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ASU Mid-South begins new semester after COVID-19 delay

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Pandemic protocols push start to spring classes back a week, remote learning put in place

[email protected] The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact many facets of our lives, education being no exception. With that in mind, officials at ASU Mid-South have made moves to ensure the safety of students and staff as a new semester begins.

ASU Mid-South will be implementing a remote start of its Spring 2022 semester, with classes being conducted online as the college monitors local coronavirus cases.

“Today, the State of Arkansas reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases — 12,990 — since the beginning of the pandemic,” ASU Mid-South Chancellor Debra West announced last Thursday. “The number of active cases in Crittenden County remains very high, with an average of 140 new cases being reported each day. In fact, new case counts have increased 216% over the past two weeks. With that in mind, ASU Mid-South will be implementing a remote start of its Spring 2022 semester.”

What does this mean?

Campus offices, such as Financial Aid, Bookstore, Library, etc. will remain open. Classes were originally slated to begin Jan.

10, but the start of the new semester was pushed back a week to give some extra time between the recent Christmas holidays and the return to campus.

“We hope that by delaying the beginning of the semester, we will help mitigate the risk to our campus community by providing a greater buffer between holiday activities and the start of in-person instruction,” West explained. “A delayed start will also give those students who may have had to isolate or quarantine over the Winter Break extended time to end their isolation or quarantine period prior to the first day of classes.”

The delayed start to the Spring 2022 semester will affect other dates during the semester as well, including, but not limited to, the final day of classes, final exam week, and graduation. These changes will be made to the Academic Calendar and published on the college website as soon as possible. The changes will not affect the dates of spring break.

“Because the health and safety of our campus community is of utmost importance, we will continue to monitor the number of positive COVID-19 case counts to determine whether additional measures such as the initial remote start, are necessary,” said West. We will make a determination regarding any additional measures and, if we determine they are necessary, will communicate them to our campus community.”

Classes will still begin on Jan. 18, as previously announced.

“However, from Jan. 18 through Jan. 21, in-person course sections will be delivered virtually through Canvas, the College’s Learning Management system,” said West.

West noted that the remotelearning plan does not apply to independent study courses in the College’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program.

Those classes will still meet in-person, as scheduled, beginning today.

“Students should log into their Canvas account and access their courses beginning January 18, if not before,” she added. “Inside each course, you will find assignments you must complete to demonstrate your attendance in that course.

Please note: you must demonstrate attendance in each of your classes, either by completion of assignments in Canvas or by inperson attendance (once inperson attendance resumes) on or before Feb. 1, to remain enrolled. Students who do not attend class by that date will be administratively withdrawn, with no option to return to that class.”

For those who do not have ready access to the internet or if for some other reason are unable to log into his or her Canvas account or unable to access their courses in Canvas, students can call the college or email [email protected] edu. “We recognize these are challenging times, with competing demands on your time and attention,” West said to students. “We hope that this remote start will provide you the added flexibility you need to respond to any personal challenges you may be facing, while moving forward towards your educational goals.”

Continued on Page 2

“We recognize these are challenging times, with compet-iing demandss on yourr time and attention” — ASU Miid–Soutth Chancellor Debra West ASU MID-SOUTH (cont.)

She said medical professionals are cautiously optimistic that the number of active cases will soon peak and begin to decline.

In the meantime, West offered some tips.

“Given that the Omicron variant has proven to be much more contagious, I encourage everyone who can be vaccinated to get vaccinated and/or boosted as soon as possible, if you haven’t already,” she said.

“Also, it is more important than ever that we all adhere to established COVID protocols: • Masks (worn over the nose and mouth) are mandatory inside all campus buildings until further notice.

• Also, we ask that you please continue to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene and maintain appropriate (6 feet minimum) physical distance from others.

• If you’re in a technical program that requires close contact with others, wear your face shield!

• Finally, and perhaps most importantly, please remember to screen yourself for symptoms daily before coming to campus.

The Daily Self-Screening Questionnaire can be found online (https://www.asumidsouth.

Links to an external site.) or in the app. “Doing these small things each day can help diminish the risk to yourselves and others,” said West. “So, let’s all do our part to help keep each other safe.”

For more information about ASU Mid-South COVID19 safety protocols or about degree or continuing education programs, visit www.asumidsouth.edu or call (870) 733-6722.

Graphic courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Health

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