With the first confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Arkansas being announced Wednesday morning, UA Little Rock has released their plans in case campus were to close due to the virus.
UA Little Rock Communications released an email to students Wednesday night detailing their plans in the event that COVID-19 was to force UA Little Rock to close campus for a certain amount of time.
“At this time, face-to-face classes, meetings and events at UA Little Rock will continue and expedited planning should proceed in case alternative arrangements are soon required,” the email stated.
The email informed students and faculty that they should plan for a two-to-three week closure of the UA Little Rock campus if a closure were to occur, all depending on how bad the situation gets. Other Universities in states with far more confirmed cases than here in Arkansas, such as Harvard and Princeton, already have closed their campuses for the remainder of the semester. Arkansas State University has informed their students that their campus will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday of next week due to the virus, but do keep in mind that A-State is closer to Memphis than us which has multiple confirmed cases.
If UA Little Rock were to close, they will be following what the above universities have planned: suspend all face-to-face classes for that time period and have all classes occur strictly online. This can cause a problem for classes that are skills-based and require them to change their course and assignments drastically. Professors have had the past week to plan this out, but that still might not be enough time for such a change. This Google Document shared between professors nation-wide can give some ideas on how to help with the transition. It also might be best for students to check with their professor to see what plans they have in place if any.
The closure of campus can also cause a massive problem for on-campus residents, particularly those that live in far away states or even in a completely different country. Students in Ohio, who have experienced this same problem, have had protests due to the impossibility of traveling back home with such short notice. UA Little Rock has a plan in place to prevent this problem from occurring.
“In the case of students who reside on campus, and especially for those unable to return home in the event of university closure, the university is assessing emergency housing and dining options,” UA Little Rock Communications said in their email on Wednesday.
At this time UA Little Rock does not plan to close campus, but students and faculty should keep an eye out for the possibility of it happening and have plans in place.
UA Little Rock is also suspending any University-sponsored travel to anywhere outside of Arkansas for the next 60 days. Faculty and students can request exceptions through the appropriate vice chancellor for consideration by the University Cabinet. Also, as already stated last week, visitors from U.S. states that declared a state of emergency (which includes North Carolina, Colorado, Massachusetts, Washington, California, Maryland, Utah, Kentucky, New York, Oregon, Florida and New Jersey) as well as visitors from CDC-identified level two or higher countries are not allowed on campus without approval from the vice chancellor.