• Fall 2020 COVID-19 Response Plan

  • Message from President Arnold

    Wednesday, July 29, 2020

    Dear Hendrix students, 

    Over the last two months our campus community has worked diligently to prepare for your return to campus. The excitement of anticipating your return to campus has been fuel for our efforts to prepare for your return. Unfortunately, in spite of our determination, external conditions and the current trends of the virus in our state and neighboring states will prevent us from beginning the semester in person next month.  

    Today, guided by what is in the best interests for the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, the Hendrix College Board of Trustees voted to adjust our fall opening plans and we will begin the semester remotely. Although we know this decision is prudent and wise, we share with you the extraordinary disappointment of not being together in person next month. Nevertheless, we will continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions and, if the current trends change, we will return to campus later this fall. 

    Hendrix faculty and Fall 2020 Steering Committee members have worked since May to prepare for in-person classes and to ensure your safe return to campus. This summer, the College joined Conway Regional Health System and our neighbors in higher education in Conway to form a testing and health services partnership to fulfill our plans for in-person teaching and learning and campus life.  

    While we are confident in our campus safety plans and our partners in the community, we have serious concerns, based on public health data and predictive models, about the current trajectory of the virus in central Arkansas and across the state. In addition, many of our out-of-state students come from Texas, Tennessee, and Louisiana, which are currently experiencing high infection rates.  

    In Arkansas, average daily cases have significantly increased since mid-June. Late last week, the state recorded the two highest single-day numbers of community cases since the pandemic began. The positivity rate of infection is now higher than a month ago.  

    These alarming trends create incredible pressure on testing turnaround and timely contact tracing. Despite solid strategic planning that accounts for multiple contingencies, as well as generous assistance from our regional healthcare system partners, these overwhelming external pressures compromise our capacity to successfully manage the certain growth in cases on our campus.   

    Given the current situation and the residential nature of our community, beginning the semester remotely is the most responsible position we can take in order to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff.  

    We are hopeful virus trends will improve so that we can welcome students back to campus safely in a staggered return and resume in-person instruction later this fall. In the meantime, by adjusting our fall plans now, our primary focus will be on preparing to meet our collective commitment to educational excellence. Hendrix faculty have invested significant time and effort since our transition to remote learning this spring. Many of them have participated in a workshop series led by our Associate Provost for Faculty Development and professional development programs sponsored by our academic consortium, exploring effective ways to engage students remotely and to challenge and inspire them just as they do in the physical classroom.  

    We will update our online resources at www.hendrix.edu/fall2020plans to reflect the adjustments to our fall plans, including the expectations and implications for remote learning, by the end of next week. If you have questions or concerns that are not covered in our new FAQs, please contact aboutcovid19@hendrix.edu.    

    This is a time of much uncertainty in higher education. It has required all of us to adapt our plans to health conditions that are beyond our control. In spite of these challenges, I am certain of this: the value and importance of what we do at Hendrix has never been greater than it is at this moment in our history; the quality of the educational experience at Hendrix has never been higher; and I am confident that together we will emerge from this time as a stronger community. You are the next generation of Hendrix graduates and the experiences that you will have at Hendrix will not only be life changing for you but will also prepare you to help shape the future of our world. 

    Thank you for your patience, perseverance, and commitment to Hendrix. 

    Sincerely,  

    W. Ellis Arnold III ’79 

    President 


     


  • Timeline

    • Wednesday, August 5 — New student advising will begin remotely.
    • Monday, August 17 through Wednesday, August 19 — New student orientation begins. The traditional orientation trips are postponed at this time.
    • Thursday, August 20 — Classes begin remotely.
    • Monday, October 26 — Latest possible date in-person instruction could begin.
    • Tuesday, November 24 — Classes will end before Thanksgiving break.
    • Wednesday, December 2 through Wednesday, December 9 — Finals will be held online. 
  • What to Know

    General Precautions

    • The College will continue to monitor information closely from the Arkansas Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and our Conway Regional Health System partners. Conditions will continue to be evaluated on a regular basis in the hope that a return to campus will become a more viable option.
    • Regardless of when a new return-to-campus date is set, face coverings (e.g., mask, plexiglass face shield, etc.) will be required in public areas (indoor and outdoor). Hendrix will provide cloth masks to all students and employees.
    • Social distancing of six feet will continue to be expected of anyone who must come to campus to help implement the revised fall semester plans.

