UAFS COVID-19 Response

 

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is preparing to resume face-to-face classes for the fall semester. On July 20, we released the Protecting the Pride: Returning to UAFS in Fall 2020 plan to campus. This plan was developed in collaboration with campus leaders and is based upon the most recent medical information from credible sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Arkansas Department of Health, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. 

 

The Protecting the Pride plan provides a comprehensive summary of the steps and procedures UAFS will implement to deliver the safest possible environment for living, learning, and working. Of course, just as the COVID-19 pandemic can change as new data or medical advice becomes available, so too will this plan. We will update it as necessary and note the changes within the document. 

 

We have created this FAQ page as a supplement to the Protecting the Pride plan. Please feel free to send any questions not answered in the plan document or on this page to communications@uafs.edu.

 

 

Active Positive Cases of COVID-19* 

22 4
Students Employees

*Active Positive Cases refer to individulas who have tested positive for COVID-19, have not been cleared by the Arkansas Department of Health, and have had some form of contact with the UAFS campus during the Fall 2020 semester.

To view all COVID-19 statistics from the UAFS campus, visit: this link

 

Click here to view CARES Act information and Final Report for HEERF Section 18004(a)(1) Student Portion.

During these chaotic times, we know students may face unexpected financial burdens, and as a university, we will do our best to help students meet those needs.
A resource guide is available here to help UAFS students navigate educational, health, wellness, and economic challenges. 

The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Foundation's Student Emergency Fund allows us to provide immediate support to students who encounter unforeseen financial emergencies that may prevent them from continuing their education. These funds do not need to be repaid, as the program aims to address a wide array of critical student needs in a time of emergency - especially one such as the COVID-19 crisis.

Students who need assistance can contact the Dean of Students Dave Stevens to learn more. Donors who would like to support the emergency fund can click the link below to donate.

UAFS Students & Families

University Updates: 

How Do I Late Withdraw from a Fall 2020 course(s)?

The Chancellor and Provost approved a recommendation from the Faculty Senate to allow students to withdraw from fall 2020 courses after final grades are posted on December 17, 2020.

Students will receive letter grades for all fall 2020 classes, and after final grades are posted, students will have two choices:

  1. Keep the letter grades in their classes, or
  2. withdraw (W) from one or more courses. Students may complete the Fall 2020 Late Withdrawal Request Form after final grades are posted on Dec. 17. The deadline to submit the online form is 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8.

Please see the fall 2020 late withdrawal page for more information.

What is the post-Thanksgiving plan for campus?

As announced in July, UAFS classes and activities will take place remotely with few exceptions following the Thanksgiving break. Faculty whose courses will continue in person after Monday, Nov. 30, will notify their students ASAP but no late than Friday, Nov. 20. Full details can be found by reading the Protecting the Pride campus plan.

Will I be able to take classes online or in-person? 

Yes. The university is making adjustments to ensure students may take courses in the modality they feel most safe. Students will have the option to take classes online, in a hybrid modality, or on the UAFS campus.   

 

Will there be any safety procedures for campus? 

The COVID-19 situation in the state of Arkansas and around the country is rapidly evolving, UAFS will continue to follow guidance from the CDC and the University of Arkansas System throughout the Fall semester. 

Students, faculty, staff, and guests will be required to wear face coverings when inside and when physical distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be accomplished as mandated by the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees in a resolution passed July 15. 

Students will be expected to arrive with face coverings. The university will have a limited supply of disposable masks available in the event students misplace or damage their masks on the way to classes, available in main offices in each building, as well as at the Campus Center Box Office.  Students who live on campus will receive one reusable face covering and one 8 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer. 

As described in the Return to Campus plan above, safety protocols will also include symptom monitoring, COVID-19 testing and reporting, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting methods and practices, modifications to physical spaces on campus, and accommodations for at-risk populations.  

 

What changes have been made to the Academic Calendar?  

Following the University’s Thanksgiving break from November 25-29, all classes and activities, including those during the final examination period, will take place remotely.  

·       On-campus instruction will continue through Tuesday, November 24. 

·       Instruction will be delivered online from Monday, November 30, through Friday, December 4. 

·       Final exams will be conducted in an online format Dec. 5-11. 

·       Some exceptions for critical face-to-face instruction such as clinicals, skills testing, and practical training will continue after Thanksgiving. Faculty whose courses will continue in person after November 30 will notify their students. 

 

Expecting a surge of COVID-19 following the Thanksgiving holiday, which necessitates the move to online learning for the final two weeks of the Fall semester, the university has also made the difficult decision to cancel in-person commencement for the Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 graduates.  

 

A comprehensive virtual commencement will take its place until the threat of COVID-19 has decreased, and restrictions on large gatherings have been lifted.   

 

Will the spring semester be fully online? When can students return to campus?

We have not made a determination about spring courses, but we hope to make decisions no later than October 15, 2020.  Our decisions may be predicated on guidance from the CDC, Arkansas Department of Health, or decisions made by the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas.

 

If I purchased a parking permit but my classes have moved online can I request a change in permit type or cancel my purchase?

Yes. Email parking@uafs.edu explaining your situation and requesting your change or cancellation.

You must return your permit by the 11th day of class to get a change or cancellation. A refund will be made to your account upon receipt of the permit by the parking office.

No permit changes or cancellations will be considered after the 11th day of class. 

Health & Wellness: 

What do I do if I feel ill? 

If you develop flu-like symptoms, please stay at home and contact your primary care physician or the UAFS Powell Student Health Clinic, a free health and wellness resource for eligible students, at 479-788-7444or studenthealth@UAFS.edu.  

Faculty and instructional staff have received communication from Provost Georgia Hale, who advised them to be flexible with academic assignments if students are ill.  

 

Where can I get tested for COVID-19 the River Valley region? 

Anyone wishing to get tested can call 501-374-8225 or the CHCA (Community Health Centers of Arkansas) hotline at 833-508-0774. The cost is free even for the uninsured. The Sebastian county health department is offering COVID-19 testing, along with the following local clinics: 

·       Northside Clinic at 6th Street - 3202 N. 6th Street - Fort Smith - 479-783-3900 

·       RVPCS Northside Clinic - 4900 Kelley Hwy. - Fort Smith - 479-785-5700 

·       Baptist Health Urgent Care - 7600 Rogers Ave. - Fort Smith - 479-226-8340 

·       RVPCS Eastside Clinic - 4003 Massard Rd. - Fort Smith - 479-434-4747 

·       Ben Geren Safe Shelter-Baptist Health/Mercy - 7200 Zero Street - Fort Smith - 479-289-6508 

·       Lavaca Wellness Center - 603 S. Division Street - Lavaca - 479-279-7700 

·       Mountainburg Family Clinic - #4 Hwy. 71 NE - Mountainburg - 479-369-2091 

·       Mulberry Family Clinic - 437 N. Main St. - Mulberry - 479-997-1484 

 On-campus students may contact the Powell student health center at 479-788-7435 for an evaluation for on-campus COVID-19 testing. After your evaluation you will be given detailed instructions for next steps. 

