Dear Red Wolves:
I wanted to let you know about our plans for Fall 2020. As a reminder, after a quick transition to all-online teaching in mid-semester, we recently announced that most of our summer classes will also be taught online. We have allowed certain labs and practicums to be taught face-to-face in Summer II, provided that those classes create plans that maximize physical distancing and other hygiene requirements. In all of these decisions, we have focused on ensuring that the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students is our highest priority, while also seeking to continue delivering the highest quality learning and working environment possible. We have relied heavily on guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Office, local health authorities, and input from our campus community.
Our decision about the Fall 2020 semester will maintain that very same perspective. While there are a myriad of things to consider when planning our recovery efforts, the chief priorities will be, first, the health and safety of our campus community and, second, the continuity of our mission to educate leaders, enhance intellectual growth, and enrich lives. We will take into account guidance from relevant authorities and use a transparent and collaborative process to determine our actions.
To that end, I fully expect that we will conduct the Fall 2020 semester on campus. It will not be “business as usual,” because we all understand that adjustments will have to be made. These changes will be based on the best practices for health and safety. We will also be prepared to make adjustments and to have contingency plans in place should they be needed. None of us knows exactly what the fall will look like, but we cannot wait to start making plans.
Our transition to all-online in the spring had to be done incredibly fast, so we needed to rely on a small group of leaders who did their best to make decisions that best allowed us to continue our critical mission in an emergency situation. I will forever be grateful for Len Frey, Lori Winn, Alan Utter, Bill Smith, and Jon Carvell who served their university so nobly and selflessly during those difficult early days.
But we have more time to plan for the fall semester. Because I believe that a more inclusive approach is the best way to plan for the fall, I have created seven COVID-19 continuity task forces. The Chancellor’s Cabinet will serve as the ad hoc A-State Continuity Advisory Committee (ACAC). Cabinet members will develop and lead their task forces, which will be charged with making recommendations to the ACAC, which will in turn, make recommendations to me. The continuity task forces are as follows: