Enhanced Measures on COVID-19 | Langston University

Enhanced Measures on COVID-19

Enhanced Measures on COVID-19

Dear Langston University Family,

The past few weeks have brought challenges unlike any we have seen in generations. These circumstances have forced all institutions of higher education to make significant and difficult decisions. The effects of COVID-19 have altered the landscape for our entire society. Langston University, like all institutions across the country, has followed the evolving guidance from experts and health providers as we respond to this very real threat.

We have worked to be thoughtful and compassionate with every decision concerning our campus community. Just last week, we announced measures designed to keep our workforce and students on campus for several more weeks. The circumstances surrounding this pandemic are changing rapidly and constantly impact our decisions. I feel strongly that we must act now in implementing a more aggressive response to COVID-19. While these decisions were difficult to make, I am convinced that they are necessary.


All campuses will be closed to the public effective Monday, March 30, 2020 until further notice to support social distancing. Since my last communication, facts have changed, and circumstances have worsened. In Oklahoma alone, the number of confirmed cases has risen significantly and quickly, as has the death toll. The primary way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to minimize interpersonal contact. All buildings on the Langston campus will be closed except for the Langston University Police Department as well as the Student Success Center for access to dining and a computer lab. Counseling and Health Services will be available both remotely and by appointment. All other student services will operate via telework.


No Langston University employee will be allowed on any campus without a critical business purpose identified by their supervisor and authorized by the Executive Policy Group (EPG) of the Emergency Leadership Team (ELT). Our workforce must be safe and healthy in order to continue their dedicated support of our students. To maximize social distancing and ensure that we are doing all we can to keep our community safe, mandatory teleworking for all Langston University employees will commence on Monday, March 30, 2020. Employees needing to access their office space after this date should contact their supervisor for guidance.


We will begin closing or consolidating all campus housing facilities. Only students, faculty, and staff who have written approval from the EPG may remain in housing. If you are currently not on campus, you are not authorized to return at this time. We will work with students to make arrangements for retrieving their belongings at a date when traveling is safe. The Request to Remain form may be found here and must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 30, 2020.

As closures and "safer-at-home" orders continue to occur, I am increasingly worried about your access to health care, resources, food, and other essentials. My growing concern is that you will be isolated on a campus where services such as dining have halted due to a global pandemic. Many challenges come with our location in a rural community and the distance of our campus from resources. It's going to be increasingly difficult for you to move off-campus as you return home.

The guidance from the CDC indicated that individuals who fall into our general student demographic, that is those in the 18 to 25-year-old category, were not at as high a risk for contracting the disease and displaying severe symptoms. The facts are now changing. Over one-third of the people hospitalized with COVID-19 worldwide are under the age of 55, a reality which differs greatly from the original predictions of the CDC. Let me be clear, it is wrong to think that you are not at risk.


Limited Travel Funding Available for Students
The Langston University Foundation and other partners have worked to make funding available through a grant application for students to travel home due to COVID-19. Apply for funding through this form.

Adjustments to Student Accounts
Appropriate credit adjustments will be made on the accounts of students who do not return to campus housing or who move-out by April 3, 2020. These adjustments will account for housing, meal plan, and select fees. Tuition will not be discounted or refunded, as instruction will still be delivered through the remainder of the semester.

Student Employment
Students currently employed with active assignments as either Federal Work Study or Payroll student assistants will continue to be compensated. Calculation of payment will be based upon the February 2020 payroll.


Until this point in time, I have done everything I can to not levee a sweeping directive to leave campus, as I recognize there are some unique challenges faced by our students; however, I am asking that each of you make plans to leave campus as soon as possible and by no later than April 3, 2020.

Each one of us has the power to help reduce the spread of this disease, but you must do your part. It is our social responsibility to remain as distanced as possible through this difficult time. It is my role, not only to keep you safe today, but to ensure that the University is doing what is best to keep you safe for the weeks and months ahead. This is an unprecedented global health crisis, one that we have not seen in our lifetimes. It is critical that you heed my warning and return home as soon as possible.

With your continued support and cooperation, the Langston University family will continue to persevere.


Kent J. Smith Jr., Ph.D.
LUNAA Life Member #864