ASU President Michael Crow outlined further details about disinfection procedures, flexible class options, self-isolation protocols and other precautions to keep the University operational for the fall semester, at an Arizona Board of Regents meeting Friday.
“We believe that we can create a successful full-immersion on-campus learning environment,” Crow said. “We believe that we can then also simultaneously have a full immersion synchronous learning environment for students who can't be here.”
The biggest challenge is keeping students and staff safe outside of the campus where the University cannot ensure safety precautions are taken. Health education campaigns will hopefully change that, Crow said.
“There's large percentages of people who think this is nothing, they're idiots. Idiots,” Crow said. “This isn't nothing and so we're going to have to manage our way through all of this around some people who think that this is nothing.”
Crow said making these planned operations, especially ones with revisions for safety, a reality will require “military-level discipline,” but the University has the capability to make these plans work.
How classes will work
This fall semester, students will be able to build their schedule with a combination of full immersion, ASU Sync and iCourse classes to best fit their needs, Crow said.
Students on-campus who wish to transition to a fully online degree will be accommodated and can transition back to full immersion courses if they want to at a later date, Crow said.
Many classes on-campus will be delivered through a hybrid of in-person instruction and ASU Sync. One example, Crow said, would be to have classes that meet twice a week have half of the class attend in-person, while the other half attends through Zoom. Those students would then rotate in the next class meeting.
Crow said that three levels of Zoom-enhanced classrooms will be used based on how much technology is required for a course.
The first will feature two high-definition cameras, complete room audio coverage and a digital whiteboard so that students using Zoom can see and hear everything they need to learn. The second requires less technology and will feature one camera and wireless instructor audio. The third level will use a mobile kit to bring smaller classes, laboratory classes, studio classes or classes taking place outside, to a student over Zoom.
“We will have the most advanced teaching and learning platform that’s ever been built,” Crow said.
He added that “every service, every asset, every tool” that the University has, which includes telehealth, workshops, advising, classes and support programs, will be provided virtually.
Health and Safety
To safely reopen, campuses will be deep cleaned before July 31, classrooms will be cleaned once per day, “high-touch surfaces” will be disinfected twice a day by custodial staff, all rooms will have cleaning supplies and each class will begin with a “60-second cleaning of personal space,” Crow said.
“It’s not about you, it’s about other people,” Crow said.
Mandatory training for faculty, staff, students and visitors, based on health guidelines from local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be required for everyone on-campus through “Community of Care,” Crow said.
Crow said the Community of Care will engage with students in an active campaign to promote campus and individual health, which began Friday with a statement making it mandatory to wear face coverings in on-campus buildings and when outside without the ability to practice social distancing.
When the semester begins all students will be given a Community of Care kit with masks, a thermometer and more, Crow said.
The ASU app will also feature a new health setting to help students keep track of their personal health information. Testing for COVID-19 will be made available for all students who want to be tested, Crow said.
Those who test positive for COVID-19, or who had close contact with someone who did, will have spaces provided for them by the University if they need it, Crow said.
“We will be renting entire hotels to put people in that can't be isolated wherever they're living, and that would include students who are not living on campus,” Crow said.
Students living in dorms will not be able to have visitors to limit the spread of the coronavirus. More outdoor space will be provided for dining and socializing, and food will be provided in a pre-packaged “modality,” Crow said. He added restaurants will operate in the same way.
“We have 50 or 60, eating venues now,” Crow said. “We're not going to be running them as restaurants. It's not going to work that way for us.”
If the state can manage its current level of cases, which saw a record high in cases Friday according to The Arizona Republic, ASU “can make this work,” Crow said.
Piper Hansen contributed to the reporting of this article.
Wyatt Myskow is the project manager at The State Press, where he oversees enterprise stories for the publication. He also works at The Arizona Republic, where he covers the cities of Peoria and Surprise.