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Arizona State University returns to on-campus instruction for fall 2021

We are excited that the fall 2021 semester is here, and we are hard at work creating a safe and welcoming environment in which students can live and learn. As health conditions continue to change, we will need the ongoing cooperation of every member of the Sun Devil community.

Below, find the latest information about the return to full in-person classes for the fall semester. These plans reflect current public health guidance and are subject to change throughout the semester. ASU will continue to proactively communicate any changes that may affect campus life.

One thing is certain, we will be ready for whatever may come. It’s what Sun Devils do — we face challenges with creativity and grit, leaning on adaptability and innovation. Our commitment to building student success is what unites the ASU community.

Mayo Clinic and ASU COVID-19 Initiative

ASU and Mayo Clinic are working together on the Mayo Clinic and ASU COVID-19 Initiative to provide timely health care information to students and employees on demand through the Mayo Clinic Health Information Library — now available through the ASU mobile app — and to collaborate on COVID-19 research projects. Read more


Read ASU’s updated Novel Coronavirus FAQ

For course, degree requirements or class schedule questions, contact provost@asu.edu.

For student services and campus life questions, contact deanofstudents@asu.edu or 480-965-6547.

For cleaning, facilities and operational questions, contact

Returning to full in-person instruction

As previously communicated on Feb. 15, we are returning to Learning Mode 1 for the fall semester, in which instruction is delivered to students by faculty in person. With the increase in vaccinations, we are resuming pre-pandemic operations and are looking forward to providing you with a full campus experience that will not only include in-person classes but also in-person learning opportunities, extracurricular activities and support.

For additional specifics about the full return to the classroom not addressed below, please visit coronavirus.asu.edu/faq.


The university strongly recommends that all students enrolled in an on-campus academic program for 2021-22 be vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States and in other countries are highly effective at preventing COVID-19 infection and reducing the spread of the virus. The vaccine is the greatest tool available to mitigate COVID-19 and its negative health outcomes, including death, and we believe it is imperative for the health and well-being of our community for all to be vaccinated.

The vaccine is currently widely available throughout the US. Students are strongly recommended to be fully vaccinated. Vaccine appointments are also available through the ASU Health Center.

Once vaccinated, students should upload proof of vaccination to their ASU Health Portal. ASU will accept all COVID-19 vaccines that are approved by the World Health Organization or a national regulatory agency.

If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, you can visit our vaccine FAQ page or contact ASU Health Services at 480-965-3349 or immunizations@asu.edu.

Face coverings:

As of July 27, 2021, the CDC recommends that people wear face covers in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status in areas of substantial or high transmission of the virus. Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ has endorsed this recommendation and has urged the public to follow suit.

The CDC’s updated recommendations are based on data indicating that the delta variant is more aggressive and more easily transmissible, regardless of vaccination status. While the data continue to confirm that the vaccine protects people from becoming seriously ill or requiring hospitalization, they may become infected and transmit the virus, including to people who are not or cannot be vaccinated and to individuals at high risk of serious complications.

Implementation of ASU Face Cover Policy

As announced on July 30, 2021, consistent with CDC guidelines for colleges and universities, ASU strongly recommends that everyone wear a face cover when inside a university building.

In addition, face coverings will be required in certain indoor settings, i.e., where distancing may not be possible. These include the following:

  • Classrooms and teaching or research labs where distancing is not possible.
  • All ASU clinical programs and centers that serve the general public, such as the ASU Health Centers, Child Development Laboratory, and Counselor Training Center (the “Programs”), whether on- or off-campus.
  • Meeting rooms, workshop, design or production studios, and other indoor settings where distancing is not possible.

Additionally, consistent with CDC guidance, face covers may be recommended in selected outdoor settings or activities where distancing cannot be attained.

As previously stated, the university continues to recommend strongly that people get vaccinated and ASU continues to provide COVID-19 vaccines free of charge to students, faculty and staff. Greater rates of vaccination are the best tool available to reduce the rate of transmission in the community, which could change the applicable face covering guidance.

