Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Novel Coronavirus

Information as of: April 6, 2020

Time for our campus family to embrace more changes

Dear Red Wolves: Our world has changed in dramatic and rapid ways here at Arkansas State. It is hard to believe that just seven days ago, we were waking up to the damage of an EF-3 tornado. It was just one month ago that I sent an email to campus announcing that we may need to prepare for shifting to online instructional delivery. As we wake up on this first Sunday of April, it is time for our campus family to embrace more changes and additional procedures to maximize as much as possible the safety of our community.

View the campus announcement >>

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Our Emergency Management office has reviewed our existing plans for virus-based health incidents, and we have conferred with our partners at NYITCOM about next steps should they become necessary. Our response team members are in contact with the Arkansas Department of Health, and are carefully monitoring information from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

For daily updates on COVID-19 in the state, go to the ADH status update page.

OFFICIAL INFORMATION NOTICE

There are no plans to cancel classes, however, if situations dictate a change, you will receive notice via official A-State communications.  Please make sure your cell phone is current in your my.AState account. Do not believe rumors or any statements about outbreaks or class cancellations that are not direct from:


    Health, Wellness and Prevention Information

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  • What do I do if I feel sick?

    Remember that the symptoms are a fever, cough or shortness of breath. If you think that you may be contagious, have been in contact with someone who was known to have coronavirus, or have traveled to an area with a known outbreak, call your health provider in advance. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or other health facility without calling first.Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic.

    For those on campus, the Student Health Center’s phone number is 870-972-2054.

    For students in the Jonesboro area, St. Bernards Health Center is recommending everyone download their virtual physician interface, St. Bernards Go.

    After registering, the St Bernards Go app will ask for you to pay a fee. For anyone with virus symptoms the fee is being waived, but you must enter COVID into the discount code box on the payment page. Then the screen will progress allowing you to pick which St. Bernard’s physician is immediately available.  This will allow you to speak via video conference directly to a physician. 

    They will ask you about your symptoms, and if you have been in direct contact with a confirmed case of the virus, and will then advise you where to go for testing. Otherwise, just treat yourself as if you would normally with a cold or flu.

  • What if I THINK I’VE BEEN EXPOSED TO CORONAVIRUS?

    If you believe you have been in close contact with someone who has been tested or had tested positive for coronavirus, quarantine yourself and contact Human Resources at 870-972-3995.

  • What if MY ROOMMATE IS SICK?

    If you believe they have symptoms consistent with flu or coronavirus – fever, chills, cough -- contact the Student Health Center at 870-972-2054 or your health provider by phone.  Tell the medical professional the symptoms you are seeing and they will advise you.

  • What is coronavirus?

    Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a virus identified by the World Health Organization as the source of a new respiratory illness first detected in China, but since has spread to locations around the globe. As a new or previously undetected virus, it was labeled the Novel (new) Coronavirus or COVID-19. Coronaviruses are part of a large family of respiratory virus illnesses.  Previous outbreaks of coronavirus have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).  On Jan. 30, 2020, the WHO declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern,” and the following day, Jan. 31, 2020, U.S. Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in the United State. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. 

    Learn more at the CDC’s main Covid-19 website.

  • How does it spread?

    According to the CDC and Arkansas Department of Health, coronavirus is spread in the same ways as other virus illnesses like common influenza or colds.  Your keys to limiting exposure to all viruses are similar:

    • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizers can be an effective alternative.  For more on handwashing, go here https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/
    • Here’s a video from CDC: What You Need To Know About Handwashing
    • Disinfect surfaces that people touch frequently.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth – germs often spread when a person touches something contaminated and then your eyes, nose or mouth.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow if you cough or sneeze.
    • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
    • If you feel sick, please stay home.

    Learn more about how COVID-19 spreads at CDC

  • Should I wear a mask?

    What kind of mask and what setting should guide your decision. Initially, federal agencies were not encouraging the general public to use masks, and they continue to say that special N95-style masks and traditional surgical masks are not advised for the public.

    The CDC does recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., Campus Store, library or offices), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. Wearing a mask or face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing.

    To learn more – how to wear, how to make and when to utilize a cloth face mask, go to this page at the CDC website.
    In these new times, we want to remind everyone: It you see someone wearing a mask, do not assume they have been exposed to any illness. It does mean they are trying to be polite to you and protective of themselves.

    There is another very important times to wear a mask. Our healthcare workers wear masks both to protect themselves and their patients, and we do not need to hoard or prevent them from getting the specialized N95 masks or face guards by keeping them for private usage.

