Letter from the Chancellor: August 5, 2021
Dear Campus Community,
As we continue to prepare for an in-person fall semester, including face-to-face instruction and other activities that are part of the college experience, the increase in COVID-19 case counts due to the highly infectious COVID-19 Delta variant clearly presents a substantial challenge.
Along with vaccinations, wearing masks in indoor public settings in communities with a high transmission of the virus, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a vital aspect of our efforts to fight COVID-19.
As members of the General Assembly continue to convene in a special session to consider amending Act 1002, which prohibits mask requirements related to COVID-19, I wanted to let you know that the University of Arkansas is doing everything it can to urge legislators to amend the Act and restore the flexibility for local decision-makers, including governing boards of higher education institutions, to follow the advice of public health authorities and adjust mask policies to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Considering the changed conditions since the law was enacted, modifying Act 1002 is warranted to strengthen our ability to maintain in-person classes and extracurricular activities on our campuses this fall. In addition, changes to the law are needed immediately to help us provide the best possible environment for the children in our Jean Tyson Childhood Development Center, who are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine.
I have signed and fully support two letters (both attached) delivered to the Governor and legislative leaders yesterday, asking that our campus and higher education campuses and public childcare facilities across the state be allowed to make local decisions regarding mask usage in order to help support a safe and successful semester for everyone on our campuses, including our very youngest learners.
No matter the legislative outcome, we will continue to strongly and persistently encourage wearing masks indoors at this time, as well as vaccination, even though state law currently prohibits us from requiring either.