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RSU Student Reportedly Tests Positive for COVID-19

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A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Photo courtesy of the Centers of Disease Control.

Two RSU students have undergone testing for COVID-19. According to a social media post made on Friday, an RSU student claims to have had a positive test result. The student told the Hill News they have both been self-isolating since a COVID-19 test last week.

RSU began its response to the coronavirus earlier this year in March. This included a transition to remote instruction for the latter half of the spring semester. Beginning on May 29, 2002, RSU started to ease pandemic-related campus restrictions.

For the summer semester, RSU continued with remote instruction and has limited campus events.

In a statement, RSU Director of Communications and Marketing Brandon Irby stated: “Rogers State University follows the guidance of national and local health officials in response to a positive diagnosis on campus. When an RSU employee or student self-reports they are symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19, there are important measures that will be promptly taken including quarantine or isolation, contact tracing and facility disinfection.

To date, RSU has not announced any positive COVID-19 tests on its campuses in Bartlesville, Claremore, or Pryor, OK.

RSU students, faculty, and staff with symptoms or suspected contact can receive a COVID-19 test by appointment at the Rogers County, Mayes County, or Washington County Health Departments.

Editor’s note: this story was update at 8:30 PM to correct a typo.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Jake Brillhart serves as the editor-in-chief for the Hillpost. He is a junior studying public affairs with a focus in media communications. He frequently covers stories related to state and local government and campus policy. After graduation, Brillhart plans to pursue a Master of Public Administration and begin a career in higher education.

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Campus Life

Fall RSU Panhellenic Recruitment: What You Need To Know

Victoria Middleton

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New COVID-19 signs placed on exterior of university village building. Photo by Jake Brillhart, the Hill News.

COVID-19 has made everyone rethink how we go about our daily lives. RSU students received an email on July 20 explaining university plans to keep everyone safe and healthy for the upcoming semester. However, how will this effect things like fall recruitment?

Just like university administrators, our campus’s greek life has had this heavy on their minds with fall recruitment being right around the corner. Here is what students need to know.

Formal recruitment will go on like normal from September 14 to September 18, 2020. Students will be able to spend time with both Panhellenic Council sororities to get know everyone. Additionally, masks will be part of recruitment dress code, and social distancing will be implemented in activities.

“Safety is our number one priority with Alpha Tau, especially because I’m a diabetic so I’m higher risk,” said Alpha Sigma Tau President Camdyn Ellis, “formal [recruitment] is going on as normal; however my girls will be in cute Alpha Tau masks, and we will also have sanitizer and Clorox wipes on hand to keep everything clean.”

The sentiment of staying safe and keeping things as normal as possible is shared by both sororities on campus.

“Alpha Sigma Alpha members are looking forward to being able to still put on formal recruitment despite these unprecedented times,” said Alpha Sigma Alpha President Lynsey Naugle.

“Together our Panhellenic Council, which is made up of our chapter and the Alpha Sigma Tau chapter, is working on making fall recruitment the safest it can be. This will include wearing masks and having spaces that are big enough to allow proper social distancing. “

“Despite these changes, fall recruitment will still be about making connections and helping the women of RSU find their home in one of our two sororities. We cannot wait to meet all of the women who are interested in greek life once the fall semester begins,” said Naugle.

Students can sign up for recruitment online at www.rsu.edu/campus-life/fraternity-sorority-life/how-to-go-greek. The deadline to sign up is September 15, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.

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RSU Announces #HealthyHillcats and Required Masks

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A student wears an RSU mask on RSU's Claremore campus. Photo from rsu.edu/coronavirus.

Earlier this past week, RSU finalized plans for the fall semester. As a part of its coronavirus response plans, RSU will require masks, end their fall semester online, and reduced dining capacity. This is a part of their #HealthyHillcat social campaign.

“We are less than a month away from the beginning of the fall semester and each passing day is a mixture of hopeful anticipation and new unexpected challenges. This year will look very different,” said RSU President Larry Rice

RSU joins a growing list of Oklahoma colleges requiring face coverings for the fall semester. Since June 30, RSU employees have been required to wear masks according to a new employee policy.

Students will be expected “to wear a mask inside University buildings and outdoors on campus when a social distance of at least six feet is not possible.”

RSU has moved forward with a recommendation to end their in-person semester early and finish online. Following Thanksgiving, RSU will transition to one week of online instruction and continue online for finals week.

While no decisions to change class schedules have been announced, the university’s webpage for the coronavirus resources suggests modifying upperclassmen courses for hybrid and online delivery is an option.

Dining facilities at RSU will operate a reduced capacity and are encouraging take-out options.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Editor’s note: this story was updated at 8:56 a.m. on July 20, 2020 to include a statement by RSU President Larry Rice.

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Academics

Allied Health Degree Becomes Fastest Growing Program at RSU

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RSU allied health students practice patient assessment and care. Students practice hands-on training as a part of their health sciences degree program. Photo courtesy of Brian Coley, RSU.

It is a story 29 years in the making and involves an Oklahoma Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame inductee. Brian Coley serves as the lead instructor for the Allied Health, B.S., program. Last year, Coley approached the School of Professional Studies with an idea to expand RSU’s offerings of health science degrees.

Coley spoke to School of Professional Studies Dean Susan Willis, and together, they worked to establish an allied health program that will prepare RSU students for a variety of healthcare careers and graduate degrees.

“I’m at a part of my career where I want to work with and teach students before they go onto their master’s,” described Coley. The allied health program offers options in athletic training, physical therapy, and occupational therapy and currently has over 90 declared students.

Licensure in Oklahoma as an athletic trainer requires individuals to possess a bachelor’s degree. However, an increasing number of athletic training positions are requiring master’s degrees. This is where Coley saw an opportunity.

“9% of our high schools [in Oklahoma] have certified athletics trainers,” said Coley. The demand for them is increasing. Over the next eight years, the United States Labor of Bureau Statistics expects the profession to grow by 19%.

Currently, only three Oklahoma universities offer a graduate degree in athletic training. Coley explained the curriculum for RSU’s allied health program aligns with the prerequisite courses for Oklahoma State University, University of Tulsa, and University of Central Oklahoma.

Courses RSU students will take include: Biomechanics, Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries, and Methods of Strength and Conditioning. Coley explained longterm plans to eventually embed a strength and conditioning certification into the degree. “We want to make sure they’re prepared,” said Coley, “there is a shortage in physical therapy.”

RSU student Nate Callis, front left, practices taping an injury in the Health Sciences Building. Photo courtesy of Brian Coley, RSU.

Mya Hilderbrand, a junior studying allied health, described her experiences in the program. “I took a sports medicine class in high school and really enjoyed it…. when I came to RSU they only had a fitness management degree, but it wasn’t what I wanted.

“Then, my sophomore year I heard RSU adopted the allied health program, and it offered the exact degree I wanted. So far, the program has been amazing. Professor Coley, the main director of the program, has done an amazing job.

“He is extremely informative and prefers to do a lot of hands-on activities, which important for this field of work. He also cares a great deal about his students and offers any help they may need,” said Hilderbrand.

Allied health students can expect a hands-on experience with opportunities for field experience. Whether a student is “in a clinic, on the sideline” or helping at the Hillcat Fun Run, they will have the opportunity to practice their skills. The end goal is students to “walk into their first [graduate] class, and they’re ready to go,” said Coley.

Students interested in the Allied Health, B.S., program should visit the Department of Health Sciences website or consult their academic advisor.

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