Updated COVID-19 Response Guide Details Plans for Spring 2021

Students take part in a class inside Kimpel Auditorium during the fall semester.
Photo by Whit Pruitt

Students take part in a class inside Kimpel Auditorium during the fall semester.

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

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3 percent of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

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