ASU, UA, NAU all plan for in-person classes fall semester, Scottsdale CC to continue remotely


Kevin Dooley (Flickr)

Jared Taylor is scheduled to speak at ASU on Sept. 2

Ole Olafson, Reporter

Last week, presidents from all three major Arizona universities announced that their institutions were planning to resume in-person classes for fall semester, 2020.

Maria Polleta and Allison Steinbach reported for Arizona Republic on April 30, that Arizona State president Michael Crow addressed the decision in an email to students.

“We will continue to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Arizona Department of Health Services.  We will communicate to you throughout the summer about how those recommendations may impact future decisions and modifications to campus life this fall,” Crow wrote in the email.

According to the article, University of Arizona President Robert Robbins announced in a press conference that class sizes would be scaled back 50% to allow for social distancing and that sick students would be quarantined in single-occupancy dorm rooms for two weeks, during which time, potentially infected individuals could be traced.

“There are many factors that remain beyond our control.  We are tackling what is within our control to ensure our students have the opportunity for a full on-campus experience,” Robbins said in a statement following the press conference.

Northern Arizona University President Rita Cheng, reportedly emailed students last Thursday, alerting them that social distancing would be required in classrooms and public areas and that the university plans to implement aggressive testing and contact tracing policies.

“We are at an inflection point, where the lack of employment opportunities, a sense of personal dislocation and powerlessness, and uncertainty about the future must be addressed — wisely, comprehensively, and, at the same time, with due speed,” wrote Cheng.

Scottsdale Community College Interim President Chris Haines issued an email to faculty and staff yesterday, stating that SCC will continue to offer nearly all of its classes remotely for fall semester, while remaining flexible enough to return to in-person classes if the situation allows.

Haines outlined the plan in her email and attached a document with more specific details.

“The plan prepares SCC to offer (1) extremely limited face-to-face instruction in areas where it is most critical and (2) offer remote learning in both Live Online (synchronous) and On Your Time (asynchronous) formats, as well as (3) increasing the number of short-term classes,” Haines wrote.

“If conditions warrant it, Live Online classes could be transitioned to campus-based courses while still allowing those students who are unable to or do not wish to attend in person to participate remotely, Haines added.

Scottsdale doesn’t seem to be alone in their cautious approach.

The New York Post reported in mid-April that universities like Boston and Harvard are also trying to develop flexible plans for multiple scenarios.

“I think colleges should all definitely make plans for delaying start dates and for intermittent closings and reopenings, because epidemiology modeling suggests we may have to go into open and close waves until potentially even 2022,” Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and visiting scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told CNN.

It still seems unclear how the rest of the Community Colleges in Maricopa County will proceed with their classes this fall.