ATU-Ozark COVID-19 Facts and FAQs

Information as of: April 6, 2020 2:35 p.m.

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.

ATU-Ozark requests that if staff, faculty or students have been tested for COVID-19, please contact the Public Safety Officer at (479) 508-3359 or dspicer1@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.

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

Arkansas Tech University - Ozark Campus will continue its current policy of virtual instruction for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester and postpone its spring 2020 commencement ceremonies, which were scheduled for May 7-9

Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus va a continuar su presente norma de instruction a traves de los medios virtuales por el resto del semester de primavera 2020 y va a posponer las ceremonias de graduacion de primavera 2020, que habian sido programadas para el 7 al 9 de Mayo. 
 

ARKANSAS TECH NEWS PRESS RELEASES

Latest Update: Message from Chancellor Sikes: March 30, 2020

Coronavirus Update: March 20, 2020

Important Travel Advisory from COVID-19 Task Force

ATU Coronavirus Pandemic Update: March 16, 2020

In-Person Classes Cease 5 p.m. March 13 at ATU

 

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

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

CDC INFORMATION

image of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

COVID-19 HOTLINE

Mercy and Baptist Hospitals have established a hotline for individuals with questions regarding COVID-19 testing. The hotline number is 479-289-6508.

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:

UNITED WAY 2-1-1

The United Way of Fort Smith Area in partnership with the United Way of Northwest Arkansas, has implemented a 2-1-1 call center for Sebastian, Crawford, Logan, Franklin, and Scott Counties. The 2-1-1 call center will be an incredible resource for local citizens to have access to speak live to a well-trained information and referral operator to get needed information 24 hours a day. 2-1-1 can be accessed by simply dialing 2-1-1 or going to http://arkansas211.org . Visit https://unitedwayfortsmith.org/covid-19-updates/ to learn about United Way of Fort Smith Area's Covid-19 updates and check out their Community Resource Guide


 

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.

The Cafe in the Alvin F. Vest Student Union is currently closed until classes resume.

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/

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.

The Alvin F. Vest Student Union Computer Lab/TAS 101 will remain open at this time to students only.  Limited seating is available in the computer lab in order to practice social distancing. Sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer is also available so that you may wipe down your workspace before and after use.  The hours for the computer lab are Monday - Thursday, 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Friday, 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Barnes and Noble Campus Bookstore: The Barnes and Noble Campus Bookstore will remain operational and accessible through email, but the physical store will be closed. Through the remainder of the Spring 2020 term, Barnes and Noble College Bookstores, will offer free access to eTextbooks for students at Barnes & Noble College campuses that have closed due to COVID-19 through our partnership with VitalSource.

You may contact the Bookstore by emailing SM8229@bncollege.com

Cengage: For U.S. higher education institutions experiencing unplanned, mid-semester impacts due to COVID-19, Cengage is offering students free access to all our digital platforms and 14,000 ebooks through Cengage Unlimited, for the remainder of this semester. For more information visit,  https://www.cengage.com/covid-19-support/

Direct Deposit of Student Refunds will be deposited into the student's bank account Wednesday the week the refund is issued.  If the student elected a paper check, the check will be mailed Wednesday of the issuance and student is expected to receive delivery of the refund within normal post office operations. If you would like to sign up for Direct Deposit please sign on to OneTech, click the Tuition & Aid link on the left, and click on Sign up for Direct Deposit under Payment Options.

Yes. The food pantry will be open by appointment only, Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Please call 479-667-2117 to schedule an appointment. 

Library services are available virtually Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.  Students, faculty, and staff can receive library assistance by using the new virtual chat button on the library's homepage, emailing kmoore36@atu.edu, or calling the library at 479-508-3321. The library has extended all current (not overdue) checked out items to a new due date of August 4th. No library fines will be assessed during this time. 

There are only two buildings physically open on campus. The Technology and Academic Support building is accessible from the east (main parking lot) door and the handicapped accessible door on the south side of the building. The Health Sciences and Wellness building is accessible from the west (main entrance). Both buildings are open Monday - Thursday from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m, and Fridays 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. The TAS building has a computer lab available for student use only. (see section on Computer Labs for more information). 

