Letter from the Chancellor: September 2, 2020

Dear U of A community:

As everyone should know by now, we are in a public health emergency that requires we look out for each other. And it’s imperative that we act accordingly: Wear face coverings. Wash hands. Physically distance yourself from others. Avoid crowds. And if you think you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, you need to quarantine and get tested ASAP. If you test positive, then isolate yourself. If you test positive off campus, then self-report (This is required for all.) and self-isolate. These are the things we know will keep us safe and the virus from spreading.

Unfortunately, the growing number of university-affiliated cases suggests too many people still aren’t taking the virus seriously by taking the necessary precautions. I find this deeply concerning, especially as we receive emails from students who fear for their safety. Regarding the recent spike, one student wrote us, “This is absolutely terrifying for me and any other student who has immunocompromised family members or [may be immunocompromised] themselves."

No one should have to feel this way because others don’t want to be inconvenienced by safety precautions.

What do you need to do? Set a good example with your behavior. Hold each other accountable by reporting risky behavior to Report.uark.edu. We want to hear your concerns, and we will follow up on them. You also need to listen to the experts — not friends, family, colleagues or strangers on social media who may be well intentioned but are nevertheless trafficking in rumors. We’ve heard anecdotal reports that students are being encouraged to get tested at private hospitals off campus (or worse, not get tested at all) in hopes it won’t be reported to the university, perhaps because these students fear they will be sent home.

The truth is we don’t want to send you home. We would rather find you a place to quarantine on campus or an apartment if that’s the best option. We want to take care of you. Also, these cases will be reported to campus eventually, so trying to hide your affiliation with the university only increases the potential danger to others. This is not the time for keeping secrets. This is the time to do the right thing.

We are deeply concerned about the health and safety of our students, our faculty and our staff, and we are monitoring the situation with great care. Many people want to know what our threshold for pivoting to 100% remote classes. We don’t have a specific trigger point. Instead, we’re tracking a number of variables, including the positivity rate on campus and in the community, as well as the status of our health system, which is categorized as “available” currently. I know people don’t like to read long emails, so I highly encourage you to stay abreast of the latest information here. You can also find the latest update on testing on our dashboard, but understand that many of these cases may have been contracted elsewhere. And most of those who are isolating or are in quarantine are doing so off campus.

The U of A and the Arkansas Department of Health are holding free drive-thru COVID-19 testing across from Baum-Walker Stadium at the corner of S. Razorback Road and 15th Street from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, September 2-3. Students who have symptoms and known exposures will be prioritized. A student ID is required.

Finally, this Friday at 10 a.m. interim provost and vice chancellor for student and academic affairs Charles Robinson will be hosting a virtual panel we’re calling: “Fall Forum: Coping with COVID-19.” Panelists will include medical experts from the Arkansas Department of Health and Pat Walker Health Center as well as senior university administrators who are up to date on the latest information. I encourage you to register to attend and learn more about what’s going on and get your questions answered by experts.

Again, this is a public health emergency. I implore you to be caring, be accountable and be part of the solution.

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