• ASU student smiling on campus

    Live well, be well

Home / Learn to Thrive / Live well, be well

Arizona State University details plans for students on campus for the 2020-21 school year

We are excited that the 2020-21 school year is here, and we continue to be hard at work creating a safe and welcoming environment in which students can live and learn. Campus life looks different in many ways, and we will all need to make adjustments. We need the cooperation and care of every member of the Sun Devil community.

Below, find the latest information about the school year. 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

Class flexibility for students

ASU resumed on-campus, in-person classes on Aug. 20, 2020. Consistent with our efforts to always meet learners where they are, ASU is offering courses in a variety of learning environments to accommodate students’ needs depending on location or circumstance as a result of COVID-19. This class format will continue with the spring 2021 semester.

 Offering three options for on-campus classes 

For the majority of classes, immersion (on-campus) students have access to the following three learning environments:

  1. ASU immersion: On-campus, in-person, technology-enhanced learning environment.
  2. ASU Sync: Synchronous, technology-enhanced and fully interactive remote learning using live lectures via Zoom. This approach can be used simultaneously with in-person instruction to accommodate students in different circumstances and enable physical distancing in classrooms or as stand-alone technology. It offers the benefits of face-to-face instruction in an interactive group learning environment.
  3. iCourses: Courses delivered entirely online with lectures available on demand.

Watch: Inside the fall 2020 classroom

Our goal is to provide a quality learning environment that adheres to public health and safety guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These three learning environments give students the flexibility they need. Many classes include a blend of in-person and ASU Sync experiences. Some labs, clinical experiences and fine arts courses that do not lend themselves to remote instruction are only available through on-campus, in-person instruction. For spring 2021, classes with capacity of 115 or more students have either been moved to ASU Sync only (this is reflected in a student’s class list in My ASU as “ASU Sync only”) or will have enrollment reduced by adding additional sections to help further reduce density in classrooms.

Everyone is required to wear a face cover while in ASU buildings. Face coverings are also required in all ASU outdoor spaces (except when eating). The university also has implemented increased cleaning protocols including daily cleaning of classrooms with two additional cleanings of high-touch surfaces, providing cleaning and sanitizing supplies in all classrooms for students, and reducing attendance in classrooms by half on alternating days. Those not attending in person on assigned days participate in class through ASU Sync.

Out-of-state and international students who wish to attend classes on campus but were not able to arrive in time for the start of classes have been given the opportunity to learn through ASU Sync for the first half of the semester, and if necessary, the full semester. Faculty will hold special office hours that accommodate different time zones.

 Students enrolled in academic programs through ASU Online 

We recognize that our new and currently enrolled online students are also facing 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.

ASU Online offers more than 250 degrees and certificates with classes taught by the same faculty that teach on-campus classes.

Campus-immersion students who might be interested in learning more about these degree and certificate programs can reach out to their current academic adviser or center.

 Fall break, Thanksgiving and the end of the semester 

To lessen travel risk, ASU canceled fall break, which originally covered Oct. 12 and 13.

Sept. 14 update: Session C will now end on Friday, Dec. 4. The final-exam week originally scheduled Dec. 7–12 will not take place. All instruction after the Thanksgiving break will be remote. Final exams, where applicable, should be held on the last day of class during the week of Nov. 30. Session B will conclude on Dec. 4 as originally scheduled.

 Fall 2020 commencement 

We regret that current health circumstances will not permit us to host in-person commencement ceremonies in December. Our fall 2020 university commencement ceremony and special-interest convocations scheduled for the week of Dec. 14 will be converted to a virtual format. More information will be available soon at graduation.asu.edu.

Related links: 
Fall 2020 webinar for new students (recording)
Fall 2020 webinar for returning students (recording)
Teaching and learning remotely
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. Although ASU and Mayo Clinic have been working jointly since 2002, 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 has instituted a daily health check through Safe Health Systems, which is available for installation on student and employee smartphones. Submitting work and health information is a daily requirement for all ASU students and employees.

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 isolation requirements for individuals 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.

Prior to the start of classes in January, students who reside on campus will be required to take a COVID-19 test before moving in; details about signing up for the test have been emailed to students. ASU continues to offer tests at no charge to any student or employee who needs or wants a test. ASU has now administered more than 250,000 tests within the ASU community and throughout Arizona.

