Letter from the Provost: Mask, Class Attendance Requirements for Faculty

Dear Faculty,

I want you to know how much I appreciate the dedication and determination you’ve shown while planning our return to traditional in-person courses this semester. As you know better than anyone, in-person classes are key in providing the energy, opportunities for collaboration and overall experience that make a U of A education unique. It’s what we do best.

Faculty Senate leadership has indicated some additional clarification regarding mask and class attendance requirements would be helpful, so I would like to clear up any confusion about these requirements:

  1. Masks are Required by Everyone (Students and Instructors) In All Classrooms

Masks are required in all classrooms regardless of social distancing, seating arrangements or vaccination status.

  • Very few classroom spaces allow adequate distancing where masks might not be necessary for protective purposes, and it would not be practical or appropriate for individual instructors to make this judgment.
  • Masks are also required indoors elsewhere on campus when at least six-feet of social distancing can’t be maintained.
  • See the university’s mask requirements and limited exceptions.
  1. Instructors Must Be Present and Lecture from the Classroom

Instructors are not authorized to convert a course that has been designated as face-to-face to remote delivery. Instructors must lecture from the classroom unless a formal change of policy has been announced by the provost.

  1. Students Must Be Able to Attend Classes In-Person at Anytime

While individual students may request in writing not to attend a face-to-face lecture, all students in the class must be able to change their minds and attend classes face-to-face at any time.

  • Instructors control class attendance and are encouraged to be lenient with class attendance policies, so students will not feel obligated to attend class if sick.
  • Instructors have the ability to accept or deny individual student requests not to attend a face-to-face lecture, with the possible exception of approved requests based on a student disability processed through the Center for Educational Access.
  • If an instructor accepts a student’s written request not to attend a face-to-face lecture, the instructor must keep the written request to document that the instructor is accommodating the student’s request.
  • After accepting an individual student’s request not to attend a face-to-face lecture, instructors also have the ability to rescind that approval at any time.

Additional details about class attendance expectations, as well as information about mask recommendations, what instructors should do if there is a positive COVID-19 case in their class, and other items are available on the provost’s site under key communications.

Finally, please know that the university’s COVID-19 Response Team continues to monitor the situation and will revise our guidelines as needed.


Terry Martin
Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs


August 1, 2022 Welcome Back & Staying Healthy This Fall! A Message from Provost Martin 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