Campus COVID-19 testing will be conducted in a drive-through format to limit possible exposure, and will be held Tuesdays from 1-3 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9-11 a.m.

 

Who do I notify if I test positive? Is this required? 

Yes, all students, faculty, and staff members will be required to notify the university if they test positive for COVID-19 or if they must self-quarantine.   

 

Student Life office has created a COVID-19 reporting form within NumaLink for your convenience

 

Students should contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 479-788-7310 or dave.stevens@uafs.edu

 

Employees should contact the Office of Human Resources at 479-788-7080 or hrdept@uafs.edu   

 

 

I don't want people to know my COVID-19 status. How will my privacy be protected? 

Contact Tracing  will be conducted through UAMS and possibly enhanced by trained contact tracers in close proximity to campus, who will protect the privacy of patients who test positive for COVID-19.  
 

The university is not responsible for contact tracing, and university employees should not disclose the positive status of students under any circumstances. Likewise, employees should not disclose the positive status of any of their colleagues.  

 

 

Someone in my class/dorm/office suite seems to have COVID-19 symptoms but won't get tested or stay home. What can I do?  

In the event that a student appears to have symptoms similar to COVID-19 but does not stay home or get tested, you may contact the Dean of Students at dave.stevens@uafs.edu or 479-788-7310.  

In the event that the individual who appears to have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 continues working, please contact the Office of Human Resources at 479-788-7080 or hrdept@uafs.edu 

 

Who will keep up with positive test results on campus, which people need to quarantine, who is in the hospital, etc.? 

Positive test results for students will be recorded in Navigate, our student early alert program.  Medical documents such as absence notices or doctor’s notes showing students have been approved to return to class should be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students at  

 

The supervisor will track employees who are required to quarantine, and the Office of Human Resources will keep all medical documentation for employees. 

 

What happens if I am in close contact with someone who announces that they are COVID-19 positive?  

Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of someone for a minimum of 15 minutes in a 24 hour period.  In the event that you have been in close contact with someone who announces that they have tested positive for COVID-19 you should expect to receive a phone call from a contact tracer who will talk to you about next steps.  If you do not hear from a contact tracer and have concerns about close contact, you may elect to be tested.  Please note:  If people have close contact with individuals who test positive they will need to self-quarantine for 14 days, possibly longer if waiting for test results. 

 

How will I know if I am required to quarantine?  

A medical professional, contact tracer, or representative from the Arkansas Department of Health will tell you if you are required to self-quarantine.

 

When can I stop quarantine and return to classes

Students may refer to this document from the Arkansas Department of Health: https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/pdf/When_can_I_stop_isolation_or_quarantine__5.7.20_.pdf

 

Can I still access the Health Clinic? 

Yes, the  UAFS Powell Student Health Clinic will provide services, but students should first make an appointment by contacting the clinic at 479-788-7444 or studenthealth@UAFS.edu. 

The Health Clinic is also able to provide essential wellness services over the phone at 479-788-7444

 

Can I still access the Counseling Center? 

Yes, the Counseling Center will provide services, but students should first call to make an appointment for either remote or in-person counseling at 479-788-7398 

Students will have the opportunity to access counseling services via Telehealth. Students wishing to access this service should call our Counseling Center at 479-788-7398. The Counseling Center staff will provide the student with detailed instructions on how to access the Doxyme platform. 

 

What can I do if I am struggling emotionally or have concerns about my finances? 

The DHS mental health and addictions hotline is available at  844-763-0198 

The United Way's 2-1-1 hotline will provide resources and referrals for a wide variety of financial assistance as well as access to physical and mental health services.  

 

Are there any additional resources to help me succeed or find help? 

Yes. The university has created a  resource guide to meet your needs, assist with your education, keep you on track to graduate, and create programming that keeps you engaged and healthy.  

https://campuslife.uafs.edu/services/health-center/covid19-resources 

 

Academics, Grades & Tests:

What options are available for courses? 

Courses will be classified as one of four delivery methods, combining online and virtual learning with on-campus classroom instruction where it can be provided safely and when it is essential to the curriculum:  

  

·       Full Online – All instruction online with no expectation of class attendance and asynchronous lectures and materials. 

·       Synchronous Online* – Full online delivery with a required time for students to log in and join discussion and lecture. 

·       Hybrid – Mostly online with reduced class meeting schedule of at least 1/3 of standard time but no more than 2/3 of standard time. 

·       Alternating Hybrid* – Students will attend alternating sessions per week as directed by the professor. Example: For a MWF class, 1/3 of students attend class in person Monday, 1/3 Wednesday, 1/3 Friday. 

  

Students who choose traditional learning styles will be expected to attend class and participate on campus. However, accommodations will be made on an as-needed basis for individual circumstances.  
 

What technology do I need to complete courses online?

Computers that meet the following specifications:

WINDOWS PC:

Standard User: i5 quad core with 8GB RAM and 500 GB hard drive

Media Comm: i7 with 8GB RAM and 500 GB hard drive

CGT/BSAT: i7 with 16GB RAM and 500 GB hard drive

 

MAC:

Standard User:

MacBook Air: i5 with 8GB RAM and 256GB hard drive

MacBook Pro: i5 with 16GB RAM and 256GB hard drive

Graphic Design:

iMac or MacBook Pro: i7 with 16GB RAM (minimum) and 512GB hard drive

 

Certain majors may require higher-end video cards. Check with your instructor if you have questions.

 

All computers should have a webcam and mic.

 

ChromeBooks and Tablets are not recommended.

 

If you have concerns about your access to adequate technology please complete this questionnaire as soon as possible. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/UAFSFallTech

 

How do I find my courses online? 

All UAFS courses have a landing page called a “shell" in Blackboard.  

To access your classes, visit My.UAFS and select the Students tab. 

Select the “Log into Blackboard Learn” option on the left side of the Students screen.  
 

What if I am not familiar with Blackboard? 

Training videos for students on the use of Blackboard are available here: https://academics.uafs.edu/distance-learning/getting-ready-take-online-c... This link takes you to the student resource page for how to use various elements within Blackboard.  

Students can also use Brainfuse for online tutoring in many subjects. These resources are available 24/7. 

 

What if I struggle in online classes? 

Students who may be learning online for the first time are encouraged to communicate concerns directly with their faculty members. 

The UAFS Academic Success Center and Student Support Services are available to tutor, train, counsel, and support students, both on-campus and online.  

 

Will I be allowed to continue my internship? 

Interns working off-campus but on-site at various employer locations are responsible for providing their department or college with a copy of the employer's workplace policy regarding COVID-19. 

Note that UAFS does not require on-site internships in order to satisfy internship credit requirements. 

Students are encouraged to work with their internship sponsors to assess personal health risks and develop plans to protect their safety and work remotely where possible. 

 

How will I complete my tests? 

Students may be tested  through alternative means of assessment or may use Examity or Blackboard, with or without Respondus LockDown Browser, to test. 

Each professor will communicate testing methods. 

 

ADA Coordinator Dana Andreassen is available remotely for students needing assistance. She can be reached at 479-788-7577 or Dana.Andreassen@uafs.edu 

 

Will the Library stay open?

