Letter from the Chancellor: April 8, 2020

Dear U of A Community:

Once again, I hope this message finds you well as we continue our best efforts to halt the spread of coronavirus here in Arkansas and across the world. Like you, I have my fingers crossed that the peak will come in the next few weeks and we can resume a more normal life – both on campus and off. Until then, we must continue to make decisions that are best for our campus community.

That’s why I’m pleased to report that the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees voted to allow universities in the U of A System, who are able to do so, to defray the cost of any unused room and board that students lost due to the coronavirus-related move to teaching and learning remotely. In our case, we felt like it was the right thing to do. Our returning students will receive a credit for room and board costs lost after April 3, the deadline for moving out of university-managed housing. The credits will be issued after July 1 and can be utilized toward a student’s general account during the upcoming academic year.

Along these lines, the board also voted to hold tuition flat for at least the fall 2020 semester in recognition that many families are feeling the financial pinch of layoffs or reduced work hours at this time. This will be re-evaluated ahead of the spring 2021 semester. Hopefully these decisions will give students and their families some peace of mind moving forward.

The board also allowed us to grant temporary modifications to admissions policies, if needed, to provide flexibility in admitting students for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters as many students’ ability to complete coursework and standardized tests has been disrupted by this pandemic.

We’ve also decided to recognize spring graduates as a part of fall commencement this year, which is scheduled for Dec. 19. If interest in attending is high, we may include additional ceremonies that same weekend. If you are a spring graduate, you will be contacted by the registrar’s office in the near future regarding your interest in attending fall commencement. In the near term, we are also planning on creating an online resource to recognize spring graduates, though this will not be a replacement for attending commencement in the fall. This effort is still being developed, so we will let you know once the specifics have been determined. Mostly, I want everyone to know that we think attending commencement is one of the great milestones of a graduate’s life, and we want everyone who would like to walk to have the opportunity to do so.

We have also decided to extend remote classes through the end of summer session II (Aug 3rd). We understand this is disappointing. While we had hoped to go back to in-person classes after the first summer session, the need for clarity, planning and safety dictated that we extend remote teaching and learning through July. I know transitioning to a remote medium has been a challenge, particularly for faculty who may not have initially designed their courses for this format. I want to thank them again for shouldering this unexpected burden as they adapt their curriculum to meet the needs of the present situation, and I want to thank our students for their patience and flexibility. With this in mind, we are also extending the recent changes to our grading policy through Aug. 3 to allow additional grading flexibility for summer courses. We will continue to do our best to ensure that our students continue to receive a high-quality education as well as the support they expect and deserve.

Finally, last week I mentioned the Determined to Help website, which is providing inspiring stories and information about ways our campus is serving the community. This week there was a story about the Full Circle Campus Food Pantry, which is continuing to provide food to hundreds of clients during this pandemic. Unfortunately, this time of year is when the pantry usually holds large food drives to restock its shelves. Though many benefactors have continued to donate food, the pantry is still short of certain goods, particularly staples like peanut butter, canned meat and canned beans. With the ongoing need for social distancing, money donations are now currently preferred. If your budget allows, I encourage you to make an online monetary donation to the food pantry.

As you can see, we are doing our best to adapt to the situation and accommodate the needs of our community. I can’t cover everything that’s happening, so I again encourage you to keep updated with the latest news and developments.

For now, I encourage you to stay home and stay safe. We will get through this.

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