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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Schafer

UAFS returns to remote operations amidst omicron spike

Announced in an email sent to students and staff Friday, UAFS will return to a remote format the week of January 17th.

This comes as the omicron variant continues to tear its way through the US. A COVID-19 update put out on January 13th showed just how vast the new variants' effects are on the state of Arkansas. There were nearly 13,000 new cases from January 12th to the 13th, breaking the single-day record for the second time in this week alone. This alarming spike in cases is what sparked the quick shift to remote operations.

“Unfortunately, even with your hard work and dedication, the rapid community spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has created a surge in the state, nation, and even on our campus.” Dr. Terisa Riley stated in the email. “At this rate of spread, exposure, isolation, and quarantine it is impossible to continue effective in-person delivery of instruction and services on-campus.”

The move is hopefully temporary and will give infected or exposed students and faculty a chance to isolate themselves without the stress of keeping attendance requirements for classes. Deans are reportedly meeting with professors to discuss the best way to proceed, although some exceptions have already been made.

Housing, dining, security, and maintenance, as well as welding students, will continue to work as usual per the email. The bookstore, Lions Den Dining Hall, and the 24-hour computer lab in the library will also remain open.

This news has some students worried about the future of their young semester. Many have drawn comparisons to the nationwide school closures of March 2020.

“I understand why this step was taken, it just kinda sucks because for a lot of the older students, we’ve already missed two years of our ‘college experience’,” VSA President Tran Nguyen stated. “If it’s the necessary step that we need to take, then there’s nothing we can do and we’ll just have to deal with it.”

It is too early to conclude, but some experts believe that we are currently at peak omicron season right now and cases should peter out towards the end of January. However, with this being the second major variant causing a noticeable spike in cases, it’s reasonable to believe that a new variant might be on the horizon.

For information on vaccination sites near you, please visit

For more on UAFS COVID-19 response and testing sites, click here.


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