The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees has stood fast in insisting on a resumption of regular classes and dormitory operation in the coming school year.
That will include the Arkansas School for Math, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs, the residential high school for brainy students.
It had announced earlier it would provide a fully online option for its students this year, but had left open what it planned on resuming the residential component. It has now announced it will resume residential operation in August and has issued extensive health guidelines. The information cautions that circumstances could change.
Students must be tested for coronavirus before returning and move-in procedures will change, the guidelines note. Residents will continue to have roommates. Students are told to bring, along with a negative COVID-19 test, five washable face masks and hand sanitizer. Students will no longer be able to go home every weekend. Visitors will be limited as will time off-campus.
Masks? An unequivocal yes, unlike the laissez-faire policy the state has dictated for the state’s second-largest school district, Little Rock.
All students and employees are expected to wear masks or other appropriate face covers in public, shared spaces when social distancing is not possible. Though classroom arrangements will be made to allow for the greatest amount of distancing, students and faculty are expected to wear masks during class.
Among the questions answered was this one:
Will my student be safe on campus?
The measures outlined below are intended to limit exposure to COVID-19, decrease the spread of transmission, and encourage overall healthy practices when living within an interconnected campus community. In absence of a widely available vaccine, every on-campus scenario involves some level of risk as well as clear commitment on each individual’s part to act in accordance with expectations to eliminate as much risk as possible. While every effort will be made to ensure the safety of students and employees, our planning for the year ahead assumes scenarios in which the virus is present and could lead to temporary or ongoing campus closures and remote instruction.