From Arizona State University Office of the President
In mid-May, shortly after ASU announced that students will return to campus for the fall 2020 semester, Mercedes Benz USA contacted the university with a simple question, “how are you doing it?” Mercedes runs a set of educational training centers around America for its employees and as they began to contemplate plans to resume in-person activities, they wanted a playbook to follow.
So, when we recently announced detailed plans to bring students back for fall 2020, safely and in accordance with public health recommendations, we sent a copy to Mercedes Benz.
As a public institution, ASU is in the business of sharing what it knows and what it learns. And our charter is a promise to do so as broadly and inclusively as possible – whether you are a German auto manufacturer, or a small business or school district in Arizona.
Our challenge at ASU is unique – likely more complicated than what most institutions face. For us, the real test will come in early August when a full roster of students returns, moves into residence halls or housing near campus and begins to co-exist in a campus environment that includes faculty, staff, visitors, and members of the public who frequent our four metropolitan Phoenix campuses.
For any business or organization in Arizona that is trying to balance the challenges of getting things moving again while keeping everyone safe, ASU is here to help. Our resources, our assets, what we’ve learned in our experience – we want to share. What’s ours is yours.
We have information and communications assets on all of the following topics; let us know what you need. But start here -- if we are to be successful as a state and as communities, it will be because we have successfully influenced behavior. Peer pressure matters.
Our priorities and areas of focus are listed here: Raise awareness & communicate with stakeholders. Post signs, create videos, send emails. Develop a return to work training protocol & care kit (mask, sanitizer, thermometer). Embrace and promote a “Wear a mask” policy. (At ASU, it’s Forks Up, Masks Up!) Socially distance – limit the number of people in conference & break-out rooms, in elevators and shared common spaces; deploy/rotate work shifts in segments. Supply hand sanitizer; remind employees to wash hands and wipe down surfaces. Invest in thorough, daily office and common space cleaning & disinfecting. Do not come to work sick; get tested if you have symptoms. Follow CDC & ADHS public health recommendations and shift protocols as needed.At ASU, we’ve been working remotely since the middle of March. Within 24 hours, we converted more than 75,000 students and nearly 11,000 classes from in-person to online. We were prepared to pivot.
As we head for the fall semester, we have a longer runway.
Before students and employees come back to campus, they will have been through a Zoom-delivered training and information session. They will have received emails from university leadership and briefings from their direct supervisor. ASU has web pages devoted to the protocol, videos to explain and reinforce those protocols and signs posted in work spaces, common spaces and restrooms.
We will gladly share any of these assets with members of the community – which you can modify for your working environment. You can access our community signage here: https://print.asu.edu/CommunitySignage
At ASU, we feel the same urgency that people across the state and around the country feel about moving forward and “re-opening.” In the environment in which we find ourselves today, one where the spread of COVID-19 remains with us and where science has informed us what we can do to combat it, our health and well-being is a shared responsibility. We are mutually dependent.
As an institution of higher learning, we exist to be a pipeline of knowledge. That commitment extends beyond our students. It is an offer we make to the entire state of Arizona.
Forks Up. Masks Up.
Michael M. Crow
Arizona State University