ASU, NAU, UA Requiring Face Coverings In Fall Reopening Plans
Arizona’s three public universities announced during Friday’s Board of Regents meeting that they will all require face coverings when physical distancing is not possible as part of fall reopening plans.
At Arizona State University, face coverings will be required immediately given the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the state and a lax attitude toward face coverings.
“We are not going to allow the community to be damaged or be wounded by or be threatened, bio-medically, because [of] people that don’t care about other people," said university President Michael Crow during the meeting.
Many of the measures the universities are taking are similar. They include more cleaning and disinfections, offering hybrid and online classes, reducing in-person classes sizes, physical distancing, COVID-19 testing, face coverings and creating space for isolation and COVID-19 recovery, but the implementation will look slight different at each institution.
At the University of Arizona, Provost Liesl Folks said the university is aiming to delivery 50% of every degree program with some of an in-person teaching mode to give students the choice to return to classes. Another goal is deliver 70% of general education curriculum through in-person teaching modes, something that's especially crucial for UA's incoming freshmen students.
"We've heard very clearly from them that they not loved being fully online, generally, at the end of their high school careers and they're very, very eager to get back to face-to-face instruction and are very anxious about missing out on that as they come to college," Folks said.
Folks said these freshmen students want to come to campus to get the opportunity to build their communities, make new friends and find support systems.
Northern Arizona University will have staggered move-in check ins for its dorms. The Flagstaff institution will also offer single-occupancy dorms and implement sign-up sheets for showers. NAU President Rita Cheng anticipates that the university will continue some of these precautions into the spring semester.
At ASU dorms, elevators will be limited to four people and no visitors will be allowed. Crow did not mince his words when he stressed the importance of taking COVID-19 seriously.
"There's no going back to the way to the way things were," Crow said. "The virus is not going away. There is no herd immunity, and there is no vaccine."
"There's large percentages of people that think this is nothing. They're idiots," he said.
NAU is planning on starting classes earlier than usual and ending by Thanksgiving to eliminate travel risks. ASU and UA haven’t moved up their start dates, but ASU is eliminating its fall break that takes place in October. Crow said ASU students will still get a Thanksgiving break but doesn't know yet if classes will resume after Thanksgiving or not.
ASU and NAU also are looking into handing out COVID-19 kits to students and staff complete with masks and thermometers.