Section 2: Health Guidelines

A successful spring semester is dependent on each member of the U of A community exercising common sense and good judgment while following the health and safety guidance contained in this document.

Safety Guidelines and Requirements

The university has implemented extensive cleaning and operational protocols to keep the campus community safe and healthy from community spread and airborne transmission of COVID-19 while also complying with state and federal directives.

All faculty, staff and students received personal protection kits for the Fall Semester with masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and thermometers as well as a tip sheet for staying safe and healthy. 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 for the Spring Semester. Student kits are available for pickup at the information desk in the Arkansas Union during normal operating hours or by calling 575-2304. Faculty and staff should call the central supply office: 575-3840.

Behaviors for Mitigating Risk of Transmission of COVID-19

Appropriate means of mitigating the risk of COVID-19 transmission for the university community requires all employees, students and visitors to:

  • Respect social distancing measures of keeping at least six feet of distance from others on campus (indoors and outdoors) and off-campus.
  • Wear face coverings or masks while on campus in public environments where social-distancing measures are difficult to maintain and at all times indoors with limited exceptions.
  • Practice frequent hand-washing hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

Symptom Monitoring and Self-Assessment

U of A 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. The certification is available through the Workday application.

It is important for anyone coming to campus to assess their health regularly, even if they are not completing the daily certification.

If symptoms exist, employees should not come to campus and should follow these steps:

  • Contact your supervisor to notify them that you will not be at work. Contact your primary care provider for further assessment. If you do not have a primary care provider, you can contact the Pat Walker Health Center on campus at 479-575-4451, option 1 to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Self-quarantine until further medical evaluation and directions are given. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.
  • Contact Human Resources at 479-575-4044 or hrassist@uark.edu if you have questions regarding your work status.

If you are not experiencing symptoms and have not been identified as a close contact, but received a COVID-19 test for other reasons, you may continue coming to campus before receiving the results of that test.

Temperature screening will not be a general requirement for employees or students to return to campus; however, specific campus locations may institute additional monitoring or screening measures as required by ADH.

To ensure the safety of our campus community, faculty and staff who test off campus and receive a positive result for COVID-19 must isolate immediately and fill out the university’s online self-reporting COVID-19 form so appropriate notifications may occur. Being in isolation means you must stay home and away from others while you are infectious in order to stop the spread of the virus to anyone else.

Who Should NOT come to Campus:

  • Anyone exhibiting symptoms of illness including COVID-19 — if you are not feeling well, stay home and call your medical provider or Pat Walker Health Center.
  • Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 10 days*.
  • Anyone who has had “close contact” with a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19, defined as spending 15 minutes within six feet over a 24-hour period.
  • Non-essential visitors and guests — only essential, official visitors and guests here for academic or business purposes should be invited on campus.
  • Anyone with a documented condition or accommodation preventing them from coming to campus.

Masks

The use of appropriate cloth masks as detailed in this section is required for the health and well-being of our campus community. The primary use of masks is for the protection of others by reducing the amount and type of particles individuals emit while breathing, talking, coughing and sneezing. This is critical for those that may not be showing symptoms but are emitting the virus.

Masks also provide some protection for the wearer according to the Centers for Disease Control. Masks are just one layer of defense and must be used in conjunction with other protective measures (e.g. staying home when feeling sick, maintaining distance, practicing effective hand hygiene, and avoiding groups and poorly ventilated closed-in spaces) to reduce the risk of transmission and spread.

The following requirements apply to all students, employees and visitors on campus. We anticipate that members of the campus community will cooperate with the Governor’s Executive Order and City of Fayetteville mask requirements when off-campus, as well. Violations of COVID-19 safety guidelines can be reported at report.uark.edu.

Indoors: Masks Required in Campus Buildings

Masks are required at all times indoors on campus with the following limited exceptions:

  • A mask may be removed in a private office or private room when no one else is present.
  • In residence halls, masks may be removed in private rooms as well as in community bathrooms for accomplishing tasks such as brushing teeth or showering.
  • Masks may be removed while dining but should be worn before eating and replaced as soon as possible after eating.
  • Masks may be removed during exercise in University Recreation-operated facilities as long as other UREC COVID-19 protocols are followed.
  • Masks may be removed for participants during sanctioned activities including Razorback Athletics workouts, practices and contests unless otherwise required by the University’s athletic conference or governing body; and limited portions of intramural sports consistent with the ADH’s Directive for Community and School-Sponsored Sports.

