The University of Arizona will allow classes of 50 or fewer students to return to campus this week as it continues phase 2 of its reopening plan, UA President Robert C. Robbins said in a news conference Monday, Oct. 26.
Robbins says the university anticipates remaining in this phase until fall break on Nov. 26.
From Oct. 16-25, UA found 35 positive coronavirus cases after administering 6,248 tests for a positivity rate of 0.6%, the same rate the university reported last week.
Of all the tests the university has administered since Aug. 4, they have a 4.3% total positivity rating.
Pima County Health Department Director Theresa Cullen says although the area code surrounding the university isn’t “lighting up” with positive COVID-19 cases, today, the county has a seven-day rolling average of 88 cases a day, up from 59 last week.
“Once the students leave, we’re still gonna be here dealing with what’s going on in the pandemic. So the response of the university is critical,” Cullen said.
In preparation for fall break, all main campus students are required to complete a survey with their traveling plans. After completing the survey, students will be directed to a website to register for the university’s appointment-only “testing blitz” from Nov. 9-15.
Robbins said students will be tested “as close to the time as [they’re] going to travel as possible.”
“The more we can keep the disease down now, the more we get through the holidays with low transmissibility...the easier it is to open in spring and open in a more advanced fashion,” Reentry Task Force Director Richard Carmona said.
If students travel outside the Tucson area over fall break, the university is asking them to complete the semester outside the area or remotely online. Those who don’t travel can complete the semester from their student residences.
During the past week, the university’s CART team, a collaboration with the UA and Tucson police departments that looks for noncompliance to COVID-19 precautions, responded to 12 incidents. One event had over 100 attendees.
“These reports are gonna continue, we’ll continue working with the Dean of Students to discipline those who require discipline, to include expulsion sometimes, if they don’t listen,
Carmona said. “It’s not only about them, it’s about them putting the community at risk for spreading disease.”