Arizona University Workers Seeking Stricter COVID-19 Policies After Court Ruling

By Rocio Hernandez
Published: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 2:55pm
Updated: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 3:31pm

A Monday court ruling which declared some provisions packed into the state budget unconstitutional and voided the laws before they could take effect clears the way for Arizona public colleges and universities to mandate COVID-19 testing and vaccines if they wish. 

That's exactly what members of United Campus Workers of Arizona, the union representing Arizona State University and University of Arizona workers, will happen. 

The state’s three public universities already require masks for all students and staff regardless of vaccination status in certain settings such as classrooms, maintaining that these policies were compliant with the failed state law. But ASU's face covering policy is lax in other spaces, said Laurie Stoff. She teaches at ASU's Barrett Honors College and is with the union. 

“We just want to see masking requirements in all indoor spaces," she said. "That is the current CDC recommendation. We want the university to implement that. It now has no legal impediments to imposing that.”

The union is also pushing for weekly COVID-19 testing and vaccine requirements. Currently, the universities only strongly recommend this. 

"Those are just the most basic public health policies that have been laid out very clearly by the CDC, by the World Health Organization and really that’s all we’re asking the university to do," Stoff said.

KJZZ reached out to the universities for comment, and they deferred the question to an Arizona Board of Regents' statement. 

"We do not believe today’s ruling impacts the current masking policies at our public universities," ABOR said in the statement. "Throughout the pandemic, our universities have taken mitigation measures that have helped ensure the well-being of our university communities and we believe we are taking the appropriate measures to keep our campus communities safe."

ABOR said in a separate statement the universities have not indicated any plans to change their policies.  

Statements from the Maricopa County Community College and Pima Community College also do not indicate current plans for COVID-19 testing and vaccine requirements. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: KJZZ is licensed to the Maricopa County Community College District.

CoronavirusPolitics Education Vaccines