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ASU tests video-conferencing classes if coronavirus keeps students away

An ASU spokeswoman says 170 classes were tested last week. Suspending classes 'not an option.'

PHOENIX —

Arizona State University, one of the largest universities in the nation, is testing a popular video-conferencing service for classes if the coronavirus outbreak keeps students away from campus.

Last week, the university held 170 classes with 7,000 students using Zoom video conferencing, according to Katie Paquet, vice president for media relations and strategic communications. 

Faculty members are providing feedback and there will be more testing after this week’s spring break, Paquet said in an email response to 12 News' questions. She said there’s no set date for a switch to remote teaching. 

Several universities around the country have announced plans to suspend classes, but Paquet says that’s not an option for ASU. 

“We do not have plans to suspend classes - suspending classes would not be an option for us," she said. "Nor do we have a set time where we might transition to remote learning, but we are preparing in the event we need to."

"The university has plans in place to minimize operational disruption and ensure delivery of classes, including a transition to remote teaching through technology as needed, continuation of essential services for students and accommodations for the telecommuting of faculty and staff."

ASU has about 75,000 students on its Valley campuses.

A person in the ASU community was the first person in Arizona diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus, back in January. That person has fully recovered, public health officials say.

As of Monday, there were five diagnosed cases of COVID-19, four of them transmitted between people who had no exposure to foreign travel, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

ASU has already taken steps to respond to the coronavirus outbreak:

-Last week, the university banned international travel to at-risk countries.
-Study-abroad programs in China, South Korea and Italy have been canceled.

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