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Novel Coronavirus

Information as of: January 1, 2021


Can't find an earlier email about our campus response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our communication archive page.

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Arkansas State University is currently operating under its Emergency Operations Plan due to the global coronavirus pandemic. The Emergency Operations Center is operational until further notice. Our EOC team is working in close coordination with city and county health officials, and with our partners at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine. The EOC is in contact with the Arkansas Department of Health, and are carefully monitoring information from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


For daily updates on COVID-19 in the state, go to the ADH status update page.


There are no plans to cancel classes, however, if situations dictate a change, you will receive notice via official A-State communications.  Please make sure your cell phone is current in your my.AState account. Do not believe rumors or any statements about outbreaks or class cancellations that are not direct from:

Health, Wellness and Prevention Information

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  • What if I think I’ve been exposed?

    Use the COVID-19 Self-Reporting form to alert Human Resources and the A-State campus medical liaison that you may have had a direct contact. Remember, a direct contact is when you have had contact with a person who is confirmed to have COVID-19, and the following are also true:

    • You were closer than six feet away
    • And you were at this physical distance for more than 15 minutes

    Please do not use the form to report concerns about other individuals, or if you need general assistance related to COVID-19, particularly needing assistance with academic questions.  Use the Pack Support system to ask or report these questions.

    If you suspect you have COVID-19, have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, have been contacted by NYITCOM contact tracers, or are awaiting the outcome of a COVID-19 test, stay home. This chart can assist you.

    Covid Exposure and Testing Workflow chart

    workflow chart that shows the decision options should one experience COVID-19 symptoms, get tested for COVID-19, or have direct contact with someone who is a COVID-19 postive, or suspected positive.
  • What is a direct/close contact?

    As defined by the CDC and the Arkansas Department of Health, you are a close, or direct, contact of someone that is a confirmed case when you have been:

    • You were closer than six feet away
    • And you were at this physical distance for more than 15 minutes

    For links to more information about their respective interpretations:

  • What do I do if I feel sick?

    Remember that the symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

    • Cough
    • Fever
    • Shortness of breath
    • Chills
    • Sore throat
    • Muscle pain
    • New loss of taste or smell

    There are other possible symptoms, and to learn more about the current wide range of symptoms, which can be mild to very severe, visit this website at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

    Use the COVID-19 Self-Reporting form to alert Human Resources and the A-State campus medical liaison that you have COVID-19 symptoms.

    If you think that you may be contagious, have been in contact with someone who was known to have coronavirus, or have traveled to an area with a known outbreak, call your health provider in advance. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or other health facility without calling first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic.

    For those on campus, the Student Health Center’s phone number is 870-972-2054.

    For students in the Jonesboro area, St. Bernards Health Center is recommending everyone download their virtual physician interface, St. Bernards Go.

    After registering, the St Bernards Go app will ask for you to pay a fee. For anyone with virus symptoms the fee is being waived, but you must enter COVID into the discount code box on the payment page. Then the screen will progress allowing you to pick which St. Bernard’s physician is immediately available.  This will allow you to speak via video conference directly to a physician. 

    They will ask you about your symptoms, and if you have been in direct contact with a confirmed case of the virus, and will then advise you where to go for testing. Otherwise, just treat yourself as if you would normally with a cold or flu.

  • What is coronavirus?

    Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a virus identified by the World Health Organization as the source of a new respiratory illness first detected in China, but since has spread to locations around the globe. As a new or previously undetected virus, it was labeled the Novel (new) Coronavirus or COVID-19. Coronaviruses are part of a large family of respiratory virus illnesses.  Previous outbreaks of coronavirus have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).  On Jan. 30, 2020, the WHO declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern,” and the following day, Jan. 31, 2020, U.S. Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in the United State. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. 

    Learn more at the CDC’s main Covid-19 website.

  • How does it spread?

