FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – As COVID-19 cases continue to increase on the University of Arkansas campus, leaders are becoming more concerned for off-campus students.
U of A spokesman, Mark Rushing says the university organized a partnership with Mount Sequoyah after Labor Day Weekend knowing there would be a need for isolation spaces for off-campus students.
“In an effort to be proactive with the on-campus testing clinics last week and going into the Labor Day weekend, university housing wanted to be prepared for any situation involving the need for quarantine and isolation involving off campus students,” he said.
Rushing says the U of A is paying $60 a night and $35 per day for each student to stay at Mount Sequoyah and be fed every day by its staff. This week up to five students have come here to quarantine.
“We’ve worked it so they can stay up to two weeks cuz that’s the period that they need to for sure have but most of the students have made the proper arrangement through university housing to go home and finish their quarantine at home,” said Emily Gentry, President of Mount Sequoyah.
Gentry says staff members are taking every measure to ensure the facilities are safe for the community.
“We assume that everyone that’s coming into our spaces could have covid whether its a meeting whether its students that are coming to virtual school facilitation during the day we assume that everyone could be an asymptomatic case,” she said.
Rushing says based on contact tracing, the rapid spread of COVID-19 cases appears to be coming from off-campus gatherings.
As a result, the university has established new policies hoping to contain the growing number of positive cases, including suspending off-campus activities that consist of more than ten people.
Rushing says the university is also asking students to report any activity they see that is not aligned with school guidelines or following its safety precautions.
Rushing says the university still has not established a threshold of when it will be time to make major changes for students and on-campus learning. For now, that decision is up to students and what they feel is safest.
“We have made space available on campus for those students who feel its best for them to quarantine or isolate here but others may wish to go home to quarantine or isolate and take courses remotely during that period temporarily,” he said.
Mount Sequoyah President’s says while the facility agreed to house students just for the two-week isolation period, they are prepared to extend this opportunity for more students if needed.