November 18, 2020

News roundup: UA takes step in Ashford purchase, no state mask order amid rising COVID-19 cases

Recent coverage impacting Southern Arizona, Nov. 18.

Arizona COVID-19 one-week snapshot, Nov. 21

Since last week, Arizona reported 22,281 new cases (8% increase), 157 more deaths (2% increase) and a statewide positive test rate of 15.1%. The state reported a daily average of 3,183 cases and 22 deaths. Choose a Layerlayer and click on a county to learn more.

Credit: Nick O'Gara/AZPM. Sources: ADHS, county health departments, Census 2018 Quick Facts. *Test numbers are totals including diagnostic and serology tests. Positive test rate is calculated using reported case and test totals (official rates may differ). Daily reports may not reflect the most recent data, the state says.

Cases: 283,102 | Deaths: 6,365

Arizona continued upward in its surge of COVID-19 cases, adding 3,206 cases and 53 deaths to its tally. The state health director said the state is "going in wrong direction" on all major indices as the holiday season approaches, though officials made no changes to restrictions in the state.

Ducey offers guidance, no new restrictions in COVID-19 briefing


Gov. Doug Ducey ended his relative silence on Arizona's COVID-19 response Wednesday in his first live media briefing since late October, using the opportunity to ask Arizonans to wear masks but not to impose any additional restrictions as the state reports a surge in cases.

All major measures of COVID-19 were "heading in the wrong direction," Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ said at the briefing. Those rising trends have been noted for weeks, and are showing no signs of slowing as the holiday season approaches.

The governor has so far stopped short of following the lead of officials in neighboring states like Utah, whose Republican governor announced a statewide mask mandate earlier in the month.

Learn more here..

UA deal to purchase for-profit Ashford University approved by accreditor


The University of Arizona is about to close a controversial deal to purchase a for-profit university and convert it into a separate entity dubbed University of Arizona Global Campus.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) approved the deal to purchase Ashford University with conditions, the UA announced Monday. But some UA faculty feel shut out of the process and question the new venture's merit.

The UA announced in August the plan to purchase the online university with over 35,000 students from it's parent company Chandler-based Zovio for $1. The deal is expected to close in December. Under the terms of the deal, Zovio will receive 19.5% of the tuition revenue from the campus in exchange for providing education technology services.

The deal has attracted controversy in the months since it was announced.

Learn more here.

Arizona GOP pressures counties to delay vote certification


PHOENIX — The Arizona Republican Party is pressuring county officials across the state to delay their certification of election results even though there hasn’t been evidence of legitimate questions about the vote tally showing that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden won the state.

The GOP is also seeking a court order to postpone Maricopa County’s certification until the county’s Nov. 23 deadline for approving election results. Mohave County officials were scheduled Monday to certify results but instead postponed that vote until Nov. 23.

Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs on Wednesday said she's received threats and called on Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to speak out against what she called disinformation.

More here.

New DACA ruling leaves recipients hopeful, but questions remain


A federal judge on Saturday ruled the Trump administration’s latest rollbacks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, were unlawful because acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf wasn’t lawfully appointed.

The Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration’s 2017 efforts to dismantle the program this summer. But Wolf’s orders still barred first-time applicants and required current recipients to renew yearly.

Saturday’s ruling was an encouraging sign for almost 700,000 young immigrants who are protected from deportation under the policy. But advocates say there are still a lot of questions.

Learn more here.

Minke whale skeleton comes to Bisbee


Bisbee is now home to an animal not normally found in the Arizona desert.

Monday night, a truck pulled into Bisbee carrying the bones of a Minke whale — a gift for the Bisbee Science Lab. The whale skeleton was donated by the College of the Atlantic in Maine and delivered in person by one of its professors. Etta Kralovec, a University of Arizona professor of education and chair of the board of the Bisbee Science Lab said they've been working on the acquisition for a year and a half.

For more details, click here.

Judge orders US to stop expelling children who cross border


HOUSTON — A federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to stop expelling immigrant children who cross the southern border alone, halting a policy that has resulted in thousands of rapid deportations of minors during the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Wednesday issued a preliminary injunction sought by legal groups suing on behalf of children whom the government sought to expel before they could request asylum or other protections under federal law.

The Trump administration has expelled at least 8,800 unaccompanied children since March.

More here.

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