    According to the CDC and Arkansas Department of Health, coronavirus is spread in the same ways as other virus illnesses like common influenza or colds.  Your keys to limiting exposure to all viruses are similar:

    • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizers can be an effective alternative.  For more on handwashing, go here https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/
    • Here’s a video from CDC: What You Need To Know About Handwashing
    • Disinfect surfaces that people touch frequently.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth – germs often spread when a person touches something contaminated and then your eyes, nose or mouth.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow if you cough or sneeze.
    • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
    • If you feel sick, please stay home.

    Learn more about how COVID-19 spreads at CDC

  • On-campus Mask requirements

    The state of Arkansas requires face coverings in public places.  The Arkansas Department of Health’s policy linked here provides for exceptions, but also defines which types of masks are allowable, and which types are most effective.

    The university’s Return to Learn plan requires use of face coverings by all employees and students for indoor common spaces, including classrooms.  To read more about A-State’s mask policy, go to



    We recommend any student, faculty or staff member who is immunocompromised to contact and consult with their physician.  If they advise you to return home as a student, or to stay home as a faculty or staff member, follow your physicians advice.  For students, contact the Office of Access and Accommodations to let them know.  If you are faculty or staff, contact your Human Resources about work at home options.

  • What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

    Both help limit the exposure to people with contagious diseases, but it’s helpful to know the difference.

    • Quarantine is to separate people who were potentially exposed to a contagious disease to see if they start to display symptoms or become sick.
    • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from others

    To learn more about quarantine and isolation, go to this CDC page: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/quarantineisolation.html

    Covid Exposure and Testing Workflow chart

    workflow chart that shows the decision options should one experience COVID-19 symptoms, get tested for COVID-19, or have direct contact with someone who is a COVID-19 postive, or suspected positive.
  • I feel anxious about coronavirus. What can I do?

    We understand the concern of community members.  The novel coronavirus outbreak adds a layer of stress and worry.  If you would like to talk to someone, support is available through campus support areas.

  • How should I clean and disinfect communal spaces?

    (Update on campus cleaning - 3/12/2020)

    While A-State’s Facilities Management team will support enhanced cleaning of university facilities, to maintain the highest level of personal hygiene, we are depending on each individual employee to utilize wipes and other sanitizer products provided by Facilities Management to keep common surfaces (keyboards, phone, mice, desktops, reception counters) clean. In areas like labs and other shared device areas, we ask students, faculty, and staff to adopt “work out” rules – wipe down apparatus and equipment after individual use to prepare it for the next person.

    Commonly touched areas – door knobs, desks, tables, keyboards, light switches – should be cleaning and disinfected frequently.  The CDC recommends use of a disinfectant registered with the EPA or a 10% bleach/water solution.  Avoid using gels or liquids on electronic unless indicated safe to use on those devices.  Learn more about cleaning surfaces – in particular the difference between cleaning and disinfecting.

    Cell phones, touch screens and device remote controls should also receive special consideration for disinfecting.  Disposable microfiber cloths and disinfectant wipes are useful.  Avoid using gels, liquids or abrasive cleaners directly on electronic devices. Consult the device’s manufacturer for an appropriate wipe or procedure.

    EPA information on antimicrobial products for hard surfaces

  • For Campus

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    The university’s continuity task forces recently update the Return to Learn plan for Spring 2021.  This is the latest version of operational plans during the COVID-19 crisis which began with Chancellor Kelly Damphousse outline in a campus-wide message on June 25. To read specific recommendations from the campus task forces, go to the Return to Learn plan web page.

  • IS Dining Services STILL OPEN?

    Yes, all food service is currently open.


    All events on the Arkansas State University campus must comply with state of Arkansas guidance. If you have questions about whether your event can take place in person on campus, fill out a Submit Event campus calendar form. No on-campus events may be scheduled after Thanksgiving break without specific permission from the EOC.

  • Classes and Academics

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  • Having Technical Issues? ITS Can Help

    The outbreak of COVID-19 and the disruption of our daily lives may be stressful.  The Information & Technology Services Help Desk and the IT Store want to make sure that technical issues don't add to the anxiety. We are ready to offer assistance with any technical issues that might arise.  Please visit our Tech Tips page for more helpful information!
    ITS Help Desk
    Our Help Desk is 24/7 and would be able to assist by calling 870-972-3933. You can also email us at itshelpdesk@AState.edu for help Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    IT Store
    The IT Store will be open as long as the campus is open, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.  If you are not on campus or if it is easier for you, please give us a call at 870-972-3500 or email the IT Store at itstore@AState.edu. Feel free to also connect with us on social media and the A-State Student app.

