COVID-19 Update: Oct. 13, 2020

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

Can you believe we are already halfway through the fall semester? I cannot thank you enough for your patience, resilience, and commitment to health and success as we have navigated this academic year together. We are now in the eighth full week of classes, and I want to share a few important updates and reminders regarding what you can expect in the coming weeks.

First of all, you will recall that while the campus will remain open through December finals week, all fall semester course instruction will be remote after Thanksgiving. Below are some important dates and details to keep in mind as you plan for the remainder of the semester:

  • The final day of any on-campus instruction will be Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, and students will have a full week off (Monday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 29) for Thanksgiving.
  • The four days of instruction following Thanksgiving, as well as final exams in December, will be remote.
  • Though face-to-face instruction for the fall semester will end after Nov. 20, 2020, the rest of campus, including residence halls, dining facilities, HPER, and library will remain open through the end of finals week in December.
  • The spring 2021 semester will begin Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, which is the Tuesday after the observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Just as in the fall semester, we plan for the spring semester to have a variety of options for instructional delivery. More information about those options follows in this email.

You can see an updated academic calendar reflecting these dates here.

I also have some very exciting news about yet another expansion to our COVID-19 testing capabilities. Just over a week ago, we received an Abbott ID NOW machine, which is a PCR-based machine (as opposed to antigen) that provides COVID-19 test results in 15 minutes or less. While our testing capabilities were already robust, the addition of this machine adds yet another layer to our ability to keep the campus community healthy. UCA’s COVID testing capacity continues to be in a very strong position relative to peer institutions nationally, and I am thankful to our leadership in our Student Health Clinic and our partnership with Conway Regional Health System.

Finally, the Office of the Registrar has updated class format descriptions to provide more clarity as students make their course selections during the spring registration process. As you click on each of your courses, classes will now clearly denote the format of instruction. See below for a full list of instructional method descriptions you will see as you begin in November registering for spring classes:

  • Traditional (TRAD): A face-to-face class, often with some web enhancements, but not an online class.
    Online Asynchronous (DEAS): This denotes a planned online course that would be online whether we had a pandemic or not. Asynchronous means that students and instructor are not, for the most part, in planned meetings together at the same time.
  • Online Synchronous (DESY): This denotes a planned online course that would be online whether we had a pandemic or not. Synchronous means that the class mostly consists of planned online meetings at scheduled times with instructor and students meeting virtually.
  • Hybrid Online/Traditional Blended (HYBR): Some parts of the class are conducted face-to-face and some parts of the class are conducted online. The proportion of traditional and online can vary.
  • Hybrid Emergency Event (HYEV): This is a class that would normally be traditional but has gone hybrid because of the pandemic.
  • Online DE Emergency Event (DEEV): This is a class that would normally be traditional but has gone fully online because of the pandemic.
  • Other Instructional Method (OTHER): This is generally used for class types such as internships, thesis/dissertation, clinicals/practicums, independent study.

Our hope is that this information will make registration a more seamless, intuitive process for all. Please note that registration for spring and summer is not currently open. Spring 2021 registration opens in November; summer 2021 registration opens in March. In the coming weeks, additional resources will be available to help you navigate the registration process and understand your course selections.

While we have successfully made it through the first half of the fall semester, now is not the time to let our guard down. We must all diligently follow our health and safety protocols in order to maintain our low virus numbers and complete the semester as planned. When you are in enclosed spaces on campus or in areas where you cannot maintain six feet of distance, continue to wear face coverings that cover both your nose and mouth. You should also continue to maintain six feet of distance and practice good hygiene, as both are integral in helping to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

I am so incredibly proud of all the hard work each and every one of you have put into this year, and I look forward to working together to finish the fall semester strong.