Craighead County jail suspends visitation, volunteer services; other COVID19 news for Thursday

JONESBORO, Ark. – On Thursday, city and county leaders in Craighead County continued steps to prepare for the coronavirus outbreak.

Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd confirmed to NEA Report the jail had suspended visitors and volunteer services until further notice as of Thursday.

“We have as of today for precaution suspended visitation and volunteer services until further notice,” Boyd said. “The situation will be a day to day basis as more information is available. [We’re] trying to limit exposure to prevent an outbreak.”

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin issued the following statement on Thursday: 

My administration is working diligently to achieve two goals regarding the COVID-19 outbreak:

First, to deploy in all areas under city government the state Health Department- and CDC-approved best practices that will help prevent the spread of coronavirus in our city and region; and second to dispel the false rumors that can cause panic and distraction, rather than allowing people to focus on the simple measures that will see us through this period safely and responsibly.

Because the most important part of shutting down this virus is early response, I am closing our senior centers and all community centers effective immediately for at least a week.

City meetings, including council, boards and committees, remain scheduled. However, as evidenced by events nation-wide, we will address these decisions again as new information becomes available.

The Arkansas Department of Health as well as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have made it clear that as we prepare for a likely outbreak that the steps for safety don’t change:

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • If you feel sick, stay home.

Our leadership is applying approved practices to address all legitimate concerns promptly and proactively.

We understand that every business, church and organization needs to decide on its own how to proceed, however the City of Jonesboro is taking this precautionary measure. Again, this is not because we are in a crisis, but because we want to prevent one.

As we have seen in the media, the Coronavirus (COVID19) continues to shape our day to day lives and we are not immune to those changes here in Jonesboro. It is important that we begin to think about how we can reduce our risk of having widespread disease in our community. In addition to routine handwashing and the practice of good hygiene, social distancing is also recommended.

Social distancing consists of limiting our interactions in large groups or gatherings, especially those at the highest risk of complication from this disease – our  elderly and those patients with chronic diseases. – Statement from City Medical Director Dr. Shane Speights:

The Arkansas National Guard announced that graduations would be closed to families and the public until further notice

Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse announced plans to transition to online course work after Spring Break at 7 PM. The following until the next line break are from the chancellor:

Dear Red Wolves:
want to reach out to provide an update on operations at Arkansas State University. The Provost and I met with our key Emergency Management team members, our deans, and the academic leaders of the Chairs Council and the Faculty Senate this afternoon to discuss the events of the day.
Following our online trial at the start of next week, Arkansas State will return from Spring Break in online classroom delivery starting Monday, March 30.
For some time, we have had a plan for continuing classes via online methods, and our academic leadership affirmed that plan this evening, here are the details:
  • The university remains open through the end of the semester.
  • For Friday, March 13; Monday, March 16; and Thursday-Friday, March 19-20, classes will be conducted as usual.
  • The trial of online classroom delivery set for Tuesday, March 17, and Wednesday, March 18, will also continue. 
  • Our Spring Break begins the week of March 23. We will officially shift all classroom delivery to online with the resumption of class on Monday, March 30.  Online class delivery will continue for at least two weeks until Monday, April 13.

Throughout that period, our emergency response team and academic leaders will assess our ability to return to face-to-face classes after that two-week period.
If you are going home for Spring Break, I highly recommend you take course materials and devices with you in case it is not possible for you to return to campus after the break. Campus will remain open during that entire period, including residence halls, and cafeteria.
We will have more details later, but most on-campus events will be postponed or cancelled starting Monday, March 16, until at least Monday, April 13.
I want to encourage you to use our web page.  We are adding new FAQ topics daily, and there are important resource links to outside agencies.
We are also adding resources for students and faculty for online classroom delivery.
I’ve said this many times and in many ways, this is a fluid situation, but if we continue to work together as a pack, we will make it to the other side of these epic challenges.
Thank you for your efforts thus far, and thank you in advance for the hard work that lies ahead.
Kelly Damphousse

This will be updated with more COVID19 news from Thursday as it is released. Check back and refresh for more.


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