropriate. Additional COVID precaution information for Summer will be forthcoming, and we will continue to follow CDC, OSHD, and NCHA guidance when making decisions regarding COVID protocols. We strongly encourage everyone to continue reporting illness, as that remains an essential part of our mitigation strategy.

I encourage everyone to continue to be diligent with safety precautions through the end of the Spring Semester, and while we do not currently require the vaccine, I encourage you to get vaccinated.  Face coverings, social distancing, regular handwashing, testing, and vaccinations are the best way to keep our campus healthy and safe. 

Thank you again for all of your efforts during the past year and going forward to keep our University, students, faculty and staff safe.

Thomas W. Newsom, Ph.D.


MEDIA CONTACT: Alan Burton, Director of University Communications, or 580-745-2731.