    This is an update from previous guidance (4/4/2020)

  • What If I am IMMUNOCOMPROMISED?

    We recommend any student, faculty or staff member who is immunocompromised to contact and consult with their physician.  If they advise you to return home as a student, or to stay home as a faculty or staff member, follow your physicians advice.  For students, contact the Office of Access and Accommodations to let them know.  If you are faculty or staff, contact your Human Resources about work at home options.

  • What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

    Both help limit the exposure to people with contagious diseases, but it’s helpful to know the difference.

    • Quarantine is to separate people who were potentially exposed to a contagious disease to see if they start to display symptoms or become sick.
    • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from others

    Currently the CDC and Department of Homeland Security have implemented Federal travel restrictions that may require travelers to enter into 14-day long quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure. 

    To learn more about quarantine and isolation, go to this CDC page: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/quarantineisolation.html

  • I feel anxious about coronavirus. What can I do?

    We understand the concern of community members.  The novel coronavirus outbreak adds a layer of stress and worry.  If you would like to talk to someone, support is available through campus support areas.

  • How should I clean and disinfect communal spaces?

    (Update on campus cleaning - 3/12/2020)

    Commonly touched areas – door knobs, desks, tables, keyboards, light switches – should be cleaning and disinfected frequently.  The CDC recommends use of a disinfectant registered with the EPA or a 10% bleach/water solution.  Avoid using gels or liquids on electronic unless indicated safe to use on those devices.  Learn more about cleaning surfaces – in particular the difference between cleaning and disinfecting.

    Cell phones, touch screens and device remote controls should also receive special consideration for disinfecting.  Disposable microfiber cloths and disinfectant wipes are useful.  Avoid using gels, liquids or abrasive cleaners directly on electronic devices. Consult the device’s manufacturer for an appropriate wipe or procedure.

    EPA information on antimicrobial products for hard surfaces


  • For Campus

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  • RESIDENCE HALLS RESTRICTED AFTER APRIL 3

    Starting Friday, April 3, on-campus student housing is restricted to only students granted the ability to remain in University Housing. If you were not granted a waiver to remain, and were unable to arrange to remove your residence hall belongings, contact University Housing at housing@AState.edu or call 870-972-2042 (provide name, A-State ID, description of your issue and call back number).

  • IS Dining Services STILL OPEN?

    Yes, but all food service is now to go.  The seating area of Acansa Dining Hall is closed to comply with Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s statewide closure of restaurant dining areas.  As a reminder, the Governor has also said no groups of larger than 10 should be together to reduce the community spread of COVID-19.

    Consult the campus services hours page for updates on when dining areas are open.

  • EVENTS ON CAMPUS

    All events on the Arkansas State University campus are cancelled or postponed until April 30.  In compliance with the Governor’s request, no groups of more than 10 should be congregating to reduce community spread.

  • RESTRICTIONS ON CAMPUS

    Beginning April 6, 2020, only essential personnel and students should be on campus in Jonesboro. All other employees should work remotely. Except for employees who have been designated by their supervisors as essential personnel, most campus buildings are now closed until further notice. If you need to access a building temporarily, contact the building manager or the dean of the respective college. Relevant contact information is listed on exterior doors of all closed buildings.

    All public spaces in buildings that remain open – Reng Student Union, Dean B. Ellis Library, the Administration Building, Facilities Management, or other essential operation buildings – are now closed. To learn more, go to this Chancellor’s Office communication.

    Starting Monday, March 30, 2020, no visitors will be allowed to campus residence halls. Visitors includes persons from off-campus as well as students living on-campus in other residence hall areas. Only the current residents of each residence hall will be allowed to access their hall.

  • BUILDINGS CLOSED ON CAMPUS

    Beginning Monday, April 6, all academic buildings and most support buildings are closed until further notice. Access to these buildings is restricted to only essential personnel, or for temporary access to perform instructional functions for online courses.

  • GROUPS ON CAMPUS

    While the statewide and national guideline for groups is 10 persons or less, Arkansas State is asking that along with keeping six-foot physical spacing, students, faculty, and staff keep their groupings to the absolute minimum. Because of our relatively confined spaces on campus, it is vital that we limit as much as possible close interpersonal interactions with others who are not our roommates, suite mates, or direct family members. Remember to always keep at least six feet of spacing at all times. The CDC also recommends that you use cloth masks when in public spaces that do not easily allow for physical distancing.


  • Classes and Academics

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  • Having Technical Issues? ITS Can Help

    The outbreak of COVID-19 and the disruption of our daily lives may be stressful.  The Information & Technology Services Help Desk and the IT Store want to make sure that technical issues don't add to the anxiety. We are ready to offer assistance with any technical issues that might arise.
     
