Letter from the Chancellor: April 2, 2020

Dear U of A Community:

I hope this message finds you well. In a time when we’re all starting to feel the effects of social distancing, I wanted to take a moment to check in with you and let you know we’re still thinking about you – and ways we can be helpful during this difficult time.

The COVID-19 modeling suggests Arkansas will be at its peak number of infections in the next few weeks. However, we’re seeing more effects of the virus hitting closer to home.

Just today, we’ve learned about a housing employee who has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee had not been on campus since March 26 and while all staff have been practicing social distancing, out of an abundance of caution, the staff working with this individual were also sent home for the time being as a preventive measure. The Arkansas Department of Health will complete contact tracing and notify others as needed. We wish this individual a speedy recovery and ask that you keep them in your thoughts.

One item I know is on the minds of students and faculty is how we will deal with grading the spring semester. With a recommendation from the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (and lots of student feedback), we’ve decided to add pass/pass D/no credit grading options to the current letter grading system for undergraduates for the spring 2020 semester. Students will be assigned a letter grade with the flexibility to request to have their grade changed to a pass, pass with a D, or no credit (NC). Graduate students may apply through their degree programs for a similar system, and law students will move to a pass/fail policy. The details are posted online and will be shared with faculty.

While we can’t shorten the outbreak of COVID-19, we can be a source of support and encouragement for those who have been most impacted by these unprecedented circumstances.

That’s why we created the Determined to Help website. Here you can find details about, and contribute to, an emergency fund for students who may be struggling with food insecurity, housing or healthcare costs. You can also find a list of educational resources for parents, teachers and caregivers who are now teaching children at home. Additionally, you can discover ways our faculty, students, staff and alumni are helping others during this extended emergency. If you’re in need of services, but can’t find what you’re looking for, you can try e-mailing Needhelp@uark.edu. We may have the solutions you seek or know where to find them. Others may be feeling pretty good about their present situation and may wonder how they can help others. If you have questions about how you can help, please email CanHelp@uark.edu to see where your expertise, skills and time may be best utilized.

This is all in addition to our regular coronavirus update page, where you can find the latest updates, as well as answers to frequently asked questions by students, faculty and staff. I hope you are already checking this regularly.

The transition to remote teaching and learning has changed how we operate. What hasn’t changed is our fundamental dedication to Arkansas and making the world a better place. I’m inspired by the way our temporarily displaced campus community has directed its creative energy and compassion toward helping others negotiate this crisis. In the weeks ahead, as the Determined to Help website is populated with more and more content, I’m sure you will be as inspired, too. After all, we live and work in a great place.

We’ll do our utmost to keep you updated on the latest news and decisions. In fact, expect a message tomorrow on another round of information working its way through various channels.

Once again, please do your best to keep taking preventive measures and stay safe.

Sincerely,

Joe Steinmetz, Ph.D.
Chancellor

Archive

March 1, 2022 Campus Mask Guidance Update from Chancellor Robinson February 17, 2022 COVID-19 Update from Chancellor Robinson February 15, 2022 Employee Questions Answered: Virtual HR Q&A Recording Now Available January 21, 2022 Message Regarding Masking Requirements From Provost Martin January 19, 2022 Recording Now Available of Spring Semester Town Hall January 17, 2022 Spring 2022 Info: Message from PWHC Medical Director Dr. Huda Sharaf January 14, 2022 Mass Testing Clinic for COVID-19 Scheduled to Start On Campus Jan. 18 January 14, 2022 Indoor Mask Guidance Updated for Spring 2022 Semester January 13, 2022 Quarantine and Isolation Procedures Updated for Campus Community January 12, 2022 Spring 2022 Update From Chancellor Robinson January 7, 2022 Campus Safety Message from Dr. Huda Sharaf January 5, 2022 Self-Report Positive COVID-19 Test Results Including Home Tests January 5, 2022 Spring 2022 Information December 14, 2021 Students Earn Rewards As a Part of Vaccination Incentive Program October 19, 2021 Campus COVID-19 Dashboard Now Updated Weekly October 7, 2021 U of A Employees Eligible for Pfizer Boosters September 7, 2021 Get Vaccinated, Get Rewarded: Initial Student Winners Receive Awards August 25, 2021 First Week Welcome and Enrollment News August 20, 2021 Mask, Class Attendance Requirements for Faculty August 18, 2021 Multiple COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics Offered Across Campus Starting Aug. 18 August 17, 2021 Recording Now Available of Fall Semester Q&A August 11, 2021 University Implements Mask Requirement Indoors August 5, 2021 Support for Local Decisions Regarding Masks July 30, 2021 Recording Now Available of Fall Semester Faculty Forum July 23, 2021 Unvaccinated individuals are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 July 20, 2021 Encouraging Vaccination May 21, 2021 Campus COVID-19 Masking, Social Distancing Guidance Updated April 28, 2021 Recording of Faculty-Focused Panel on Fall Return to Campus April 15, 2021 Recording of Staff Returning to Campus Panel Discussion April 12, 2021 Mask Use Continues, Vaccinations Available March 31, 2021 NWA Council to Host COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Razorback Stadium March 30, 2021 Vaccine Appointments Open to Students 18 and Over March 24, 2021 Staff: Plan for 100 Percent Return to Campus by June 14 March 23, 2021 Preparing for Traditional Face-to-Face Fall March 18, 2021 Plans for Summer and Fall March 9, 2021 Vaccinations Now Available at PWHC February 18, 2021 Grading Policy/Course Withdrawal Updates February 16, 2021 Employees Eligible for Vaccinations from Multiple Providers February 8, 2021 Vaccination update: Second doses planned January 27, 2021 Recording of panel discussion available January 26, 2021 Appointments for new groups of employees January 22, 2021 Appointments required for vaccination January 22, 2021 Panel to discuss respons, vaccine rollout January 21, 2021 Eligibility letters sent to employees January 16, 2021 Patience requested, Phase 1-B will take time January 13, 2021 Most employees eligible for vaccination January 5, 2021 Drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic December 16, 2020 Spring COVID-19 Response Guide November 20, 2020 Get tested before the break October 8, 2020 Staying the course after Thanksgiving September 30, 2020 Drive-thru flu vaccines September 22, 2020 Cases decline September 16, 2020 On-campus events resume September 9, 2020 Contact tracing, self-reporting September 4, 2020 On-campus events suspended September 2, 2020 Self-reporting, reporting violations, dashboard August 31,2020 COVID-19 testing, drive-thru clinic August 20, 2020 Health kits distibution August 14, 2020 Keep Teaching resource launches July 17, 2020 Masks required June 1, 2020 Return to Campus Guide May 22, 2020 Fall plans being finalized May 12, 2020 Essential research allowed May 4, 2020 CARES Act funding distribution plans April 30, 2020 Looking ahead to the fall April 20, 2020 CARES Act April 8, 2020 Credits, tuition, commencement April 2, 2020 Determined to help March 25, 2020 Adjusting to a new normal (video) March 23, 2020 First COVID-19 case involving U of A community March 18, 2020 First COVID-19 case reported in NWA March 12, 2020 In-person classes suspended March 11, 2020 University travel suspended March 11, 2020 First COVID-19 case reported in Arkansas