As an additional precaution, ASU will continue regular, required COVID-19 sample testing of a subset of students, ASU employees and employees of key business partners working on campus.

Individuals identified for testing are selected randomly from the student, employee and business partner populations who are on campus. ASU Health Services will notify students of their test time. The Office of Human Resources will notify employees of their test time. We will work with our business partners on notification of their employee testing times.

Those selected for testing will provide a statistically significant sample of the ASU community, as recommended by epidemiologists, which provides an up-to-date picture of what is happening with the virus. This testing protocol will enhance ASU’s ability to manage COVID-19 and mitigate potential spread.

ASU will also continue to make testing available at no charge for any student or employee who needs or wants a test outside of the ongoing testing protocol described above. Students and employees may register for a COVID-19 test. Students are strongly encouraged to be tested before heading home for Thanksgiving break to help protect and care for those around them.

 Proactive health monitoring 

In an effort to keep our Sun Devil community healthy, all students, faculty and staff are required to submit a daily health check.

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 pandemic will help ensure the health of others.

Submitting the daily health check takes less than a minute and can be done via the ASU Mobile App, the healthcheck.asu.edu website or by calling 844-448-0031.(Students and employees are asked to utilize the app or website first and only use the phone number if they have no other option.)

Each morning, students and employees are prompted to submit their daily health check before starting their day. Sun Devils respond to a brief set of questions and get an immediate recommendation on whether to proceed with learning and working as usual.

Exposure management is also a critical part of this app. Students and employees can opt in to share COVID-19 test results and campus locations. While not required to share this information with the app, the more people who opt in, the healthier we can keep our community.

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. While in isolation, students will be able to continue their classes via ASU Sync. 

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 with the students who test positive on a daily basis.

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, faculty and staff are released from isolation/quarantine consistent with CDC guidelines.
 ‘Community of Care’ training and kits 

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.

All on-campus students received a “Community of Care” kit containing face coverings, a thermometer, hand sanitizer and other items for use in maintaining their health and wellness on campus. The university will have these items available for restocking. Employees received similar kits.

 Requiring face coverings at ASU locations 

Everyone is required to wear a face covering while in ASU buildings and in all ASU outdoor spaces (except when eating or drinking).

 Optimizing environments for social distancing 

Sneeze guards and Plexiglas barrier installations are being used in high-frequency visitor areas, touchless technology will be used where possible, and physical distancing will be observed.

 Medical-grade and repeated cleaning 

All ASU buildings — including residence halls and classrooms — received a thorough cleaning with medical-grade products followed by a fogging system cleanse prior to occupancy this fall. All buildings will receive the same treatment between the fall and spring semesters. During the semester, all buildings will receive a thorough cleaning once per day, and high-touch surfaces will be cleaned twice daily.

 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. This includes observing physical distancing measures, wearing face coverings and answering health screening questions.

 Engaging community partners in the health and well-being of students and employees 

ASU recognizes that in order to have a successful school year and fully promote a Live Well, Be Well community, we need the support of the entire Sun Devil community, which includes cities, businesses and other organizations in our surrounding areas. That’s why we’ve reached out to municipal leaders and businesses to ask for their commitment to important health practices including adhering to face covering requirements; providing visible signage regarding face covering policies; and implementing training to empower employees to appropriately escalate matters regarding the enforcement of face coverings. See the community partners who have committed to these efforts.

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. COVID-19 is a unique challenge that ASU will help students manage.

 Enabling a full housing experience while introducing new precautions 

ASU has consulted with public health officials and national associations — and will continue to do so — on recommended housing configurations and protocols. Visitors will not be permitted in residence halls; this includes students who live in other residence halls. Students who violate the no-visitor policy will be subject to suspension and eviction from university housing.

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; face coverings are required; high-touch points are cleaned and disinfected frequently; and sanitation stations are available.

 Dining on campus 

ASU has maintained takeout dining throughout its campuses’ dining and retail locations. Touchless payments, physical distancing in lines, Plexiglas barriers and extended hours will be implemented. Additional outdoor dining space will be available.

In the cafeterias, students will receive a cleaned and sanitized reusable container, which they will return on their next visit for a sanitized one. Reusable “to-go” containers are a sustainable option, but they are not mandatory. The reusable containers can be replaced, as needed, at a cost of $6. Students can also opt to use pre-packaged, disposable utensils to accompany compostable containers if they wish. The compostable container and disposable utensils can be thrown away after use.

