News Article: Campus COVID-19 Masking, Social Distancing Guidance Updated

May 21, 2021

The University of Arkansas is updating its COVID-19 Campus Guidance to align with recently updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control regarding masking and social distancing for vaccinated individuals.

Previously required for the entire campus community, masks and social distancing will become optional for fully vaccinated individuals effective Monday, May 24, with limited exceptions. Masks and social distancing will continue to be required for unvaccinated individuals at this time.

"Consistent with CDC guidance, those who are already fully vaccinated — at least 14 days from their final dose of COVID-19 vaccine — and not exhibiting any symptoms can now be present and engage in activities on campus without masking or social distancing," said Dr. Huda Sharaf, medical director of the Pat Walker Health Center and a member of both the university's COVID-19 Response Team and Communicable Diseases Outbreak Committee. "Of course, it's perfectly fine for those vaccinated individuals who aren't quite ready, to continue to wear masks and social distance when possible. That's an option, too."

While not mandatory, vaccination is strongly encouraged as soon as possible to help promote personal and community health.  

"While we may not always know who has been vaccinated around us, it's those who remain unvaccinated who face heightened risk of infection, health complications and may contribute to the spread of COVID-19, so I encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated as soon possible," said Bart Hammig, professor and program coordinator of public health at the U of A, and member of the outbreak committee. 

More than 5,000 U of A employees were vaccinated through opportunities coordinated by the university earlier this year. Others received vaccinations through other off-campus opportunities. In addition, more than 10,000 U of A students have also been vaccinated, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. While these numbers continue to increase, the university estimates at least 15,000 faculty, staff and students have already been vaccinated.

"The number of university community members who are vaccinated is likely much higher than 15,000 because we don't yet have information about how many employees were vaccinated through opportunities not provided by the university," said Matt Mills, U of A emergency manager and a member of the COVID-19 Response Team and outbreak committee. "We're working with ADH to determine that and will provide an update when available." 


Limited exceptions regardless of vaccination status include:

  • Razorback Transit
    • All those on Razorback Transit buses or in the Union Station are still required to wear masks through Sept. 13 per Federal Transit Authority regulations.
  • Pat Walker Health Center
    • All staff, students and other visitors are required to wear masks and follow social distancing requirements at this time.
  • Jean Tyson Child Development Center
    • All staff, parents and other visitors are required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidance at this time.

Summer Camp guidance (for camps involving minors) is currently being reviewed and any updates will be communicated as soon as possible.

The updated mask and social distancing guidance is also incorporated into the university's COVID-19 Campus Guidance online.


John Thomas, manager of university communications
University Relations


August 1, 2022 Welcome Back & Staying Healthy This Fall! A Message from Provost Martin 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