The Boreham Library will be open, with reduced hours of operation.  We encourage students to make use of online resources as much as possible this fall, and our professional librarians will schedule individual, virtual appointments to provide guidance and reference help for students.

 

Library Hours:

August 3-August 16:

Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm

Saturday-Sunday, Closed

 

August 17-September 7:

Monday-Thursday, 7am-8pm

Friday, 7am-5pm

Saturday-Sunday, Closed

Closed on Labor Day, September 7, 2020

 

September 8-September 30:

Monday-Thursday, 7am-8pm

Friday, 7am-5pm

Saturday, 1pm-5pm

Sunday, 1pm-8pm

 

Will library study rooms be available for checkout?

Study rooms will be available during the fall semester; however, they will not be available for testing and the webcams have been removed. Individuals occupying these spaces will be required to wear masks and provide a physical distance of at least 6 feet between all occupants.

 

Will I be able to test on campus if I have online courses?

Students with online courses should make arrangements to test at off-campus or residential locations.

 

Are there any adjustments to grading for the fall semester?

The Chancellor and Provost approved a recommendation from the Faculty Senate to allow students to withdraw from fall 2020 courses after final grades are posted on December 17, 2020.

 

Students will receive letter grades for all fall 2020 classes, and after final grades are posted, students will have two choices:

  1. Keep the letter grades in their classes, or
  2. withdraw (W) from one or more courses. Students may complete the Fall 2020 Late Withdrawal Request Form after final grades are posted on Dec. 17. The deadline to submit the online form is 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8.

Please see the fall 2020 late withdrawal page for more information.

 

If my child’s school moves to online-only delivery, will there be class accommodations if I must stay home?

Each student who enrolls in face-to-face classes, hybrid classes, or alternating schedule classes should contact faculty members directly to learn about how to pivot to online learning in the event it is necessary in order to complete a course.  Each course is so different that it is impossible to give a one-size fits all answer, so the faculty will be the best resources for meeting your individual needs.

 

If I or a family member becomes ill with COVID-19, will there be accommodations for me to finish my classes at a later date or withdraw without harm? 

  • Students may be assigned an In-Progress (IP) grade in their classes if extenuating circumstances prevent them from completing all course requirements. 
  • Students who, due to their medical condition, are prevented from withdrawing from courses by the posted deadline or are unable to successfully complete the semester after the deadline may appeal for a late withdrawal. 
  • This appeal can be mailed to registrar@uafs.edu from the student’s UAFS email. The appeal should include the following:
    • Full name and ID#
    • Phone number
    • Nature of the appeal
    • Year/tern, CRN, course #, and title of the course(s) under appeal
    • Scanned or photographed copies of documentation of medical condition. This can include but is not limited to a letter from a healthcare professional on official letterhead, notification of positive test, and/or hospital intake/release paperwork.
  • Student will notified via UAFS email of the decision regarding the appeal, along with any potential effects on financial aid (e.g. return of Title IV funds).
     

Students receiving federal financial aid (Title IV funds) should include a statement in their appeal that addresses why their withdrawal is a result of the national COVID-19 emergency.  

  • Circumstances can include, but are not limited to, illness of the student or family member, need to become a caregiver or first responder, loss of childcare, economic hardship, inability to access wi-fi due to closed facilities, or an increase in work hours due to COVID-19.  

Section 3508 of the CARES Act allows the university to waive the statutory requirement to return Title IV funds (Pell grant, Federal Direct Loan, Teach grant, etc.) when a student withdrawals due to the qualifying emergency. 

This means students that withdraw because of COVID-19 will not need to return any of the funds they received for the term.  

 

Will study abroad or other travel be impacted? 

All university-related travel for fall 2020 is suspended unless otherwise approved by the chancellor. Please contact Jennifer Belt, Chief of Staff, to discuss any university-related travel requests for fall 2020, at Jennifer.belt@uafs.edu 

Advising & Registration:

How will I complete advising for next semester's courses? 

Please contact your advisor via your university email account to make arrangements to schedule your advising appointment remotely.  

If you have an existing appointment, contact your advisor immediately to determine the method that best works to keep that current appointment. 

UAFS is committed to doing everything within our control to adhere to our published schedules of courses. 

Frequently asked questions about the new digital advising services are answered here: https://academics.uafs.edu/advising/faq 

 

What if I need additional help registering for classes? 

We have created a full FAQ just for advising assistance. Visit it here: https://academics.uafs.edu/advising/faq 

 

Can I drop a course without coming to campus? 

Yes. A request to withdraw from a course(s) is submitted online using the "Withdraw from Class" in the Registration Menu in My UAFS Self Service.

 

Can I request a  transcript remotely? 

Yes. Electronic official transcripts can be sent to institutions and individuals (including yourself) via the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), our third-party provider. There is a $3.00 fee for this service, payable to NSC by credit card. A physical address and a valid email address are required. 

Official transcripts will not be released if there is any outstanding financial obligation to UAFS. 

Current students can view and print an unofficial transcript by visiting My.UAFS and selecting the Student Services option, followed by Financial Aid and View Transcripts. 

 

If I chose to attend classes in person, but after the semester starts, I become more fearful of community spread, can I change my registration to online courses? 

We are encouraging students to continue to attend classes in person unless they have medical absences or changes to their personal situations that increase their medical risks. 

In the event that your personal circumstance or comfort level changes, you should contact your faculty member to determine if you can change to online delivery, take an incomplete for the course and complete it in the future, or other option as determined by the faculty member.

 

If I chose to take online classes, but the pandemic ends, do I have to keep taking my courses online if the same class is being taught on campus? 

Students in this situation should contact the faculty member teaching the courses to determine if the same resources, content, assignments, and expectations are in place.  

It may not be possible to transfer depending up the amount of course material that has been taught and the number of graded assignments, tests, or papers that may not correspond with the face-to-face section.

Housing & Dining:

Can I still stay in a dorm? 

Yes. The university residence halls are open, and advanced safety protocols are in place. 

We know on-campus housing frequently serves as the primary or permanent residence of students who have aged out of the Arkansas foster care system, international students, married couples, and students who have health or safety risks at their parents’ homes. 

The Housing team has implemented a variety of modifications to protect student health and well-being, including:  

  

·    All triple occupancy rooms have been reduced to double-occupancy rooms. 

·    Students residing on campus will be required to complete a Health and Safety Addendum to their housing contract, including a commitment to follow all safety guidelines. 

·    Our residential staff will be trained on all CDC guidelines, assisting in the creation of a safe residential environment. 

·    Visitation in residence halls will be restricted to ensure that exposure risks are minimized. 

·    Face masks will not be required of residents when in their individual rooms. When in common areas, residents should maintain proper social distancing and use face coverings as added protection. 

  

Students can expect continued programs and activities with fellow residents, following all CDC and Arkansas State Department of Health guidelines for reduced density and social distancing.  

The UAFS Housing Office is available to answer additional housing questions at 479-788-7340 or housing@uafs.edu. 

International students who have further questions or concerns may also contact the Office of International Relations at 479-788-7977 or email international@uafs.edu

 

Can I stay in my dorm or campus apartment after Thanksgiving?