 Students enrolled in academic programs through ASU Online 

We recognize that our new and currently enrolled online students are also facing continued life and family challenges due to the pandemic. ASU Online success coaches are ready to assist students to resolve issues that arise. Online students have the opportunity to receive academic, service and personal support remotely.

 Family weekend, fall break, Thanksgiving holiday 

Family Weekend 2021 has been scheduled for Nov. 5–7. More information can be found here: https://eoss.asu.edu/family/get-involved/family-weekend.

Fall break is planned for Oct. 9-12. Thanksgiving break is planned for Nov. 25 and 26.

 Fall 2021 commencement 

Fall commencement is planned for Dec. 13. We will monitor health circumstances to decide at a later date if the university can host in-person commencement ceremonies. More information will be available at graduation.asu.edu.

Related links: 
Academics and advising
Novel Coronavirus updates
Novel Coronavirus: FAQ

Mayo Clinic and ASU COVID-19 Initiative

ASU and Mayo Clinic are working together on the Mayo Clinic and ASU COVID-19 Initiative to provide timely health care information to students and employees on demand through the Mayo Clinic Health Information Library, now available through the ASU mobile app. The initiative will also provide additional COVID-19 testing services to students and employees, and increase collaboration on COVID-19 research projects.

This latest initiative is part of our longstanding relationship with Mayo Clinic. ASU and Mayo Clinic have been working jointly since 2002, and the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University Alliance for Health Care was formally launched in 2016 and is developing comprehensive improvements in the science of health care delivery and practice, all toward one goal: continually advancing patient care. Together, the recognized world leader in patient care, education and research, and the nation’s No. 1-ranked university for innovation are combining expertise from every corner of health care — doctors to bioengineers to business experts — for an adaptive approach to preparing the next generation of health care pioneers and practitioners.

 Daily health check 

ASU uses a daily health check through Safe Health Systems, which is available for installation on student and employee smartphones.

ASU’s mobile app (available on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store) has integrated the Safe Health Systems technology supporting self-reporting, test reporting and integration with electronic medical records. The ASU mobile app also offers access to Mayo Clinic’s expanding guidance related to COVID-19

The health check platform was designed by Los Angeles-based Safe Health Systems, a startup that advanced as part of the Mayo Clinic and ASU MedTech Accelerator. It is thought to be one of the largest single efforts to use integrated testing, technology, contact tracing and communication to help manage the spread of COVID-19.

Related links:
Mayo Clinic and ASU
Novel Coronavirus updates
Novel Coronavirus: FAQ


Preventive measures


ASU will follow CDC guidance pertaining to traveling domestically or internationally.

 COVID-19 testing available for all students and employees 

ASU developed a saliva-based COVID-19 test, a fast, efficient and simple tool that is a critically important part of our virus management.

ASU continues to offer free tests to any student or employee. The university has now collected and processed more than 880,000 saliva-based samples at locations around Arizona.

Devils’ drop-off is an on-campus COVID-19 saliva testing option open to all students, faculty and staff. No appointments are required. Just pick up a kit from an on-campus location, register it online and drop it off once you’ve collected your saliva sample. Pickup and drop-off locations are available on all four ASU campuses in the Phoenix metropolitan area, plus ASU’s location in Washington, D.C. Once you register your kit online, you have 24 hours to collect and deposit your sample at one of the on-campus drop-off bins. Learn more at devilsdropoff.asu.edu

 Proactive health monitoring 

Advancing the well-being of the ASU community is a full team effort. Our actions impact the lives and health of others, and being mindful of our health during this continued pandemic will help ensure the health of others.

Students and employees should monitor their temperature each day they will be on campus. If their temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher, they should stay home and seek health advice.

 Protocol for individuals who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms or test positive 

ASU will follow Maricopa County Public Health Department protocols related to isolation and treatment of individuals who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms or test positive. These guidelines are subject to change; visit maricopa.gov for current protocols.

For students who live on campus, isolation space is available along with a complete suite of health care and food delivery services.  

When ASU becomes aware of a student who tests positive, the university will work directly with that student to communicate isolation requirements, offer medical advice, and ask for information on recent activities and contacts on campus so that the university can notify individuals at ASU that they may have been exposed and are required to self-isolate.

