COVID-19 Holiday Season Safety Guidelines

Published: Monday, November 23, 2020

With the fall and winter holidays approaching, we want all faculty and staff to remain healthy. With that in mind, it is important that we are all vigilant and committed to following the COVID-19 mitigation guidelines established by the CDC and the university’s public health experts and medical professionals.

In Your Home

If you live with someone who has been infected with COVID-19, you have a 46-60% higher chance of contracting the disease. With so many people traveling and family members returning from school, work, and holiday travel, it’s a good idea to limit the size and number of friend and family gatherings, especially if some loved ones are elderly or immunocompromised.

If you decide to have a holiday gathering with people who do not reside in your immediate household, the CDC recommends limiting guests to a number of people who can safely maintain a distance of at least 6 feet, especially if the event is held indoors. It is also recommended that groups gathering indoors wear masks, in addition to maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet, when not eating or drinking and that you and your guests wash your hands frequently. Touchless trash cans, single-use items, and hand sanitizer will also limit germs spreading between frequently contacted items. Avoid buffet-style meals if possible or ask one person to dish out the turkey and stuffing for all guests.

Before any gatherings, contacting invitees to ensure they are feeling well and have not been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is another good way to help keep everyone safe.

In the Community

Dining in restaurants and shopping are very popular during the holiday season, but it is a good idea to limit time in public places right now. It is safer to avoid large crowds during this busy time of year.

Consider limiting outings to curbside or storefront pickup. If you must go in or out of any public place, wearing a mask and keeping a distance of at least 6 feet will help you protect yourself and the people you care about from contracting COVID-19.

It may be uncomfortable for you to decline an invitation to a seasonal event. To help navigate those conversations, the HSC Student Affairs Office has provided some suggestions on how to politely decline these outings. Celebrating virtually or outside will help mitigate risk as well.

Please remember that the best way to avoid a COVID-19 infection is to follow our  campus COVID-19 policies when you are at home and in the community: Wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands often. It’s going to take us all doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Returning to Work

Employees returning to work after the fall and winter holidays need to follow their campus policy regarding when to use the Online Screening and Reporting Tool: Norman campus; HSC campus; and Tulsa campus.


For additional information, visit on the Norman campus, on the HSC campus, and on the OU-Tulsa campus. You may also contact Human Resources at