 

Yes. Students living in Sebastian Commons are welcome to come and go throughout the semester with no need to leave their apartment during the winter break.

 

The Lion’s Den residence hall will close December 12-January 9, as it typically does for the winter break. Students may return January 9 for the spring semester. 

 

 

 

Will I have safe access to food if I remain on campus? 

To ensure social distancing, UAFS Dining Services provider Chartwells Higher Ed will adjust dining services to accommodate enhanced grab-and-go dining options and socially distant seating.  

 

While details are still being confirmed throughout our dining facilities on campus, we  expect the following modifications: 

  • Redesigned seating layouts and capacity restrictions 
  • Increased grab-and-go options and replacing self-serve food stations 
  • Availability of pre-packaged single-use condiments, utensils, napkins, and cups for diners, removing common stations, and community touch items. 
  • Cleaning and sanitizing of tables after each use 

Chartwells is on social media at @UAFSEats and online at https://dineoncampus.com/uafs 

 

The Lion Pride Food Pantry will continue to be stocked daily. 

 

If you have needs beyond what the pantry can provide, please contact the dean of students for assistance at 479-788-7310 or Dave.Stevens@uafs.edu

Financial Aid & Employment:

Will I have to pay a distance education fee? 

Students who enroll in a face-to-face course that unexpectedly transitions to online delivery will not be charged a distance education fee.  

 

However, students who knowingly enroll in an online course from the start will still be charged the distance education fee. 

 

Are there any changes to Financial Aid related to COVID-19? 

The U.S. Education Department intends to give colleges and universities flexibility on financial aid requirements in response to COVID-19. 

A March 5 directive  from the Education Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education addresses Title IV regulations regarding students who are ill or quarantined, recalled from travel-abroad experiences or can no longer attend classes, internships or clinical rotations due to the coronavirus. 

 

If I must withdraw for medical care of myself or a family member how will my financial aid be affected?

Students receiving federal financial aid (Title IV funds) should include a statement in their appeal that addresses why their withdrawal is a result of the national COVID-19 emergency.  

  • Circumstances can include, but are not limited to, illness of the student or family member, need to become a caregiver or first responder, loss of childcare, economic hardship, inability to access wi-fi due to closed facilities, or an increase in work hours due to COVID-19.  

Section 3508 of the CARES Act allows the university to waive the statutory requirement to return Title IV funds (Pell grant, Federal Direct Loan, Teach grant, etc.) when a student withdrawals due to the qualifying emergency. 

This means students that withdraw because of COVID-19 will not need to return any of the funds they received for the term.  

 

Can I still work as a student worker? 

Yes. Note that students who choose to work as student workers on campus will be required to follow all safety protocols for university employees and students.  

Students who would like to work remotely should check with their immediate supervisor to discuss what work, if any, may be accomplished remotely.  

 

Is there any Emergency Financial Assistance available to students? 

Yes. 

Contact Dr. Dave Stevens, dean of students, for more information at 479-788-7310  or  Dave.Stevens@uafs.edu

Graduation/End of Term: 

Will I be able to graduate on time? 

As long as your degree requirements have been met, your degree will be conferred as scheduled. 

The Fall 2020 commencement ceremony will be held virtually to ensure safety for students, faculty, staff, and guests. 

A date for the virtual ceremony will be announced as soon as it is set.

 

Should I order my cap and gown remotely? 

·       Though Fall 2020 commencement will be virtual, gradautes who would like to purchase regalia for photographs or keepsakes may do so through the Barnes and Noble/Herff Jones webpage

·       Please know that per Barnes & Noble policy, graduation related items — including the cap, gown, and tassel — are non-refundable. Exchanges may be made if a different size is needed.  

 
How will I get my Cords and Honors? 

·       Any student who has received a cord for a Registered Student Organization should contact that RSO president or advisor for more information. 

·       The official determination of  UAFS academic honors will be made after spring 2020 grades have been submitted, and all degrees have been awarded. Graduates who earn University academic honors will be mailed the stole and/or cord appropriate to their honors along with their diploma. 

·       Honors will also be noted on the transcript and diploma for eligible graduates and listed in the commencement program. 

 

When will commencement be held? 

The Fall 2020 commencement ceremony will be held virtually to ensure the safety of students, faculty, staff, and guests. 

A date for the virtual ceremony will be announced as soon as it is set.

 

How do I return my rented textbooks? 

·       Textbooks can be returned to the campus bookstore following the end of the term, 

·       Students will also receive an email with information on returning any rental textbooks by mail along with instructions for printing a free UPS return label. 

·       Instructions and FAQ's regarding Rental Returns can also be found on the bookstore's website at  www.uafs.bncollege.com by clicking on Textbook Rental Returns on the main page.  

Resources & Assistance:

How do I access the internet if I don’t have the equipment at home? 

Please complete this technology survey so we can help accomodate your needs.

The 24-hour computer labs in the Boreham Library and Campus Center will remain open and available for students, faculty, and staff. Work stations will be spread 6 feet apart and disinfected after each use. 

Are there low-cost options for internet access at my home? 

Many area internet providers are offering discounted service plans to help during this time. Contact your local provider to see if you are eligible for any discounts or short-term offers. 

Is there any Emergency Assistance available to students? 

Yes, the entire emergency assistance program can function remotely. 

Contact Dr. Dave Stevens, dean of students, for more information at 479-788-7310 or dave.stevens@uafs.edu

Are there any additional resources to help me succeed or find help? 

Yes. The university has created a resource guide to meet your needs, assist with your education, keep you on track to graduate, and create programming that keeps you engaged and healthy.  

https://campuslife.uafs.edu/services/health-center/covid19-resources 

UAFS Faculty & Staff

Health & Wellness: 

What should I do if I feel ill? 

·       Anyone developing flu-like symptoms should stay home and contact their physician. Do not come to work or class if you are ill. 

·       The UAMS HealthNow platform will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to guide anyone who has concerns about having COVID-19 through a series of questions and next steps from a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer. That site is available at https://uamshealth.com/healthnow/. 

Where can I get tested for COVID-19 the River Valley region? 

Anyone wishing to get tested can call 501-374-8225 or the CHCA (Community Health Centers of Arkansas) hotline at 833-508-0774. The cost is free even for the uninsured. The Sebastian county health department is offering COVID-19 testing, along with the following local clinics: 
 
·       Northside Clinic at 6th Street - 3202 N. 6th Street - Fort Smith - 479-783-3900 
·       RVPCS Northside Clinic - 4900 Kelley Hwy. - Fort Smith - 479-785-5700 
·       Baptist Health Urgent Care - 7600 Rogers Ave. - Fort Smith - 479-226-8340 
·       RVPCS Eastside Clinic - 4003 Massard Rd. - Fort Smith - 479-434-4747 
·       Ben Geren Safe Shelter-Baptist Health/Mercy - 7200 Zero Street - Fort Smith - 479-289-6508 
·       Lavaca Wellness Center - 603 S. Division Street - Lavaca - 479-279-7700 
·       Mountainburg Family Clinic - #4 Hwy. 71 NE - Mountainburg - 479-369-2091 
·       Mulberry Family Clinic - 437 N. Main St. - Mulberry - 479-997-1484 
 
The UAFS Health Clinic will not conduct testing due to a lack of testing equipment and supplies.  Test samples will either be sent to the State of Arkansas lab in Little Rock or a more local laboratory. 
Results will be communicated to the patient and to the Arkansas Department of Health. 

