State & Regional
ASU Board Approves Policy Requiring Mask Use, Updates Title IX Policy
JONESBORO — Arkansas State University System institutions now require everyone on campuses to wear face coverings in all indoor and outdoor settings where physical distancing of six feet or more cannot be maintained as a key preventative measure in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The policy adopted today by the ASU System Board of Trustees during a special teleconference meeting also requires students and faculty to wear face coverings during all sessions of classroom instruction regardless of physical distancing.
“We are committed to the safety of our employees, students and visitors to campus,” ASU System president Dr. Chuck Welch said. “We think that it’s important for all of our campuses to have clear direction with this policy, and we want to reinforce our support of the strong recommendations of health officials. While we have worked to ensure physical distancing in all of our instructional settings, classroom safety must be a top priority, and we wanted to be very clear on mask expectations.”
Welch said the wearing of face masks has proven to be an effective deterrent to the spread of COVID-19.
He also noted that leaders at each ASU System institution have done “outstanding preparation” to welcome faculty and students back to campuses this fall.
“We’re prepared for many scenarios and lots of flexibility,” Welch said.
The Board of Trustees also adopted new federal Title IX regulations for each ASU System institution and related revisions to the ASU System Staff Handbook. Title IX is a comprehensive federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex by institutions of higher education that receive federal funds.
On May 6, the U.S.
Department of Education released revised regulations governing campus compliance with Title IX, and higher education institutions must implement the new regulations on or before Friday.
Among other changes, the new regulations address ways in which Title IX cases are investigated and adjudicated. They also make changes to Title IX jurisdiction, which will impact the cases that will be investigated for violating Title IX protections.
LITTLE ROCK — Walnut Bend will be the fourth utility-scale solar generation asset for Entergy Arkansas customers. The first, pictured here, was Stuttgart Solar, which went into service in 2017.
Walnut Bend will be the fourth utility-scale solar generation asset for Entergy Arkansas customers. The first, pictured here, was Stuttgart Solar, which went into service in 2017.
Adding to its fleet of utility- scale solar generating resources, Entergy Arkansas, LLC plans to purchase a 900-acre, 100megawatt solar farm near Brinkley.
Pending approval by the Arkansas Public Service Commission, Walnut Bend Solar will be among the largest solar generating facilities in the state.
Walnut Bend will provide approximately 200 jobs
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during the construction phase, then 2-3 full-time employees once operational. The facility will generate an estimated $700,000 in annual property taxes for Lee County.
Walnut Bend will be located east of U.S. Highway 49 and south of Interstate 40 in Lee County, south of Lee County Road 922 (Mt.
Jordan Road) near the intersection with County Road 947. Construction is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2021, and Walnut Bend Solar should be providing power to Entergy Arkansas customers by the end of 2022.
“Entergy Arkansas is the solar leader in the Natural State,” said Entergy Arkansas President and CEO Laura Landreaux.
“Utility-scale solar generation is the future of economic solar power in Arkansas. Walnut Bend will be a valuable addition to our solar fleet, which, in turn, complements our diverse mix of generation sources that have been powering life in Arkansas for 107 years now.
Carefully managing our resources is how we keep rates relatively low in Arkansas, which is essential to the continued economic growth of our state.” Walnut Bend will be the fourth Entergy Arkansas solar resource generating renewable, emission-free solar power for Entergy Arkansas’ customers. The other resources include 81megawatt Stuttgart Solar, in operation since 2017; 100-megawatt Chicot Solar at Lake Village, which will go online this fall; and a 100-megawatt Searcy Solar facility, which is currently under development and will be completed in 2021 and purchased by Entergy Arkansas after its construction. The four resources combined will generate 381 megawatts of power for Entergy Arkansas customers, enough to power about 61,000 homes. Total investment is more than $300 million, with net customer benefits of more than $170 million over the life of the facilities.
Because of economies of scale, large facilities like Walnut Bend are more efficient for Entergy Arkansas’ customers than rooftop solar or smaller private projects, and each of these four massive solar farms will benefit Entergy Arkansas customers.
Walnut Bend will be designed and built by Invenergy Renewables, LLC, and, upon completion, will be purchased by Entergy Arkansas.
Invenergy is a privately held global developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions. The company has developed 158 projects across four continents to generate 24,500 megawatts of power.
The solar panels will feature relatively new technology: bifacial solar panels.
Most solar panels generate electricity with photovoltaic cells on only the top side — the sunny side — of the panels. Bifacial panels have photovoltaic cells on the top and bottom sides of the panel. The ones on the bottom catch sunlight reflected from the ground, increasing the amount of electricity generated per panel.
The site in Lee County covers 900 acres. How big is 900 acres? The Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville covers about 14 acres. So about 64 FISHING REPORTS (cont.)
Razorback Stadiums would fit inside the Walnut Bend footprint.
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 700,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR), an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
Entergy has annual revenues of $11 billion and approximately 13,600 employees.
Baptist Health is installing 432 Amazon Echo Show devices in potential COVID-19 patient rooms at nine of the health care system’s hospitals to offer a new and improved way that clinicians can visit with their patients through video communication.
Echo Show devices and deployment support are being donated to Baptist Health by Amazon as part of its $5 million global initiative to help healthcare workers, patients, students and communities impacted by COVID-19.
“We are thrilled to be working with Amazon on this project,” said Kourtney Matlock, Baptist Health’s corporate vice president of the care continuum. “We know that these tools will add an additional level of safety for our staff, physicians and our patients’ all while allowing us to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE).”
Baptist Health will be deploying these to units across the system that have the potential to have COVID-19 patients, which includes ICU areas, medsurg floors, emergency departments and labor and delivery rooms.
Amazon’s smart devices feature a speaker for twoway communication plus an 8-inch touch-screen display. The device’s “Drop In” feature will allow physicians, nurses, therapists and other clinicians to visit a patient's room virtually. This allows caregivers to see the patient more frequently without having to go through the process of putting on personal protective equipment each time, which in turn also preserves PPE and adds a layer of safety for the staff.
Early on, Baptist Health sought a creative way to produce a better interactive experience with COVID-19 patients. The health care system discovered a hospital in New York that was the first to use Amazon Devices with COVID-19 patients in April as a test case.
Baptist Health decided to move ahead with deploying the Echo Show devices after assessing the test case and consulting with Aiva, a company contracted with Amazon to help health care organizations implement necessary protocols for health care settings. As part of the donation program, Amazon covered all device costs and extended their service contract with Aiva, which is available to all hospitals who participate in the donation program.
Baptist Health hospitals receiving the Echo Show devices are Baptist Health-Arkadelphia, Baptist Health-Conway, Baptist Health-Fort Smith, Baptist Health-Heber Springs, Baptist Health-Hot Spring County, Baptist Health-Little Rock, Baptist Health-North Little Rock, Baptist Health-Stuttgart and Baptist Health-Van Buren.