July 13, 2020
TO: Faculty, Staff and Students
FROM: Robert Z. Carr, Jr., Ed.D., Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
RE: UAPB Fall 2020 Adjusted Calendar and Operations
As we face the current COVID-19 crisis and the uncertainty that surrounds it, I hope you are safe, healthy, and taking care of yourselves. I want to update you from an Academic Affairs standpoint as it relates to the Fall 2020 semester. I appreciate your patience while we have developed and finalized our plan to return to campus. First and foremost, your safety is our top priority. We continue to monitor local, state, and national public health alerts and seek guidance from health care experts.
FALL 2020 OPENING – INSTRUCTIONAL ENVIRONMENT
Classes will begin August 17, 2020 and end by the Thanksgiving break. Final examinations for graduating students will be completed by November 17, 2020 and final examinations for nongraduating students will be completed by Wednesday, November 25, 2020. Commencement exercises will be held on Saturday, November 21, 2020, if it is safe for us to host this event. We have implemented numerous health and safety guidelines for students and employees (to be discussed later in this communication).
Classes will begin on Monday, August 17, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be face- to face, online and distance instruction in the fall semester. Most classes will be offered utilizing a hybrid, online, or approved distance education format.
We are working with faculty to enhance and create new and engaging curricula to maximize student learning and development. In anticipation of this unique fall semester, every course in the catalog has a Blackboard shell and will be ready for online delivery just in case we have to migrate back to a completely online format at any point during the semester.
HEALTH and SAFETY PROTOCOLS
UAPB is taking important steps to ensure the health and safety of our students and employees. These include but are not limited to:
COMPONENTS FOR CAMPUS OPERATIONS
- Everyone will be expected to wear face coverings to be worn at all times when in a public place.
- Face coverings will be distributed by the university to students, faculty, and staff.
- Social distancing will be implemented at all times.
- Temperature checks will be conducted as persons enter the campus, and also randomly throughout the campus.
- Students and employees are strongly encouraged to wash their hands throughout the day.
- Shields are being installed at service areas throughout the campus to provide a safe communication space.
- Stations will be located throughout the campus to allow persons to frequently sanitize their hands.
- Classrooms are being assessed to determine the number of students that can occupy the room, based on CDC guidelines.
- Computer labs are being marked to determine the number of persons allowed to use the lab at the same time.
- All buildings are being regularly cleaned and sanitized.
- Thorough ongoing cleaning of all campus facilities including residence halls, classroom spaces, dining halls, and all buildings.
- Appropriate cleaning and disinfecting of desks and high-touch surfaces will occur throughout the day for classes, labs, and public areas between usage.
- Social distancing stickers are being placed throughout the campus to identify the required six-feet distance.
- Shuttle services are being modified to accommodate the ability to transport fewer passengers.
- Technology will be expanded to provide greater services.
- Flu shots will be strongly recommended for all students, faculty, and staff.
We will implement a multifaceted and integrated plan for COVID-19 surveillance, testing, and early warning. This includes components that will allow us to reopen and operate the campus, with early identification of virus cases as a critical element to limit outbreaks.
- We will conduct daily monitoring and reporting of temperature and any onset of symptoms by all faculty, staff, students, and visitors who are on campus. We also strongly encourage self-monitoring and will provide temperature gauges. Additionally, the Student Health Center will implement a system for electronic reporting and will include safeguards to protect personal data and privacy. If there are symptoms, diagnostic testing will be required. If the test is positive, consultation with a health care provider and isolation will be mandatory.
- Testing must be performed at the time a student checks into the residence halls. We will make population surveillance testing to ascertain the baseline infection rate on campus a top priority. Our goal is to make this testing available to all students, faculty, and staff who wish to be tested.
- We will continue to work closely with the Arkansas Department of Health for contact tracing. For any positive diagnostic test results, we will operationalize the protocols in place, and will follow the state reporting guidelines. A contact tracing team will be in place to identify potential secondary cases to limit the spread of infection. We have also established our own early contact tracing.
- The campus family will be a part of comprehensive environmental monitoring. We are asking all employees to monitor wastewater, air quality, and high-touch surfaces in campus buildings. This early warning system can help identify areas of concern to help prevent additional outbreaks.
- Behavioral changes are vital to ensure the safety and well-being of the campus family. These behavioral changes include wearing a face covering at all times, staying 6 feet apart from others, frequent handwashing, and staying at home when sick.