Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Information as of: 8:40 AM, April 1, 2020

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Arkansas Tech University campus

The ATU COVID-19 task force members are in contact with the Arkansas Department of Health, and they are carefully monitoring information from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Director of Health Services requests that if staff, faculty or students have been tested for COVID-19, please contact the Arkansas Tech University Health and Wellness Center at (479) 968-0329 or hwc@atu.edu as soon as possible.

Doing so will also allow the university to prepare for any necessary next steps in the event of a positive test, including communicating directly with others who might have been exposed to the virus and taking any appropriate cleaning and sanitizing measures.

Thank you for your cooperation. Please continue social distancing practices consistent with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as guidelines and directives from the State of Arkansas.


ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

For daily updates on COVID-19 in the state, go to the ADH status update page.

 

 

 

Information as of: 8:40 AM, March 23, 2020

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Arkansas Tech University campus

Read the news release covering ATU's Board of Trustee's decision regarding refunds/credits for Housing, Meal Plans

The ATU COVID-19 task force members are in contact with the Arkansas Department of Health, and they are carefully monitoring information from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

For daily updates on COVID-19 in the state, go to the ADH status update page.

 

 

 

Information as of: 2:03 PM, March 20, 2020

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Arkansas Tech University campus.

Read the news release regarding ATU's extension of virtual instruction through the end of the Spring 2020 semester.

The ATU COVID-19 task force members are in contact with the Arkansas Department of Health, and they are carefully monitoring information from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

For daily updates on COVID-19 in the state, go to the ADH status update page.

 

 

 

Information as of: 11:30 AM, March 19, 2020

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Arkansas Tech University campus.

Our campus Coronavirus task force has reviewed our existing plans for communicable illnesses. The task force members are in contact with the Arkansas Department of Health, and they are carefully monitoring information from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

For daily updates on COVID-19 in the state, go to the ADH status update page.


 

An Important Message from the ATU COVID-19 Task Force
As Spring Break approaches, students and employees are reminded of the importance of following guidance issued by the CDC, state and federal governments, and the ATU COVID-19 Task Force related to travel.

The ATU COVID-19 Task Force joins the state and federal government in advising against all non-essential domestic and international travel, including travel during Spring Break. If you decide to travel, be aware of health resources in your area and research the prevalence of the coronavirus in your destination location. Be reminded, you may be subject to government travel restrictions with little or no notice, and airlines may limit or cancel flights without warning. You will be subject to any restrictions in place at the time of your return, not just those in place at the time of your departure. Return to the U.S. may be difficult, and after your arrival, you may be required to stay away from campus for an extended period of time.

On March 12, ATU made the following decisions related to university-travel and university-affiliated activities:
*All out-of-state domestic university-sanctioned travel stopped on Friday, March 13. Any faculty member, staff member or student traveling out-of-state may be subject to a 14-day self-quarantine.
*All university extracurricular events stopped on Friday, March 13. This policy will remain in place for so long as the university is engaged in exclusively virtual instruction.

The ATU COVID-19 Task Force has the health and safety of our communities as top priority. Please take care of yourselves, stay up to date on COVID-19 developments on campus and around the world, do your part to flatten the curve and help slow the spread of COVID-19, respect those around you, and be well.

 

 

Information as of: 7:15 PM, March 16, 2020

News release regarding Arkansas Tech University's response to the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.


Currently, there are no confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Arkansas Tech University campus.

Our campus Coronavirus task force has reviewed our existing plans for communicable illnesses. The task force members are in contact with the Arkansas Department of Health, and they are carefully monitoring information from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

For daily updates on COVID-19 in the state, go to the ADH status update page.

OFFICIAL INFORMATION NOTICE

Please make sure your cell phone numbers and contact information is current in your ATU Alert account. Do not believe rumors or any statements about outbreaks or class cancellations that are not direct from one or more of the following:

 

Information as of: March 13, 2020

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Arkansas Tech University campus.

Our campus Coronavirus task force has reviewed our existing plans for communicable illnesses. The task force members are in contact with the Arkansas Department of Health, and they are carefully monitoring information from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

For daily updates on COVID-19 in the state, go to the ADH status update page.

OFFICIAL INFORMATION NOTICE

Please make sure your cell phone numbers and contact information is current in your ATU Alert account. Do not believe rumors or any statements about outbreaks or class cancellations that are not direct from one or more of the following:


HEALTH, WELLNESS, AND PREVENTION INFORMATION

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a virus identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the source of a new respiratory illness first detected in China, but since has spread to locations around the globe. As a new or previously undetected virus, it was labeled the Novel (new) Coronavirus or COVID-19. Coronaviruses are part of a large family of respiratory virus illnesses.  Previous outbreaks of Coronavirus have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).  On Jan. 30, 2020, the WHO declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern,” and the following day, Jan. 31, 2020, U.S. Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in the United States. 

Learn more at the CDC’s main Covid-19 website.

All of the actions being taken at this time by ATU are a part of efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Some individuals may interpret these efforts as exaggerated. The goal is not to completely eliminate the presence of cases, but rather slow them down. This is to ensure that the medical infrastructure can respond adequately to confirmed cases of COVID-19 without being overwhelmed. 

