COVID-19 Information and the School of Earth and Space Exploration

A Message from the School Director, Meenakshi Wadhwa

I am deeply grateful for the support and resilience of our community in the School of Earth and Space Exploration as we navigate the difficult circumstances relating to COVID-19. Despite the current challenges, we are making every effort to keep everyone safe, healthy, and connected. As one of these efforts, the School of Earth and Space Exploration has created this special webpage to provide the latest updates from our School, some suggested resources for digital and online learning, and helpful links from the academic and federal sectors on COVID-19. If you have questions or suggestions for additional content, please e-mail us at

Even though we are facing an unprecedented situation, we are still a community and I am confident that we will get through this challenging time together with support from each other! 




Return to campus Fall 2020

SESE’s plans for a partial return to campus this Fall semester include limited in person activities for the business office (BO), human resources (HR), research administration (RA), advising and academic programs (AP), and other operations, and return us modestly to campus on August 6, 2020. These plans are subject to change as the pandemic conditions evolve locally and regionally. 

The safety of all members of our community remains our highest priority. While most of our work will still be done remotely, some basic operations for SESE will be made available in person. Safe behavior is required by all. If you are in need of basic PPE (face coverings, hand sanitizer, disinfectant cleaner), please contact Marc Biren ( in the SESE Facilities and Safety group. We expect that everyone will do their part to support these efforts, wear their masks, wash hands often, and keep track of their own health before deciding to come to campus ( These guidelines are designed for your safety and that of our community. 

The SESE Director and Associate Directors will have limited but consistent presence on campus during the Fall semester. The Facilities and Safety group is on site daily watching over SESE buildings and spaces and coordinating building access and PPE distribution. 

SESE’s HQ staff will fulfill their responsibilities largely by continuing their 40 hour per week remote work. Starting August 6, however, we will have limited staff presence on the 7th floor of ISTB4. Small teams (representing BO-HR-RA-AP functions) will be in the office Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from approximately 8 AM to 2 PM with staggered arrival and departure times. Mondays and Fridays, we have reception and mail service. 

Beyond previously authorized research efforts, SESE’s activities in ISTB4 will include basic HQ operations described above and some ASU Sync-related classroom access on the first and second floors. The building will remain key-card-access-only until the beginning of classes. Access to the basement and 3rd floor and above will always be limited to key-card access. The reception area on the first floor of ISTB4 will be staffed for a few hours daily after the start of the Fall semester. Signage with contact information will be available to address direct inquiries to relevant staff. 

The SESE PSF 686 Reception Area is closed with key access only. Mail and packages and package service will continue.

All other SESE spaces and facilities are covered under the research intensification plan guidelines under which faculty and other research personnel have been operating already for the last few weeks on campus.

Finally, for those SESE courses with an on campus ASU Sync element, we have optimized the classroom assignments and made plans for appropriate social distancing. Zoom capability is enabled for those classrooms.

The links below provide specific information with respect to returning to campus for SESE personnel. All actions should be consistent with College- and ASU-wide guidelines. The situation is continuing to evolve and we will update as conditions change. 

Find the latest details about students returning to campus for Fall 2020

return-to-work guide for employees including campus facilities, phased work plans, and working on campus.

We recognize the increasing need for people to return to campus and return to work. However, to the degree possible, research, teaching, and other tasks should be done in work-from-home mode. The focus will remain on continuing to work remotely for those who can do so. Review the ASU Telecommuting Resource Guide for helpful reminders for employees working from home.

Laboratory and Research Facilities

Review the guidelines for a safe return to campus with the PDF icon Research Intensification Plan.

Review the Biosafety Program webpage for laboratories including checklists, guidelines, resources and guidance.

We plan to provide PPE to all SESE personnel approved to work on campus as part of the Research Intensification Plan, in the form of 2 cloth face masks per individual, as well as a supply of disinfectant cleaner and hand sanitizer per laboratory. Once approved for working on campus, please contact Marc Biren ( to arrange pickup of your PPE. As research laboratories ramp up, PIs will be responsible for purchasing any additional PPE required inside the laboratory, such as gloves, disposable face masks, etc. Please contact for pricing and for assistance with ordering (or do it yourself through Workday if you are able).

COVID-19 Virus Updates and Links

View the ASU Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) official webpage to get the latest information.

If you have questions, the ASU Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ's webpage has answers.

View the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Review the Knowledge Enterprise COVID-19 Guidelines for ASU Researchers

Community Conversation Discussion and Archives

The SESE Colloquium team will hold a community conversation via Zoom to provide updates on the COVID-19 situation and answer questions from students, staff, faculty and the SESE community. Those webinars are archived here.

SESE Community Conversation Webinar 8/5/2020 or view the presentation slides PDF icon 202000805_sese_community_conversation_covid-19.pdf

SESE Community Conversation Webinar 7/1/2020 or view the presentation slides PDF icon 20200701 sese_community_conversation_covid-19.pdf

SESE Community Conversaton Webinar 6/3/2020 or view the presentation slides PDF icon 20200603 sese_community_conversation_covid-19.pdf

SESE Community Conversation Webinar 4/1/2020 or view the presentation slides PDF icon 20200401_sese_community_conversation_covid-19.pdf

SESE Community Conversation Webinar 3/18/2020 or view the presentation slides PDF icon 20200318_sese_community_conversation_covid-19.pdf

Donate to the School of Earth and Space Exploration Student Emergency Assistance Fund

The School of Earth and Space Exploration has long been committed to supporting its students and community. In this time of unprecedented crisis, our School is dedicated to making every effort to keep everyone safe, healthy, and connected. When you give to our student emergency fund, you enable us to provide meaningful and immediate support to our students. 