Outdoors: Masks Required When Social Distancing Cannot Be Maintained

Masks are required outdoors when social distancing of six feet can’t be assured.

We expect our community to comply with the use of masks in all required settings. Those not complying with use of masks will be asked to leave and return with a mask. The university is prepared to enforce these requirements through educational conversations and, if necessary, instituting Code of Student Life disciplinary actions for students or utilizing progressive discipline for employees.

These requirements were developed based on guidance provided by Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s executive order requiring masks in all public buildings where social distancing isn’t possible and similar guidance from the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, the Arkansas Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the City of Fayetteville.

Mask Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • Wear masks with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  • Masks should be worn by people two years and older
  • Masks should NOT be worn by children younger than two, people who have trouble breathing, or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance
  • Do NOT wear masks intended for healthcare workers, for example, N95 respirators.
  • CDC does not recommend the use of face shields alone. Evaluation of face shields is ongoing, but effectiveness is unknown at this time.

Visit the CDC’s online resource for additional guidance regarding masks.

Preferred Mask Guidance:

The best type of mask is one that meets the CDC recommendations above and that is worn and maintained correctly.

  • Key considerations on selection are fabric, fit and breathability.
  • Covers that are multiple layers of tight woven cotton with an inner pocket to add another type of material (e.g., polypropylene fabric) have been shown effective in filtering smaller particles.

No matter the type of covering worn, it will not be effective if it does not form a snug fit around the nose, mouth, sides of face, under the chin and stay in place while worn.

  • A covering that is constantly moving on the face, dropping below the nose, and having to be frequently adjusted is much less effective for the wearer and others.

Wearers should understand the inside of their covering is possibly concentrating virus-laden particles that might be harmful to others and the outside of the covering is possibly concentrating virus-laden particles that could be harmful to them.

  • Every time the covering is touched and removed there is a possibility to transfer those particles to themselves, others and the surrounding environment.
  • This reemphasizes the importance of a layered-defense, practice of good hand hygiene, and proper use and care.

Visit the following CDC resources for more specific information and guidance regarding masks:

Cloth Masks

Cloth masks with multiple layers of tight woven cotton with an inner pocket to add another type of material (e.g., polypropylene fabric). See CDC Mask Recommendations and Preferred Mask Guidance above.

3-ply Non-surgical Disposal Masks

These masks typically are formed with 3 layers of materials that offer good filtering and breathability. They often are also fluid resistant for those activities where moisture is present or produced.

N95 Masks* (Limited to specific usages)

These disposable masks are considered respirators designed to remove 95% of very small particles. At the present time, N-95 use is limited to those occupations where the harmful exposure can only be controlled using a respirator and for specific medical procedures. Due to limited supply, they are being earmarked for medical and first responder needs. (See KN-95 Mask info below)

Masks with Valves

The primary purpose of face covering use is to limit the number of particles the wearer emits and masks with a valve will expel unfiltered particles to the surrounding environment. This defeats the primary purpose of the covering. For this reason, masks with valves should not be worn.

Gaiters

Gaiters made of the right material and formed with multiple layers offer some protection, but generally less than a cloth face covering. They also require special attention when putting on and taking off as they are difficult to place over the head and face without touching a significant portion of the outside surface or slinging captured particles to the surrounding environment.

Bandannas and Scarfs

Generally, these items do not make effective face coverings due to the type of material and the fact they do not form a seal around the nose, mouth, sides of face and chin.

Face Shields

CDC does not recommend the use of face shields alone. Evaluation of face shields is ongoing, but effectiveness is unknown at this time.

KN-95 Masks

KN-95 Masks may provide more protection than a cloth mask. However, a recent study found that 70% of the KN-95’s tested did not meet minimum standards. Additionally, many organizations are reporting they are unable to get an appropriate fit where the fine particle efficiency would be achieved.

