Arizona State University students return to campus amid omicron COVID-19 surge

Jan 11, 2022, 4:35 AM

(File Facebook Photo/Arizona State University)...

(File Facebook Photo/Arizona State University)

(File Facebook Photo/Arizona State University)

PHOENIX — Thousands of Arizona State University students returned to campus Monday with new COVID-19 protocols in place as the omicron variant of the virus surges.

“What we said is let’s continue to just move forward, let’s continue to manage this virus the best we can,” ASU President Michael Crow told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show on Monday.

“We got lots of testing and we are using masks where we need to use masks and it’s thus far working out pretty well.”

Face coverings are now required inside all ASU classrooms, as well as university buildings where physical distancing is not possible. Crow said the university offers higher-grade medical masks for those who want them.

The 78,000 on-campus students prior to returning also had to take a COVID-19 test, which Crow said resulted in many positive cases due to omicron. ASU will provide weekly COVID-19 reports including cases, hospitalizations and vaccination numbers for faculty, staff and students online.

He said students who test positive will go through protocols quickly to get back to the classroom, with Zoom also being an option.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 won’t need a negative test to return, Crow said, as the university is going off more advanced protocols that allow students back if they go five days with no symptoms.

“We are going off the best protocols that we possibly can which allow people to move through this omicron phase more quickly,” Crow said.

Free saliva-based testing is available for all students and to faculty, staff and their family members, Crow said, while vaccines and boosters are also available to students, faculty and staff.

Crow said the university has a very high vaccination rate against the virus among staff and faculty, with modest vaccinations among students.

As for when the COVID-19 protocols, such as masks, may no longer be necessary, Crow said it all depends on community spread of the virus.

“We’ll go off basically the spread number,” Crow said. “So if the spread number goes below a certain threshold and it looks like we are moving into the endemic phase of this thing, then we’ll go back to masks as not required.”

Crow added the university will go day-by-day with protocols and adjust up and down as needed, which he said has allowed most students and graduates to not miss any days in addition to giving people a chance to move forward.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

The number of people driving more than 90 minutes to get to work has dropped in the Valley. (Jim Po...

Brandon Gray

Update: Backup cleared on I-17 in Northern Arizona.

Memorial Day travel is causing heavy traffic on southbound Interstate 17 in northern Arizona.

24 hours ago

(Pexels Photo)...

1-year-old dead after drowning in pool in Mesa

  A 1-year-old boy died after being pulled from a Mesa pool over the weekend, officials said.

24 hours ago

(Twitter Photo/@AZGFD)...

Alex Weiner

Endangered Mexican wolf pups fostered in Arizona packs this month, wildlife officials say

Three Mexican wolf pups were fostered into a pack in Arizona in efforts to increase genetic diversity in the endangered wild populations. 

24 hours ago

(Facebook Photo/Dunkin')...

Brandon Gray

Here’s how you can get free coffee for a year at Mesa’s new Dunkin’ location

A new Dunkin' location is set to open in Mesa and some lucky customers will have the chance to get free coffee for a year. 

24 hours ago

In addition to the towers in the first phase, South Pier will have more housing units and retail th...

Ron Davis/Phoenix Business Journal

Developer secures large loan for multibillion-dollar Tempe Town Lake project

The developer of South Pier along Tempe Town Lake has secured a hefty loan to finance the completion of the first phase of the mixed-use project.

24 hours ago

(Facebook Photo)...

Associated Press

Mother pleads guilty after Arizona boy starves to death

An Arizona mother has pleaded guilty to murder and child abuse charges stemming from the death of her 6-year-old son who had been locked in a closet and denied food.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Spinal fusion surgery has come a long way, despite misconceptions

As Dr. Justin Field of the Desert Institute for Spine Care explained, “we've come a long way over the last couple of decades.”



Why drug-free weight loss still matters

Wanting to lose weight is a common goal for many people as they progress throughout life, but choosing between a holistic approach or to take medicine can be a tough decision.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Arizona State University students return to campus amid omicron COVID-19 surge