Coronavirus Graphic

As on-campus cases of COVID-19 rose by 248 in two days, UA Interim Provost Charles Robinson announced new efforts Friday to discipline students for large gatherings and for not practicing social distancing.

The 248 new cases reported on the UA COVID-19 dashboard Friday brought the campus’s total active cases to 639, with 36 recoveries since Aug. 10. Meanwhile, Robinson said in an afternoon email to the student body that all non-official university events on campus are suspended through Sept. 18, and off-campus student gatherings without safety measures will be treated as Code of Student Life violations.

Events that could result in disciplinary action if reported to the Office of Student Standards and Conduct include off-campus social gatherings of 10 or more students without clear social distancing and mask wearing. Congregation of students on Dickson Street without similar precautions will also be treated as a conduct violation.

“We understand that students enjoy getting together to socialize,” Robinson wrote, “but at this time events where social distancing and mask-wearing do not occur run the risk of further spreading the disease and putting others at risk.”

Friday’s newly reported cases were identified Sept. 2-3. The updated case count includes available testing information from the Sept. 1-3 drive-thru clinic near Baum Stadium, according to the dashboard.

Of the 1,651 tested on campus during the two day period, 111 tests were positive, according to the dashboard. Of the remaining positives, 137 were self-reported to UA Emergency Management. No additional cases were reported by the Arkansas Department of Health.

There have been a total of 3,686 people tested on campus, with 190 positive tests, for a 5.2% positivity rate, according to the dashboard. The WHO’s coronavirus guidelines recommend a positivity rate of no more than 5% before localities reopen. Arkansas is currently in the second of three stages of economic reopening.

Sarah Komar is the news editor for The Arkansas Traveler, where she previously worked as a staff reporter in 2019 and early 2020.

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