In just the last week, officials within the United States have confirmed nine deaths and more than 100 cases of the novel coronavirus.

Though the  impact of the virus has not been felt within the state of Arkansas nor within the confinements of Polk County, area organizations have taken heed and are monitoring the reports and updates as they become readily available to the public. One such organization is the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain. 

UARM has experienced rapid growth within the last few years due in part of the increase of international athletes. When addressed with the status of the international students in regard to their stay within the University, Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson responded, “Thank you for inquiring about the preparedness of the UARM campus in light of the heightened fears surrounding the coronavirus. Since you asked specifically about our international student body population, I can report that all of our international students arrived last summer. As all businesses, corporations, and educational institutions are heeding the calls for preparation should such a pandemic occur, we will have measures in place through online classrooms to continue to keep our students on track to complete their semester. UARM is part of the state’s most diverse educational system with campuses located across the state. The president of our system, Dr. Bobbitt, has given each campus the autonomy to take any precautionary measures and alternative methods of instruction based on the specific circumstance. We are also closely working with our UA System partner UAMS, the state’s leader in infectious control. I think it’s important to note that, thankfully, there are no confirmed cases in Arkansas. UARM will do as it has always done and put the security and safety of staff and students as its top priority.”

Editor’s Note: An incomplete version of this story appeared in last week’s Mena Star. The full version is provided here.

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