What happens if I am in close contact with someone who announces that they are COVID-19 positive? 

Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of someone for a minimum of 15 minutes in a 24 hour period.  In the event that you have been in close contact with someone who announces that they have tested positive for COVID-19 you should expect to receive a phone call from a contact tracer who will talk to you about next steps.  If you do not hear from a contact tracer and have concerns about close contact, you may elect to be tested.  Please note:  If people have close contact with individuals who test positive they will need to self-quarantine for 14 days, possibly longer if waiting for test results. 

 

University Operations:

Who do I notify if I test positive? Is this required? 

Yes. all students, faculty, and staff members will be required to notify the university if they test positive for COVID-19 or if they must self-quarantine.   

Employees should contact the Office of Human Resources at 479-788-7080 or hrdept@uafs.edu

 

I don't want people to know my COVID-19 status. How will my privacy be protected? 

Contact tracing  will be conducted through UAMS and possibly enhanced by trained contact tracers in close proximity to campus, who will protect the privacy of patients who test positive for COVID-19. 
 

The university is not responsible for contact tracing, and university employees should not disclose the positive status of students under any circumstances. Likewise, employees should not disclose the positive status of any of their colleagues.  

 

Someone in my class/dorm/office suite seems to have COVID-19 symptoms but won't get tested or stay home. What can I do?  

In the event that the individual who appears to have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 continues working, please contact the Office of Human Resources at 479-788-7080 or hrdept@uafs.edu 

 

I have a student in my face-to-face class who works in a healthcare facility? Might they pose a greater risk to others?

They do not. Healthcare facilities require healthcare providers and workers to wear facemasks at all times. These masks meet CDC guidance to protect the person wearing the mask as well as anyone the person might come into contact with. Some facilities also require goggles and face shields with the mask. Under this guidance, these individuals are not considered contact risks. 

 

If a staff member tests positive for COVID-19 and had symptoms, does their whole office have to quarantine? 

It is our plan to create physical distancing barriers in offices so that no employee will have close physical contact (less than 6 feet) for 15 minutes or more.  

In that case, it is unlikely that the office workers will be required to quarantine.

 

If a faculty member tests positive for COVID-19 and had symptoms, does the whole class quarantine?  

Contact tracers will determine which individuals had close contact with any person who has a positive case of COVID-19.  Individuals who have been within 6 feet of the person for 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period during the time when the person may be contagious will be asked to quarantine for 14 days.  

Based on that definition and the physical distance that will be required in classes, it is unlikely for a student to be in “close contact” with faculty.  

 

Who will keep up with positive test results on campus, which people need to quarantine, who is in the hospital, etc.? 

Supervisors will track employees who are required to quarantine, and the Office of Human Resources will keep all medical documentation for employees. 

 

How will I know if I am required to quarantine? 

A medical professional, contact tracer, or representative from the Arkansas Department of Health will tell you if you are required to self-quarantine. 

When can I stop quarantine and return to work?

Employees should obtain and submit documents showing their positive test results or proof of testing as well as providing a release allowing them to return to work.  The documents should be submitted to the Office of Human Resources.

Please also refer to this document from the Arkansas Department of Health: https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/pdf/When_can_I_stop_isolation_or_quarantine__5.7.20_.pdf

 

What is the cleaning procedure for office spaces when someone has COVID-19?

SSC Custodial staff will be notified and a thorough disinfecting of the space will take place as soon as they are made aware of the positive case.  In the meantime, co-workers may choose to disinfect their own work spaces for an added layer of protection.  

Employees  should not clean the space of co-workers who have positive COVID-19 diagnoses.

 

When will staff return to campus following Thanksgiving break?

The majority of staff should expect to work remotely from November 26–January 4, 2021.  Essential workers and those individuals who are critical for campus operations and safety will be asked to return to on-campus work in the month of December.

 

What do I do if my child's school closes unexpectedly? 

Faculty and staff members who are faced with childcare concerns as a result of their children being out of  school should contact their department heads and direct supervisors. Your supervisors will work with you to accommodate your childcare needs as they are able. 

 

Instruction & Online Learning:

How should faculty prepare for online teaching? 

  • Course shells have been created within Blackboard, our learning management system, for every applicable course at UAFS to faculty to teach their classes online and stay on track for the semester.  
  • University staff members are available to support faculty in transferring content, optimizing content for web and remote operations. 
  • Faculty and students may also utilize Blackboard Collaborate to conduct virtual “face-to-face” meetings and training. 
  • The university and Blackboard have made numerous training modules available for faculty who would like more advanced training. 
  • The Blackboard Learn Help page offers the latest information about releases, product updates, and building blocks. 
  • The Blackboard Community page offers a place to exchange tips, information, and solutions with fellow Blackboard product users from across the globe. 
  • Provost Georgia Hale and Dr. Margaret Tanner have secured training opportunities to help advance online teaching through Quality Matters training. Faculty may reach out to the Provost’s office for more information.  
     

How can faculty support students as they adjust  to online learning? 

  • Attempt to engage with EAB Navigate alerts early and often to help students stay aware of potential issues and help advisors keep up with struggling students in real-time.  

  • Be compassionate with students who are learning remotely for the first time. 

  • Ask students to let you know if they are struggling with the new format. Encourage open communication. 

  • Ask students if they have technology needs. 

  • The university has also extended a technology survey to assist in meeting those needs before classes resume on March 30. 

 

How do I advise students remotely? 

Student appointments should be held via FERPA compliant services such as telephone, Google Meetings, or Blackboard Collaborate. 

If you have scheduled appointments, please reach out to the students to schedule the appointment remotely. 

Timesheets and Remote Work:

How will hourly employees be paid for remote work? 

If you are working remotely, supervisors will need to enter your time worked in Timeforce. 

Essential employees who are permitted to work on campus should continue to clock in and out. 

If you are using leave (sick or annual), you will enter that time in Timeforce as usual. 

Employees could have a combination of all three on their timesheet. 

 

Do staff need to keep an exact log of their time? 

This is being left to the discretion of each supervisor. 

Please contact your supervisor to discuss the expectations for your team. 

Supervisors: You will need to make a note on the  first entry only  indicating the employee is working remotely. 

 

Can part-time staff work remotely? 

Yes. They should follow the same procedure of requesting remote work as full-time hourly staff. 

 

Will staff still sign off on their timesheets? 

Yes. Employees and supervisors will still be required to certify timesheets. This can be done remotely from any device with internet access. 

 

Who do I contact for help with Timeforce? 

Contact Ashley or Effie by email at Ashley.sosniecki@uafs.edu or Effie.lynn@uafs.edu. 

 

What happens if I requested remote work, but my request was not granted due to the nature of my job?

