COVID-19 and the Division
March 25, 2021 Update
Effective April 12, 2021, the Division will move to Stage III, which will allow employees that have not already returned to work in the office to return if the supervisor determines there is an operational need and the ability to provide a safe working environment.
Additionally, the tentative plan for the Division is to move to Stage IV effective June 1, 2021, which will require all employees to return to work in the office unless:
(1) A written telecommuting agreement has been approved by the appropriate unit head and filed with Human Resources, or
(2) A reasonable accommodation request under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been granted by the Division’s Office of Inclusion, Access, and Compliance that allows telecommuting.
The movement to Stage III and IV does not change the Division’s existing requirements regarding social distancing, sanitization, or face masks.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic sent us into work-from-home mode, the chief question has been: "When do we go to our offices?"
Division administration has been working on logistics to help us get back to our offices while minimizing the risk of spreading COVID-19. Any return to the office will be a multi-stage endeavor. Stage 1 represents the preliminaries.
USE OF MASKS
COVID RESPONSE MANAGEMENT
Before anyone returns to the office, the first step is conducting a self-assessment. Download here.
Please follow recommendations from the Arkansas Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control. If you believe you have symptoms start with UAMS's free online screening: https://uamshealth.com/healthnow/
UPDATE FROM THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
At the Division of Agriculture, the safety of our faculty, staff and the clientele with whom we work is top priority. We are following the advice of the Arkansas Department of Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and, because of our international reach, the U.S. State Department, to ensure we all have safe and healthy environments in which to work.
GUIDANCE FOR FIELD RESEARCHERS
TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS AND RELATED INFORMATION
Effective March 5, Division of Agriculture faculty and staff were not permitted to travel for business purposes to countries designated by the U.S. State Department as Level 4 or Level 3. The State Department now has country-specific information related to COVID-19 and can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html or https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
I’ve been traveling. Do I self-quarantine?
If you have traveled out of state, we recommend following CDC guidance upon your return. Keep in mind that you may come in contact with the virus in airports, on mass transit or other public transportation such as taxis and ride-sharing services. CDC also has guidance for those who have traveled to high-risk areas.
Consult your physician or try UAMS’s online COVID-19 screening.
INFORMATION ABOUT LEAVE
Until further notice the university system will continue to follow the leave use guidelines as provided in Board Policies 420.1, 420.2 and 420.3. Specific to a common question, at this time, authority under state law does not exist for paid administrative leave.
In some cases individuals may be quarantined by the Arkansas Department of Health, their physician or other health care authority. They may not be ill or experience symptoms of the illness but will be unavailable for work. As practical for each role and as meets the needs of the individual campus, work-from-home assignments (which would include regular job assignments, available campus on-line training, or similar types of arrangements) are encouraged in those situations. If work-from-home assignments are not possible, accrued leave (sick and vacation) and leave-without-pay will be used in the normal manner.
The U of A System will continue to monitor this situation closely.
FAQs about COVID-19
The Cooperative Extension Service has a page that contains frequently asked questions and other important information about COVID-19 that is not included on this page.