The University of Arkansas has posted tentative move-in dates for the fall 2020 semester, along with a plan to help limit the spread of COVID-19 on the Fayetteville campus.
The school’s website lists early sorority recruitment move-in as Aug. 11 with general campus move-in beginning Thursday, Aug. 13. The tentative plan calls for the first day of class to begin Aug. 24.
Officials said the campus will look a little different this fall because of new measures put in place in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The first thing students may notice is a slower process with additional move-in dates and a decreased volume of people allowed during each arrival time slot. At least five days will be reserved for students moving in to campus, and only two people will be allowed to assist students with their belongings.
Elevators will have reduced occupancy limits, and stairwells will be designated for either “up” or “down” traffic to allow for social distancing to occur.
Increased disinfection of high-touch areas, installation of hand sanitizing stations and electrostatic “fogging” of bathrooms are also part of the plan, according to the university.
Dining halls will not include self-service this semester, but will instead increase the amount of to-go options, according to a video posted this week (see video above or watch on YouTube). New safety features will include sneeze guards around food stations, contactless ordering where feasible, and portable hand washing stations in dining facilities.
Finally, the school said students should expect other social distancing measures beginning this fall, including a “retooling” of residential programming that will limit group sizes and the number of attendees at university-sponsored events.
Chancellor Joe Steinmetz in a letter to the campus community last week said the university plans to soon share campus-wide guidance for the semester. That info, he said, would come “around June 1.”
Steinmetz said officials are considering moving as many classes as possible to larger classrooms and encouraging faculty to consider rearranging their courses to reduce capacity. He said it’s possible that in-person classes could be alternated on a daily or weekly basis, and that a move back to completely remote teaching could occur if there’s a sudden resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson this week said the state is at a “critical point” in the COVID-19 pandemic due to a recent rise in positive cases and a near peak in hospitalizations.
The governor on Tuesday announced an additional 151 new COVID-19 cases, which was the state’s sixth day in a row of triple-digit increases. The following day he reported the lowest increase of the week when 97 new cases were announced.
Hutchinson is expected to deliver the latest statistics during a briefing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today (May 28).