  • For Students

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    During late May 2020, Arkansas State University distributed its first CARES Act funds directly to qualified students.  A second disbursement is anticipated shortly after June 1, 2020.  To learn more about who qualified for CARES Act grants, please read these emails from Chancellor Damphousse on May 5 and May 8.  For a report on A-State’s compliance with this portion of the CARES Act, please see this statement on our website.


    If you believe they have symptoms consistent with flu or coronavirus – fever, chills, cough -- contact the Student Health Center at 870-972-2054 or your health provider by phone.  Tell the medical professional the symptoms you are seeing and they will advise you.

  • Where can I learn more about Credit/No Credit?

    You can read all about how Credit/No Credit works, what the deadlines are to submit the form, and if you are eligible to apply for it on this Credit/No Credit information page.

  • For Employees

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    Yes, you are required to let Human Resources know about your COVID-19 status.  If you have been sent for testing, have received a positive result, or believe you have COVID-19 symptoms, use the COVID-19 Self-Reporting form.


    Arkansas State University has adopted the ASU System and state of Arkansas approved policy related to emergency leave for employees.  To learn more, go to this link: System-Wide Emergency Leave Policy


    Arkansas State University has adopted the ASU System and state of Arkansas approved policy related to work from home by A-State employees. Remember to consult with your supervisor. To learn more, go to this link: Emergency Work From Home Policy

    For employees who log their hours in Time Clock Plus, those that are working remotely from home will use time log forms provided to record their daily time. These will be turned in to supervisors upon the return to regular working schedules on campus. Those employees who are reporting to work on campus will continue to use the system. Go to this HR page for more details.
  • Faculty & Staff Network Access from Home

    While some A-State employees have jobs that cannot be performed remotely, for those who can, we recommend taking time now to make sure you can remotely access your computer. A-State employees can use the university’s VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access their desktop computers. 

    Reasons for VPN

    Remember, you only need VPN to access Banner 9 admin pages, the fileshare server and remote desktop.  You do NOT need VPN for my.AState, dotCMS, email, Self Service Banner, Blackboard or Touchnet.

    Getting VPN Access

    Please make sure you are signed up for VPN by following these procedures:

    1. Read and understand the policy/procedure for VPN Access.
    2. Once you read the policy/procedure, login to mycampus.astate.edu and search for the menu button that reads VPN Access.  Click and you will be given instructions on how to gain VPN access.
    3. It is recommended that you practice working remotely via the options above so that you are well prepared in case of this need. 

    If you require other special connectivity, please let your department head or supervisor know as soon as possible. For more information, visit http://www.AState.edu/VPN.


    You should not return to campus until everyone in the household has cleared either the standard quarantine period or by negative testing result.

  • Vaccine FAQs

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    Gov. Asa Hutchinson opened up access for employees of higher education and essential state workers to the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday, Jan. 18. While A-State plans to partner with local pharmacies to conduct on-campus vaccine clinics, qualified individuals under the Arkansas Department of Health’s vaccination plan may go direct to pharmacies which are providing vaccinations to the public.

    The Arkansas Pharmacists Association has a list of participating pharmacies.

    To receive the vaccine from an eligible provider:

    • Proof of employment at A-State, which is your A-State issued employee photo ID card
    • Insurance card
    • Driver’s license or other form of official photo identification

    While the vaccine itself is provided at no cost by the federal government to all states, individual providers may bill your insurance for a vaccine administration fee to cover their costs. If you do not have health insurance, you will not be charged an administration fee.
    Remember, depending upon the type of vaccine you receive, you will receive an initial dose, and then a follow-up dose 21 or 28 days later.


    Both the ADH and CDC have resources of information about the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States.

