By Jeri Borst
Last week, news outlets outside of Polk County reported that students at University of Arkansas at Rich Mountain in Mena tested positive for COVID-19.
LeAnn Dilbeck, UARM Community Relations Director, was alerted to the report and contacted The Pulse. She said the news outlet initially reported incorrect information and failed to confirm facts before posting the attention catching article to the internet. Dilbeck confirmed with The Pulse that information would not be misreported to the local community and said Chancellor Phillip Wilson would address the issue on the school’s website.
Wilson said in the address that plans for a positive case of COVID were in place and protocols have been followed to ensure quarantine and isolation measures.
“We anticipated that it was only a matter of time before COVID directly impacted our campus community. We do now have confirmed positive cases within our student population.
“Among UARM’s strengths is our small size and the amount of time we have had to prepare for this situation. It was unavoidable. It was expected. And, it is being managed. It is the world in which we now live,” Wilson said, noting he has personally interacted with every student that has been impacted.
“I am proud to say that each of them is safe and of sound health. We are in constant contact with each of them to care for any need that they require.”
“I will be as transparent as I legally can be throughout this semester,” Wilson continued. “I urge you to stay focused on the facts and conquer misinformation and panic with facts.”