January 5, 2022
Dear Hendrix students,
I hope that everyone had a safe and restful winter break. While the Hendrix community has been remarkably successful in managing the virus on campus this past year, we are following the omicron variant closely as we look to the start of the semester. Testing positivity in the state and in Faulkner and Pulaski Counties is currently above 20%. The state averaged 3,200 new positive cases a day last week, and added 7,488 cases just today, an alarming new record. COVID hospitalizations are also increasing, especially in Central Arkansas. Based on these current conditions and public health information, we will adjust our protocols at the start of the semester to ensure the health and safety of our campus community.
- Classes will begin Tuesday, January 18, as scheduled but will be taught remotely for the first week. We plan to resume in-person classes on Monday, January 24, unless we witness significant on-campus positivity. Public health predictions indicate that omicron will peak by the end of this month, and positivity will rapidly decline afterward. We will continue to follow this information and will adjust if needed.
- During the remote learning period, you should attend your courses on Teams during the scheduled class time. Your instructors will be providing you with information about your classes prior to the first day of class on January 18. Please make sure to check your email and your courses in Teams frequently prior to the start of classes.
- Career Term for sophomores will be held remotely this year. If you have registered for Career Term, please attend from your home or other location as you will not be able to move onto campus until January 16 or later. Career Services will reach out to sophomores with updated information.
- While classes will begin remotely, students have the option of returning to campus as scheduled. In order to return to campus, students must submit a negative COVID test result taken no more than three days before arrival (or a positive test result within the past 90 days). Submit your COVID test results here.
- To optimize isolation and quarantine space on campus, we encourage students who test positive to isolate and/or quarantine at home, if they are able.
- We will continue to conduct surveillance testing for unvaccinated students. The Hendrix Medical Clinic continues to provide testing for all symptomatic or exposed students and employees.
- Students are expected to return to campus when in-person classes are scheduled to resume Monday, January 24, unless they test positive and isolate and/or quarantine at home.
- Any additional needed information on campus housing check-in will be sent to students from Residence Life on Monday, January 10.
Groups and events
- Event capacity and group sizes will be limited to 50 to ensure social distancing.
- Visitors are prohibited from campus at this time (including outside spectators at athletic events). Family
members are permitted to help with moving into the residence halls but we ask
all parties to mask while in the buildings.
- Staff will return and campus offices will open Monday, January 10.
- We will adjust dining services procedures to limit capacity and minimize contact. We will share those changes with campus as soon as they are finalized.
Boosters and vaccines
- Hendrix is amazingly fortunate to have such a high campus vaccination rate. While the CDC definition of fully vaccinated does not yet specify boosters, we strongly encourage all campus community members to get their booster shots from a local health provider or pharmacy or the Hendrix Medical Clinic.
These changes are designed to provide a safe, healthy start to the semester. The initial remote-teaching period will allow us to build the Hendrix protective bubble while also enabling us to manage the virus given the current omicron variant uncertainties. As we are successful, we will adjust these protocols, such as the limits on group sizes and visitors.
We will continue to share updates with campus by email and on our COVID-19 webpage, and we will resume weekly updates to the dashboard when classes begin. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
Thank you for your flexibility and patience as we start the semester. Most importantly, thank you for your commitment to keeping our campus community healthy and safe.