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ASU System plans in-person fall classes, on-campus housing

by Emily Walkenhorst | May 4, 2020 at 11:31 a.m.
The Welcome Center at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro is shown in this 2019 file photo.

Arkansas State University System schools and Henderson State University plan to have courses on campus and to reopen residence halls in the fall, system officials announced Monday.

System officials announced the "intent for in-person fall classes," while noting that what plans look like now could be different come August.

"Safety measures for fall classes that we develop in the next few weeks may be very different by August,” ASU System President Chuck 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 system's announcement included Henderson State, which it intends to merge into its system in the coming months. System officials have already been working closely with Henderson officials on merging and financial planning.

In a message to campus also on Monday, Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said he'd convened seven task forces to plan for the fall and that he "fully expects" to have courses on campus in August but that it won't be "business as usual" because of the need to consider health and safety.

"We will also be prepared to make adjustments and to have contingency plans in place should they be needed," Damphousse said. "None of us knows exactly what the fall will look like, but we cannot wait to start making plans."

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