Even though some buildings will be closed to the public, university operations will remain open and operational through email or by phone.  Current and future students will still be able to register for classes, etc.  

Main Campus Line - 479-667-2117

Here are a few departments phone numbers you may need during this time. If you have a specific person's email you can always email them.

Student Services - Registrar's Office - 479-667-2117

Student Services - Financial Aid - 479-667-2117

Academic Affairs - 479-667-1707

Fiscal Affairs (479) 667-2117

Computer Help Desk - 479-968-0646

Library - 479-508-3321

Bookstore - 479-667-2377

Campus Directory

Ozark A-Z 

 

Financial Aid  Bethany Bonner - bbonner2@atu.edu Julie Schmalz - jschmalz2@atu.edu Brianna Ingram - bingram3@atu.edu  
Advising for currently registered students (Use Last name to find advisor) Angie (A-E) - acox1@atu.edu Erin (F-L) - ebrickley@atu.edu Faith (M-R) - fjohnson5@atu.edu Linda (S-Z) - lclifton@atu.edu
CPI Brianna Ingram - bingram3@atu.edu      
Advising for new students Jessica Spicer - jspicer3@atu.edu Whitney Parsons - wparsons@atu.edu    
Admission and Registration Brooke Stubblefield - bstubblefield2@atu.edu Megan Henson - mhenson9@atu.edu    
Student Accounts Becky Krebs - rkrebs@atu.edu      
General Questions or Concerns Richard Harris - rharris1@atu.edu      
Public Safety David Spicer - dspicer1@atu.edu      

 

TEAS Testing will begin on a limited basis for Physical Therapist Assistant Applicants on April 20-21. Testing dates are tentative at this time and subject to change. We anticipate further TEAS testing for our additional health care programs to begin sometime after June 1st. Those who have already applied to a health program, should have received an email on April 6th. Thank you for your understanding and patience. For additional questions or to register, please contact Sharyl Moffit at smoffit@atu.edu 

Yes. Students can make online tutoring appointments through the APEX tutoring center by going to https://www.atu.edu/tutoring or, if  you have questions, you can email student.success@atu.edu for help making appointments. Tutoring appointments are avilable Sunday-Thursday from 4-8 p.m. 

How to Make an Appointment

Tutor Schedules and Classes

 


 

FACULTY & STAFF

Following best practice guidance issued by the State of Arkansas, Arkansas Tech University employees who are continuing to report to campus for work will be required to complete a health screening before coming to work each day. Please follow these instructions for completing a health screening before coming to work.

Employees will submit the online health screening form located at: https://bit.ly/2ya8pvB

The online health screening form can also be found on OneTech in the Employee section under Time & Leave Information.

After submission of the online form, the employee’s supervisor will be notified that the form has been submitted.

If an employee has a fever, cough, shortness of breath or flu-like symptoms, they must stay home and contact their supervisor as well as the ATU – Ozark Public Safety Officer David Spicer at (479) 518-0812.

If an employee is absent due to these symptoms, employees or their supervisor must still fill out the online health screening form and submit it.

Employees who are able to complete the health screening at home, do not have symptoms, but unable to submit the online form at home are to submit the health screening form when they arrive to campus.

For those who do not have access to a thermometer at home please contact your supervisor.

Follow-Up Procedures:

All screenings will be compiled by the ATU Office of Information Systems and sent to the health services director for her review. She will review the forms every morning and will call any employee with a positive result to make recommendations on further follow-up and testing if needed.

The online health screening form is a mobile friendly and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant web link.

 

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 the Spring semster.

Faculty and staff will work from home as much as possible beginning Wednesday, March 18th.  Staff members working from home will be on call in accordance with their regular work schedules. Office phones are being forwarded and appropriate remote access to digital resources are being established such that university employees will be available to respond to inquiries as if they were in the office. 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. 

Please see the section above on Employee Health Screenings, if you do plan on coming to campus.

 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.

 


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.

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

 


 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.