JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - With guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse announced Monday on-campus classes should resume in the fall.
However, he said it will not be “business as usual,” consider the adjustments that must be made to keep students, faculty, and staff safe from COVID-19.
“None of us knows exactly what the fall will look like,” Damphousse said.
“Our plans are to have classes in person face-to-face and as normal as possible in the fall,” he added. "But everyone, everyone knows what we went through in March and in April. Everyone knows that’s a possibility in the fall as well. We all have to be flexible and not get our hopes dashed by expecting one outcome.”
The campus transitioned to an all-online curriculum in the middle of its Spring semester. The Summer sessions will also be primarily online, except for a few labs and practicums.
“Our transition to all-online in the spring had to be done incredibly fast, so we needed to rely on a small group of leaders who did their best to make decisions that best allowed us to continue our critical mission in an emergency situation,” he said.
Stating they have more time to plan for the fall semester, Damphousse said they are relying heavily on guidance from the CDC, Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Office, local health authorities, and input from our campus community.
“Because I believe that a more inclusive approach is the best way to plan for the fall, I have created seven COVID-19 continuity task forces,” he said.
“We owe it to everybody. Our faculty, staff, students and our visitors to be prepared for what our life will look like in the Fall.”
The task forces are:
- Continuity of Teaching, Learning, and Discovery: Dr. Alan Utter
- Business and Employee Wellness Continuity: Dr. Len Frey
- Student Wellness and Residence Life Continuity: Dr. Martha Spack
- Alternative Modes of Instruction Expansion: Dr. Thilla Sivakumaran
- Community Engagement Continuity: Dr. Maurice Gipson & Dr. Erika Chudy
- Continuity of Enrollment Management: Dr. Bryan Terry
- Continuity of Intercollegiate Athletics: Terry Mohajir
The task forces are expected to complete their work no later than July 1.
“As we learned this past spring, we are capable of making the transition from face-to-face instruction to online instruction very quickly,” Damphousse said. “But we also learned that we were not as prepared as we needed to be. We only succeeded because our faculty and staff showed tremendous tenacity and fortitude to get us to the finish line.”