ASU will use Environmental Protection Agency-approved, medical-grade products for cleaning and will increase the frequency of cleaning of high-touch areas. Sanitizing stations are installed throughout dining areas. All food service employees will receive a health symptom screening prior to every shift.

 Enhanced outdoor spaces 

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

We understand the importance of connection as part of the college experience. Additional outdoor spaces have been designated for students to dine and socialize, while still adhering to physical distancing guidelines.

 In-person and virtual fitness programs are available 

Sun Devil Fitness facilities and wellness programs have reopened in accordance with state and CDC guidelines including capacity requirements, physical distancing protocols, face coverings and cleaning requirements. Reservations are required for using the fitness centers; learn more at fitness.asu.edu. Some fitness programs are also available via ASU Sync.

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

 Robust student services offered 

ASU transferred many services for students to a digital environment to ensure continuity of all aspects of the university experience during COVID-19. These services will continue to be available virtually and in-person as health guidance permits. 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. Each shuttle will limit capacity to 25 seats. Only window seats are available.

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.

 Social gatherings 

Scientists everywhere and researchers at ASU agree, COVID-19 is a virus that is here to stay; it is not going away and our lifestyle conditions will be altered for the foreseeable future. ASU students through their enrollment and ASU staff and faculty through their employment agree to follow institutional adoption of public health recommendations and standards. The ASU community needs all of its members to behave respectfully to one another by observing all public health protocols, including those that limit social gatherings.

Students engaged — as hosts or guests — in social gatherings on or off campus that do not adhere to public health protocols will be subject to disciplinary review, which may result in suspension or expulsion.

Social gatherings can occur in small groups with proper social distancing and with everyone wearing face coverings. ASU will be working with campus organizations and student groups, formal and informal, to embrace innovative ways for social engagement to continue to be part of the university experience.

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 has implemented protocols for employee areas — which often have student interaction — based on CDC guidelines, including: 

  • Appropriate spacing in seating areas, including cubicles, and maximum occupancy rules for gathering spaces such as conference rooms.

  • Sneeze guards/Plexiglas barrier installations in high-frequency visitor areas.

  • Touchless technology where available.

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

  • Employees are required to wear a face cover while in ASU buildings. Face coverings are also required in all ASU outdoor spaces (except when eating or drinking).

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

 Staffing plans to accommodate physical distancing measures 

Deans and vice presidents are responsible for developing and implementing on-site staffing plans that accommodate physical distancing measures and employee needs.

University officials have explored reasonable accommodations for ASU employees who cannot return to work on campus due to special health or family circumstances related to COVID-19. All employees are required to participate in training regarding a healthy living, learning and working environment.

 Limited travel 

University-sponsored international travel is allowed on a case-by-case basis under exceptional circumstances only and requires approval from the appropriate dean or vice president and the university provost or executive vice president. University-sponsored domestic travel is also allowed on a case-by-case basis and requires approval from the appropriate dean or vice president, as well as the provost or executive vice president. 

 COVID-19 testing for employees 

Testing is available on all campuses for any employee who needs or wants it. In particular, we encourage anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 to schedule a test.

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. ASU offers a saliva-based COVID-19 test and will prioritize testing for any student or employee who is exhibiting symptoms or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Turnaround time for test results is 24-48 hours. ASU has staff available to support contact tracing on campus as needed.

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). 

 Enhanced cleaning protocols 

All ASU buildings — including residence halls and classrooms — received a thorough cleaning with medical-grade products followed by a fogging system cleanse prior to occupancy this fall. All buildings will receive the same treatment between the fall and spring semesters. During the semester, all buildings will receive a thorough cleaning once per day, and high-touch surfaces will be cleaned twice daily.

Additional details on location-specific cleaning protocols and traffic protocols can be found on the campus facilities plan

Related links:
ASU Employee Webinar
Return to campus guide
Novel Coronavirus updates
Novel Coronavirus: FAQ

Athletics and events on campus

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

Sun Devil Athletics relaunched its sports seasons with the Nov. 7 football game at USC. Attendance at home games will be restricted. Get the latest updates on all sports at thesundevils.com.

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.”

Whether students are on campus or learning remotely, we are focused on their 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)
Teaching and learning remotely
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