UArizona Plans for Larger In-Person Classes

male student sitting at an outdoor table wearing a mask

Chris Richards/University of Arizona

The University of Arizona is preparing to allow classes of up to 100 students to meet in person later this month.

The shift is expected to happen the week of March 29 and is supported by the university's public health advisory team, President Robert C. Robbins said Monday during his weekly virtual briefing on the university's COVID-19 status.

The university started the spring semester in Stage 1 of its instructional plan, in which only essential courses such as labs and performing arts courses were held in-person and the rest were offered in an online format. On Feb. 22, the campus moved to Stage 2, which allowed classes of 50 or fewer students to meet. The university will stay in that stage until March 29.

Robbins said low COVID-19 case numbers on campus have made it possible to consider moving to Stage 3, in which classes of up to 100 can meet.

"We are able to project this shift due to continuing lower numbers of COVID-19 cases in the campus population," he said "From the period of March 8 to March 12, we administered 8,945 COVID-19 tests, with 17 positives – a positivity rate of 0.19%."

Robbins noted that limits on campus event sizes remain in place, with indoor event attendance capped at 25 and outdoor at 50.

Over 60,000 Vaccine Doses Administered

The University of Arizona COVID-19 vaccination POD, or point of distribution, had administered nearly 64,000 doses of vaccine as of Sunday, Robbins said.

Adults 55 and older are now eligible to be vaccinated at the UArizona POD, and appointments are released one week at a time based on vaccine eligibility. Appointments can be made on the Arizona Department of Health Services website. Those needing assistance can call 602-542-1000.

The university and other state-run PODS have moved toward offering vaccines to eligible age groups only. Essential workers who are eligible for vaccination in Pima County but are under 55 should schedule appointments at county-run sites.

Robbins also addressed concerns about whether the Hispanic or Latino community is receiving vaccinations.

"I'm pleased to report that of the people who have come to the university POD, 19% self-identified as either Hispanic, Latino or Latinx, compared to 4.3% statewide and 14.5% throughout Pima County," he said.

Members of the university community who have been fully vaccinated can upload an image of their vaccination record card to the Campus Health website in order to receive an exemption from required weekly diagnostic testing, Robbins said.