News Center

Hendrix College Fall 2020 COVID-19 Response Plan

July 21, 2020

A message from President Arnold

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

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.


W. Ellis Arnold III ’79


Guiding Principles

Hendrix College is a community of learners. In order to protect the health and wellbeing of the entire community of students, staff, faculty, and administrators, a high-level of safety policies and health protections are necessary. Because Hendrix community members interact in many ways on a residential campus, the College may require protections beyond those put in place by local and state authorities.

Hendrix is a close and caring community, and a healthy and successful fall semester with in-person classes will require the commitment of every community member. All students and employees will complete an online education module; the module will conclude with a Community Commitment, signed by all students and employees. 

All community members will be expected to comply with all COVID-19 safety and health policies. Community members should feel comfortable in appropriately and gracefully pointing out violations. With the right approach, we can educate and protect one another this fall and beyond.

Health and Wellness

Use of Facemasks/Coverings

As face covering is an essential component to stopping the spread of the coronavirus and protecting the community, all community members—students and employees—are expected to face-cover when around others. Importantly, these coverings protect not only the wearer but also everyone in close proximity. Further, the city of Conway mandates the wearing of face coverings in public areas.

  • The College will provide employees with two masks each (with more available as needed).
  • The College will provide students with one cloth face mask each (more will be available for purchase at the post office/spirit store). Additionally, the College will provide three disposable facemasks for students and their guests on move-in day. Finally, the College will also ask students to bring at least seven additional face coverings with them (enough for a week between launderings).
  • Face covering is required inside all College buildings, except while working or studying alone in a confined space, such as an office or laboratory.
  • Face coverings should be put on before entering buildings and not removed until exiting buildings (and then only if social distancing is possible).
  • When outside, individuals may remove face coverings unless within six feet of others; however, students and employees should carry a face covering at all times in case of an encounter with others.
  • Those not complying with policy will be asked to leave and return with a face covering. Individuals may be subject to warnings or other sanctions (student sanctions may include the full range listed in the Student Handbook based upon severity and frequency of the violations; employee sanctions may eventually result in termination).
  • The College will provide face shields to all faculty members (an instructor may choose to wear a face covering, face shield, or both).
  • If a disability prevents a student or employee from wearing a face covering, the College will provide a face shield; students and employees may contact Academic Success and Human Resources respectively with concerns and for support.
  • Students and employees should regularly wash face coverings.

For more information on face covering, see Appendix MASK.

Social Distancing

Individuals must keep six feet from one another at all times (there will be rare exceptions to this policy, such as shared residence hall rooms). This includes in classrooms, meeting rooms, laboratories, and offices. The College will provide signage and floor decals, barriers, and access control to maximize social distancing adherence.

Group Size

No group larger than fifty (50) individuals will be permitted (dining facilities may accommodate more individuals at one time with adequate spacing). All groups must adhere to social-distancing and face-covering policies.

Training and Education

Hendrix is committed to providing training and education to our community as we work to create a safe environment for our community. This education will be provided on several levels: 

  • All community members will receive information about basic individual responsibilities and expectations to comply with safety measures.
  • All students and employees will be required to sign a social Community Commitment that outlines campus safety expectations and policies. This Commitment will work in conjunction with an on-line training program. Students must complete the Commitment to receive a room key and attend classes.   
  • Individuals who are expected to interact with students, and assume increased risk as part of that work, will receive additional training on safety measures. This group includes, but is not limited to: Res Life staff, Public Safety, Dining, Facilities, Housekeeping, Athletic staff, and other employees with high student contact.
  • Faculty members will receive additional instructions on how to keep classroom environments safe and how to enforce expectations for safety within the classroom.
  • Athletic staff and student athletes will receive additional training from our partnership with Conway Regional Health for safety in athletic practices, games, and other contact points.
  • A campus working group including membership from faculty, HR, Dean’s Office, Athletics, and student representatives will work together to coordinate training efforts.

Virus Testing

Leaders from Hendrix College, Central Baptist College, and the University of Central Arkansas have formed a partnership with Conway Regional Health to craft a unified approach to protecting the community.

Hendrix will not test all students before or as they return to campus. Neither Conway Regional Health nor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending such testing. The Hendrix testing strategy will continue to evolve based on the guidance of Conway Regional Health, the CDC, and other experts.

If a student or employee shows symptoms of COVID-19 or was in unprotected contact with a confirmed case (see Contact Tracing below), they should immediately quarantine and follow these steps:

  1. Contact the Hendrix quarantine/isolation/contact-tracing manager (contact information to be provided before students arrive on campus; see Quarantining and Isolating below for more information). The manager will provide a telephone number for the student or employee to call Conway Regional.
  2. Conway Regional will register the caller and provide a time for testing.
  3. The student or employee will arrive to Conway Regional’s drive-in testing center. Information is verified and specimen is collected. (A secondary test-site is available for students who cannot drive to the site).
  4. The student or employee will be notified of test results once lab work is completed.

