Letter from the Chancellor: September 30, 2020

Dear U of A Community:

As our number of active cases of COVID-19 continues to decline (we’re currently at 63), I want to encourage you to consider getting tested, especially if you have any reason to believe you may have been exposed to someone who is positive. Currently, we have the capacity to do far more testing than we are doing, with virtually no wait times. My concern is that we continue to hear anecdotal stories that people are still resistant to being tested, even when they have reason to believe they have been in direct contact with someone who is positive. As such, I fear that we could have more cases than are being documented and that this is putting people in our community at greater risk of infection.

I understand that testing positive is, at best, an imposition with the temporary quarantine requirements, especially if you are asymptomatic and can’t see a pressing reason to be tested. I urge you, however, to also consider your health and the health of everyone you come into contact with. We’ve seen recent closures of bars, restaurants and offices in Fayetteville due to employees testing positive, so we have reason to be concerned. By having the best possible picture of our positivity rate, and the ability to catch positive cases early, we are better able to ensure the safety of the things we all enjoy doing: eating out or attending football games and other campus events. So please, if you have any reason to believe you may have come into contact with someone who is positive, don’t hesitate to call the Pat Walker Health Center at 479-575-4451 to arrange a test.

I want to urge you to get a flu vaccine as well this year. To make that as convenient as possible, the Pat Walker Health Center is hosting a second Drive-Thru Flu Vaccine Clinic for the campus community today from noon to 4 p.m. at the Baum-Walker Stadium East Parking Lot.

Also, a couple weeks ago we announced that dean of the College of Engineering, John English, would be stepping in as Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation for a year. This has prompted a few others changes: dean of the Graduate School and International Education, Kim Needy, has been named to a one-year appointment as dean of the College of Engineering. The associate dean of the Graduate School and International Education, Pat Koski, will now serve as dean of GSIE on a ten-month appointment. It’s a great relief to have experienced leaders be able to step into these positions on an interim-basis while we evaluate our long-term solutions.  We appreciate it!

Again, if in doubt, don’t hesitate: get tested.


Joe Steinmetz, Ph.D.