Coronavirus Coverage

COVID-19 Update: Open dorm returns, no change to COVID-19 policies

Following a campus-wide survey, John Brown University announced on April 14 that the current COVID-19 policies would remain for the rest of the semester.

However, on-campus students can rejoice for the return of open dorm, which allows opposite-sex students to visit dorms on select days.

According to an email sent on Wednesday from University President Chip Pollard, the university consulted its legal counsel when discussing potential changes to COVID-19 protocols. “They informed us that … the Arkansas legislature passed a statute that gives liability immunity to businesses and universities for damages or injuries to people exposed to COVID-19, but only if those institutions continue to follow [Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Arkansas Department of Health (ADH)] guidance … In other words, even though the Governor changed the mask mandate, businesses and institutions remain open to lawsuits from people who may be exposed to COVID-19 unless they follow CDC/ADH guidance,” Pollard stated.

Pollard also included results from the campus survey, showing that 38% of the 1,055 respondents wished to continue with current guidelines, and 62% “wanted more widespread change.”

The updates to open dorm, as outlined in a letter from the Office of Residence Life, include that “all occupants … must wear a mask at all times” and “must practice physical distancing by remaining 6 feet apart.”

Original rules for open dorm, such as keeping the door open, having two light sources and being “upright and approachable,” still apply, according to the letter.

Visitors must be limited to 2 to 4 people in the dorm rooms, 8 to ten people in the townhouse communal spaces, and 3 to 4 people in the apartments. The university will still “not allow non-student visitors” at this time. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will need to report to Nurse Rhonda, along with giving information for their close contacts. For more information on the updated policies, students should refer to the email.

The open dorm hours are as follows:

Hutcheson Hall: Mondays from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
J. Alvin Hall: Tuesdays from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
Walker Hall: Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
Mayfield Hall: Thursdays from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
Sheridan Townhouses & Northslope Apartments: Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

For more information about JBU’s COVID-19 response, visit