UCO policy update; wear mask or face punishment

The University of Central Oklahoma has updated its Student Information Sheet and Syllabus Attachment to include a face mask policy requiring students to wear a face cover at all times.

According to the policy, students who fail to comply with the face mask requirement will be subject to disciplinary action.


“The University of Central Oklahoma has implemented recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) pertaining to COVID-19 on university campuses and will require students to cover their nose and mouth with an approved cloth face cover or disposable surgical-type face mask when on UCO properties. This means all students will be required to wear a face cover at all times in classrooms, hallways and public spaces. Reasonable accommodations may be available for students with diagnosed medical conditions, and must be coordinated through the UCO office of Disability Support Services. UCO will provide every student a UCO-branded cloth cover at the beginning of the semester and a limited supply of disposable masks will be available in each classroom building for those occasions when students or visitors forget their personal cloth face cover. Students who refuse to wear a cloth face cover or repeatedly forget their face cover will be subject to disciplinary action under the UCO Student Handbook and to the consequences associated with any loss of instruction. Remember slowing the spread of the virus is a
community effort and will take everyone’s cooperation and support.”

The Vista inquired of Adrienne Nobles, vice president for communications and public affairs at UCO, about the punishment for violating mask wearing policies under the 2020-2021 Student Code of Conduct. 

The 2020-21 Student Code of Conduct is scheduled to be sent to students next week.

“A first violation will be a report to the Office of Student Conduct,” Nobles wrote in an email Thursday.

“A letter will be sent to the student reminding them of the campus policy and asking that they comply along with information about community health/safety,” Nobles stated.

“A second violation will require an in-person meeting,” Nobles stated. “The student will likely be placed on probation and required to do an educational sanction.

“For a third violation, the student may face suspension from the university.”

However, if students behave aggressively in denying or insisting on mask wearing, don’t expect to get a warning letter even for a first offense.

“Also note that if the student is abusive or disruptive when asked to comply with the mask requirement additional sanctions and potentially a more severe penalty could result,” Nobles stated.

The proper procedure for wearing a face covering or mask, according to UCO’s “Bringing Back the Bronchos” web page is as follows: 

Face Coverings for the protection of yourself and others, wear face coverings when around others, both inside and outside.

• Accepted face coverings include masks – either cloth, disposable or surgical – and gaiters. The covering should cover the nose and mouth.

• Face coverings are required at all times, unless you are working or walking alone.

• Students, faculty and staff will receive a UCO-branded cloth mask at the beginning of the semester. (Bandanas, T-shirts, shields without a mask or other items tied around the face are not considered acceptable face coverings.)

• Disposable masks are available at a centralized location in each building (as designated and monitored by the building captain) to those that forget to wear a mask.

• Parking lot signage will be posted to inform and remind all individuals (students, employees and visitors) arriving on campus of UCO’s mask requirements.

• If you’re seeking an accommodation to be exempt from wearing a face covering, contact Disability Support Services (www.uco.edu/student-resources/ dss).

For more information on COVID-19 and possible disciplinary actions, students may refer to the Office of Student Conduct. webpage.

This story has been updated as of 5:37 p.m. 08/06/2020

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