A financial breakdown of the millions ASU has spent addressing COVID-19

The University has spent tens of millions of dollars in response to COVID-19, including $193,000 on one promotional Fall 2020 video

In preparation for the fall semester, ASU spent tens of millions of dollars on technology, cleaning and Community of Care promotional materials, according to a University spokesperson.

The largest expenses for fiscal year 2020 came from providing over $20 million in "University housing refunds and credits."

Additionally, the University spent $7.2 million during FY2020 on expenses related to ASU Sync, including "installing the necessary equipment in more than 800 classroom spaces to enable Sync."

This necessary equipment included laptops, hotspots, software and "technology staff to support Sync," as well as other technological expenses on "the daily health check app and other COVID-related IT needs." 

The University expects to spend another $7.3 million to support ASU Sync during FY21. The Arizona Board of Regents approved the University's budget request on Sept. 10 for the FY21, in which ASU budgeted for a net loss of $35 million.

READ MORE: ABOR passes ASU budget request amid economic recovery from COVID-19

According to the spokesperson, other FY20 costs included more than $1 million spent on personal protective equipment, more than $700,000 for increased cleaning on campus and more than $130,000 "in plexiglass, signage and other elements to address health on campus."

In preparation for the fall, ASU also provided students living on-campus with Community of Care kits, and gave the option to students living off-campus to pick up a kit at a campus bookstore.

These kits, which include two face masks, a thermometer, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, cost the University roughly $1.35 million for 150,000 kits "at a cost of approximately $9 per kit," a University spokesperson said.

ASU also invested in promotional material to explain on-campus changes and alternative learning options for fall 2020 to students. 

Documents show the University spent nearly $200,000 on one such video.

Ogilvy, an advertising company based in New York, was paid a total of $193,000 to produce three different lengths of the video "Flexible Ways to Learn: Arizona State University," as part of the University‚Äôs learning modalities campaign. 

The video was created in 15, 30 and 45 second formats, University Spokesperson Katie Paquet said in an email.

The University paid the total in two separate payments, one on July 16, the other on July 18. 

Since it was posted on ASU's official YouTube account on July 2, the 49-second video has garnered just over 8,500 views. 

Two other videos created on the University's ASU News YouTube channel to help show what this upcoming semester will look like did not cost nearly as much, Paquet said in an email.

"What will the fall 2020 semester look like? Arizona State University (ASU)," was produced by ASU itself and "did not incur any expenses," and the video "Do I need to wear a mask on campus? Forks up, Masks up: Arizona State University (ASU)," cost less than $1,000, Paquet said.

Paquet said the money covered the cost for the actor, lunch for those involved and Sparky's custom mask, which was $50. 

Other advertising material focused on the importance of wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and following other guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus throughout Arizona.

ASU spent $55,000 on producing this type of material in June and July, a University spokesperson told The State Press. 

ASU's Community of Care signage has also been expanded for use at local apartment complexes and businesses to promote the same safety guidelines to areas where students live and visit. 

The total for the signage was $3,167.44, according to the spokesperson.

"It is important that we work with apartment complexes that house large numbers of our students and local businesses patronized by our students to help spread awareness about the best ways to fight COVID-19 once our students leave campus," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the costs for providing the University with COVID-19 testing are still being determined.


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

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