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Approximately one year since the university converted to remote learning and after 12 long months of contending with uncertainties and new ways of conducting our daily lives, the distribution of vaccines to the American population along with continued adherence to public health recommendations have given reason for optimism.
As positive COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward both nationally and in the state of Arizona, there is a lot of new information about public health protocols and standards at home, in the workplace and in public. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order last week relaxed public health protocols for restaurants, gyms, theaters and other public venues. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new recommendations easing restrictions for people who have been fully vaccinated.
At ASU, we will continue to observe the same standards that have guided us through the spring semester, with no changes to current university protocols involving face coverings, physical distancing and limitations on the number of people who can gather together.
Similarly, there are no changes to ASU’s Community of Care protocols or to its housing and learning modes of operation.
Given that most of the largest population on our campuses — students — is not yet even eligible to be vaccinated, and only about a third of the university’s faculty and staff have received the vaccination thus far, our plan for the remainder of the spring semester is to stay the course.
That means ASU dining and housing protocols will remain the same. It means that Sun Devil Fitness will continue to operate on a reservation-based system. It means that many events will continue to be virtual — with some exceptions, such as Sun Devil Athletics, where a 25% capacity attendance ceiling will be imposed, and limited-capacity, in-person student activities and events adhering to the same health expectations followed all semester.
COVID-19 testing will continue to be an important part of our ASU Community of Care public health management strategy, with Devils' drop-off sites providing a convenient, on-campus, no-appointment-necessary way to stay aware of any infections that may occur and to reduce virus spread. Please continue to respond when you are contacted for random testing, and please continue to take advantage of this resource regularly if you are out and about in contact with those outside your home. Sun Devils who confirm that they have received the full recommended vaccination course by uploading an image of their official vaccination card will be exempt from selection for the university’s random COVID-19 testing program.
We all look forward to a time soon when campus life looks more familiar. The ASU community’s response to the pandemic over this past year has been extraordinary. As a result, the spread of the virus on ASU campuses has been significantly below public levels. With continued adherence to the standards we have set and by which we all have all lived, we are confident the semester can conclude with the greatest possible level of health and success.
The university’s plans for commencement are not yet final. It remains our wish to return to more in-person activities as soon as we can be assured that it is safe to do so — most certainly by the fall semester.
We extend our heartfelt thanks for your cooperation and collaboration as a community to keep the university moving forward safely and successfully as we near what we hope will be the end of a most challenging chapter for us all.
Mark S. Searle
Executive vice president and university provost
Arizona State University
Morgan R. Olsen
Executive vice president, treasurer and CFO
Arizona State University
Posted: March 17, 2021, at 11:30 a.m.