Signs Will Indicate Where Masks Required on UArizona Campus

four female students wearing masks, seated spaced apart

Students wear face coverings in a flute performance class at Centennial Hall during the fall 2020 semester.

Chris Richards/University of Arizona

With a week to go until the start of classes, University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins on Monday shared the details of  campus face mask guidelines that will require people to wear masks in classrooms or other indoor spaces where continuous distancing is not possible.

UArizona announced the guidelines on Aug. 11 – the same day that Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University also announced campus mask requirements.

Signs will be posted throughout campus to indicate where masks are required, Robbins said during a virtual briefing on Monday.

"Our expectation has been that masks would be worn by our students and employees in such indoor settings," Robbins said. "Since last week's briefing, all three state universities have announced formalization of indoor masking requirements consistent with this expectation, following review of existing state law and in consultation with the Arizona Board of Regents. I am pleased that we have arrived together at this joint mitigation step centered on campus safety, consistent with the law."

Fall semester classes begin at UArizona on Aug. 23, and students will begin moving into dorms this week. The mask guidelines are among a number of measures in place to help minimize the impact of COVID-19 on campus. Others include:

  • free face masks in every classroom
  • cleaning supplies in every classroom
  • COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing on campus
  • on-campus wastewater testing to detect the presence of the virus in dorms and other buildings
  • isolation dorm rooms for students who test positive for the virus
  • vaccinations at the university's Campus Health center, with incentives for students and employees

"Vaccinations are key. We've got to get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can," Robbins said. "But testing is also going to be key."

The university is offering optional rapid antigen tests to all students and employees. Those who are not vaccinated are expected to get tested regularly, Robbins said. The university also offers a blood-draw antibody test, which can detect whether a person has had an immune response to COVID-19 infection or vaccination.

Since the start of the pandemic, the university also has installed 2,000 sneeze guards, 1,530 wall-mounted hand sanitizers, 2,350 touch-free paper towel dispensers and 8,000 MERV 13 air filters, which are efficient in removing airborne particles of the size that usually transport the COVID-19 virus.

"I want to be very clear: Our goals are to provide a robust educational experience for our students and to sustain our research and outreach missions," Robbins said. "We are taking these other measures so that the university can remain open. The delta variant poses a serious challenge. However, if we mask up, get as many people vaccinated as possible, and stay vigilant, we can minimize its impact."

For the latest on UArizona's COVID-19 response, visit the university's COVID-19 website.