COVID-19 Update: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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

As we enter the final weeks of the spring semester, I wanted to send you a few very important updates about grading, refunds, and summer courses.

I will first address plans for how we will assign grades, as we are getting many questions about this topic. This week, which is our first full week of online instruction, we are more than three quarters of the way through the semester. Instructors have been asked to modify their syllabi and take into account the new mode of course instruction in assigning final grades to their students. Many students have put months of effort into earning their grades, and all of our faculty have worked diligently to prepare their students for success. For these reasons and others, we will not as a university assign pass/fail grades for the spring semester.

Many of you have also asked about housing refunds and credits. For those students whose housing and dining contracts ended early due to the closing of university housing, prorated refunds for March 30 through May 2 will be applied to students’ accounts. If the applied refund creates a credit on the student account, the university will issue a refund check for the excess amount. For returning students, any remaining Aramark Dining Dollars will roll over into the fall semester. Graduating students will be eligible for a Dining Dollar refund. Students will receive additional information soon from the Office of Housing and Residence Life, and any questions should be directed to that office.

As we mentioned last week, Gov. Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Health have stated that we are still likely eight to 12 weeks from the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in Arkansas. In response to this and the continued need to practice social distancing, all of our summer school courses will move to online-only academic instruction. We are currently working to make this shift. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we make changes to the online schedule in the coming days. Due to this situation, the university is exploring options for adjusting fees for summer 2020 classes. Any changes will only be in effect for summer 2020 and will not apply to anyone enrolled in one of our fully-online degree programs. We will communicate those fee changes soon, once they are finalized.

As always, I appreciate your cooperation as we work to complete the semester. We will be in touch with more updates in the coming days and weeks as they are available.