Letter from the Chancellor: April 20, 2020

Dear U of A community:

Once again, I hope this message finds you safe and staying put. And while I know we are all chafing under the ongoing restrictions, I hope you have been able to achieve some level of normalcy within these restrictions.

In the last few weeks, I’ve had to bring you some disappointing news. This week, though, I’m happy to report some positive news is on the horizon. As you may have already heard, Arkansas institutions of higher learning have begun to receive their share of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Altogether, these institutions will receive roughly $130 million in federal stimulus aid, of which about $15 million has been allocated to the University of Arkansas. Half of this money will go directly to students for student support. At this point, we are still developing criteria for, and the mechanisms by which, students will be able to access these funds. We are working as hard as we can as fast as we can to make these funds available to those hardest hit by the crisis. We hope to have more on this in the near future as we receive further guidance on distribution.

I’m also pleased to report that the university is working to provide temporary emergency housing not only for campus police officers but also to other first responders if needed during the coronavirus crisis. Up to 150 rooms will be available on a rolling basis for those who are at a higher risk to contract the virus and may need temporary housing. Central EMS is on board while the City of Fayetteville and other entities in the county may soon join in. We’re pleased to provide this option to those working on the front lines.

I would also like tip my hat to professor of architecture Marlon Blackwell, who was named today as the 2020 Southeastern Conference Professor of the Year, the SEC’s highest faculty honor. Professor Blackwell has been on a hot streak of late – so this is just the latest recognition in an absolutely stellar career. Congratulations to you, Marlon.

I would also be remiss if I did not mention that April is usually a month of celebration and recognition. Many colleges typically host alumni award events and recognize the successes of students and faculty for their outstanding achievements. I would like to mention a few events that had to be canceled due to the pandemic, but for whom awareness is critical. These includes the annual Take Back the Night march, which creates awareness of sexual and relationship violence, Earth Day, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and Razorback Remembrance, which provides a forum for remembering students who passed away during the preceding biennium. These are important events that tie our campus to our community and larger world, and it’s unfortunate they have been subsumed by this crisis.

Additionally, I would again like to call your attention to the Determined to Help webpage. There are more than 20 stories posted here about how the U of A community is supporting our state through this crisis. Whether it’s studying the diffusion of fear spread by the virus, printing 3D face shields for personal protective equipment, or developing 3D simulations of the molecular dynamics of the coronavirus, our campus is doing its part to both better understand the virus and mitigate its impact.

While we’re starting to hear news of the virus peaking in some areas, we still have a way to go before we can return to normal operations the university. Our plan and our hope is to be fully open in the fall, of course. But planning is important. We have begun the process of contingency planning for the fall semester and we would like to, at the very least, have options on the table by June 1 to consider moving forward.

If you’re like me, you are used to being on the go – and I recognize our current situation isn’t easy. I hope you can find ways to channel that energy into exercise, music or creative activity. Check out this virtual exhibition at Crystal Bridges or one of the at-home workouts created by UREC. If you’re struggling or know someone who is struggling, please know help is out there through a tele-mental health visit at Pat Walker Health Center or the Employee Assistance Program. And for those of you who could use a little encouragement, you can find it in this short video of determined individuals across campus.

Please, stay home 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