    Academics and Student Life

    • Since the end of the spring 2020 semester, Hendrix faculty have invested significant time and effort in exploring effective ways to engage students remotely and to challenge and inspire them just as they do in the physical classroom. In addition to faculty participating in training, Technology Services is continuing to work on improvements to online course delivery.
    • When the plan was to begin the fall semester on campus but with some students choosing remote learning, Student Senate and the Office of Student Activities began working on ways to maintain the social connection of the Hendrix community regardless of students’ locations. This work will continue now that plans have changed to an all-remote start of the semester.
    • The number of students living on campus during remote learning will be strictly limited. Students applying to live on campus must explain the nature of their need to do so. As was the case for the last part of the spring 2020 semester, Dining Services will not be available to those living on campus during remote-only instruction.
  • FAQ

    These FAQs were released Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

    *If you have questions after reviewing the information presented here, please email aboutcovid19@hendrix.edu.

    Why did the college change from plans to have in-person hybrid courses to fully remote learning?

    We have been regularly monitoring the COVID-19 cases in Arkansas and with the recent increase in positive cases and current trends, we must postpone a return to in-person classes until we can assure the health and safety of our community. 

    Will tuition for the fall semester be reduced for remote teaching and learning?

    In addition to room and board costs being removed from student bills for the period of remote learning this fall semester, students still showing a balance for tuition will receive an additional grant that will reduce the amount for tuition owed for the fall by approximately 10%. Students can expect to see this change to the billing statement by August 12, 2020. 

    Will any students be allowed to live on campus during this period of remote teaching and learning?

    Only a very limited number of students facing extraordinary circumstances will be allowed to live on campus. Dining Services will not be operational. Students wishing to appeal to live on campus should complete this form by August 6. Those who make this request will receive a decision by August 11, 2020. 

    Will student workers be allowed to work remotely?

    Students employed by the College whose jobs may be performed remotely may do so, subject to the supervisor’s approval. 

    Will the start of classes be adjusted back since it was adjusted forward this year for in-person classes? When will classes start?

    No, the current fall calendar will remain in place, and classes will start on August 20. 

    Will the College still have labs and other courses/activities that are hands-on?

    Yes. Instructors with laboratory courses or other hands-on activities have been working over the summer to provide ways to offer these courses remotely. 

    How will the College address engaged learning activities like research and internships?

    Students may still undertake Odyssey projects, such as research and internships. In most cases these activities will be done remotely following COVID-19 guidance provided by the Odyssey Office and Career Services. 

    How does Hendrix plan to engage students remotely, given the residential nature of its experience?

    The Office of Student Activities and Student Senate will work collaboratively to provide programs and events to maintain social connection among the student body amid remote instruction. There will be virtual trivia nights, game nights, talent shows, and other opportunities for engagement and community building throughout the semester. The College will be making every effort to provide opportunities for a rich social experience. 

    What technology support is available for students who need remote learning support?

    Students with technology needs, such as lack of internet access or computer availability, may apply for a grant to help offset these expenses. Email HendrixCares@hendrix.edu to apply for grant support. The Technology Services HelpDesk is available to assist with support questions. Email HelpDesk@hendrix.edu for assistance. 

    What are the conditions and factors the College will use to determine the return to in-person teaching on campus?

    The conditions the College will use include new COVID-19 cases, positivity rates, testing capacity and contact tracing response time, and local hospital capacity. We will also consider advice and directives from state and local health and government officials.

    When is the latest date that Hendrix would bring students back?

