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Editors note: This article will continuously be updated as developments occur and more information becomes available.

From new health guidelines to transitioning classes to an online format where possible, ASU officials are adjusting University practices to combat the spread of COVID-19, or the new coronavirus. 

New class formats began March 16. That same day, President Micheal Crow announced the University would remain online for the rest of the semester. There are currently 27 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona. The first person in the state who was affected is an ASU community member and has fully recovered.

The University remains open with essential resources still available for students who remain on-campus, such as dining halls, computer labs, health clinics and more, President Michael Crow said in the initial email sent to the student body announcing the transition.

Students have been advised to take additional care of themselves and adhere to guidelines set up by public health officials, Crow said in the email.

"The spread of COVID-19 may necessitate changes in the way we interact, but it does not change what we do," Crow said in the email. "ASU will continue to operate and will continue to deliver the highest-quality education possible to the students we serve, and ASU employees will continue to perform their duties." 

Here’s what you need to know about the online transition and the current coronavirus situation in Arizona.

Classes

The University has provided professors with two primary options for teaching remotely — Zoom and Canvas. 

If a professor has chosen Zoom as the remote teaching option, classes are expected to be held at their regularly scheduled days and times. The session will be a live-streamed video conference with both the professor and students actively participating, according to an email obtained by The State Press.

Classes that utilize Canvas may have pre-recorded lectures, where “Zoom is not required and class would not need to meet at its regularly scheduled day and time,” the email said.

Originally, labs, performance-based classes and studios were expected to still meet in-person, but that has since changed with Crow’s recent announcement.

Food and housing

Students living in residence halls can expect to have the same living situations unless guidance from the CDC and Maricopa County dictates otherwise. 

“It could become necessary to move individuals in order to appropriately separate sick students from those who are under observation or those who are well,” the ASU Novel Coronavirus FAQ website said. “We will only move students when absolutely necessary to address health concerns.”

A University official confirmed that all food services will continue to operate on “normal operations.”

On March 18, the University sent out an email to all students who live on-campus requesting their decision on staying at University housing, or leaving.

The official also confirmed that Aramark, the company that provides food services to ASU under the name Sun Devil Dining, has ensured it will have the supplies needed to continue operations. 

Students who leave have until May 1 to pack up their rooms. The Housing website though stated that the University could “not guarantee your same bed space for the duration of the semester due to other health needs that may emerge or in the event of housing consolidation.”

All restaurants located on-campus have closed. Currently only Barrett, Citrus, Hassayampa, Pitchforks, Taylor Place, Tooker and Verde dining halls remain open, but with only take-out options available.

Other campus resources

Essential campus resources will remain available to students President Crow said in an email.

“Although this shift in learning has been extended, the university continues to remain open,” Crow said in his email announcing the rest of the semester will be online. “This includes computer labs, libraries, food service, health clinics, counseling services, research labs and all other aspects of the university.”

Students will only be able to access buildings with access control systems with their Sun Cards.

In order to help students adapt to the change in learning environment, colleges throughout the University have made materials available for students who chose to go home, including certain programs, software and laptops.

COVID-19 in Arizona

As of March 18, 27 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in the state. At the time of publication, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported that 265 people have been tested and 148 of those have been ruled out. There are 102 pending tests. 

The spread in Arizona has not been as fast as it has been in other states like California, New York and Washington. In Arizona, the amount of cases has increased relatively steadily over the past two weeks. 

Crow said in an email that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at ASU at this time. 

State officials and ASU's response so far

Officials throughout Arizona have responded to COVID-19 in a variety of ways.

Gov. Doug Ducey issued a declaration of emergency as well as an executive order on March 11 concerning the outbreak in the state.

Both the declaration and executive order will give Arizona more ways to help limit the spread of COVID-19, such as providing access to emergency funds and requiring insurance companies to cover 100% of the copay for COVID-19 testing. 

Since then, cities across the state have declared emergencies, such as Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe and more in an effort to combat the spread of the virus. 

The Arizona Department of Health Services has strongly recommended bars and restaurants to either close down or only provide take-out options for customers.

READ MORE: Gov. Ducey issues declaration of emergency to combat COVID-19 spread 

ASU announced on March 13 that all University and grant-funded travels are now prohibited and all events on the campus that "are not directly related to the educational or research mission of the university," are canceled. The University also addressed ASU community members who have traveled for spring break. 

"We know that many members of the ASU community have been traveling this week during spring break to parts of the country and world where there may be community spread of COVID-19," Crow said in an email. 

All students and faculty returning from Level 3 countries or high-risk areas must either self-isolate or self-monitor themselves upon return to the University, according to the University announcement. 

The federal response 

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in order to allocate $50 billion in federal funding to combat the spread of the virus. 

"I don't take responsibility at all," Trump said during the announcement at the White House Rose Garden, addressing criticism over slow test-kit distribution and the administration's response early in the outbreak. "We were given a set of circumstances and we were given rules, regulations and specifications from a different time."

Congress responded to the outbreak on March 14, with the House passing sweeping legislation to expand access to free testing, provide $1 billion in food aid and extend sick leave benefits to workers. 

The bill, which was largely written by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, received widespread bipartisan support. The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday.

Asking Arizona

Have a question for The State Press about COVID-19 or have anything you'd like to share regarding the current situation? Reach out to us through Asking Arizona, a State Press platform dedicated to answering questions our community wants the answer to. 

Additionally, The State Press launched a comprehensive page compiling all our coverage on COVID-19 so far, read it here. 


Reach the reporters at wmyskow@asu.edu and Vandana.Ravikumar@asu.edu and follow @wmyskow and @vandana_rav on Twitter. 

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter. 


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