The university will work with the student to address any medical, housing, food or academic needs and concerns, and we assist in the isolation process. We check in daily with the students who test positive.

When ASU becomes aware of a student who tests positive, either because ASU Health Services tested the student or the student reports to us that they are positive, the following occurs:

  • ASU Health Services contacts the student and talks to them about their test results, asks about ongoing symptoms (if any), offers medical advice and tells them to self-isolate.
  • ASU Health Services also asks the student for any people at ASU they have been around for more than 15 minutes cumulative over a 24-hour period and closer than 6 feet. Everyone who meets that criteria is called a “high-risk exposure.”
  • ASU Health Services asks the student who tested positive for permission to give their name to the Dean of Students office so that the office can assign an “engager” to check in on the student while they are in isolation and problem-solve any issues such as housing, food or academic concerns. The Dean of Students office can help arrange for food delivery, arrange alternative housing if the person does not have a place to live by themselves, and help ensure they have what they need to be successful in their coursework.
  • ASU Health Services contacts all of the high-risk exposures at ASU and tells them they have been exposed and that they should quarantine for 14 days, and if they develop any symptoms to make a telehealth appointment with ASU Health Services.
  • Students won’t be penalized for missing class as a result of illness, self-isolation or quarantine. Instructors are expected to make reasonable accommodations for students who miss classes due to university-approved quarantine or isolation related to COVID-19 exposure. These students should have documentation from Student Health Services or other medical providers. Note that students are not required to report the specific reason for their illness. Documentation may simply indicate that they require accommodation.
  • Select classes will be available through ASU Sync, and instructors could allow students to attend that way. Instructors may make recordings of classes available.
  • Making up missed work should be handled on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  • Students, faculty and staff are released from isolation/quarantine consistent with CDC guidelines.
 ‘Community of Care’ training 

All on-campus ASU students and employees are required to participate in a “Community of Care” training program designed to inform, educate and encourage healthy living and learning on campus and as a member of the ASU community. ASU also has a community-wide communications campaign to remind students, employees and campus visitors of public health protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 Enhanced cleaning  

The university remains committed to thorough cleaning of campus environments and any recommended guidelines thereof.

 In-person health and telehealth services 

All on-campus students have access to ASU Health Services, a fully accredited health care provider operating in five locations across ASU campuses. Our more than 20 physicians and nurse practitioners are board-certified in emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, orthopedics, rheumatology and sports medicine. In addition, ASU Counseling Services offers confidential, personal counseling and crisis services for students experiencing emotional concerns, problems in adjusting and other factors that affect their ability to achieve their academic and personal goals. 

Through ASU telehealth services, students can receive medical consultations via phone, from anywhere.

ASU Online students can connect with 360 Life Services, a comprehensive and confidential support program that offers free, 24/7 counseling and crisis intervention in person or by phone. You can also chat at your convenience with topic specialists in legal, personal finance, child care, education and more.

 Welcoming visitors to ASU locations 

Visitors to any ASU location are expected to adhere to established, posted guidelines.

Related links:
ASU Health Services
ASU Counseling Services
360 Life Services (for ASU Online students)
Novel Coronavirus updates
Novel Coronavirus: FAQ

Campus life

ASU takes a holistic approach to the health and wellness of our students. We believe that student success involves much more than the grade earned in a class — it encompasses the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being of all of our students. ASU’s Live Well Community is dedicated to supporting students in their health and well-being during their university experience.

 Enabling a full housing experience 

ASU has consulted with public health officials and national associations — and will continue to do so — on recommended housing configurations and protocols. ASU is maintaining vacant rooms in residence halls for isolation spaces, if needed. Common areas and outdoor community spaces may be subject to restrictions depending upon current, local health conditions; high-touch points are cleaned and disinfected frequently; and sanitation stations are available. For questions about housing, please visit University Housing.

 Enhanced outdoor spaces 

Health experts say that being outside lowers the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and students are encouraged to take advantage of ASU’s outdoor spaces.