Remember that the symptoms — such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath — are similar to common influenza. If you think that you may be contagious, have been in contact with someone who was known to have Coronavirus, or have traveled to an area with a known outbreak, call your health provider in advance. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care, ATU Health and Wellness Center, or another health facility without calling first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic.

According to the CDC and Arkansas Department of Health, Coronavirus is spread in the same ways as other virus illnesses like common influenza or colds.  Your keys to limiting exposure to all viruses are similar:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizers can be an effective alternative.  For more on handwashing, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/
  • Here’s a video from CDC: What You Need To Know About Handwashing
  • Disinfect surfaces that people touch frequently
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth – germs often spread when a person touches something contaminated and then your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow if you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you feel sick, please stay home.

Learn more about how COVID-19 spreads at CDC

Public health agencies currently do not recommend that people wear masks when they are in public, and scientists are not sure whether wearing a mask in public actually keeps healthy people from getting sick.  If you see someone wearing a mask, do not assume they have been exposed to any illness.

There are important times to wear a mask.  It’s most important for people who are sick to wear a mask in a healthcare setting (such as a waiting room) to avoid exposing other people when they cough or sneeze.  It is also important for healthcare workers to wear masks both to protect themselves and their patients.  The ATU Health and Wellness Center will only be distributing masks to patients with appointments who are suspected of a respiratory illness.

We understand the concern of community members.  The Novel Coronavirus outbreak adds a layer of stress and worry.  If you would like to talk to someone, student support is available at the ATU Health and Wellness CenterInformation about counselors in the community is available.

Coping with Coronavirus Resources

Commonly touched areas – door knobs, desks, tables, keyboards, light switches – should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.  The CDC recommends the use of a disinfectant registered with the EPA or a 10% bleach/water solution.  Avoid using gels or liquids on electronics unless the cleaning solutions is indicated safe for use on those devices.  Learn more about cleaning surfaces – in particular the difference between cleaning and disinfecting.

Cell phones, touch screens and device remote controls should also receive special consideration for disinfecting.  Disposable microfiber cloths and disinfectant wipes are useful.  Avoid using gels, liquids or abrasive cleaners directly on electronic devices. Consult the device’s manufacturer for an appropriate wipe or procedure.

EPA information on antimicrobial products for hard surfaces

Both help limit the exposure to people with contagious diseases, but it’s helpful to know the difference.

  • Quarantine is to separate people who were potentially exposed to a contagious disease to see if they start to display symptoms or become sick.
  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from others

Currently, the CDC and Department of Homeland Security have implemented Federal travel restrictions that may require travelers to enter into 14-day long quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure. 

To learn more about quarantine and isolation, go to this CDC page: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/quarantineisolation.html


STUDENTS

Yes, meetings or events of any size are canceled as of March 13, 2020 at 5 PM. We encourage using remote technology to collaborate via teleconferencing if necessary.  This applies to both on-campus and off-site events that involve our students, staff, faculty, and community members.

Residence halls and apartments will continue to operate as normal; however, students are encouraged to go home if possible. Students may stay on campus during Spring Break at no additional charge. Residents must complete a Roompact form if they are choosing to remain in the residence halls while classes move to virtual instruction. As an added precaution, housekeeping will continue to focus on additional sanitation in the residence halls. 

Chambers Cafeteria will remain open and meal plans will continue to be active as normal with the exception of Spring Break. During Spring Break, Chambers Cafeteria will close and meal plans will not be active during this period of time. Baswell Techionery will also have limited hours during Spring Break. Additional information about hours of operations can be found at https://www.dineoncampus.com/arkansastech/

Preparedness is important if you need to stay home due to illness, quarantine, or closure.  Along with making sure your contact information for official text alerts is current in your ATU Alert account, remember to check your official ATU email account.  While many students use other services, and may ask faculty to contact them through other platforms, ALL official University correspondence is via your official ATU email account or through official ATU Blackboard class accounts.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. 

You may also take an online screening for COVID-19 at https://uamshealth.com/healthnow/. Depending on the screening questions answered, an interactive video consult may be conducted, and/or the appropriate authorities/response teams may be notified. Baptist Health also offers support and more information can be located at https://www.baptist-health.com/coronavirus/

At this time, the ATU Health and Wellness Center does not have the capability to test for COVID-19.  You are welcome to call 479-968-0329 for further guidance if needed. 

If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms such as cough, fever, sore throat, body aches, or difficulty breathing, please call 479-968-0329 before visiting the ATU Health and Wellness Center. 

Another helpful resource for those concerned about being sick can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html.


FACULTY & STAFF

Arkansas Tech University has made the decision to temporarily cease in-person instruction as of 5 p.m. Friday, March 13, 2020, and move toward delivering exclusively virtual instruction.

Virtual instruction will begin Wednesday, March 18, and continue through Friday, March 20. Spring break will take place March 23-27. Virtual-only instruction will resume Monday, March 30, and continue through at least Friday, April 10.

An update will be provided Friday, April 10, based upon the information available at that time.

