More than 97 percent of surveyed alumni from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service are concerned about their own health or their family's health, according to results of a COVID-19 impact survey by Assistant Professor Nichola Driver and Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford III. Driver also serves as the Faculty Director for the Office of Community Engagement.
The survey was conducted from March 27 through April 10. More than 67 percent of the school's 402 alumni participated. In addition to those concerned about health issues, more than 83 percent expressed concern about their personal or family finances.
"These results indicate there is a far greater sense of worry about the immediate future than many people may realize," Driver said. "These alumni are from all over Arkansas, the country, and the world, so their health and economic insecurities are not confined to one state or one region."
"With the first Clinton School class graduating in 2006, the large majority of the alumni are young professionals, many with children at home,” Rutherford said. “The pandemic is presenting them with some serious challenges.”
Other survey highlights include:
• 30 percent believe the pandemic will present a major public health issue in America throughout the summer, 29 percent say it would be a major issue for only a few months, and 21 percent predict it will stretch into 2021
• 68 percent believe that in 2021 the pandemic will remain a major economic issue in America
• 31 percent said someone in their household had either lost a job or had significantly reduced work hours
• 84 percent said they were working remotely while only 6 percent were based entirely at their offices or places of work
• 74 percent anticipate K-12 schools, colleges, and universities will be open for on-site classes in fall 2020
• 58 percent rated their Governor's response to the pandemic as excellent or good while 84 percent rated the President's response as poor
"Alumni views of their elected officials were interesting," Driver said. "While they are generally dissatisfied at the federal level, the majority felt positive about the response from their state leaders."
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.