Arkansas State University in Jonesboro will be moving to an online model following the Thanksgiving break.
In an email to students and faculty, A-State Chancellor Kelly Damphousse announced that, due to rising COVID-19 cases in Arkansas and in the surrounding Jonesboro area, the university would be offering most classes and final exams online after the Thanksgiving break.
The online option is a contingency plan that A-State developed as part to its Return to Learn plan. Under the “Thanksgiving Option,” the university would discontinue in-person instruction after Thanksgiving, making all lectures, study days and final examinations online. According to the Return to Learn plan, this option would not be taken “until absolutely necessary,” but it was shared in advance to allow faculty members to prepare for the possibility.
Faculty members, in certain instances, may be allowed to hold in-person classes or activities after the Thanksgiving break. These classes must be approved by the A-State provost with a focus on classes that are “very difficult to offer online,” such as laboratories, hands-on activities or clinical experiences.
While classes will be going online, the Jonesboro campus will not close. Employees will continue to work on campus, and all residence halls, the Acansa Dining Hall, the Reng Student Union, the Student Health Center, the Dean B. Ellis Library, student academic support services and the Red W.O.L.F. Center will stay open until Dec. 18.
Currently, Damphousse is planning for the spring semester to mirror the fall semester with students returning for in-person classes with online courses and hybrid courses offered as well.
The New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at A-State (NYITCOM) will also be moving to virtual instruction on Nov. 23. In a news release, the institution announced that students would not be returning to campus until the week of Jan. 18. Faculty and staff will be working remotely during this period.
“From the beginning of the semester, our plan has always been to shift our students virtually over the Thanksgiving break,” Shane Speights, D.O., dean of NYITCOM at Arkansas State, said in a statement. “As our leadership planned for what we knew would be an academic year unlike any other, we decided several weeks ago that we would likely implement a fully remote plan that included our staff and faculty.”