Tuesday morning University of Arkansas - Fort Smith chancellor Dr. Terisa Riley released a statement to students, faculty, and staff regarding preparedness and prevention efforts related to COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus 2019.) Her full statement is included below.
The senior leaders and Emergency Management Team members at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus 2019) and taking important measures to prevent and reduce the spread of this virus.
As your chancellor, your health and safety are my top priorities. The university has developed a webpage which will provide updates regarding COVID-19 and our campus-wide efforts to ensure the welfare of our students, faculty, and staff, and support continuity of instruction. That website is available here.
Though there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Arkansas, we are in close contact with professionals at the Arkansas Department of Health and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, both of whom are monitoring the threat this serious illness poses to Arkansans.
We also are following recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. The CDC has provided a fact-sheet about the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, where information will be updated as it becomes available. I encourage you to check this site, as well as the CDC’s travel information site, often for more information. Please give your personal health and that of others serious attention.
We know that this situation is fluid, and changes in conditions in the State could require changes to scheduled campus activities. As of today, March 10, 2020, the university intends to continue all on-campus activities until we are instructed otherwise by higher authorities. Den Day, which is scheduled for March 17, will proceed as planned, as will regularly-scheduled classes, gatherings, and events held on the UAFS campus.
As we continue on-campus operations, entities across campus have taken measures to help prevent and reduce the spread of pathogens, including those that cause COVID-19. Southeast Service Corporation, the professional vendor that provides our custodial services, disinfects high traffic touchpoints regularly using Virex II 256 disinfectant cleaner, a one-step broad-spectrum disinfectant that has been pre-approved by the EPA, is proven to kill microorganisms and pathogens, and has been listed by the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC) as effective against emerging enveloped viral pathogens. Our dining services provider Aramark will also temporarily ban the use of reusable cups, in line with efforts being undertaken nationally to prevent the spread of viral pathogens.
If you develop flu-like symptoms, please stay at home and contact your physician. Do not come to work or class if you are ill. Faculty and instructional staff have received communication from Provost Hale who advised them to be flexible with academic assignments if students are ill. Accordingly, if employees are ill they should contact their supervisors and plan to stay at home after seeking appropriate medical consultation about their symptoms. As employees, if you have questions please contact the Human Resources department.
We will continue to actively monitor the situation and will provide additional information and guidance to the campus community as it becomes available."