The University of Central Arkansas will require masks in all indoor settings, such as classrooms, common areas and all shared spaces, regardless of vaccination status, effective immediately.

As of right now, Faulkner County is at a High Risk of community transmission.

According to an email from President Houston Davis’s office, the university plans to use a color system, describing the current COVID transmission status and the actions UCA students, faculty and staff need to take.

Red will be used when the CDC has deemed Faulkner County a high risk of transmission. During a High Risk of transmission, “masks will be required on campus in indoor spaces,” according to the email.

When the risk of transmission is deemed yellow, or moderate, UCA will strongly “encourage the use of masks indoors.”

When the CDC lists Faulkner County as Low Risk, UCA’s campus will follow normal operational practices.

This decision comes after a rise in case numbers within the state and amid legal challenges to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s mask mandate law.

In the campus-wide email, Davis shared the current statistics from Conway’s two hospitals. 

“Conway Regional has 37 active COVID hospitalizations, and Baptist Health-Conway has 22. That combined 59 is equal to the previous peak reported in our Testing and Tracing Consortium on January 5.”

The data is updated by the CDC each week, and UCA will continue to monitor the statistics and keep students, faculty and staff updated on protocols through a weekly email. The information will also be available on UCA’s website and COVID portal.

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