Building Access Updates and Safety Training

Access to SESE buildings will be limited to SESE faculty and essential staff with specific permission. Anyone else who needs access for critical functions should communicate with their supervisors who can arrange for access if necessary. Please contact Chris Skiba ( or Marc Biren ( if you have questions. 

Two safety courses are available online: COVID-19: Community of Care training for Employees and COVID-19: Return to Campus Training for Supervisors. Both training courses will be offered live through Zoom and additional training sessions will be announced. Please note that the Zoom links are unique for each training and attendees MUST REGISTER in advance to attend. Please feel free to share the Zoom links with your staff and others in the ASU research community. 

COVID-19: Community of Care training for Employees

The department of Environmental Health and Safety has developed a return to campus training, titled “COVID-19: Community of Care training for Employees.” This training is designed to:

  • Discuss personal wellness, self-health assessments and reporting COVID-19 exposure.
  • Provide information on ASU’s efforts to prepare the campus for return. 
  • Provide steps you can take to do your part, including social distancing and wearing cloth face covers.
  • Provide information on personal hygiene, cleaning and disinfection.

COVID-19: Return to Campus Training for Supervisors

The supervisor training is designed to provide guidance and support to all ASU supervisors in an effort to address sensitive issues and concerns employees may have as they begin to return to the worksite. It will provide information to frequently asked questions, as well as guidance to anticipated circumstances supervisors may potentially face. All supervisors are encouraged to attend one session. We encourage you to take the Community of Care Training for Employees before enrolling in the supervisor training. Registration is required.

SESE Business Operations Resources

Proposal Funding and Submissions Contact The submissions and questions will be assigned accordingly. In an emergency please contact or

For Business Office Purchasing and Travel contact

Important Notes:

  • All non-essential travel is on hold.
  • For all Purchasing and Reimbursements contact and these will be assigned accordingly.
  • PCards will be supported by Alyssa Hagler and Juana Garcia.

Mail Procedures

Currently mail will be delivered once a week on Friday, sorted and distributed in mailboxes accordingly. Rose Petrini will email staff the specifics if there is a package to pick up.

Human Resources 

Please continue to send any requests or questions to This allows the SESE HR team to access and respond to your inquiry in a timely manner. 

Important updates: 

  • Any employee (part-time, full-time, etc.) who has contracted COVID-19, is caring for someone who has the virus, or needs to self-quarantine due to the virus, please notify your supervisor and the ASU Employee Assistance Office. In addition, if you are sick and unable to work due to the virus, please contact for instructions on how to enter this time in your timesheet. The University has a new policy on COVID-19 sick time.
  • If you are supervising staff, grads, and/or students, please be aware that it is your responsibility to notify SESE HR of the employee’s termination date AND to notify the employee of their responsibilities before they leave ASU: . This includes collecting any keys, laptops, ASU property, etc. SESE HR will work with the employee on the exiting process as it pertains to their pay and benefits. Supervisors please note that you may receive automated emails when certain personnel actions for your employee have processed. If you have any questions regarding this please contact
  • Please continue to inform SESE HR if you experience an FMLA event or need to request a leave status.
  • Any new volunteers or courtesy affiliates that are working remotely will need to contact to complete the ASU volunteer/courtesy affiliate form.

Health and Wellness Resources

Discover the ASU Mindfulness Center for the body, mind, and soul.   

For counseling needs, contact ASU Counseling Services.

To speak with a health professional, contact ASU Health Services

For peer-led, peer-based student support, contact Devils 4 Devils Support Circles.  

Learn about staying productive and get more wellness resources from the Graduate Insider.

The Employee Assistance and Employee Wellness team’s focus is to support the health and well-being of the ASU workforce and offers tips on how to stay healthy while working from home.

SESE Resources for Digital and Online Learning

Review this helpful PDF icon guide for running virtual meetings and reviews.

ASU-led NASA Psyche Mission 

FREE online courses are available to ANYONE with Internet Access on the ASU Continuing and Professional Education website: The Process and Lifetime of a Space Mission and Tools for Building Positive Team Culture.

The Psyche Mission team has K-12 grade-grouped pages of resources and materials on the Psyche “Models and Materials” page including:

Everyone can participate in the #PsycheSpaceCRAFTY opportunity and create their own inspired art based on Psyche. Learn how and become spacecrafty

View the Psyche Mission video gallery and browse the Psyche Mission art gallery.

ASU-led L’SPACE Academy 

The NASA L'SPACE Academy is a free, online, interactive program open to undergraduate STEM major students (not just ASU) interested in pursuing a career with NASA or other Space organizations.

L'SPACE consists of two Academies - the Mission Concept Academy, and the NASA Proposal Writing and Evaluation Experience Academy. Students may participate in one Academy per semester. Each 12-week Academy is designed to provide unique, hands-on learning and insight into the dynamic world of the Space Industry. Students can expect to learn NASA mission procedures and protocols from industry professionals as they collaborate with fellow team members to complete mission-related team-projects.

Requirements for participation include access to a computer with internet and headset capabilities, and time to devote an additional 4-hours per week beyond the online session requirements towards team projects. They are currently accepting summer 2020 applications, with the next academy beginning 5/12/2020.

Education Through eXploration (ETX)  

ETX designs, develops, deploys, and researches interactive, exploration-based learning experiences through the use of digital platforms, as well as the teaching networks through which content can be created, deployed, adopted, analyzed, and adapted. ETX Provides:

  • Online science courses for non-scientists, teaching science as the exploration of the unknown through game-like, adaptive/personalized, project-based education.
  • Online Immersive Virtual Field Trips (iVFTs), experiences which enable teaching in the context of place-based exploration.
  • Inspark Science Network, a network of digitally-empowered educators in the U.S. (and eventually globally). Educators create and share next-generation courseware and technology – dedicated to enhancing student success in entry-level science.