The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has released a plan for faculty, staff, and students to return to campus in a safe environment for the fall 2020 semester.
Employees will begin returning to campus Monday, July 6, in a phased manner, with all employees returning by Aug. 4. Approximately one-third of employees will return to campus in the first phase. All employees and on-campus students will receive a reusable cloth mask when they return. Some employees will also utilize face shields that have been 3D printed at UA Little Rock.
Masks will be required wherever physical distancing is not possible. The plan includes procedures related to COVID screening and monitoring, continuity of research and learning, campus living and dining, and protective equipment and signage.
The reopening guide represents a joint effort between the Coronavirus Emergency Response Team and the Provost’s Academic COVID-19 Taskforce to describe key components of UA Little Rock’s plans for the fall term.
“We want students to be confident that their health and safety are our first priority. We want them to feel comfortable coming to campus,” Chancellor Christina Drale said. “Our committees have done a very thorough job ensuring that we will be ready for fall.”
When employees and students return, there will be ample signage regarding what to do and where to go in all areas. A new COVID-19 website has been developed where the university community can find up-to-date information. Employees and students will be asked to complete training on coronavirus awareness before returning to campus.
The university will introduce a new health screening app that will provide employees and students with information about their ability to return to campus as well as allow the university to monitor students and employees who self-report COVID-19 related symptoms.
UA Little Rock will also welcome students back to its residence halls for the fall semester. Only one student will be housed per bedroom. This will reduce overall occupancy to approximately 1,000 students on campus, while creating available spaces for self-quarantine and isolation cases.
Move-in day will be extended to a weeklong event for fall 2020 to allow for physical distancing. Move-in Week will commence from Aug. 15-22, and classes will begin on Aug. 24. Residents will schedule an appointment to move into their residence facility and can bring up to two guests.
Recognizing the need to protect potentially vulnerable members of the campus community and the increased work and caretaking needs presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, UA Little Rock will promote a culture of flexibility. To help ensure the safety and health of students, faculty, and staff, UA Little Rock will offer multiple, flexible course options for students this fall.
Professional development opportunities and resources for faculty in inclusive pedagogy and online course design and delivery will be shared throughout the summer. Faculty can take advantage of online course design/delivery and renovation assistance through the Office of Scholarly Technology and Research (STaR). UA Little Rock will allocate a portion of its federal CARES Act funding towards technology needs to support faculty and students in the fall semester.
The Little Rock Department of Athletics will follow guidelines set forth by UA Little Rock, the Sun Belt Conference, and the NCAA. As of June 8, student-athletes who have remained in the Little Rock metro area during the pandemic can participate in voluntary workouts in the Jack Stephens Center. The voluntary workout policy will be re-evaluated during the week of June 22, and a determination will be made to open the remaining facilities.
UA Little Rock is following guidelines from the UA System, the Arkansas Department of Health, the CDC, and the American College Health Association. The guide to return to campus will be updated as new recommendations evolve.