    The latest date we would bring students back to campus would be October 26 to start in-person instruction. Students would move back to campus during the week prior to this date; detailed move-in instructions would be provided.  

    What will Hendrix do to ensure an appropriately safe environment for our students, faculty, and staff if we return to campus this fall? 

    The policies and procedures in the Fall 2020 COVID Response Plan we developed for opening the campus will remain in place.

    How does the new plan for fully remote learning change the practice and training opportunities for student-athletes in fall sports?

    Coaches will remain in contact with student athletes throughout the fall and provide remote training and teambuilding. Once we resume in-person classes, training will resume following NCAA and Conference guidelines.  

    As an incoming student, can I defer my enrollment to January or August 2021?

    Incoming first-year students and transfer students can seek a deferral by completing the Enrollment Deferral Form by Thursday, August 6. Any student receiving an academic-based scholarship can expect an award at the same level. For need-based financial aid review, students deferring to January 2021 will not need to re-apply for need-based financial aid; however, students seeking a deferral until August 2021 will need to submit the 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid. During the deferral period, students are not permitted to take college coursework elsewhere. 

    As a returning student, can I take a leave of absence and return to on-campus student in January or August 2021?

    A student may apply for a Leave of Absence from the College for Fall 2020. An application for Leave of Absence is typically for one semester; however, a student with ongoing concerns about COVID-19 may request to extend this leave to cover Spring 2021. A student requesting a Leave of Absence should follow the procedure in the Hendrix Catalog

  • Health and Safety Reminders

    [Note: This section was last updated June 18, 2020.]

    The health and safety of the entire Hendrix community remains our top priority. Hendrix College continues to monitor developments surrounding the COVID-19. Social distancing is the most effective way to decrease the spread of this illness. Listed below are tips from the Arkansas Department of Health to to protect yourself and others.  

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
    • Practice physical distancing. Avoid close contact with others, especially those who are sick, by keeping at least 6 feet between you and others.
    • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 or develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, seek testing. Testing is available in many locations, including ADH Local Health Units and local hospitals.
    • Wear a cloth mask when in public and unable to maintain a 6-foot distance from others.

    Helpful Links 

    Screening and testing information from Conway Regional Health System: Conway Regional Health System offers local and convenient COVID-19 testing. There is online screening via telehealth that can be scheduled through this link. Phone screening is also available by calling 501-450-2290. The drive-through testing site is located at the Conway Regional Medical Center Campus west entrance, 2302 College Avenue. A laboratory order from a health provider is required. 

    Arkansas Department of Health: https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus

    Centers for Disease Controlhttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

  • Earlier Messages

    Update from July 21, 2020:

    Dear Hendrix College community members,

    While academic and campus life have changed this year because of COVID-19, our commitment to students has not. In consultation with our partners at Conway Regional Health System, a steering committee has developed a comprehensive plan to prepare for the fall semester on campus. I am pleased to share this plan with you.

    Over the past several months, I have been inspired by the Hendrix community as you have again and again demonstrated tremendous support and care for one another. Going forward, we must commit to upholding the expectations in our plan in order to safely and successfully return to teaching, learning, and living at Hendrix. That is why our plan calls for a Community Commitment. This commitment, which will be distributed before the return to campus, will reinforce our collective and individual responsibility to create and maintain a safe environment at Hendrix for students, faculty, and staff.   

    Our plan is a living document. We are closely monitoring key health and safety indicators, and we are continually evaluating our capacity to manage those trends on campus. We continue to meet weekly with our local community partners at Conway Regional Health System and monitor guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control daily.   

    We will continue to share new information with our community, and we will update our online resources at www.hendrix.edu/fall2020plans

    While the global pandemic continues to test all of us, it also reveals the tremendous strengths of the Hendrix community, which form the foundation of our Statement of Purpose: empathy, creativity, self-understanding, rigorous inquiry, and informed deliberation. Most important is our collective commitment to educational excellence; despite changes brought by COVID-19, I know the outstanding Hendrix education across the liberal arts will continue this fall and beyond.

