July 16, 2020 / Modified aug 13, 2020 2:47 p.m.

Mandatory COVID-19 tests await UA students in dorms

Before moving in all students would have be tested for the novel coronavirus.

University officials are still waiting to make a final decision about in-person classes, but UA President Robert Robbins said most likely classes will fall into four “modalities.”

“There’s the in-person modality, which we will have some in-person classes. Second will be an engaged Zoom, digital, remote learning, three would be sort of an asynchronous version, and then four would be simply you just watch some videos,” said Robbins.

UA Provost Lisa Folks sent a letter to the campus community on Thursday which said the final decision about how open campus will be will come within the next few weeks.

Robbins said no matter how that decision turns out, he does not think higher education will ever look like it did at the beginning of spring classes in January.

For example, if the campus opens for in-person classes, move-in day will look different this year. If the campus is open for in-person classes, students will be given appointments to take a required COVID-19 test before going to their dorm.

“Going into McKale, you’re going to receive an antigen test, you’re then going to go away and within an hour or so, you’re going to get a message on your phone, you’re either positive or negative. And if you’re negative then you proceed and go move in your dorm,” said Robert Robbins, M.D., University of Arizona President.

Once on campus, students will get daily health check-ins. If anyone on campus tests positive for COVID-19 the reaction will be swift.

“Essentially, are public health SWAT teams. Whenever somebody turns positive, any place on the university, there is a simultaneous information email that goes out…within minutes they have a sanitation team there, that section is evacuated, nobody gets to use it until it is sanitized again. That person then gets sent over to student health and gets into the process,” said Richard Carmona, M.D., head of the UA reopening task force.

The university is setting up housing for students who test positive so they can be quarantined and monitored.

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