As Southern Arkansas University looks forward to beginning the 20-21 academic year August 11, Dr. Trey Berry, president, urges students, faculty, and staff to be heroes by practicing the safety protocols established to maintain a healthy campus.

“We always say that SAU feels like home, and it does now more than ever,” Berry said. “This year will be like no other in our history, but we are in this journey together. Now is the time for heroes. Now is a time for reaching out and caring for others.”

To support and protect the SAU family and ensure that students have a successful academic semester, the University’s Reopening Committee and Risk Management Task Force have worked diligently to develop a 2020 Return to CampusGuide. This living document is based on current state and federal public health guidance and is viewable by visiting

Some specific measures included in the University’s guide are educating students, faculty, and staff on methods to mitigate viral spread. Face coverings will be required in public spaces where social distancing is not possible, and both students and faculty will be required to wear face coverings in the classroom.

Classrooms have been modified to allow for social distancing, hand sanitizing stations have been placed in buildings across campus, and programs have been established to deliver synchronous learning to students enrolled in face-to-face classes who may present a health-related need to be absent for extended periods of time. Enhanced cleaning measures have been developed following Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

Indoor events hosted by external groups will NOT be permitted this fall. Outdoor events will be approved on a case-by-case basis. Any approved outdoor events will be required to follow current public health guidance. Decisions are still under consideration regarding popular events such as Family Day, Mulegating, and Homecoming. When asked about these events, a spokesperson indicated that regrettably some of these events may be postponed or canceled due to the current public health crisis.

SAU plans to open residence halls to returning students via appointment beginning August 5, and plans to welcome freshman to campus August 9. For the most current information regarding campus events, openings, and changes, visit the SAU website at

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