    Thank you for your patience, perseverance, and commitment to the mission of the College as we prepare for the fall at Hendrix.

    Sincerely,

    W. Ellis Arnold III ’79

    Read the full Fall 2020 COVID-19 Response Plan


    Update from July 14, 2020:

    Dear Hendrix students,

    In order to be ready to open campus for in-person classes next month, we have been developing a comprehensive plan with policies and protocols to ensure the health and safety of the Hendrix community. We will release this report early next week.  

    While we are eager to see you on campus, we are also finalizing a flexible learning option so students who have health or other concerns can learn remotely for the fall semester. We will share more information on this option, including expectations and implications for remote learning, within the next week. At that time, we will be asking all students to respond to a short survey so that we can adjust accordingly.

    We will continue to share updates with our community and update our online resources at www.hendrix.edu/fall2020plans. Plans for fall semester on campus will be added to this link next week. Additionally, you can send any questions you have to aboutcovid19@hendrix.edu.  

    Thank you for your flexibility and patience as we prepare for the fall. While COVID-19 has required changes to academic and campus life, it also represents an opportunity to reinforce our role as a national liberal arts college that inspires and challenges students to adapt and meet the shifting needs of our world.  

    Sincerely, 

    W. Ellis Arnold III ’79 
    President 

    ________

    Update from June 17, 2020:

    Dear Hendrix College community members,

    Many of you have been involved in planning for the Fall 2020 semester at Hendrix. Thank you for your hard work, your helpful suggestions, and your unwavering commitment to Hendrix College.

    As we prepare for the fall, I want to share a framework of our plans for the semester.

    • Housing assignments for new students will be released by Tuesday, June 30.
    • New student advising will be remote, beginning Wednesday, August 5.
    • New students move into residence halls Monday, August 17, and returning students arrive Wednesday, August 19. Move-in will be strategically staggered to allow as much physical spacing as possible.
    • New student orientation will be Monday, August 17 through Wednesday, August 19. The traditional orientation trips are postponed at this time.
    • Classes begin Thursday, August 20. In-person classes will end Tuesday, November 24, before Thanksgiving break.
    • Finals will be held online after Thanksgiving break.

    We will continue to communicate with you as we update our plans based on guidance we receive from the Centers for Disease Control, the Arkansas Department of Health, and Conway Regional Health System. It is critical that we follow these recommendations in order to safely and successfully return to academic and campus life at Hendrix.

    As we finalize details for the fall, we will continue to share new and updated information online at www.hendrix.edu/fall2020plans.

    While COVID-19 has required some changes to academic and campus life, it also represents an opportunity to reinforce our role as a national liberal arts college that inspires and challenges students to adapt and meet the shifting needs of our world. 

    Thank you for your flexibility and patience as we prepare for the fall, and thank you for all you do for Hendrix!

    Sincerely,

    W. Ellis Arnold III ’79

    President

    ________

    Update from March 31, 2020:

    To: Hendrix College Class of 2020 (seniors and M.A. Accounting students)
    From: President Arnold
    Subject: Hendrix College Spring 2020 Commencement

    Dear Spring 2020 graduates, 

    Spring at Hendrix usually means azaleas blooming on campus and busy days full of year-end performances, preparations for final exams, and plenty of good times and fond farewells with friends and mentors. Unfortunately, most of these milestones have been postponed indefinitely or canceled entirely. I cannot express how heartbroken I am that your final semester at Hendrix has been upended in such an extraordinary way. 

    Though it is the pinnacle of the academic year, we cannot hold Commencement 2020 on campus in May as scheduled. While many things are still uncertain and undecided, let me assure you that there will be an opportunity for you to return to campus and be recognized for your accomplishments as graduates of Hendrix College. We will celebrate what you have worked so hard to achieve these past four years. I look forward to sharing more information at a later date once we determine when that opportunity will be. 

