ASU reports second-largest freshman class

Enrollment is up 7% from Fall 2019 as students return to campus

ASU's enrollment increased 7% compared to last year and will welcome approximately 125,000 students to the University community, a Thursday press release said. 

Students start classes Thursday – 52,000 of them based in Tempe, 11,000 at the Downtown Phoenix campus, 5,000 at West and 5,000 at Polytechnic. This is the second-largest group of first-year students at the University, according to the release. 

Enrollment for ASU Online also increased enrollment, welcoming 52,000 total students this year.  More than 35% of undergraduate students are first-generation college students. 

The international student population was the only niche to see a decrease in enrollment, from 9,000 to approximately 8,000 students. 

A University spokesperson said the University expected over 13,000 students to move into residence halls, all needing proof of a negative COVID-19 test to do so. 

Maricopa County residents began moving in Aug. 5, dropping off their belongings at residence halls and then moving in completely at a later date. 

READ MORE: Students return to residence halls days before in-person start

Upon arrival, students who returned to campus were given a Community of Care kit including two face coverings, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and a thermometer. 

Along with the kit, students were required to complete the Community of Care course, a module through Canvas informing everyone of necessary precautions they should take while on campus and in the community.

Through the ASU app, students are also asked to complete a daily health check. The app prompts students with questions about how they are feeling and if they are showing any possible symptoms of the coronavirus. If students fail to submit a health check, they could be locked out of their MyASU account starting Aug. 24.

If a student or faculty member is experiencing any of the symptoms listed on the app, they may be prompted to get tested. Through the app, students may also be notified if they have come in contact with anyone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

READ MORE: Testing and compliance are key for a safe semester, health experts say

The University is planning to test 7% of the asymptomatic ASU community each week for another data-driven look at the virus where students are working, learning and living. Students will volunteer for testing and some groups on campus will be required to get regularly tested. University spokespeople have not elaborated on who is to be regularly tested beyond student-athletes. 

One million tubes have been acquired by the University to administer saliva-based COVID-19 tests that are free of charge for students and employees, the press release said. 

The press release Thursday noted classes will be conducted in three formats for all on-campus students – in person, through ASU Sync and with iCourses. Only a few hundred of the 14,000 courses offered will not have an ASU Sync option and those classes will be smaller lab, studio and performance classes. 

Classes with over 100 students transitioned to ASU Sync, the University’s virtual classroom for in-person courses.

According to the provost's website giving faculty more information about ASU Sync, there are three types of Sync classroom setups, each equipped with different visual and audio technology. Faculty are responsible for communicating with their students about possible attendance rotation and etiquette for attending through ASU Sync.

READ MORE: Three types of ASU Sync classrooms available for various class needs

The press release Thursday also serves as a reminder that face coverings are required in all ASU buildings and outdoors where social distancing is not possible. Social gatherings are not allowed to take place on ASU campuses and students participating in off-campus events created to disregard public health are subject to discipline

Dining halls will serve food this semester through takeout only. Lounges and kitchen spaces will be locked and accessible by appointment. Libraries are only accessible with a Sun Card. All ASU spaces will receive reported medical-grade cleaning repeatedly throughout the semester.

In an email to faculty sent on Aug. 12, ASU President Michael Crow said "there is simply no circumstance in which ASU can 'shut down' or 'turn off.'"

"What we have set forth to achieve in our planning for the fall 2020 semester is an acknowledgement of the complexities COVID-19 has presented in all of our lives," Crow wrote.


Reach the reporter at pjhanse1@asu.edu and follow @piperjhansen on Twitter. 

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