In cases where 100% remote work is not possible, supervisors will work with employees to establish a schedule in which the employee will work remotely part of the time and in the office part of the time. This could also include a rotation of staff in the department to reduce traffic during this time while still ensuring offices remain open to best serve the campus community. If remote work is not feasible, employees should be reassured of all campus safety measures in place to provide the safest work environment possible. Faculty and staff may also request a more formal process, including the leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Information regarding the FFCRA and application forms are available on the Human Resources page of My.UAFS.

Based on the nature of some campus jobs, some individuals may be required to work face-to-face.  We will evaluate each employee’s request and make determinations on how we may be able to support remote work.  If that is not possible, the person may be reassigned to a position that allows remote work.

 

What happens if I believe I have become ill with COVID-19 through exposure to the virus at work?

There is no way to know what interaction may have caused a person to contract the COVID-19 Virus; thus, assigning liability or responsibility is not an issue to be decided by UAFS officials. 

 

Human Resources Questions:

Who do I contact if I have general HR questions? 

Since HR staff may be working remotely during this time, please contact Staci Zimmer at  staci.zimmer@uafs.edu. 

 

Have  the University Health & Dental  Plans made any changes in response to COVID-19? 

·       Yes. In coordination with UMR and MedImpact, the University Health Plan has taken the following steps. (Additional information about these steps is available on the UA System Benefits site.) 

·       Testing services for COVID-19 are treated as other $0 preventative care services and available at no out-of-pocket expense to Plan members. 

·       Existing pharmacy refill guidelines limiting refills to the point at which 80% of the medication should have been used have been waived for 30 days. This exception does not change prior authorization guidelines or dosing limits but should provide members with more flexibility. 

·       Access to the  United Telemedicine/Teladoc program, which provides 24/7 access to a board-certified physician, has expanded to all UAS campuses. Standard member copayments apply. 

·       Benefits-eligible employees now have no-cost access to the  United Health basic Member Assistance Program (MAP) regardless of their health plan enrollment. 

·       Local provider INN Telephonic and Video-based office visit services are available. Standard member copayments for office visits will apply. 

·       Local provider INN Dental Telephonic and Video-based office visit services are also available. 

 

What leave should I use if I need to stay home?

·       Until further notice, the university will continue to follow the leave use guidelines as provided in Board Policies 420.1, 420.2, and 420.3.  Specific to a common question, at this time, the authority under state law does not exist for paid administrative leave.  

·       In some cases, individuals may be quarantined by the AR Department of Health, their physician, or other health care authority.  They may not be ill or experience symptoms of the illness but will be unavailable for work.  As practical for each role and as meets the needs of the individual campus, telework assignments (which would include regular job assignments, available campus online training, or similar types of arrangements) are encouraged in those situations.  If telework assignments are not possible, accrued leave (sick and vacation) and leave-without-pay will be used in the normal manner.    

·       The university will continue to closely monitor this situation and follow the guidance of the Arkansas Department of Health with updates provided as available.   We encourage employees to seek and follow the guidance of their physician as they would with other health care concerns. 

        

What does the Families First Coronavirus Response Act mean for me? 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19, effective on April 1, 2020, and applying to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. 

 

What employees or categories of employees will qualify for the new Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FML programs?  

With very few exceptions, all employees, full-time and part-time, will be eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave.  Emergency sick leave will be available to eligible employees who are unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave for one or more of the applicable COVID-19-related reasons listed in the new law. (Click here to access the Employee Rights poster as a quick reference.)  

Also, with very few exceptions, all employees, full-time and part-time, who have been  employed with the university for at least 30 days  will be eligible for the Expanded FML program if their absence is due to one or more of the applicable stated reasons for leave.  Student-workers, temps, adjuncts, and extra help employees are included.  

For employees who have already used existing standard FML, the new FML program does not add to the leave time available under the standard FMLA guidelines.  In other words, employees having used 12 weeks of standard FML (or some portion thereof) within the previous 12-month period, would not be eligible for expanded FML that, in combination with standard FML already used, exceeded 12 weeks total. 

 

Are employees still eligible for benefits and do they accrue leave when using the new Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FML programs?  

Yes.  If the employee is otherwise benefits-eligible, existing benefits participation at the employee’s active premium rates continue.  Leave accrual continues at the regular or prorated rate based upon the employee’s percent of time employed. However, the new programs do not create a qualified status change event providing for enrollment changes or new enrollments into benefits participation. 

               

May employees choose to use the 80 hours of EPSL time over more than a two-week period?  For example, could a full-time employee choose to take 50% of that leave over four weeks or use the leave intermittently? 

Yes, within the scope of the leave programs.  Use and schedule must comply with one or more of the six reasons for use of the leave programs.  An employee cannot choose to be paid for a time period he/she would not have otherwise been on the payroll. (Example, 9-month faculty member during the summer break.) 

 

What is the CARES Act and what does it mean to me? 

The CARES Act is the federal Coronavirus Aid Recovery and Economic Security Act, passed by Congress and signed by the President in March 2020. Among the Act’s many provisions, it allows eligible participants of retirement plans such as the University 403(b)/457(b) Retirement Plan to take larger loans and distributions, including in-service distributions, from their accounts than federal law allows otherwise. 

Click  here  to visit the UA System Benefits site to learn more. 

 

How are prorated hours calculated for part-time employees? 

Hours are pro-rated based on the percent of time employed, or on an average of hours worked for those employees with variable work schedules as outlined below: 

·       For part-time benefits-eligible employees, leave will be based on the employee’s percent of time employed, the same as sick leave and holiday leave, 75%, 62% or 50%. 

·       For other part-time employees, leave will be based on the number of hours normally scheduled every two weeks or, for employees who work a variable schedule, on the average hours worked over a six-month period. 

·       For part-time employees who have been employed for less than six months, leave will be based on the average hours worked for the period employed. 

 

Must employees use their other accrued leave before using Emergency Paid Sick Leave or Expanded FML? 

No.  Employees may retain their regular accrued leave for future use.   

 

Is documentation required for quarantine or care for another individual or child? If yes, what documentation? 

To receive Emergency Paid Sick Leave or Expanded FML, documentation may be required. Documentation can include a treating physician’s note, Health Department directives, public notices, and similar records. 

 

More specifically, an employee will need a health care provider statement for the following: 

·       If a healthcare provider has advised the employee or a family member living in their household to self-quarantine related to COVID-19; 

·       If they are caring for an individual subject to a local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19. 

 

If an employee is caring for his/her child whose public Arkansas or Oklahoma school has been closed due to COVID-19 related reasons, they will not need to provide documentation as long as the closing has been made public, and public notices are readily available. 

 

If an employee is caring for his/her child whose place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons, they will need to provide documentation. 

·       Documentation can be a notice from the daycare, an email, a screenshot of text message, etc. If you have questions or problems getting documentation, contact HR for assistance. 

 

If an employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis, they will not need to provide a doctor’s statement. 

 

Can employees use BOTH Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FML? 

Yes, if the situation qualifies for the use of both. However, the two combined may not exceed 12 weeks in total. 

