News Article: Updated COVID-19 Response Guide Details Plans for Spring 2021

Dec. 16, 2020

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – As the University of Arkansas continues its return to campus for the spring semester, offices across campus will be open for public-facing services. Individual units and offices will have discretion to establish appropriate staffing patterns to ensure an adequate level of coverage during regularly scheduled working hours, while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Additional details and other updated guidance is now available in the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Response Guide.

“While the guiding principles of the spring guide generally remain the same, some of the new content is significant,” said Charles Robinson, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. “Other needed revisions will occur throughout the semester, so it will be a living document and our primary source for the latest guidelines, requirements and information regarding the university’s COVID-19 response.”

Faculty, staff and students should review the guide for new content and updates beyond the goal of offices being open for public-facing services. Here are a few examples of its guiding principles:

  • Employees planning to work on campus may be required by their unit to complete a daily certification that they have self-assessed their health and are not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms prior to coming to campus, but the certification is no longer mandatory for all units.
  • Because some offices weren’t occupied during portions of the fall semester, unit heads should confirm that published telephone numbers are in good working order and being answered during normal business hours.
  • New students, new employees and those who weren’t on campus in the fall will be provided with a personal hygiene kit or workspace cleaning kit. Kit replenishments are available to employees and students, and a method of acquiring them will be promoted.
  • The university is currently assessing all public health guidance regarding quarantine requirements and plans to update its guidance as soon as possible, but until further notice close contact with a person who has COVID-19 will require you to quarantine for 14 days – this is the best practice recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Pat Walker Health Center.
  • The Arkansas Department of Health is developing the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan and will guide its implementation. Because vaccine supplies will be limited for several months, healthcare workers and vulnerable populations like those living in nursing homes will be first in line to receive doses when vaccines become available in Arkansas. At this time, there’s no guarantee COVID-19 vaccines will be available for the general university population during the spring semester.
  • Guidance for travel and events remains the same at this time.
  • Guests are still limited to official business purposes.
  • Social distancing, masking and handwashing remain the major elements for success.

Updates to the spring guide are developed by the university’s COVID-19 Response Team in conjunction with campus leadership at many levels. Planning assumes that the existence of COVID-19 will be present into the foreseeable future. Ongoing assessment continues of federal and state guidelines and requirements that may impact this plan. The campus community will need to continue to expect the unexpected.  

New information and updates will be added to the guide as needed during the semester, providing links to relevant guidance and planning across campus, and will be accessible on the univeristy’s COVID-19 Response website.

CONTACTS

John Thomas, manager of university communications
University Relations
479-575-7430, jfthomas@uark.edu

Archive

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