UA Little Rock Chancellor Christina Drale has responded to faculty concerns reported here Sunday about a return to regular classes while the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Amanda Nolen, president of the Faculty Senate, in a note to faculty said an advisory task force had concluded the safest path was to continue to offer all courses remotely in the fall semesters.
In a message to the campus today, Drale wrote that the plan remains for “at least some” on-site instruction in the fall, though she also announced a delay in the first phase of reopening plans this summer and said plans may yet change:
Dear Campus Community,Phase 2A of the UA Little Rock reopening will be delayed to July 20, 2020. Phase 2B is rescheduled for August 3 and phase 3 is rescheduled for August 17.The primary reason for the delay is to make sure that we have all of the safety equipment in place for beginning the phase 2 return to campus. Although we have ordered the equipment needed (including plexiglass desk shields, face masks, and other personal protective equipment), it is not all in yet so we need to give that process a little more time. Additionally, the delay will give us more time to adjust to changes in policy that may occur in response to the rapidly evolving circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.I have heard from a number of employees regarding concern about the reopening plan. Some of you feel strongly that the university should not require employees to return to campus. Some of you have also suggested that the campus should not reopen at all until the pandemic has subsided. I want you to know that I hear you and I do understand your safety concerns. This is an extraordinarily stressful time for all of us and many of us are worried about our personal safety not only in the workplace, but in every place. However, at this point in time, and until further notice, the plan is for all University of Arkansas campuses to welcome students back to campus this fall for at least some on-site instruction and a return to campus life and residential facilities for those campuses that have them. The UA System plan may or may not change before the start of classes, but in the meantime, each campus must have a detailed, campus-specific reopening plan to return to full operation. CERT and PACT have collaborated to provide recommendations to the cabinet concerning the current plan. These plans are a starting point and are subject to change. There will be updated versions as we learn more about our options. I realize that there remain many questions and concerns. We are working diligently to find answers and solutions that will help us provide the safest conditions possible for employees and students alike.We will continue to communicate regularly on this subject. As always, I appreciate the feedback you have provided.Sincerely,Christina S. DraleChancellor