March 30, 2020: Responding to tornado threats

Local community spread of COVID-19 has made choosing a place of refuge much more difficult when severe weather threatens. During tornado threats, Cameron University will take as many precautions as possible to provide refuge for the reduced number of students, faculty and staff remaining on the Lawton campus and the reduced number of essential personnel on the Duncan campus while minimizing the risk of COVID-19 exposure or transmission to the campus community.

The Cameron University Office of Physical Facilities has identified suitable protective areas within each university building. To protect persons using these spaces against airborne debris, all doors should be closed while in use. A list of facilities and recommended spaces may be found on the Tornado Safety webpage at https://www.cameron.edu/ops/tornadosafety. Exercise social distancing and use appropriate personal hygiene measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.

Important Weather Terminology:

  • Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm WATCH Issued by the National Weather Service as a precautionary alert when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes or severe thunderstorms in the specific area.
  • Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm WARNING Issued when a tornado or severe thunderstorm has been sighted visually or detected by radar. The location and direction of movement, if known, are given and residents of the specific WARNING area should take immediate safety precautions. If a warning is issued, do not leave the building you are in. Proceed immediately to the appropriate severe weather refuge area in your location.

If you have not done so recently, please confirm that your correct contact information is listed in the campus Emergency Communication System.

If You Are On Campus During a Tornado Event:

If a Tornado Warning is issued while you are on campus, all remaining on-campus students, staff and faculty should take refuge using the designated severe weather refuge areas in your building. Students in on-campus housing when the tornado warning is issued should use their appropriate dormitory or apartment refuge areas. Exercise social distancing and use appropriate personal hygiene measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.

Cameron University Buildings Are Closed:

Cameron University buildings will remain closed to the public to reduce the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. If a tornado threat occurs and you have historically used a Cameron structure as your primary tornado refuge, prepare now to seek safe refuge at home. Use the guidance provided in the next section, “If You Are Working from Home.”

If You Are Working from Home:

For students and employees working from home, it is critical that you plan or review your plans to shelter in your home environment as we prepare for Oklahoma severe weather. Use the “get in - get down - cover up” strategy. Specifically, select an interior room away from doors and windows on the lowest level of your residence and prepare to use a bicycle helmet, pillows, or blankets to protect yourself from possible debris. The refuge-in-home option for tornadoes will also assist in reducing the risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus. Add masks, tissues, gloves, hand sanitizer and even a plastic bag to your personal or family’s tornado refuge area supply list. Make sure any cough or sneeze is into a tissue or clothed sleeve. Use the gloves to dispose of used tissues into the plastic bag.

This policy will be in place for the remainder of the Spring Semester 2020, and is subject to change.