Dear Campus Community,
Saturday evening I learned that a member of my Cabinet developed flu-like symptoms and, following the Arkansas Department of Health protocol, sought medical attention and was tested for COVID-19. We have been advised that the results of that test will not be available for a week. No other Cabinet member has developed symptoms at this time and this is not a presumptive positive case since we don’t have test results, but as a precaution, I have asked all Cabinet members to self-quarantine through the end of the week (March 20). We will be available through email and phone as needed as we continue to work remotely.
Cabinet members are communicating with their direct reports and others they may have had close contact with over the last few days to share this information and advise them on their work arrangements. We believe that the risk of exposure to these employees is low, but we certainly understand the concern that many may have and are encouraging supervisors to accommodate remote work arrangements wherever possible.
As the Coronavirus pandemic evolves, I understand that many have growing concerns about risk factors for themselves and their family members. I share your concerns and want you to know that the health and wellbeing of our employees and students is of paramount importance. We will continue to monitor developments and work with employees to minimize risk to the best of our ability. Social distancing and vigilant hygiene are still the primary tools we have to work with and I encourage continued practice of these strategies. If you have concerns about potential exposure, please contact your supervisor for further information on working remotely. The good news according to the Governor’s press conference today is that the vast majority of COVID-19 tests are coming back negative as the number of tests being administered is growing.
As a nation and a university, we find ourselves in unprecedented circumstances. I am humbled by the swell of collaborative spirit you have shown in helping one another and our students navigate through these troubled waters. As your chancellor, I thank you for your dedication and understanding as we labor through the complex details of how to respond to this crisis. I am confident that we will be able to maintain continuity of our services through your ingenuity and Trojan spirit.
Christina S. Drale