Anyone who is tested or exposed should self-quarantine for 14 days. COVID testing will be billed through the student’s or employee’s health insurance plan.

Conway Regional will provide testing results to Hendrix Administration for use in contact tracing and quarantine oversight.


Students will be expected to complete a self-screening before arriving on campus for move-in day (students will receive instructions, including a self-screening checklist). Hendrix staff will also screen students for symptoms upon check-in.

Once orientation and the semester begin, all community members will be expected to participate in daily self-screenings prior to interacting with any other community members. Signs on the inside and outside of buildings will remind students and employees to do this. The College will continue to explore technology solutions to remind everyone to self-screen. Student and employee education programs will also stress the importance of thorough self-screening. The College has purchased and will supply thermometers to every student.

If a screening identifies potential infection factors, community members should immediately quarantine and request testing through Conway Regional Health.

Quarantining and Isolating

Quarantining is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the virus that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. Students will be quarantined when they have any COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to a person with an active case of COVID-19, and while they await virus test results.

Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are sick with COVID-19 and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected. Students will be isolated when they have a positive test result.

Students are asked to limit contact with individuals other than immediate family members for 14 days prior to coming to campus on move-in day. 

Once the semester begins, students required to quarantine or isolate will be expected to do so at home when possible. If special circumstances prevent home quarantine/isolation, then the following process applies.

The Corner House will be used as the Hendrix isolation facility (with additional space on campus identified to provide additional isolation beds if needed). Students who are unable to take care of themselves must return home or move to hospital care. Hendrix will contract with an external service for regular cleaning of the Corner House.

Veasey Hall will serve as the quarantine facility (for students with symptoms or who have been exposed to an active case). No non-quarantined students will live in Veasey.

Meals will be delivered to the kitchens in each facility and the students will be responsible for picking up meals from the drop-off location. Both facilities will be equipped with washers and dryers. A Resident Assistant will support students in both buildings. This RA will not live in either facility but will be responsible for checking in with students by phone, video, or text on a regular basis.  

The College has identified a quarantine/isolation/contact-tracing manager who will monitor students for the duration in quarantine and isolation to let them know when they are able to return to interaction with the community. The manager will communicate with relevant faculty and staff (classroom instructors, coaches, etc.).

Contact Tracing

Contact Tracing will occur when a member of the Hendrix community tests positive for COVID-19. The College quarantine/isolation/contact-tracing manager and trained Hendrix employees will interview the person testing positive to create a list of contacts potentially infected (those that meet all three criteria):

  • unprotected (no face-covering) in the 48 hours prior to symptoms or test
  • contact within six feet
  • contact lasting more than 15 minutes

Trained staff will then interview those on the list of contacts. All contacts meeting the criteria listed above will quarantine for 14 days. Those showing symptoms will be tested; if test results are positive, contacts will isolate for 14 days.

Importantly, Hendrix will only trace internal—Hendrix community—contacts. External contact tracing will be performed by the Arkansas Department of Health and local authorities.

A New Partnership with Conway Regional Health System

The Conway Regional Health System has opened a community health clinic in the Hendrix Village. This clinic will operate Hendrix Student Health Services beginning this fall semester. This partnership is indispensable as the College manages the COVID-19 challenge.

Ongoing Monitoring

Hendrix will continue to follow policies, requirements, and guidance from local and state governmental and public health authorities. However, as this plan indicates, the College will adopt a higher level of protective measures as necessary. Further, College leadership will monitor key indicators—such as state and local testing positivity rates, capacity of local hospitals, campus quarantine and isolation space available, number of active cases in the Hendrix community, etc.—as we continually evaluate and update all COVID-19 policies.

Student Life

New Student Orientation and Move-In Day

The orientation program will continue to develop community among first-year students (FYS). However, the program will be modified to meet face-covering, social-distancing, and group-size requirements. Necessarily, some orientation activities and meetings will be done virtually, both before the on-campus orientation program commences and during the two primary on-campus orientation days.

Move-In Day, for both FYS and returning students, will follow all COVID-19 safety precautions and will be structured to maximize social distancing. All students will be required to sign up for a move-in slot on either Aug. 17 (FYS) or Aug. 19 (returning students). Students may be accompanied by no more than two guests on move-in day.

For details concerning New Student Orientation, see Appendix NEW STUDENT ORIENTATION. For details concerning move-in, see Appendix MOVE-IN DAY.

