Letter from the Chancellor: September 9, 2020

Dear U of A Community:

 First off, I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately, we have continued to see campus-affiliated cases of COVID-19 rise as revealed in last week’s increased testing that was done on campus. We now have more than 900 active cases. Needless to say, this is far too many positive cases. I do, though, want to thank everyone who got tested, especially if you were symptomatic. Now you know one way or another and can act accordingly.

Last Friday, Provost Robinson announced the suspension of on-campus activities through September 18, excepting official academic events and all classes, which continue as scheduled. He also announced that if the Office of Student Standards and Conduct receives a verified report of large parties or social gatherings involving 10 or more student guests who are clearly flouting established safety elements, the University will treat the event as a violation of the Code of Student Life by organizers and by attendees. I will only add that the extremely low rate of infection among faculty, staff and graduate assistants suggests our classes remain safe. Our testing data show that it is likely off-campus gatherings causing the majority of the positive cases. You can find out more about these announcements in this Q & A section.  

I would like to add the importance of answering the phone when contract tracers call (or at least calling them back), as well as answering their questions. UAMS contact tracers will often call from 501-214-2410 or 501-686-5875 but may use other numbers as well. They will only attempt to reach an individual three times, before turning the case over to the university, so it is important to answer.  Contact tracers are critical to arresting the spread of the virus, as well as providing timely warning to those who may have been exposed, so it’s imperative that they reach you. If a contact tracer calls you, please do your part. Also, it’s important that you self-report a positive off-campus test result within 24 hours of receiving the result.

As has been our policy from the start of the semester, students wishing to move out of university housing may continue to do so. Our policy isn’t to send anyone home if they are sick — far from it — but we understand you may feel more comfortable at home. I’d also like to add that this pandemic can be stressful in a variety of ways. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I encourage you to reach out to the Pat Walker Health Center and get the mental health support you need. They offer a variety of services and are there to help.

Again, be caring, be accountable, and answer if a contact tracer calls!


Joe Steinmetz, Ph.D.


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