U of A Makes Adjustments for Upcoming Semester

January 5, 2021

Community

I-49 Traffic Noise Improvements In Motion

The Arkansas Department of Transportation is looking for public feedback concerning a series a traffic noise reports, which includes main lane widening and interchange improvement projects along Interstate 49 in Washington and Benton Counties. -ARDOT

  • A recent study analyzed a total of 18 areas for noise levels to determine the potential for when and where these sound walls will be built.
  • Steve Lawrence, District 9 Engineer, says final decisions will be made after talking to residents and property owners who stand to benefit. -Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
  • Draft traffic noise reports are available for public review online, access them HERE.

Education

NWA Schools Improvise as CARES Act Funding Expires

Starting in March 2020, the federal government passed the CARES Act, a COVID-19 relief package which guaranteed teachers at least 10 paid sick days off. Unless extended by the government, schools districts will have to handle the allocation of costs individually.

  • Rick Shaeffer, of the Springdale SD, says the next school board meeting will be Jan. 12 and will propose a plan that would allow any person in the district who has not used his or her 20 days to be able to use that up to June 30th. -KNWA/Fox24
  • The extension of the act would allow schools to receive help from the state again. As of now, there is no word on whether or not schools will have to make that decision.

Politics

Newly-Elected City Councils Reflect Increasing Diversity in NWA

As Northwest Arkansas becomes increasingly diverse, so does the representation in city government across the region.

  • City councils in Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville will have at least one racial, ethnic or gender minority member sworn in this year. -Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
  • There were many 'firsts' this election cycle, including a transgender woman elected to Washington County Quorum Court. Gayatri Agnew may be the first person of south Asian descent on the Bentonville City Council.
  • "We have an opportunity to make Fayetteville even greater. How can we do that?" said D'Andre Jones, an incoming member of the Fayetteville City Council. "We have to be inclusive, and every voice must matter. I really appreciate being a part of that."

Education

UA and Local Schools Re-adjust for New Semester

As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more readily available and plans are made for mass distribution, medical professionals are encouraging students and schools to remain as vigilant as ever heading into the 2021 spring semester.

  • In a video published on the Arkansas Department of Health's social media, Medical Director Dr. Joel Tumlinson encouraged students to get tested and have patience with their schools as they battle the pandemic. -KNWA/Fox24
  • The University of Arkansas is planning to offer students the option of in-person tutoring for the spring semester. The decision is part of an ongoing push at UA to provide more services to students on campus, even amidst the pandemic. -UARK News
  • Additional details and guidance for the UA 2021 spring semester can be found HERE.

Business

Arkansas Minimum Wage Raise Goes Into Effect

On Jan. 1, 2021, Arkansas minimum wage increased to $11 per hour after voters approved Issue 5 to raise the wage in November 2018. -4029 News

  • In 2019, minimum wage increased from $8.25 per hour to $9.00 per hour, and up again in 2020 to $10 per hour.

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