Letter from the Chancellor: April 30, 2020

Dear U of A community:

Can you believe it’s the last week of the spring 2020 semester? I cannot! While remote operational status continues, we are deep in discussions about how to appropriately phase in various aspects of campus life while maintaining social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, personal hygiene and most importantly, your safety. We very much want to reopen the university and have students on campus this fall. To do that, it may be necessary for some faculty and staff to begin returning to campus over the summer as needed in time to prepare. We hope to do this in a way that continues to minimize the number of faculty and staff on campus while at the same time allows for adequate preparation for the return of our students. We hope to be in position to finalize plans on or before June 1, but that date could be pushed a bit if we need more time to evaluate our readiness to return safely. 

I want to take a moment to encourage all spring graduates to upload their profile onto our graduation recognition website. While COVID-19 prevents us from gathering for commencement, we still want to recognize your accomplishment. You can upload your photograph and a message to be shared with family and friends, as well as access congratulatory messages once the site goes live. The deadline for uploading this material is May 6 at midnight, and the site will go live around the same time. I hope you will take advantage of this chance to celebrate this occasion with others. Next week we will also roll out some specific tools and campaigns designed to celebrate the Class of 2020 across campus – and around the world – including Go Red for Grads 2020. On May 8, we’re encouraging everyone to wear red (and post a picture on social media) to show solidarity with our graduates with the hashtag #UARK20. Please join in if you can.

I also wanted to give you a quick update on where the CARES Act stands. We’re currently discussing distribution options for eligible students with the UA System and hope to have board approval by May 4, at which point we can begin rolling out the plan. Please bear with us – this has been an unprecedented undertaking, like so much related to COVID-19, and we are doing our best to get it right and provide support to eligible students as soon as possible.

We are going to get through this – and when we do, we’ll be stronger than ever.

Joe Steinmetz, Ph.D.