UArizona Continues COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts, Offers Support on Afghanistan

a woman wearing a mask points while another one woman in a mask looks in that direction

Mask requirements, vaccinations and testing remain the primary COVID-19 mitigation strategies in place at the University of Arizona.

Chris Richards/University of Arizona

With the second week of the fall semester underway, University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins is continuing to urge students and employees to get vaccinated, get tested for COVID-19 regularly and follow mask requirements in indoor spaces where adequate and continuous distance is not possible to maintain.

During a virtual briefing on Monday, Robbins said the university is monitoring public health conditions on campus and in the surrounding community.

"Local area hospitals and other health care providers continue to face challenges due to (an) increase in COVID-19 cases," he said. "Basic public health measures like getting vaccinated, wearing a mask and testing regularly remain our best way to minimize the spread of the virus and increase the capacity of our health care system."

Students, benefits-eligible employees and designated campus colleagues can get a free COVID-19 vaccination by appointment at Campus Health. Those who have been fully vaccinated are encouraged to upload proof of vaccination to a secure system. Incentives such as scholarships and free parking are being offered to those who do so.

Testing is also offered on campus by appointment, and Robbins has encouraged all students and employees to get tested weekly regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated.

"Our testing capacity remains very high, and I want to thank the incredible team that has stepped up to run this initiative as well as those who have registered and had tests administered this past week," he said.

On Friday, 1,200 students living in the dorms were tested, with no positives. In addition to the existing on-campus testing locations, the university will soon roll out a takeaway test option that will allow employees and students who live off campus to pick up a to-go test from various locations on campus.

Robbins said mask compliance has been high since classes began. Signs posted across campus indicate where masks are recommended or required. They are required in all indoor spaces where it is not possible to stay socially distanced.

"I'm happy to report, a week into this, that there's been great compliance on the masking requirements," Robbins said.

Resources Available to Those with Ties to Afghanistan

During Monday's briefing, Robbins also expressed his support for students and employees impacted by the recent events in Afghanistan.

"I know many of you have family, friends and colleagues who face incredible hardship and danger, and I know you are concerned for their safety," he said.

Robbins said the university's Federal Relations team and Center for Middle Eastern Studies are working with the State Department, members of the Arizona Congressional Delegation and U.S. military forces to help relocate families of Afghan nationals with ties to the university.

"Several families have visas already being processed. If you know of other refugees who need assistance, please reach out to our Federal Relations team to help coordinate our efforts to elevate these cases," Robbins said.

Robbins encouraged military-connected students needing support to reach out to the university's VETS Center. Students with family in Afghanistan or other ties to the region can access mental health resources through Campus Health, and employees can contact Life & Work Connections in the Human Resources division.