    ITS Help Desk
    Our Help Desk is 24/7 and would be able to assist by calling 870-972-3933. You can also email us at itshelpdesk@AState.edu for help Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
     
    IT Store
    The IT Store will be open as long as the campus is open, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.  If you are not on campus or if it is easier for you, please give us a call at 870-972-3500 or email the IT Store at itstore@AState.edu. Feel free to also connect with us on social media and the A-State Student app.

  • HOW LONG WILL A-STATE BE IN ONLINE DELIVERY MODE?

    Arkansas State will be in online delivery mode from Tuesday, March 17, until the end of the Spring 2020 Semester.

  • I’m a student. Should I stay home from class?

    Beginning March 17 and continuing to the end of the Spring 2020 Semester, Arkansas State will be open, but all classes will meet virtually through online delivery. Check with your individual instructors or advisors for more details on how your class will meet.In the event you miss class due to illness, stay in contact with your instructor so that you can make any necessary arrangements for making up coursework.

  • How do I prepare to keep up with class from home?

    Preparedness is important if you need to stay home due to illness.  Along with making sure your contact information for official text alerts is current in your my.AState account, remember to check our official A-State email account.  While many students use other services, and may ask faculty to contact them through other platforms, ALL official university correspondence is via your official A-State email account or through official A-State Blackboard class accounts.

  • I’m faculty/staff. Should I report to work?

    Arkansas State remains open for faculty and staff operations as classes will meet via online delivery starting March 17.  If you are feeling sick, yes, stay home. One of the best ways to limit the spread of any seasonal virus-based illness is to avoid contact with others if you are sick. For faculty members, please make sure to notify your department chair and your dean if you are unable to conduct classes as soon as possible.  Employees should let their supervisor know if they are unable to report to work. If it is possible for them to work from home, they should communicate that with their supervisor.

  • How do I prepare to interact with students and teach from home?

    Many people work on-the-go from home or elsewhere via connecting to campus systems and software remotely.  Many of you already connect via the my.AState.edu web site.  This is a secure login requiring that you verify authentication using the Duo mobile app.  Using this my.AState.edu option allows you to connect to Blackboard, Banner, email, Timeclock plus, Concur/Travel, and all of your essential computer system needs just like if you were on campus. 

    Reasons for VPN

    Remember, you only need VPN to access Banner 9 admin pages, the fileshare server and remote desktop.  You do NOT need VPN for my.AState, dotCMS, email, Self Service Banner, Blackboard or Touchnet.

    Getting VPN Access

    Please make sure you are signed up for VPN by following these procedures:

    1. Read and understand the policy/procedure for VPN Access.
    2. Once you read the policy/procedure, login to mycampus.astate.edu and search for the menu button that reads VPN Access.  Click and you will be given instructions on how to gain VPN access.
    3. It is recommended that you practice working remotely via the options above so that you are well prepared in case of this need. 

    If you require other special connectivity, please let your department head or supervisor know as soon as possible. For more information, visit http://www.AState.edu/VPN.

    For faculty who wish to interact with students via video conferencing, the university has options. You will need a video camera, or laptop/tablet with video capability.  Contact the ITS help desk for more information.

    Faculty are strongly encouraged to have their course Blackboard accounts up-to-date in case there is a need to shift classroom delivery to an online format.

  • IS MY EVENT STILL HAPPENING?

    Starting Monday, March 16, and until the end of the Spring 2020 Semester, most on campus events are cancelled or postponed. If you have specific questions, check with the organizer of campus events. A more detailed outline of the COVID-19 pandemic event policy can be found here.

  • Will A-State cancel classes?

    At this time, Arkansas State is open and continues classroom operations, but will shift to all online delivery on March 17 until the end of the Spring 2020 Semester. For labs or practicum courses, consult your instructor for further information.

  • What is Credit/No Credit (CR/NCR) and how does it apply to my grades?

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both students and instructors at Arkansas State University requested guidance and a mechanism to review and revise grading during these extraordinary circumstances. A plan to allow students to ability to request a change from an assigned letter grade into a credit/no credit score for the Spring 2020 Semester was reviewed and proposed to Academic Affairs by the Faculty Senate. Under the system adopted by the Chancellor and Provost, faculty and instructors would continue to assign letter grades at the end of the academic term. Students will be able to view their letter grade before requesting to convert their grade to CR/NCR. Learn more about CR/NCR here.


  • For Students

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  • DO STUDENT WORKERS CONTINUE TO REPORT TO WORK?

