March 21, 2020

Dear Carl Albert family,

As we have discussed over the last week, factors surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic change daily, sometimes hourly.  Since our last update on the 17th, things have evolved even more.  Given that the number of cases in Oklahoma is on the rise, and now the number of positive cases in Arkansas is increasing, we found ourselves faced with a difficult but necessary decision.  Effective immediately, all Carl Albert instruction, for the remainder of the semester, will be conducted in a distance learning format.  Additionally, all residence halls will be closed, and unfortunately, students will be required to move out of their campus residence.  Following are a few key details to provide more information as it relates to housing and also campus operations:

  • Students living in campus housing will be notified of a scheduled time to arrive to move your personal belongings
  • The number of people allowed to assist you will be limited to one.  Yourself and one additional person is all that will be allowed to assist you with the move-out process- two total.
  • Internet and computer accessibility:
  • On the Poteau campus, the library will be open for students to access computer and internet services to complete your assignments.  However, social distancing will be practiced, and no more than ten individuals will be allowed in the library at any given time to access this equipment.
  • On the Sallisaw campus, the Mitchell library will be open for students to access computer and internet services to complete assignments.  Social distancing will also be practiced, and no more than ten individuals will be allowed in the area at any given time. 
  • Commencement services have been postponed, and the rescheduled date will be announced at a later time. 
  • Work study students:  At this time, work study students will not report to campus, and this will be re-evaluated in two weeks.  Institutional work studies will not receive pay for this time period.  Federal work studies will receive payment.
  • No one shall be allowed on campus unless authorized to be present.  Campus police will regularly patrol the grounds.
  • Should any student feel they need to evaluated by a physician, please contact the Office of Student Affairs.  Carl Albert works closely with the Health and Wellness Center, and the Center has agreed to evaluate students virtually should the need arise. 
  • Services required for student educational operations will still be present on campus.  These include Financial Aid, the Business Office, Admissions, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Telecommunications, Physical Plant, and Human Resources.  However, all buildings on campus will be locked at all times.  The aforementioned offices and services will only be available by appointment.  Please call 918-647-1200 (Poteau) or 918-775-6977 (Sallisaw) to be routed to these offices for assistance or to make an appointment. 
  • Faculty will be conducting their duties through regular office hours either on campus or remotely.  Please reach out to your instructor via email for assistance and support. 
  • All campus events are hereby cancelled for the remainder of the semester (with the exception of Commencement, which has been postponed)

We want to stress again that there are currently no known cases affecting either of our campuses.  However, your leadership feels that it is imperative to take proactive steps to do our part to help mitigate the spread of this virus by taking practical and wise steps to protect our College community- students, staff, and faculty. 

The following guidelines still stand:

  • All out-of-state campus travel is suspended unless absolutely essential, and only with the President’s approval
  • There are no restrictions on in-state travel, but in-state travel will be monitored

We will continue to implement the following:

  • Placing additional hand sanitizing stations in all campus buildings
  • Utilizing sanitizing foggers in all offices, buildings, and residence halls
  • Purchasing and providing additional sanitizing wipes for concentrated areas

At this time, we continue to encourage you to practice the following:

  • Self-isolate and practice social distancing, avoiding crowds of 10 or more
  • Safe and frequent hand-washing, washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or utilizing a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol
  • Stay home if you feel sick
  • Cover your mouth with your elbow when coughing or sneezing
  • Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces with a disinfectant

We encourage you to check the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites to find updated guidance. If you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, you should remain home, notify your supervisor or instructors, and not report to work or class.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health encourages anyone who returns from an area with travel restrictions, or anyone who is experiencing flu-like symptoms, to self-quarantine for 14 days and report any concerning symptoms to a health care provider or call the OSDH Call Center at 877-215-8336. Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure.

This situation continues to evolve rapidly.  Your leadership team works closely with the experts and our peers to ensure we continue to make sound, logical, and well-timed decisions.  We feel these decisions are in the best interest of the Viking family.  We appreciate your continued patience and flexibility in the days and weeks to come.

Kind regards,

President Jay Falkner