    In the meantime, we know how important your Hendrix diploma is to you. Please make sure your address is up to date in CampusWeb no later than May 1 so that we can mail it to you at the end of the academic year. 

    During your time at Hendrix, each of you has contributed to the character and spirit of this institution. I look forward to the opportunity to celebrate with you, to personally congratulate you, and to thank you for all you mean to the College. 

    Sincerely,

    W. Ellis Arnold III ’79

    President

    ________

    An update with information about remote learning was sent to students March 19, 2020: Information About Remote Classes

    Additional updates were released March 16, 2020: Informational Updates and Available Resources for the Hendrix Community

    ________

    Update from March 13, 2020: 

    Dear Hendrix community, 

    I am grateful to everyone who has shared their concerns and offers of support as our Senior Leadership Team has monitored the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)-related developments in recent days.  

    While there are no cases of COVID-19 currently at Hendrix, our responsibility is the well-being of our students and employees. In a highly residential living and learning environment such as Hendrix, we are concerned that we cannot adequately ensure the health and safety of our students in the event of an outbreak. 

    After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to suspend in-person classes at the conclusion of classes today, and we will transition to synchronous remote learning after Spring Break for the remainder of this semester. All other campus operations will continue, and offices will remain open. A timeline of important dates is listed below. 

    We understand there are unresolved issues and will continue working to identify solutions to questions not addressed in this message. Please know that we are absolutely committed to upholding the quality of teaching and learning.  

    We will continue to update our resource and response page at  www.hendrix.edu/coronavirus. There will be an FAQ section added to this page to address other issues, which will be updated as decisions are made. If you have questions about the information presented here, please email  aboutcovid19@hendrix.edu

    I am grateful for the hard work of staff, faculty, and students who have assisted in planning and decision-making. This decision was not made lightly, and we understand its profound impact on everyone. Thank you for your patience, support, and understanding.  

    In the coming days and weeks, the resilience of our community will be tested, but I am confident this unprecedented situation will ultimately reaffirm the character and spirit of Hendrix. 

    Sincerely, 

    W. Ellis Arnold III ’79 

    President 

    ________

    Update from March 11, 2020:

    Currently:

    • There are no cases of COVID-19 on the Hendrix campus, nor are there any suspected cases.
    • On March 2, the College sent a message to students, faculty, and staff concerning plans to address health and safety issues, travel study modifications, and academic continuity.

    In addition, here are some measures the College is currently taking:

    Addressing academic continuity concerns: As part of the College planning of our response to COVID-19, we will be setting up Office 365 Teams for Education as the on-line platform for holding classes remotely. Please note that we have NOT yet made any definite decisions about whether we will need to hold classes virtually, but we need to have the system deployed in case we decide to move in this direction. Academic Affairs and Technology Services are developing instructions and training for faculty and instructions for students. As the situation continues to develop, we will keep the Hendrix community informed about any updates or next steps.

    Response planning: The College’s Emergency Response Team has begun meeting to determine likely needs in the event COVID-19 reaches the Hendrix campus. These considerations include:

    • alternate housing for temporary containment/quarantine
    • alternate distribution of meals that would minimize the need for a large group to congregate in the same space
    • how best the College can follow updated recommendations distributed by the above sources
    • addressing sick leave policies per the recommendation of the City of Conway and local health professionals.

    Additional sanitizing: Facilities staff are paying particular attention to sanitizing high-traffic areas around campus. Thank you for your patience as this change in focus affects some of the normal campus maintenance schedules.

    Coordinating with community leaders: Assistant Dean Mike LeBlanc and Nurse Necie Reed attended a March 4 meeting called by the City of Conway to discuss COVID-19 concerns. Mayor Bart Castleberry brought together leaders from area hospitals, State and City Health Departments, larger businesses, schools, and institutions of higher education. Topics included the City’s disease readiness plan and a review of preparation by various organizations.