Arizona State University announced on Friday that COVID-19 has again forced the graduation ceremony to be held online and further changes to upcoming classes.
The in-person, traditional fall commencement ceremony and special interest convocations scheduled for the week of Dec. 14 will now be virtual, the announcement said.
Northern Arizona University made the same announcement on Wednesday.
Both universities said additional details about the now-virtual ceremonies will be released in the coming weeks.
All three state universities also canceled the spring in-person graduation events earlier this year.
Additionally, Session C classes will now end Dec. 4., and courses in the spring semester will continue to be offered both in-person and online, according to Executive Vice President and University Provost Mark Searle in the announcement.
In addition, all classes after the Nov. 26 and 27 Thanksgiving break will be held remotely only, according to the email. The final exam week that was scheduled for Dec. 7 through 12 is canceled and final exams should be held on the last week of class during the week of Nov. 30, the announcement said.
Session B classes will end Dec. 4 as planned, according to the announcement.
Spring classes will continue with current learning model in person and online
Courses offered next semester will also remain in the university’s Learning Mode 2, which allows courses to be offered in person at a reduced capacity or digitally through ASU Sync and iCourses, according to the email and university website.
The three options students have for attending classes include a mix of alternating in-person and online classes, live online classes and on-demand online courses, according to its reopening plans, which adhere to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most of the 15,000 classes offered at ASU in the fall have an in-person option, and about 300 classes in the fall require in-person attendance when “remote instruction is not possible,” such as labs and hands-on fine arts classes, according to university officials.
ASU has been utilizing the Learning Mode 2 since the start of the semester. Officials previously stated that “this mode will continue until circumstances permit it to move up or require it to move down.”
“At this time, faculty accommodations will continue unchanged in spring 2021 but are subject to change as the COVID-19 situation evolves,” the announcement said. “Although it is too early to be certain what local or national circumstances may look like for the spring semester, COVID-19 could be mitigated by a vaccine, the introduction of therapeutics, or other circumstances.”
The structure of classes for the spring semester could change depending on COVID-19 circumstances, the announcement said.
On Thursday, ASU announced that 112 new COVID-19 cases had been reported within the university’s community. In total, 1,580 students and 30 staff and faculty members have tested positive out of the 57,629 COVID-19 tests conducted since Aug. 1 — a 2.8% positivity rate.
In total, ASU has about 100,000 students and employees, according to university officials. A total of 355 students currently have COVID-19 as of Wednesday, which excluded online students who may have the virus.
Although ASU’s positivity rate has increased, a positivity rate of 5% is considered a good benchmark that the spread is under control.
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