COVID-19 UPDATE: JAN. 6, 2021

Update regarding COVID-19 from President Houston Davis to students, faculty, and staff

Happy New Year! I hope you all have been able to get some much-needed rest during Winter Break. The countdown is now on, and in less than two weeks we will begin the spring 2021 semester. Just as I did leading up to the fall semester, over the next couple of weeks I will provide you with several important details about our spring 2021 plan and what you can expect when classes begin on Jan. 19. Today, I would like to offer a brief overview of a few key topics. Next week we will send you the updated Student Guide to Returning to Campus that will cover these and many other topics in greater depth.


The spring 2021 semester will begin as scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021 — which is the Tuesday after the observation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — and we plan to maintain Spring Break as originally planned and outlined in the academic calendar, from Sunday, March 21 through Sunday, March 28.

Just as in the fall semester, we will have a variety of options for instructional delivery in the spring, including in-person, hybrid, and online, to meet the needs of our students. The majority of our spring courses will be hybrid, but even those that are traditional, face-to-face courses will have elements of remote learning to allow for continuity of instruction should the students or professor need to temporarily work remotely.

The Office of Student Success has created a very helpful webpage that explains the different class formats students could see this spring. You can review that information at, and reach out to them at with any additional questions.

It is extremely important that you check your CUB account (UCA student email) regularly. Your professors will begin sending out important information to you regarding class format, technology requirements and scheduling before class begins and will continue to communicate with you throughout the semester via your UCA email. Contact your academic advisor or your department chair if you have any questions about your schedule.

One of the most important things you can do as a member of this campus community is to stay home if you are feeling ill or have come in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Our classes are set up to serve students, and you will not be penalized for taking necessary health precautions. If you are sick, do not attend class.


Wearing a cloth face covering over the nose and mouth has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. During the spring 2021 semester, students, faculty and staff will be required to wear face coverings in enclosed spaces — in classrooms, hallways, lobbies, restrooms, stairwells and elevators — and in any situation outdoors where maintaining six feet from others is not possible. However, students are not required to wear face coverings while in their dorm room or in their own personal space.

UCA will once again provide all students with a UCA-branded covering (neck gaiter) that has been modified to meet CDC standards. Neck gaiters are available in the Office of Student Life, Student Center 207, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Additionally, UCA will provide KN95 masks, face shields, eye coverings (protective goggles), protective clothing and gloves in specific instances such as to Nursing students or other College of Health and Behavioral Sciences students participating in clinicals; to students in certain laboratory settings; and to students working in public K-12 schools. These will be distributed by the respective departments.


Our UCA Student Health Clinic (SHC), in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Health and Conway Regional Health System, has the capability to test and trace any students, faculty, or staff members who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or those who believe they may have been in close contact with an infected person(s).

Last semester, the university received a PCR-based Abbott ID NOW machine that provides COVID-19 test results in around 15 minutes for individuals who are symptomatic. We recently received a second Abbott ID NOW machine which allows us an even more robust operation for urgent testing needs. The university also offers a PCR-based test for individuals who are not symptomatic but would like to get tested. Specimens are sent to a local lab, and results typically return in around 24 hours. To make an appointment, visit the SHC website, or call (501) 450-3136. If you have medical questions, you can also email the SHC at

Dr. Randy Pastor, UCA Medical Director, has developed a protocol outlining the steps students should take if they need to get tested, or if they receive a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. That protocol may be viewed at, under “Testing, Tracing, Isolating.” UCA is also prepared to house students who are required to quarantine or isolate and need to remain on campus.

As a reminder, upon our return to campus, UCA is planning to partner with the Arkansas Department of Health to host a free COVID-19 testing event on Jan. 20 for students, faculty, and staff. We will provide additional details soon.

Please know that we are working daily to ensure that all UCA students have a rich, fulfilling academic and campus life experience in a safe environment. Thank you for your commitment to this university and to each other. If we all work together, we will have a successful spring 2021 semester and finish the academic year strong.