Monday, February 22, 2021
The University of Arizona moved to phase two of its reentry plan Monday with its nearly 8,000 students now able to attend in-person classes of 50 or fewer.
From Feb. 12-21, UA administered 15,047 COVID-19 tests and found 20 positive cases for a positivity rating of 0.1%, down from last week’s percent positivity of 0.3%.
The university’s goal is to keep this number below 5%, which they’ve maintained for several weeks.
“National and state and even Pima County data continues to look better. We are reassured that all of the programs that we have put in place to continue to operate our university have been working well because of the data that we have seen,” said Dr. Richard Carmona, UA's reentry task force director and former U.S. surgeon general. “But with that in mind, we still cannot be complacent. We must still work hard, tirelessly to maintain the privilege to keep our university open, to educate our students and be part of a bigger community.”
Dorm residents or students who attend classes in person are required to take one COVID-19 test a week. To enforce the testing requirement, university students won’t be able to access the school’s Wi-Fi network until they’ve verified they received a COVID-19 test.
The university is loosening some restrictions in dorms and will allow guests in common areas to use recreational amenities such as pianos and game tables, Carmona said.
UA expands hours of operation as a state-run POD
The university began operations as Pima County’s first state-run POD, or point of distribution, on Feb. 18.
Carmona announced on Monday the POD will expand its hours of operation from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m seven days a week.
“Nationwide, the number of cases in the last couple of weeks is down by 40%. The number of deaths down by 30%. But over the weekend, we as a nation reached a very bad milestone: 500,000 people have died from this disease,” University President Robert C. Robbins said. “This is still a deadly virus. So the fastest way we can get a hold of this pandemic is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”
While the UA site’s appointments fill quickly and vaccine delays from winter weather slowed vaccine administration last week, Robbins expects vaccine supply will increase soon.
“I ask everyone to be patient. The state system for registration is working well, the POD is working well. Everybody's pulling together, but we simply don't have enough supply right now. We will in the coming days to weeks,” he said. “But until then, and even after then, even into the fall, as we try to get through this semester, remember: Keep your face covered, clean your hands frequently, stay away from as many people as possible.”
Online registration for the UA pod is available at podvaccine.azdhs.gov, and those who need assistance can call 1-844-542-8201.