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Some Arkansas universities to report their COVID-19 cases

August 23, 2020 GMT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Some of Arkansas’ public universities have said they will make public information about coronavirus cases on their campuses.

While the Arkansas Department of Health has daily reports on COVID-19 virus cases at long-term-care facilities and correctional institutions, no such report exists for Arkansas’ residential colleges, though all colleges are required to report cases to the department.

Some higher-education leaders say they expect universities and colleges to eventually uniformly report case data, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Sunday. Three of the state’s largest universities begin fall classes this week, with some having partial in-person instruction.

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Several schools already have reported active coronavirus cases on their campuses and usage of their isolation and quarantine rooms to prevent the virus’ spread, with cases more than doubling in the past week at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.

University of Arkansas System schools will soon post dashboards on their cases, said Jeff Harmon, a spokesman for the system’s university in Little Rock.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, as well as Southern Arkansas University have a COVID-19 dashboard on their websites.

Arkansas Tech University in Russellville and the University of Central Arkansas in Conway also began posting some COVID-19 data.

Henderson State University in Arkadelphia will post a weekly report starting this week, spokeswoman Tina Hall said.

Larger universities in Arkansas said they will not test everyone before arriving on campus nor require everyone to be tested before they arrive, even though many universities in the U.S. say they will require negative test results before permitting someone to return to campus.

Arkansas’ universities are reopening as some across the nation have decided to shut their doors after coronavirus clusters popped up on campus.

Students told the newspaper they wanted to pay less in tuition and fees for a reduced on-campus experience, that they were concerned for their own and others’ health and that they struggled to learn remotely and preferred face-to-face instruction.