Brooke Newman Arizona Republic
(CNT) City News And Talk #arizona
Since the University of Arizona increased in-person instruction earlier this month, they have seen little change in their COVID-19 numbers and say they are maintaining a low positivity rate.
However, with Halloween and Thanksgiving approaching, the university is putting measures in place to prohibit the spread of COVID-19.
“I was disappointed to see that we had yet another more than 100-person gathering over the weekend,” university President Robert Robbins said during the weekly UA briefing on Monday.
This week, UA started allowing some classes of up to 50 students to meet in person.
Robbins urged students who choose to celebrate Halloween to practice good public health measures such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and sanitizing their hands.
“Next Saturday and Sunday, we’re going to be out,” Robbins said.
In previous circumstances, students caught violating university rules at off-campus parties received a ‘red tag’ and were subject to expulsion and hefty fines.
Since early August, the university has administered over 56,000 tests with a positivity rate under 5%, which is considered a good benchmark at which the spread of the virus is under control, but is aiming to reduce that number through their partnership with local authorities and public health officials.
For example, the university has implemented precautions for students planning to travel over the Thanksgiving break.
The university is asking all students to fill out a survey on their planned Thanksgiving travel and to schedule a COVID-19 test as close to their travel date as possible to prohibit the transmission of COVID-19.
After Thanksgiving, all classes will be held online only and students who travel out of the Tucson area are encouraged to finish the semester remotely.
Lastly, the university is requiring students to select one of the three following travel options: Students planning to travel for Thanksgiving break can choose to complete the rest of the semester outside of the Tucson area or completely online from their student residence. Students who do not travel for Thanksgiving break are able to complete the semester as is from their student residence.
By implementing travel procedures for students, the university hopes to limit the transmission of COVID-19.
“This isn’t a game, it’s a deadly disease,” said UA Reentry Task Force Director Richard Carmona.
In the past 10 days, the university has administered 6,248 tests, 35 of which came back positive for a 0.6% positivity rate.
For the last weeks of in-person classes for the fall term, university officials advise students to “bear down and mask up.”