 

May employees using EPSL or Expanded FML use their accrued leave time to supplement their pay? 

Yes.  Employees may choose to use or retain accrued leave.  Any use of accrued leave, when combined with Expanded FML payments, must not exceed 100% of the employee’s regular salary. 

 

Can the new federal leave programs be retroactively applied to restore accrued leave? 

No.  There is no retroactive application available within the law. 

 

Who can I contact with more questions about benefits for Emergency Paid Sick Leave or Expanded FML? 

Our HR team is on standby and ready to provide assistance. However, they are also working remotely during this time. If you need assistance or have questions, contact HR by email at hrdept@uafs.edu. 

To apply, complete an FFCRA Request Form (available on My.UAFS on the HR Home page) and submit to HR with any required documentation. 

Submit by email to hrdept@uafs.edu, with a copy to your supervisor(s). 

Requests should be made in advance, or as soon as possible, to ensure timely payment of wages. 

 

Governor's Directives:

What does the Governor's Public Health Emergency mean for me? 

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson finalized two  polices Friday: 

·       Public Health Emergency Remote Work Policy 

·       Public Health Emergency Leave Policy 

What does Governor’s Executive Order 20-06 mean for UAFS?

Pursuant to Executive Order 20-06, to the extent any of the following "in any way prevents, hinders, or delays the agency's [institution's] ability to render maximum assistance to the citizens of this state while they are adhering to guidelines to prohibit the spread of disease or seeking assistance from the state to obtain benefits or services related to health, education, employment, or any service required by the state in response to or to mitigate the spread of COVID-109", the University of Arkansas System of which UAFS is a part has suspended the following statutes, and associated rules, as applicable, from March 17, 2020, through April 15, 2020: 

1.     Certain Procurement Matters – 19-11-229(competitive sealed bidding), 230 (competitive sealed proposals), 249 (cooperative purchasing), 265 (submission of contracts required), 267 (development and use of performance-based contracts), 271 (compliance reporting) and 274 (reporting required) 

2.     Higher Education Classification and Compensation – 21-5-1403 (regular salary procedures and restrictions), 1411 (shift differential), 1412 (compensation differential), 1413 (salary administration grids) and 1414 (extra help positions) 

3.     Certain Provisions related to Licensure of Healthcare Professionals – 17-87-101 et seq., 17-95-101 et seq. and 17-91-102 (nurses, physicians and osteopathic physicians) 

4.     Higher Education Expenditure Restrictions – 6-63-305 (new or additional positions), 306 (additional compensation for additional duties), 308 (overtime for classified positions) and 314 (extra help restrictions) 

5.     Salaries and Payroll Disbursement – 19-4-1604 (salary from two agencies), 1607 (monthly, bi-weekly, weekly and hourly salaries), 1608 (personal services less than 12 months), 1610 (retroactive pay prohibited) and 1612 (overtime pay) 

6.     Attendance and Leave – 21-4-204/205 (annual leave), 207 (sick leave), 210 (leave without pay) and 6-63-602 (catastrophic leave) 

7.     Prohibited Contracts and Investments – 25-1-503 

8.     Commissioner of State Lands Inventory Requirement – 22-5-210 

9.     Certain Provisions of FOIA (regarding the time for records to be produced) – 25-19-105 

10.  Review of Economic Feasibility of Bonds/Loans – 6-61-202(a)(7) 

11.  Telemedicine Act – 17-80-401et seq. 

12.  Hospital Pharmacies Act – 17-92-601 et seq. 

13.  Hospital Reporting Requirements (regarding the time for reporting to state medical board) – 17-95-104(a)(1) 

14.  Graduate Registered Physician Act – 17-95-901 et seq. 

15.  Duties of Disbursing Officer – 19-4-1206(b)(3)(B) 

Relevant rules associated with the above-identified statutes 
ASBM Regulation 2.8 – establishment of patient-physician relationship 
ASBM Regulation 37 – residents 
ASBM Regulation 38 – telemedicine 

 

What does the Governor’s Executive Order mean for Accounts Payable and Procurement? 

Accounts Payable 

19-4-706. Interest and carrying charges 

·       State agencies, including exempt agencies, may enter into contracts that contemplate the payment of interest, late charges, but only when such late charges are incurred sixty (60) days after payment is due, or carrying charges under such rules as may be promulgated by the State Procurement Director. 

·       If we have a complete shutdown of the campus, there could be invoices that would exceed the 60 days if essential employees are not allowed to access the campus to process payments.  

 

Procurement 

19-11-229. Competitive sealed bidding 

·       This statute requires soliciting bids for procurements $75,000+, posting them electronically, and only accepting sealed hard copies of responses at a designated date and time. This entire process could delay or hinder necessary procurements. The exemption would allow us to treat procurements of $75,000+ as competitive bids (three quotes). 

·        

19-11-234. Competitive Bidding 

·       This statute requires soliciting three bids for procurements of $20,000+ and less than or equal to $65,000, by receiving quotes via direct mail, telephone, telegraph, written form, or electronic media. Exemption of the requirement for three competitive bids would allow us to complete procurement sin this dollar range more quickly and efficiently. 

 

 

 

 

Community:

Campus Tours:

Can I schedule a campus tour? 

Campus tours may be scheduled, but hours of available tours will be limited, and the group size, including tour guide, cannot exceed ten people. Individuals will be required to wear masks and use hand sanitizer throughout the event. The tour guide will be expected to wear gloves and open and close doors for the group members.

 

Campus Events:

Will Season of Entertainment be canceled? 

The  2021 Season of Entertainment has been canceled.

 

Will university events be allowed on the UAFS campus?

Yes. Please see the Internal Events tab below or download the guidance here.

Will community events be permitted on the UAFS campus?

Yes. Please see the External Events tab below or download the guidance here.

 

Mandates for Internal Events

Participation in face-to-face events is an integral component of the Lion on-campus experience.  The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith proudly hosts professional development opportunities, lectures, concerts, performances, sporting events, and conferences on campus and in our facilities that serve to improve community engagement and quality of life in our region, and allow our students, faculty and staff the chance to network and socialize.

When deciding the best modality for hosting an event during the COVID-19 pandemic, the following should be considered:

 

Compliance with current guidance from the CDC, ADH and UA System.

