Spring 2022 Update From Chancellor Robinson: January 12, 2022
Spring 2022 Update From Chancellor Robinson
January 12, 2022
I wanted to touch base with you again this week as the number of those infected with COVID-19 in our community and across the nation continues to grow. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, how the virus impacts our community and our university operations elicits strong emotions and opinions. Please know that we are listening. As campus leaders, our job is to listen and to make decisions to the best of our ability with the information and input received.
I know there are fears about how the current surge may impact the health and safety of our community. In conversation with medical professionals, we have been reassured that our current mitigation methods offer us significant protection against contracting the virus. Although the number of cases grows around us, the campus can remain a safe space for our community. Therefore, our ability to remain face-to-face is viable and essential. The face-to-face instructional method is the preferred method of the vast majority of our student body – and the method in which most of our instruction has been historically delivered.
We will start classes as scheduled on Jan. 18 with in-person, face-to-face instruction on campus and do so with a sensitivity to the real challenges that this pandemic continues to present, and that we can do so safely. In order to make this work best, it is on each of us to do our part to demonstrate personal accountability to keep each other safe with the full utilization of our mitigation tools (vaccination, masking, hand sanitization).
We encourage the campus community to work together in a collaborative way to manage conditions. I recognize there is no policy that can fully manage every situation that might arise. It is my hope that our collective efforts continue to keep people safe and the campus running smoothly.
Let's respect each other's individual perspectives on how best to proceed. Together, we need to support our friends, colleagues and associates.
Mass Testing Clinic Scheduled Next Week
To help returning students and others test for the presence of COVID-19, the university will be hosting a mass testing clinic on campus for the first five weeks of the spring semester starting Jan 18.
The clinic will be held at the Union Mall for all members of the campus community, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Jan. 18 through Feb. 18).
- Anyone who is considered a close contact or may have recently been exposed to COVID-19 should be tested.
- Bring your ID and insurance card if you have one.
- Please note that those who may be experiencing symptoms should make an appointment at Pat Walker Health Center for medical evaluation and testing.
Additional details will be announced later this week on news.uark.edu and in the daily Arkansas News email.
Town Hall Discussion Set for Next Week
We will also be holding a Spring 2022 Town Hall Discussion Jan. 19 to answer your questions.
Register now to attend in-person or virtually.
Masks and Other Mitigation Strategies Continue
- Masking will continue to be required inside all classrooms as well as in all campus educational and general buildings, where six feet of separation is not possible.
- Faculty may prohibit eating in classrooms to better support mask compliance.
- Masks should be worn during class changes inside buildings.
- We are enhancing our enforcement of mask compliance and partnering with student leaders to better promote our shared expectation for the most protective types of masks and proper mask wearing.
- Masks, hand sanitizer, wipes and other disinfectant continue to be available at no cost inside classrooms and many other locations across campus.
We will continue to share the information we receive about positive cases and publish them to the university dashboard even though some institutions have eliminated their dashboards due to a lack of access to all data, compounded by the availability and growing numbers of home tests.
I strongly encourage vaccination including booster shots as well as flu shots – and these options remain available throughout our community and at Pat Walker Health Center.
In addition to the upcoming mass testing clinic, testing is available in the area and by appointment at Pat Walker Health Center.
The past two years have been hard on all of us. The disruption. The increased workload. The need to be flexible and to have contingency plans – it has been a lot and your efforts as a campus community have been noticed and are valued by the entire University of Arkansas.
Thank you for your perseverance during this very challenging time and I ask that we continue to work together to continue to meet the needs of our students, faculty and staff.
Please continue to stay safe and protect those around you. I look forward to seeing you on campus soon. Thank you.