Social Distancing

Social distancing – staying at least 6-feet apart - reduces the spread of COVID-19. What does 6 feet look like? It’s like leaving enough room for two refrigerators or one Tusk V to stand between you and the person closest to you.

*Social distancing must be practiced even when face coverings and masks are also being used.*

Classes have been reconfigured to allow for social distancing, with numbered seats that are at least 6-feet apart. Flexible schedules to allow for smaller class sizes and larger venues will also be utilized. Classes will be streamed and/or recorded on video as well, so those who may be self-isolating will have access to their classrooms in order to stay on track.

Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water; avoid cross contamination – hand sanitizing stations will be available in all campus buildings.
  • Avoid close contact with others.
  • Wear face coverings whenever it is not possible to maintain six feet of separation.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow, and dispose of the tissue properly.
  • Avoid contact with frequently touched surfaces.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting

Routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces followed by disinfection with an EPA-registered disinfectant is a best practice measure for prevention of viral respiratory illnesses and part of the University of Arkansas’ regular routine in multiple areas of campus, including housing, transit and parking, facilities management and much more.

  • U of A transit buses are operating at reduced capacity to allow for social distancing by passengers and disinfected nightly. Facilities Management staff disinfects high traffic touchpoints daily – including door handles and push plates, student desktop surfaces and classroom teaching surfaces.
  • Similar practices are used by university housing, athletics and other common areas on campus. You can find full details on facility management’s cleaning protocols in the FAMA COVID-19 guide.
  • Restrooms are a focus area for high use/touch disinfection throughout each day.
  • Hand sanitizer stations are located in all major entrances and in large classrooms. Additional stations may be installed in other public areas as needed.
  • Except for drinking fountains with a touch-free bottle filler, all traditional drinking fountains are disabled until further notice. Facilities Management will continue to implement a prioritized and equitable plan for replacing many of the traditional drinking fountains on campus with bottle fill stations over the next several months.
  • The University has taken actions to ensure heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) are optimized (e.g., maximizing outside air and high performance filtration) to minimize risks of airborne transmission when other safety measures such as face coverings and social distancing are in use.

Vulnerable Populations

It is important for the campus community to understand that some people are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 complications. Based on the current data, vulnerable populations may include:

  • People 65 years of age or older
  • Those with serious underlying health condition such as high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic lung, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, severe obesity or moderate to severe asthma
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Other circumstances that enhance risks associated with COVID-19 exposure or illness.

Additional Information:

Procedure for On-Campus Outbreak & Clusters

  • A cluster is defined by the ADH as five or more related cases in a living or work group. If clusters are identified through contact tracing efforts, a unit may be asked to quarantine or obtain testing.
  • The university will follow its established guidelines and work in coordination with ADH for communicable disease response.
    • The university will cooperate with ADH for contact tracings and investigations: Once a person has been identified as having COVID-19 and a contact investigation is started by ADH, all contacts for that person will be tested; and regardless of test result, must self-quarantine . The university will continue to follow the directions of ADH and CDC regarding any response and mitigation efforts.

Campus Signage

Signage reinforcing COVID-19 related health and safety precautions is available for use by the U of A community.

Building Executives have been designated as the primary point of contact for the posting of signage in university facilities and have access to the list of printable signs. Contact your Building Executive prior to posting any COVID-19 related signage to ensure compliance with posting guidelines.

Guidance for posting return to campus signage

  • Use only removable mounting tape, such as Command™ brand Mounting Strips, or removable painter’s tape, such as Scotch® brand Delicate Surface Painter’s Tape.
  • Do not use other types of tape, pushpins or glue to post signs.
  • Do not mount to sheetrock, plaster, wallpaper or fabric covered walls.
  • Do not mount signs in direct sunlight. Adhesives tend to break down in high temperature.
  • Mount to glass windows or doors whenever possible.
  • Mount to wood or metal trim only with approved adhesives.
  • Adhesives should be removed and re-applied every 60 days
  • Building executives should contact Todd Furgason (toddf@uark.edu) with questions or for guidance about where to place signs.