COVID-19 related directives from the Arkansas Department of Health

Directives related to Phase 2 use of large indoor venues

  • Event plan submission to the Arkansas Department of Health is not required for university events

Directives related to Phase 2 use of large outdoor venues

 

Inclusive access to campus events

  • Virtual experiences should be offered in addition to the in-person event whenever possible to ensure those who cannot safely attend in-person events can still participate
  • Event hosts will be responsible for coordinating tech support, equipment, and virtual platform accounts for virtual experiences

 

Event layout and seating configuration adherence to physical distancing guidelines 

  • Seating, line queuing, restroom usage, and attendee circulation should be planned to accommodate appropriate physical distancing

  • Room availability and seating capacities on campus will be limited

  • Online Registration and digital ticketing processes including ticketing, ticket scanning, F&B transactions, conference materials, and programs should be utilized when possible

 

Event operation adherence to safety mandates and guidance

  • All event communications should inform participants of risks and expectations.
    • Invitations, tickets, announcements, handouts, signage, and programs
  • Use of face coverings will be mandatory for all attendees and hosts with the exception of distanced speakers and performers and during consumption of meals, per the directive from Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson: https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/pdf/face_covering_directive.pdf
    • Consider having additional disposable masks on hand for attendees
  • Provide plans and procedures for attendee safety, security, and compliance screening
    • Hand sanitizer must be provided at all events
    • Personal hygiene facilities must be available for handwashing
    • An event log with contact information for potential contact tracing for attendees, staff, contractors, presenters/performers/athletes, and volunteers must be maintained by the event host
      • Following the event, this must be emailed to scheduling@uafs.edu.
      • Hosts may consider using NUMALink to collect this information
  • UAFS students and employees must self-monitor and self-screen for COVID-19
  • Hosts must screen all outside guests upon check-in, including COVID-19 symptom checklists and temperature checks in accordance with CDC guidelines
  • Entry and dismissal procedures should maximize physical distancing by employing timed or zoned entry/exit and optimizing the use of doors most proximate to seat location

 

Food service, snacks and catering adherence to safety mandates and guidance

  • Food and beverage offerings and procedures should minimize contact, queuing, and eliminate shared use. Chartwells, the UAFS food service provider, will coordinate safe handling of food and beverages during events
    • No buffets or self-service will be allowed
  • Food offerings will have to follow current restaurant directives listed on the Arkansas Department of Health website at https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/covid-19-health-guidances
  • Individually packaged food items and beverages are permitted

 

Sanitation protocols for venue surfaces and seating

  • Sanitation Kits will be available to check out at the UAFS Box Office located on the 1st floor of the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center
  • All surfaces must be sanitized before and after the event
  • The Campus and Community Events department and the Service Desk will clean all technical equipment at the end of each event
     

For events of 100 or more people

  • University-sponsored events will be submitted through NUMALink and approved by Senior Staff. (Please allow at least one week for the Senior Staff approval process)
  • To accomplish the necessary disinfection of spaces, surfaces, seating, and equipment, additional time will be required between these large-scale events

For additional information and guidance reach out to:

All final plans and setup requests must be submitted to scheduling@uafs.edu at least two weeks before the event date.

Guidelines are subject to change depending on new national, state, local, or university directives.

 

Mandates for External Events

Participation in face-to-face events is an integral component of the Lion on-campus experience.  The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith proudly hosts professional development opportunities, lectures, concerts, performances, sporting events, and conferences on campus and in our facilities that serve to improve community engagement and quality of life in our region, and allow our students, faculty and staff the chance to network and socialize.

When deciding the best modality for hosting an event during the COVID-19 pandemic, the following should be considered:

 

Compliance with current guidance from the CDC, ADH and UA System.

COVID-19 related directives from the Arkansas Department of Health

Directives related to Phase 2 use of large indoor venues

  • Event plan submission to the Arkansas Department of Health is not required for university events

Directives related to Phase 2 use of large outdoor venues

 

Inclusive access to campus events

  • Virtual experiences should be offered in addition to the in-person event whenever possible to ensure those who cannot safely attend in-person events can still participate
  • Event hosts will be responsible for coordinating tech support, equipment, and virtual platform accounts for virtual experiences

 

Event layout and seating configuration adherence to physical distancing guidelines 

  • Seating, line queuing, restroom usage, and attendee circulation should be planned to accommodate appropriate physical distancing

  • Room availability and seating capacities on campus will be limited

  • Online Registration and digital ticketing processes including ticketing, ticket scanning, F&B transactions, conference materials, and programs should be utilized when possible

 

Event operation adherence to safety mandates and guidance

  • All event communications should inform participants of risks and expectations.
    • Invitations, tickets, announcements, handouts, signage, and programs
  • Use of face coverings will be mandatory for all attendees and hosts with the exception of distanced speakers and performers and during consumption of meals, per the directive from Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson: https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/pdf/face_covering_directive.pdf
    • Consider having additional disposable masks on hand for attendees
  • Provide plans and procedures for attendee safety, security, and compliance screening
    • Hand sanitizer must be provided at all events
    • Personal hygiene facilities must be available for handwashing
    • An event log with contact information for potential contact tracing for attendees, staff, contractors, presenters/performers/athletes, and volunteers must be maintained by the event host
      • Following the event, this must be emailed to scheduling@uafs.edu.
      • Hosts may consider using NUMALink to collect this information
  • Hosts must screen all outside guests upon check-in, including COVID-19 symptom checklists and temperature checks in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • Entry and dismissal procedures should maximize physical distancing by employing timed or zoned entry/exit and optimizing the use of doors most proximate to seat location.

 

Food service, snacks and catering adherence to safety mandates and guidance

  • Food and beverage offerings and procedures should minimize contact, queuing, and eliminate shared use. Chartwells, the UAFS food service provider, will coordinate safe handling of food and beverages during events
    • No buffets or self-service will be allowed
  • Food offerings will have to follow current restaurant directives listed on the Arkansas Department of Health website at https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/covid-19-health-guidances
  • Individually packaged food items and beverages are permitted

 

Sanitation protocols for venue surfaces and seating

  • Sanitation supplies must be provided by the event host
    • Sanitizers must be EPA approved viral disinfectants
  • All surfaces must be sanitized before and after the event
  • The Campus and Community Events department and the Service Desk will clean all technical equipment at the end of each event

For events of 100 or more people

  • Non-university events will be submitted through scheduling@uafs.edu and approved by Senior Staff. (Please allow at least one week for the Senior Staff approval process)
  • To accomplish the necessary disinfection of spaces, surfaces, seating, and equipment, additional time will be required between these large-scale events.
     

For additional information and guidance reach out to:

All final plans and setup requests must be submitted to scheduling@uafs.edu at least two weeks before the event date.

Guidelines are subject to change depending on new national, state, local, or university directives.

 

WATC and Concurrent Classes:

Will WATC continue this Fall?

Yes. WATC will continue offering concurrent credit courses to regional high school students this fall.

 

Where can I find more information about how on-campus WATC classes will be held?

UAFS and WATC are currently working through decisions regarding how classes will be held.

Programs that can effectively be delivered online or hybrid will be transitioned before the semester starts.

All WATC programs are making adjustments to better accommodate a pivot to online learning, in the event all classes must be moved online in the future.

 

 

Will WATC classes move online after Thanksgiving?

All WATC classes will move online after Thanksgiving with the exception of our Welding Program.

Welding will have on campus activity after Thanksgiving.

 

Who will communicate future changes to WATC classes?

Students will receive email communications about all future changes through their official UAFS email address.

It is important that WATC students check their email daily for updates.

All information will also be available through high school counselors as well as the WATC office.

 

Who decides if WATC moves online, UAFS or the school district?

UAFS and the WATC office are working together with all high school partners to ensure the decisions about moving online are made in a way that best serves students.

 

How can I ask more questions about WATC?

If you have further questions, please contact the WATC office by phone 479-788-7700 or by email Nancy.FloresSoto@uafs.edu