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ASU upgrades classrooms for hybrid learning ahead of fall semester

President Michael M. Crow reaffirmed classes will begin Aug. 20, with continued adjustments.

PHOENIX — Editor's note: The above video is from last week's announcement. 

In June, ASU announced plans to reopen for the fall semester with a hybrid, online and in-person, learning environment. 

Since then, Arizona cases of COVID-19 spiked dramatically, prompting a second quasi-shutdown that restricts gatherings to 50 people. 

Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order first went into place June 29, but he extended the order last week after seeing a slight drop in the seven-day moving average.

“We know that the situation is fluid,” University President Michael Crow said in a statement sent to the ASU community Monday.

“While we hope to not have to alter plans in the future, it is important to remind everyone that dramatic shifts with the virus could force operational changes. We will be prepared to adapt and pivot as needed.”

One of those pivots included what Crow claimed were “significant technology upgrades” working hand-in-hand with ASU Sync, which functions as both an online education and social hub for students and faculty.

According to the university’s website, “ASU Sync combines live Zoom lectures with in-the-classroom instruction” and “the overwhelming majority of in-person courses will have an ASU Sync option…which is already built-in.”

That means, hypothetically, if Arizona’s coronavirus cases start to spike again, in-person classes could easily transition to online lectures. And in the statement by the university, President Crow claims “faculty are being trained on best practices to support hybrid learning environments.”

As far as the aim to conduct as much in-person learning as possible, Crow also said ASU has new, “enhanced cleaning protocols” as well as PPE, cleaning supplies and COVID-19 testing available to all students and staff for free.

But there are also new responsibilities for those on-campus. The statement hinted at slight changes to ASU’s Community of Care training, which the university’s website says covers ASU’s Code of Conduct and expectations of academic integrity.

Crow implored the ASU community to be vigilant in checking for updates related to COVID-19 protocols.

“It’s important to remember that campus life will look different in many ways and we all need to make adjustments. But with the cooperation and care of every member of the ASU community, I am confident that we will have a successful fall semester.”

RELATED: Arizona school districts announce changes for 2020-2021 school year