Dining Services

Dining Services will extend hours to allow for social distancing in the main cafeteria (servery and dining hall). The Burrow is available for take-out orders, which can be ordered ahead of time using an app. All procedures are designed to minimize contact, and strict sanitation and employee screening procedures will be followed.

For more details on fall dining services, including hours of operation, see Appendix DINING SERVICES.

Wellness and Athletics Center

The WAC reopened on July 7 in accordance with strict polices set by the state of Arkansas. For a complete list of WAC reopening guidelines and restrictions, see:

Intercollegiate Athletics

The Southern Athletic Association has postponed fall competitions. Any Athletics trainings during the fall are subject to COVID-19 campus policies. Further, Athletics will follow the more stringent training requirements put in place by the Southern Athletic Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The Department of Athletics will make all requirements and policies available to student-athletes, coaches, trainers, and staff.

Whenever possible, student-athletes have been assigned to live with each other and in clusters within campus housing; because these students spend significant time together outside of class, they will live in close proximity to each other.

Campus Operations

Dining Services

Dining Services will allow carryout meals, reduce capacity, and extend hours to allow for social distancing in the main cafeteria (servery and dining hall). Because the dining hall will seat far fewer students, and will fill especially quickly during the busy lunch meal, the Burrow is available for take-out orders. Burrow orders must be placed ahead of time using an app (Dining Services will post information about the app on their website and via social media). All procedures are designed to minimize contact, and strict sanitation and employee screening procedures will be followed.

Dining Services will provide information and instructions as we approach fall opening.

For more details on fall dining services, including hours of operation, see Appendix DINING SERVICES.

Campus Visitors and Events

All campus visitors and events must adhere to all College and state guidelines regarding gatherings, social distancing, room capacities, sanitation protocols, and face coverings. Visitors are generally discouraged from coming to campus. At this time, however, the College will welcome prospective students and their families to campus (see Appendix ADMISSION for policies governing such visits). Such guests will be informed of pertinent health and safety guidelines to be observed while on campus and provided a face covering, if needed. The College department or office organizing the visit will communicate expectations in advance of such visits. Hosts and guides must always wear a face covering during the visit. Finally, the College will regularly evaluate the visitor policy and adjust in accordance with the level of virus threat, including canceling all visits if necessary.

Events and gatherings should be virtual whenever possible and appropriate. No public or external events will be scheduled. A Hendrix office, department, or student group requesting an event or gathering of more than 50 people must petition the COVID Response Coordinator. 

For detailed Visitors and Events policies, see Appendix VISITORS AND EVENTS.

Buildings and Common Spaces

Each campus building has unique features and needs. In order to keep the community safe, the following principles will apply:

  • One-way flow of traffic where possible.
  • Reduced density in seating areas to allow for social distancing.
  • Microsoft Teams used for meetings when possible.
  • Scheduling of in-person meetings to allow for social distancing, time between meetings, and no queuing.
  • Informational signs (including traffic flow and self-screening) at all entrances.
  • Hand-washing signs in all bathrooms.
  • Hand-sanitizing and disinfecting products will be available.

Facilities personnel and external consultants are examining campus Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems to maximize air flow and exchange. They will continue to monitor and upgrade equipment when possible.

Building supervisors will work with Facilities and the COVID Response Coordinator to maximize community safety.

The SLTC and Residence Hall building policies are listed in Appendix BUILDINGS.

College Travel

We cannot “build a Hendrix bubble” and expect students and employees to remain on campus throughout fall semester. However, students are encouraged to travel off-campus only for essential needs or purposes, including on weekends. Further, employees are asked to postpone personal travel whenever possible.  

College-related, employee travel will only be allowed if it is “essential.” Essential travel is defined as travel that would result in harm to the College if disallowed. Further:

  • all essential travel must be approved by the College’s COVID Response Coordinator; and
  • an employee must exhaust all possible virtual, remote, and online options before requesting essential travel permission. 

For detailed travel policies, see Appendix TRAVEL.


General Expectations

Hendrix is a residential campus and we are planning for in-person classes this fall. Ideally, all faculty members will teach primarily in-person classes on campus. However, faculty will need to have courses that can shift easily to completely remote courses if that becomes necessary. There are good pedagogical reasons for having elements of courses online (for example, in flipped classrooms), and there may be students who are in quarantine or isolation who will need to have continuity of instruction for their courses. When appropriate, hybrid courses will incorporate both in-person and online elements.

In addition, faculty members normally have great autonomy in terms of how and when they conduct their work, and it is prudent and reasonable for faculty to limit their possible exposure to COVID-19. Faculty members may choose to have remote meetings with students or colleagues. Departments and College committees may decide to conduct their business virtually. Academic Affairs will also determine how best to conduct faculty meetings and other types of events that are essential to the functioning of the College.  

For details on the delivery of the Academic program in the fall, see Appendix ACADEMICS.