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ASU plans for in-person Fall 2021 semester

As COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues across the nation, President Michael Crow looks toward 'normal operations' next semester

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Students work on classes and relax in the Memorial Union basement on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, on the ASU Tempe campus.

In an email announcement Monday, University Provost Mark Searle and Provost Pro Tempore Nancy Gonzales said ASU plans on returning to in-person instruction for the Fall 2021 semester. 

The email also said digital instruction will still be available for select courses through ASU Sync and iCourses. 

Plans to return to an in-person modality are reliant on local, state and federal guidelines, though, according to the email. 

In an interview with The State Press Monday, University President Michael Crow said he believes ASU is "moving in the right direction" to shift toward "normal operations" for the Fall 2021 semester.

Crow said a change of policy requiring students to come to campus for classes is unlikely for this semester, but he expects more people to feel comfortable attending classes in person as more vaccines become available.

"There are very few people that have actually gotten to the point of full immunity and that will probably be March before we start to get a substantial number of people at that point," Neal Woodbury, ASU Knowledge Enterprise's interim executive vice president, said during the meeting Monday. "That may start to make it easier for some of our particularly older faculty to to spend more time on campus and we'll have to see how that goes."

ASU students wearing masks walk and bike down Cady Mall on the Tempe campus on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020.

The University is currently considering making the COVID-19 vaccine a similar requirement to the current mandatory vaccinations required for students to take unless they have medical or religious exceptions, Crow said.

"But we're certainly not going to make any kinds of announcements yet because, one, we don't know exactly where the virus is," Crow said. "Second, we don't have the vaccines to implement such a policy anyway. And third, we don't know how many vaccines there will be by that point."

Approximately 4,000 people within the ASU community have been vaccinated, according to Woodbury. 

"We haven't secured as many as we wish we could have secured for the ASU community, because there just aren't that many out there," Crow said.

Woodbury said as more companies release more vaccines in upcoming months, vaccine accessibility will significantly increase.

"I'm very hopeful that by middle of the summer, we would be able to have vaccinated essentially as many people that want to be vaccinated," Woodbury said.

Reach the reporter at and follow @kaceywilson_ on Twitter. 

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