ASU President Michael Crow addressed questions about the upcoming fall semester, graduation and summer school in an online student forum Monday.
While giving his updates on the University, Crow declared the past semester an overall success. He praised the school’s handling of COVID-19 and its ability to maximize research projects, invest more in research funding, improve its student outreach and increase graduation rates.
“All the things that we hoped to happen in student life have been happening,” Crow said.
Crow said ASU will be graduating nearly 20,000 students at the end of the semester, which would be the most in school history. He attributed the high graduation rate to the hybrid teaching model that he said has worked extremely well.
Applications to the University are “off the charts,” Crow said, but did not share an exact number.
More than 12,000 staff members have received the COVID-19 vaccine and all students will soon have access to the same opportunity, Crow announced.
Crow said ASU is still slated to resume fully in-person classes in the fall semester. He plans to achieve “a point of new normal” in which the virus is substantially managed and everyone can return to campus.
Can students anticipate having the COVID-19 vaccine required to attend in-person classes? Will masks and social distancing be required?
Crow said a final decision has not been made on a vaccine requirement, and it was too early to make such a decision since there are currently not enough vaccines available to make it a fair requirement, and he doesn’t know when the virus will reach a reasonable management level.
“We’re not taking anything off the table yet, because we don’t know what’s going to be required for the University to be healthy,” Crow said.
Crow said in the meantime the school will focus on making vaccines available to students as soon as possible. The number of students the school can vaccinate is a function of the supply of vaccines.
“Eligibility and accessibility don’t always track at the same speed,” ASU Counseling Services Director Aaron Krasnow said. “So we’re trying to match those up with our relationships with Maricopa County and the state of Arizona, as they are the ones who allocate the vaccine."
Vice President of Student Services Joanne Vogel said more information about larger vaccination opportunities will likely be released on Wednesday depending on the availability of space at health centers and the amount of vaccines the school will receive.
Will each college’s graduation ceremonies be posted online and when?
ASU announced in late March all graduation ceremonies will be online, but it did give permission to individual colleges to plan specialized events.
“We will make sure that there are now plans, but the (colleges) were finalizing their plans last week so that’s the reason they haven’t been posted as of today,” University Provost Mark Searle said.
Crow said the school is giving each college the opportunity to be creative and figure out how they want to run their own graduation since each one is very different from each other. He hopes that the plans will be communicated soon and he is confident they “will be lots of fun.”
Will students who graduated in 2020-21 have the opportunity to attend in-person athletic events given that they still paid an athletics fee?
Crow said he would like to implement some option to compensate for all of the athletic events that graduates were unable to attend this year. Potentially giving graduates a season pass to games or allowing them to choose specific games to attend for free were some ideas that were introduced during the forum.
Crow also said he would assign the task to senior vice president for Educational Outreach and Student Services James Rund.
How will summer classes be structured?
According to Crow, most of the classes will be remote, either through ASU Sync or online, but there will be some classes available on campus for courses that require in-person attendance, such as lab-based classes. The bulk of the session will be conducted in a similar fashion as the spring semester's classes were.
“It’s not going to be wildly different from how we normally run summer school,” Crow said.
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