    CDC COVID-19 information
    ADH COVID-19 information

    You are also encouraged to have a discussion with your primary care physician if you have concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine.
    See the Arkansas Department of Health's website for more information about the state of Arkansas’ vaccination plan.


    No.  While many public health authorities are highly recommending the vaccine, Arkansas State University is not requiring it of its employees or students at this time.


    At this time, vaccination does not relieve individuals of contact tracing if you have been exposed to someone that is COVID-19 positive.


    Yes.  According to the CDC and ADH, individuals can still transmit COVID-19 after receiving a vaccination.  From the ADH’s COVID vaccine FAQ:

    During a pandemic people should continue to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside your household, when at healthcare facilities and when receiving any vaccine including COVID-19 vaccine. People who have been vaccinated should continue to wear their masks and social distance until we know whether people who get the vaccine can be carriers that can still shed the virus.

    To learn more, vaccine facts, go to:


  • When can I stop wearing mask after I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

    During a pandemic people should continue to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside your household, when at healthcare facilities and when receiving any vaccine including COVID-19 vaccine. People who have been vaccinated should continue to wear their masks and social distance until we know whether people who get the vaccine can be carriers that can still shed the virus.


  • A-State Campus Response

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  • How do I stay up to date on the latest developments?

    Remember, we will be communicating to you directly via your official A-State email address.  If you have not been receiving official A-State emails, double check your spam or junk folders. If you think you may be missing emails, contact BillSmith@AState.edu or tclark@AState.edu via email.

  • What is our Emergency Plan?

    Arkansas State’s leadership is monitoring the national and regional situation. The CDC’s guidance recommends that universities use their existing Pandemic Illness plans to prepare for COVID-19.  A review of this plan and assignment of key tasks to members of the university’s Emergency Operations team to prepare for potential implementation is ongoing.

    Arkansas State is coordinating and cooperating with the Craighead County Office of Emergency Preparedness, which is the lead agency under the state of Arkansas emergency operations plan.

  • How does A-State Clean and disinfect?

    The A-State Facilities Management custodial team utilizes EPA-registered disinfectants to clean common surfaces on campus.

    Look for hand sanitizer dispensers located around campus in offices and other facilities. 

    In campus bathrooms, make sure to use good technique and wash hands at least 20 seconds.  To learn more, watch this video from the CDC or go to this website page on healthy handwashing.

    Beyond your own personal efforts to clean and keep common areas disinfected, Facilities Management has additional tools at its disposal in the event for the need to clean areas.

    An update on campus cleaning techniques was sent out on March 12, 2020.

  • How do I prepare to stay home?

    Preparedness is important if you need to stay home due to illness.  Along with making sure your contact information for official text alerts is current in your my.AState account, remember to check our official A-State email account.  While many students use other services, and may ask faculty to contact them through other platforms, ALL official university correspondence is via your official A-State email account or through official A-State Blackboard class accounts.

  • Travel

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  • Arkansas State Official Travel Policy

    Travel on behalf of Arkansas State University to domestic locations has returned to normal approval policies.  International travel requires standard approvals as well, but is not recommended at this time.  Starting Jan. 26, 2021, the CDC requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test or recovery for all air passengers arriving in the United States.  Employees or students who are authorized to travel but have concerns about doing so should not be compelled by anyone to travel.

    The only restrictions remaining related to COVID-19 and travel are the use of vehicles.  No more than two A-State employees or students should travel in the same vehicle, and they must wear face coverings while together in the vehicle.

    Employees are reminded that if they take personal travel to international locations, they may be subject to quarantine based on CDC guidance before being allowed to return to campus.  Employees are also encouraged to verify if any foreign destinations require special clearance or quarantine upon arrival outside the country.

    If you do travel, please exercise caution with entering large crowds and engaging in close contact with others. Continue to practice social distancing and strong hygiene measures, such as regular hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, and covering your mouth/nose with your elbow when you cough or sneeze.

  • Study Abroad

    Per the March 13 revision to campus travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, all Study Abroad sponsored by Arkansas State is cancelled for the spring, summer, and fall of 2020.