UArizona to require negative COVID-19 test for campus visits

Dec 7, 2020, 12:19 PM
university of arizona wilbur fall 2020...
(Twitter Photo/@UArizonaChief)
(Twitter Photo/@UArizonaChief)

PHOENIX (AP) — The University of Arizona will require anyone visiting campus next semester to have a negative test for COVID-19 within the previous week.

President Robert Robbins announced the requirement on Monday as the university responds to the growing number of coronavirus infections across Arizona.

Robbins says students won’t be able to access campus WiFi if they don’t have a recent negative test logged. Staff and visitors are also being asked to get tested, but Robbins acknowledged it will be hard to enforce for some visitors, such as people shopping in the bookstore.

Robbins said he’d also like to eventually require the COVID-19 vaccine for people visiting campus, with religious and medical exemptions.

“I would very much like to see this be required for everyone who works and comes to campus as a student,” Robbins said of a vaccine.

The first doses of a coronavirus vaccine are expected to arrive in Arizona later this month and will be earmarked for health care workers.

In response to rising case numbers and hospitalizations in region, Tucson — home to the University of Arizona — has implemented a nighttime curfew.

State officials on Monday reported 1,567 new confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide with no new deaths. The numbers are far lower than the 5,000-plus new cases reported several days last week, but Monday reports are often artificially low because of delayed weekend reporting. Official case numbers are also thought to be an undercount because studies show people can be infected without feeling sick.

Since the pandemic began, officials have reported more than 365,000 cases resulting in 6,950 deaths in Arizona.

The fall surge of coronavirus cases has continued to elevate occupancy rates of increasingly stressed hospitals in Arizona closer to capacity. Just 8% of intensive-care beds and 10% of all inpatient beds were unoccupied Sunday, according to the state health data.

Gov. Doug Ducey has imposed restrictions that closed some establishments and requiring distancing and other precautions to stop spread of the coronavirus. But he hasn’t ordered a statewide mask mandate, a new stay-home requirement or curfews although many local governments have been imposing masking requirements.

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UArizona to require negative COVID-19 test for campus visits