    If you are a student worker and have questions, contact your direct supervisor.  

  • I’M A FEDERAL WORK STUDY STUDENT

    Beginning Monday, March 23, and until further notice, all federally funded work study students will no longer report to work on campus. To minimize the number of persons on campus, these student workers will not report to duty, nor will they work remotely.

    Recent guidance from the federal government will allow Arkansas State University to continue paying federal work study students. Federal work study students will receive their regular disbursements, and are asked to check in via email with supervisors if there is a change that would allow them to return to their regular work assignments.

    Any part-time hourly student workers – non-federal work study funded -- are asked to check with their supervisors to determine if they may continue to work as an employee who may be critical to university operations.

    This is an update of previous guidance.

  • How is A-State handling Student Payment Plans?

    In recognition of the potential for financial difficulty for students and their families, A-State is forgoing the assessment of any late fees on any payment plans. To make this change, we had to remove the old payment plans and re-enroll students in the new plan that has no late fee. If students have questions about the change to their payment plan, reach out to the Treasurer’s Office.

  • WILL I RECEIVE A REFUND FOR SPRING?

    For students who will no longer live on campus after April 3, Arkansas State will provide a room/board/Flex housing credit to their student account for the upcoming Fall 2020 Semester. The Student Union Food Court closed on April 3. For students who remain on campus after April 3, but still have Flex points available, you may continue to use your Flex points to get to-go meals at the Acansa Dining Hall, at Starbucks, and at the Campus Store. Any Flex points that remain at the end of the semester will be refunded or credited. 

    The decision to refund or credit is a complicated procedure because each student’s case is unique and must be calculated individually. Our Finance and Administration division will calculate the exact individual’s pro-rated amounts over the coming weeks. We appreciate everyone's patience while calculating what the individual credit amounts will be. We are also using similar guidelines to calculate refunds for students who will be graduating in May or August.

  • Spring Commencement Postponed

    The Spring 2020 Commencement is postponed until Saturday, Aug. 8. This is the day after the regular Summer Commencement on Friday evening, Aug. 7. Times have not been set for the new date at First National Bank Arena. Watch for more information from the Chancellor on details.

  • RESIDENCE HALLS RESTRICTED AFTER APRIL 3

    Starting Friday, April 3, on-campus student housing is restricted to only students granted the ability to remain in University Housing. If you were not granted a waiver to remain, and were unable to arrange to remove your residence hall belongings, contact University Housing at housing@AState.edu or call 870-972-2042 (provide name, A-State ID, description of your issue and call back number).


  • For Employees

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  • SYSTEM-WIDE EMERGENCY LEAVE POLICY

    Arkansas State University has adopted the ASU System and state of Arkansas approved policy related to emergency leave for employees.  To learn more, go to this link: System-Wide Emergency Leave Policy

  • EMERGENCY WORK FROM HOME POLICY

    Arkansas State University has adopted the ASU System and state of Arkansas approved policy related to work from home by A-State employees. Remember to consult with your supervisor. To learn more, go to this link: Emergency Work From Home Policy

  • WORK FROM HOME

    Beginning March 20, 2020, until further notice, faculty and staff will work remotely.  Please see this March 19 message from the Chancellor for more details.

  • TRACKING TIME FOR EMPLOYEES

    For employees who log their hours in Time Clock Plus, those that are working remotely from home will not be required to clock in and out.  Those employees who are reporting to work on campus will continue to use the system.  Go to this HR page for more details.

  • Faculty & Staff Network Access from Home

    While some A-State employees have jobs that cannot be performed remotely, for those who can, we recommend taking time now to make sure you can remotely access your computer. A-State employees can use the university’s VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access their desktop computers. 

    Reasons for VPN

    Remember, you only need VPN to access Banner 9 admin pages, the fileshare server and remote desktop.  You do NOT need VPN for my.AState, dotCMS, email, Self Service Banner, Blackboard or Touchnet.

    Getting VPN Access

    Please make sure you are signed up for VPN by following these procedures:

    1. Read and understand the policy/procedure for VPN Access.
    2. Once you read the policy/procedure, login to mycampus.astate.edu and search for the menu button that reads VPN Access.  Click and you will be given instructions on how to gain VPN access.
    3. It is recommended that you practice working remotely via the options above so that you are well prepared in case of this need. 

    If you require other special connectivity, please let your department head or supervisor know as soon as possible. For more information, visit http://www.AState.edu/VPN.

  • What is an essential employee?

    An essential employee is designated as an individual whose onsite presence at work is imperative for the university to meet its critical operational needs. An employee who is indispensable to the emergency service function of the University and physical presence is required to assist the university in its operational needs.
     
