Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Novel Coronavirus

Information as of: June 25, 2020

RETURN TO LEARN OUTLINE RELEASED BY CHANCELLOR

I am pleased to share our A-State Return to Learn guidelines. Please remember that we know much more about COVID-19 today than we did in March, and we will know even more about the virus come August. The Arkansas Department of Health may establish new guidelines for higher education that may supersede our plans. For now, though, we are investing significant resources into preparing our buildings for the fall. We have also created plans for how to respond when (not if) employees and students test positive for COVID-19.

View the Plan and Task Force Reports >>

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Arkansas State University is currently operating under its Emergency Operations Plan due to the global coronavirus pandemic. The Emergency Operations Center is operational until further notice. Our EOC team is working in close coordination with city and county health officials, and with our partners at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine. The EOC is in contact with the Arkansas Department of Health, and are carefully monitoring information from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

PHASE 2 UNDERWAY

In compliance with State of Arkansas guidance and in coordination with the university’s Emergency Operations Center, Arkansas State University has entered the second phase of operations toward preparing for the Fall 2020 semester on Monday, June 15. Employees and supervisors needing forms and further information related to return to work go to this page related to Phase 1 and Phase 2.

PHASE 1 OPERATIONS PLAN

In compliance with State of Arkansas guidance and in coordination with the university’s Emergency Operations Center, Arkansas State entered into the first phase of operations toward preparing for the Fall 2020 semester on May 18, 2020.

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 of COVID-19 can include:

    • Cough
    • Fever
    • Shortness of breath
    • Chills
    • Sore throat
    • Muscle pain
    • New loss of taste or smell
    There are other possible symptoms, and to learn more about the current wide range of symptoms, which can be mild to very severe, visit this website at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

    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 about wearing a mask, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

  • 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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  • WHAT ARE A-STATE’S PLANS FOR FALL 2020?

    Chancellor Kelly Damphousse outlined the university’s Return to Learn plans in a campus-wide message on June 25.  To read specific recommendations from the campus task forces, go to the Return to Learn plan web page.  Earlier, he had indicated that A-State plans to conduct classes on campus for the Fall 2020 in this message to campus from May 4.

  • WHEN WILL THE RED W.O.L.F. CENTER REOPEN?

    The Red W.O.L.F. Center reopened on June 1 under the State of Arkansas guidelines for workout facilities.  Go to their main web page to learn more about hours of operations and requirements for usage.

  • IS Dining Services STILL OPEN?

    Yes, but all food service is now to go.  The seating area of Acansa Dining Hall remains closed at this time.

    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 must comply with state of Arkansas guidance.  If you have questions about whether your event can take place in person on campus, fill out a Submit Event campus calendar form.  Currently (June 15), the state of Arkansas is operating under Phase 2 guidelines, which limits in-person gatherings indoors to less than 50 people.


  • 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.  Please visit our Tech Tips page for more helpful information!
     
    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.


  • For Students

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  • 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.

  • Refunds for Spring 2020

    All refunds related to on-campus student housing, meal plans and Flex plans are complete.  If you have questions, please contact Finance and Administration.

  • 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. There will be two sessions as usual. Go to this FAQ on the postponed Spring Commencement for more details.

  • CARES ACT FUNDING

    During late May 2020, Arkansas State University distributed its first CARES Act funds directly to qualified students.  A second disbursement is anticipated shortly after June 1, 2020.  To learn more about who qualified for CARES Act grants, please read these emails from Chancellor Damphousse on May 5 and May 8.  For a report on A-State’s compliance with this portion of the CARES Act, please see this statement on our website.


  • 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

    The majority of employees are continuing to work remotely.  If you have questions about Phase 1, please go to this page

  • TRACKING TIME FOR EMPLOYEES
    For employees who log their hours in Time Clock Plus, those that are working remotely from home will use time log forms provided to record their daily time. These will be turned in to supervisors upon the return to regular working schedules on campus. 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.

  • DO I HAVE TO REPORT MY COVID-19 TESTING?

    Yes, you are required to let Human Resources know that you have been tested, and if your test is positive.  You are also required to self-isolate if exhibiting symptoms, told by a healthcare provider you should be tested, or have received results of a positive test result.As an employee, you should report your positive test status, or your request from a healthcare provider to self-isolate, to your immediate supervisor and to Human Resources.As a supervisor, you are required to provide notice to Human Resources of any employee who has a positive case or is self-isolating, and to assist Human Resources with who the employee may have interacted with on campus.

  • WHEN SHOULD I QUARANTINE?

    If you are confident you have come in close contact with someone who is now positive for COVID-19, or has become symptomatic of COVID-19 – particularly a fever – notify your supervisor and begin to quarantine yourself from campus and other university employees.

  • WHAT IF MEMBERS OF MY HOUSEHOLD ARE QUARANTINED/ISOLATED?

    You should not return to campus until everyone in the household has cleared either the standard 14-day period or by negative testing result.

  • CAN EMPLOYEES WORK ON FLEX SCHEDULES WHILE TELECOMMUTING?

    Yes.  These are work assignment relationships to be managed with your direct supervisor and your office/department/division leadership.

  • IF I HAVE SCHEDULED VACATION OR MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS WHILE TELECOMMUTING?

    During this period of remote working requested by the state of Arkansas, all employees will not utilize standard leave through the regular leave reporting system.  Please consult your supervisor or HR for more information.

  • REMOTE WORKER HOURS ETIQUETTE

    While the majority of our employees are working remotely, they are still maintaining the regular office hours of the university, which are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. As a courtesy to our fellow employees, please respect the standard business hours for all regular communications. With the exception of emergencies, employees who previously would not be expected to respond outside regular business hours should respond to requests during the next business day. Please plan for more time for responses to requests, as co-workers who once could check across a hallway or building may now need to consult with a similarly remote working colleague to provide answers.


  • A-State Campus Response

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  • 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 until further notice. 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, summer, and fall 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, summer, and fall of 2020.