At this time, all offices on campus are expected to remain open and staff are expected to report to work.  However, we are making plans to work remotely as appropriate. Please discuss any concerns with your supervisor.

If you are feeling sick, please stay home.  One of the best ways to limit the spread of any communicable illness is to avoid contact with others if you are sick.  Contact your healthcare provider if you feel you need to, avoiding campus if contagious.  Employees should let their supervisor know if they are unable to report to work. 

At this time, it is recommended that ATU staff continue operations with offices remaining open.  In preparation for any future guidance to work from home, we recommend taking time now to make sure you can remotely access your computer. ATU employees can use the University’s VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access their desktop computers. 

ATU employees who perform administrative tasks, or need direct access to their desktop computer from home can use the University’s VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access their desktop computers. Please make sure you are signed up for VPN by following these procedures:

  1. Please read the information regarding connecting to the ATU GlobalProtect VPN on Windows or Mac.
  2. It is recommended that you practice working remotely via the options above so that you are well prepared in case of this need. 

If you require other special connectivity, please let your department head or supervisor know as soon as possible.

For faculty/staff who wish to interact with students via video conferencing, the University has options. Contact the OIS help desk for more information.

If you require other special connectivity, please let your department head or supervisor know as soon as possible.

Yes, any accommodations you were notified of that can be applied to an online setting should be put in place immediately. This includes extra time on exams, access to Power Point slides used in recorded presentations, etc.

Examples of accommodations that would not be appropriate would be things that directly relate to the physical space in the classroom, such as ensuring a student has a seat near the door. You may review a list of approved accommodations for your courses in our instructor portal at https://denali.accessiblelearning.com/ATU/instructor by entering your OneTech username and password. Please contact the Office of Disability Services if you are not sure if an accommodation applies to your course in an online format.

The Campus Support Center has developed instructions for setting extended timers at https://support.atu.edu/support/solutions/articles/7000019167-how-do-i-adjust-a-test-time-for-just-one-student. Please contact them if you have further questions about this process.

It’s important to correctly set a timer for students who are approved for extended time on tests because failing to do so causes them unnecessary stress during an exam, limiting their ability to demonstrate what they have learned in the course. Occasionally instructors will tell students that they are allowed to go past the time limit instead of appropriately adjusting the timer, but this often exacerbates anxiety-related conditions because the student doesn’t truly know if the exam will automatically submit when the timer runs out. Please utilize the link above or call Campus Support if you need assistance in setting up extended time for exams.

There may be students who have worked around disability-related barriers by taking face-to-face classes only, so don’t be surprised if students ask for accommodations due to their condition. Please refer them to our online application at https://denali.accessiblelearning.com/ATU/ApplicationStudent.aspx so we can explore appropriate accommodations and issue a notification letter once the process is complete.

 


 TRAVEL

The ATU Travel Office is reviewing all travel relative to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

  • Please review the CDC helpful guidance for travelers. During your travels, stay informed about developments and watch for advisories that could impact your journey and/or your return. 
  • The CDC now recommends travelers, particularly those with underlying health issues, defer all cruise ship travel worldwide

If you have concern about travel within the United States for events, please discuss that with your supervisor/instructor/department.  Any travel into or through areas listed by the CDC, ADH or U.S. State Department as requiring quarantine may limit your ability to return to campus.  Please take into consideration these potential impacts of any travel – official or personal.  If you have concerns about any upcoming travel, international or domestic, please reach out to your instructor, supervisor, or the ATU Travel Office.

To slow the spread of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) into the United States, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is working with state and local public health partners to implement after-travel health precautions.

Click on the link below to read more about the CDC after-travel precautions for individuals who have traveled abroad to certain countries:

https://www.cdc.gov/Coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html

In accordance with this guidance from the CDC and the Arkansas Governor’s office, Arkansas Tech University has made the following determinations:

  • Cancellation of all out-of-state travel by any ATU employees or ATU-sponsored groups.
  • Cancellation or postponement of international travel by ATU-sanctioned programs for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. A decision on future semesters, including summer 2020, will be made as more information becomes available.
  • Members of the University community who have engaged in international travel should stay home for 14 days from the time they left an area with widespread, ongoing community spread (Level 3 Travel Health Notice countries) and practice social distancing.

  


ATU CAMPUS RESPONSE

ATU’s leadership is monitoring the national and regional situations. The CDC’s guidance recommends that universities use their existing pandemic illness plans to prepare for COVID-19.  A review of this plan and assignment of key tasks to members of the University’s COVID-19 task force to prepare for potential implementation is ongoing.

ATU is coordinating and cooperating with the Pope County Local Emergency Planning Committee, which is the lead agency under the state of Arkansas emergency operations plan.

The ATU Facilities Management custodial team utilizes EPA-registered disinfectants to clean common surfaces on campus.

Look for hand sanitizer dispensers located around campus in offices and other facilities. 

In campus bathrooms, make sure to use good technique and wash hands at least 20 seconds.  To learn more, watch this video from the CDC or go to this website page on healthy handwashing.

Beyond your own personal efforts to clean and keep common areas disinfected, Facilities Management has additional tools at its disposal in the event for the need to clean areas.