    A non-essential employee is designated as filling a position that can either be performed remotely, or cannot be performed remotely and the position is not critical to the emergency operation of the university. We recognize many employees are fulfilling important continuity of business tasks, but the employee’s presence at work during an emergency is not required to assist the university in meeting its operational needs. The employee is not required to report to work during an emergency.


  • A-State Campus Response

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  • NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES WORKING REMOTELY

    The Department of Labor requires that this poster related to COVID-19 workplace rights be posted in every building on campus. In turn, it must be provided to all remote workers so they are aware of the policies and have the opportunity to review. This link was provided in email to all employees on March 27 as a part of the Daily Digest.

  • What is our Emergency Plan?

    Arkansas State’s leadership is monitoring the national and regional situation. The CDC’s guidance recommends that universities use their existing Pandemic Illness plans to prepare for COVID-19.  A review of this plan and assignment of key tasks to members of the university’s Emergency Operations team to prepare for potential implementation is ongoing.

    Arkansas State is coordinating and cooperating with the Craighead County Office of Emergency Preparedness, which is the lead agency under the state of Arkansas emergency operations plan.

  • How do I stay up to date on the latest developments?

    Remember, we will be communicating to you directly via your official A-State email address.  If you have not been receiving official A-State emails, double check your spam or junk folders. If you think you may be missing emails, contact BillSmith@AState.edu or tclark@AState.edu via email.

  • How does A-State Clean and disinfect?

    The A-State Facilities Management custodial team utilizes EPA-registered disinfectants to clean common surfaces on campus.

    Look for hand sanitizer dispensers located around campus in offices and other facilities. 

    In campus bathrooms, make sure to use good technique and wash hands at least 20 seconds.  To learn more, watch this video from the CDC or go to this website page on healthy handwashing.

    Beyond your own personal efforts to clean and keep common areas disinfected, Facilities Management has additional tools at its disposal in the event for the need to clean areas.

    An update on campus cleaning techniques was sent out on March 12, 2020.

  • How do I prepare to stay home?

    Preparedness is important if you need to stay home due to illness.  Along with making sure your contact information for official text alerts is current in your my.AState account, remember to check our official A-State email account.  While many students use other services, and may ask faculty to contact them through other platforms, ALL official university correspondence is via your official A-State email account or through official A-State Blackboard class accounts.


  • Travel

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  • Arkansas State Official Travel Policy

    Arkansas State Official Travel Policy

    In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Arkansas State University is restricting all official (state- or grant-funded) travel, effective March 13, 2020 through the end of the spring semester. The restrictions are as follows:

    1. No official international travel will be authorized, except by direct appeal to the Chancellor for travel that fulfills A-State’s critical research, operational, or strategic mission. No official travel will be authorized to CDC Levels 2 or 3 travel warning countries. Official travel to countries from which the US currently bans entry will not be authorized. All Study Abroad trips sponsored by A-State are cancelled for the spring and summer of 2020.
    2. Official domestic travel will only be authorized if it fulfills A-State’s critical research, operational, or strategic mission. Individuals may seek permission for official domestic travel by discussing travel plans with their direct supervisors, who will forward their recommendations to Dr. Len Frey via email. Upon consultation with either the Provost or other relevant members of the campus leadership team, Dr. Frey will make recommendations to the chancellor, who retains sole authority to approve travel under this temporary policy.
    3. For personal travel, Arkansas State strongly encourages employees and students to give careful consideration to postponing it when possible until the pandemic has ended.
    4. Employees or students who are authorized to travel but who have concerns about doing so shall not be compelled by anyone to travel.
    5. If you do travel, please exercise caution with entering large crowds and engaging in close contact with others. Continue to practice social distancing and strong hygiene measures, such as regular hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, and covering your mouth/nose with your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
    6. Please understand that the coronavirus risks associated with travel represents a very fluid situation at this time, and requirements for quarantine related to different travel destinations can change with little notice.

    US authorities currently require quarantine for passengers returning from certain areas. When we are deciding about official or personal travel plans, please consider the possibility of being in quarantine for up to 14 days if the area you have traveled from, or through, is added to the current list of containment areas. Employees who are placed in quarantine will be required to work with Human Resources on whether they can work from home, or must utilize accrued sick or annual leave.

    Finally, if you are currently on official travel, you are not required to return immediately.

  • Study Abroad

    Per the March 13 revision to campus travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, all Study Abroad sponsored by Arkansas State is cancelled for the spring and summer of 2020.