Students attending college at Arkansas State University System institutions will likely be returning to campus in the fall.
ASU System officials announced today (May 4) that its six member institutions, as well as Henderson State University, are expected to hold in-person classes, starting in fall 2020. In addition, ASU System President Chuck Welch said that residence halls at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas State University-Beebe, and Henderson State University will reopen at that time.
The six current ASU System institutions include Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, ASU-Beebe, ASU-Mountain Home, ASU-Newport, ASU Mid-South, and ASU Three Rivers. Henderson State University is in the process of joining the ASU System.
According to a news release, the ASU System will be developing its COVID-19 recovery plans and reopening schedule based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the Arkansas Department of Health.
“Our chancellors and their response teams have done a tremendous job guiding our employees and students through this difficult time,” Welch said in a statement. “Students have made clear they are eager to return to campus and their traditional classes. We want to move in that direction carefully with a focus on keeping everyone as safe and healthy as possible.”
Welch said that there is currently not a definitive plan in place for reopening. He attributed this to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Safety measures for fall classes that we develop in the next few weeks may be very different by August,” Welch said. “We don’t want to rush with a definitive plan now knowing state and federal guidelines are being changed in phases. While we can’t realistically expect complete campus normalcy this fall, we will make every effort to ensure our students have the best possible experiences on campus under the difficult circumstances.”
The University of Arkansas is currently investigating the possibility of reopening in the fall, according to university officials. Chancellor Joe Steinmetz will reportedly make a decision on fall 2020 classes on or before June 1.
“We very much want to reopen the university and have students on campus this fall,” Steinmetz said. “To do that, it may be necessary for some faculty and staff to begin returning to campus over the summer as needed in time to prepare. We hope to do this in a way that continues to minimize the number of faculty and staff on campus while at the same time allows for adequate preparation for the return of our students.”