 Fitness programs are available 

SSun Devil Fitness facilities and wellness programs have reopened. The university will continue to monitor and adjust with changing local health conditions. Reservations are required for using the fitness centers; learn more at fitness.asu.edu.

Start dates and availability of intramural sports and sports clubs for the fall will be determined on a case-by-case basis based on the current public health conditions.

 Robust student services offered 

A variety of student services remain available. Examples include:

 Campus shuttle services continue physical distancing 

Campus shuttle services are operating on a normal schedule with physical distancing guidelines and increased cleaning implemented.

For the well-being of fellow riders, passengers are asked not to board if they feel ill. All passengers are required to wear a face covering and should maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet, consistent with CDC guidelines. Visit cfo.asu.edu/shuttles and check out the ASU COVID-19 FAQ webpage for more information. Follow @asu2asuShuttles on Twitter for route updates.

Related links:
University Housing
Sun Devil Dining
Sun Devil Fitness and Live Well @ ASU
Novel Coronavirus updates
Novel Coronavirus: FAQ

Working at ASU

ASU has a large employee base that supports our core mission of teaching, learning and discovery. The university currently has protocols in place for employee areas, which often have student interaction. Current protocols include:

  • Touchless technology where available.

  • Laboratory management plans that received a multi-step approval process.

  • Employees are asked to take their temperature on a daily basis and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.

  • To learn more about eligibility for the on-campus vaccination site, please visit coronavirus.asu.edu/vaccine.

 COVID-19 testing for employees 

Testing is available on all campuses for any employee who needs or wants it.

The university houses a CLIA-certified* testing lab at the Biodesign Institute and has been implementing testing for frontline health care workers, first responders and critical infrastructure employees since April 2020. ASU offers a saliva-based COVID-19 test. Turnaround time for test results is 24-48 hours. ASU has staff available to support exposure management on campus as needed.

Devils’ drop-off is an on-campus COVID-19 saliva testing option open to all students, faculty and staff. No appointments are required — just pick up a kit from an on-campus location, register it online and drop it off once you’ve collected your saliva sample. Pick-up and drop-off locations are available on all four ASU campuses in the Phoenix metropolitan area, plus ASU’s location in Washington, D.C. Once you register your kit online, you have 24 hours to collect and deposit your sample at one of the on-campus drop-off bins. Learn more at devilsdropoff.asu.edu

Employees who test positive will be expected to follow Maricopa County Public Health Department protocols related to isolation. These guidelines are subject to change, visit maricopa.gov for current protocols.

*The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulate all laboratory testing performed on humans in the U.S. through the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). 

Related links:
Return to campus guide
Novel Coronavirus updates
Novel Coronavirus: FAQ

Athletics and events on campus

Sun Devil Athletics plans to have a full stadium when Sun Devil football begins on Thursday, Sept. 2. We will continue to work closely with health officials to evaluate fan protocols and will have detailed plans to share with our fan base in the weeks leading up to kickoff.

Get the latest updates on all sports at thesundevils.com.

University groups are again hosting events on campus, subject to public health conditions, though many events remain virtual. Learn more about what’s happening at ASU Events.

Related links:
Sun Devil Athletics
Novel Coronavirus updates
Novel Coronavirus: FAQ

Live well, be well

Arizona State University is committed to creating a culture of care that promotes the values of “Live well, be well.”

We are focused on students' success and advancing their educational journey, providing support and making needed resources available. Our goal is to empower students to continue to take the steps necessary to build their future.

ASU is a tight-knit community with a shared sense of purpose. As members of the ASU community, our success is tied to one another. Accordingly, our mindset is to take whatever precautions related to COVID-19 we must to help protect not only ourselves, but those around us.

Working together, our actions will help keep our community healthier and stronger. Whether Sun Devils are connecting from a continent away or from the residence hall next door, we are all in this together.

Related links:
ASU Experience Center (help desk)
Academics and advising
ASU Health Services
ASU Counseling Services
Mayo Clinic and ASU
University Housing
Sun Devil Dining
Sun Devil Fitness and Live Well @ ASU
Facilities guide
Return to campus guide
Sun Devil Athletics
Novel Coronavirus updates
Novel Coronavirus: FAQ