FAYETTEVILLE, Ark — The University of Arkansas is banning all gatherings of 10 or more on and off-campus due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This decision was announced Friday (Sept. 4) as Arkansas saw the highest number of new COVID-19 cases and the highest number of tests in the last 24 hours.
Starting Saturday, Sept. 5 and continuing through Sept. 18, on-campus events are suspended, other than official events conducted by University academic and administrative units, which are still subject to approval on a case by case basis, according to a letter released by the university.
The suspension does not affect in-person classes, labs or other instructional activities and does not relate to practices or related activities for athletics.
Over the next two weeks, university officials will evaluate whether this might need to be extended.
The letter also states if the Office of Student Standards and Conduct receives a report of large parties and similar social gatherings with 10 or more students, without very clearly maintained safety elements such as social distancing and mask-wearing, and the report is verified, the University will treat the event as a violation of the Code of Student Life by organizers and by attendees. Organizing and conducting such an event will be considered a serious matter and students will be held accountable.
If students are caught in the Dickson Street entertainment district or elsewhere congregating in large groups to socialize, not maintaining social distancing and mask-wearing, the matter will be treated as a Code of Student Life violation.
University of Arkansas Communication Manager John Thomas said activity on-campus is not really the problem.
"It’s the things that happen off campus that we don’t have control over," Thomas said. "It's one of those things we are actually asking the community for help with. If they see something where ever they are whether it's on Dickson or in their neighborhood they need to report it.”
Thomas said people can report violations to Report.uark.edu.
Governor Asa Hutchinson announced 1,094 new cases, totaling 64,175 in the state. He also said there were 11,254 PCR tests conducted along with 600 antigen tests in the last 24 hours.
The U of A will update the public on the number of COVID-19 cases on its website.
Click here to view the U of A student's standards and conduct.