University Of Arizona Encouraged By Participation In First Week Of COVID-19 Testing Blitz

Published: Monday, November 16, 2020 - 3:38pm

University of Arizona President Robert Robbins is encouraged by the number of students participating in its COVID-19 testing blitz ahead of the Thanksgiving break, he said at a Monday press conference. 

About 7,500 COVID-19 tests were administered last week as part of the school’s testing blitz which began on Nov. 9 and aims to test a large number of students before they head home for the holidays. This represents a 34% increase from the number of tests conducted the previous week. More than half of those tested last week were off-campus students, Robbins said. 

“So we’re getting our off-campus students motivated and agreeing to come in and test before they potentially leave campus," he said. 

About 2,000 on-campus students and 900 employees also got tested last week. Sixty-five of the total tests conducted last week came back positive, Robbins said. 

The testing blitz will continue through next Wednesday. The university’s classes will be conducted remotely after Thanksgiving through the rest of the fall semester. 

The university has announced that it plans to start its spring semester with some in-person classes. But Robbins said the rising COVID-19 cases in Arizona and across the country could put that plan in jeopardy. 

"If we see there are increased cases on campus, we will go back to Phase 1 or even Phase 0," he said. “If it gets as bad as it looks like it’s heading toward, we may be back to where we were in the spring last year, spring break."

That could mean all of the university’s classes would be conducted remotely as opposed to how the university is currently operating with a combination of in-person and online classes. 

The university is planning to expand its COVID-19 testing next semester by making it mandatory for students living in the dorms and all those taking in-person classes.

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