UArizona Plans for More In-Person Classes Next Week

a female student wearing a mask raises her hand in the foreground and another masked female student sits in the background

Students wear face masks and sit 6 feet apart in an in-person theatre class held during the fall semester.

Chris Richards/University of Arizona

As COVID-19 cases continue to decline locally and nationally, the University of Arizona is planning to offer more in-person instruction for students who wish to come to campus, President Robert C. Robbins said during Monday's briefing on the university's COVID-19 status.

The university has been operating in Stage 1 of its campus reentry plan since the spring semester started in January, offering in-person instruction only for essential courses such as labs and performing arts classes. The majority of courses have been offered online.

If public health conditions allow, the university will move into Stage 2 the week of Feb. 22, allowing in-person instruction for classes of fewer than 50 students that were designated as in-person on flex in-person (a mix of online and in-person) at the time of registration.

Students will not be required to attend classes in person if they are more comfortable with a remote format, Robbins said. Students who are unsure if their classes are part of Stage 2 can check on the Office of the Registrar website.

Robbins said that the university's work-from-home guidance for employees will not change.

"We are being very cautious about the total number of people on campus," he said. "Employees who can work remotely are encouraged to continue this practice and to stay at home." 

Latest Testing and Vaccination Numbers

As reported by The Washington Post, the national seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 daily cases is 29 per 100,000 residents – down from 36 the previous week. In Arizona, it's 34 cases per 100,000 residents, down from 43 the week prior. In Pima County, it's 30 per 100,000.

As numbers improve across the nation and state, the positivity rate on campus is also low. Of the 10,290 tests administered between Feb. 7 and 13, 27 were positive – a rate of 0.26%. Testing numbers are updated regularly on the university's COVID-19 website.

Weekly testing is mandatory for students who live or attend classes on campus. Effective this week, those who don't comply with testing requirements will lose access to the university WiFi network. Robbins emphasized that a positive test result will not result it WiFi access being revoked.   

The university also continues to ramp up its efforts as a COVID-19 vaccination site. In partnership with Pima County, the university site has administered 15,174 shots since opening in January. Gov. Doug Ducey announced last week that UArizona will transition to a high-capacity state-run site on Thursday, with possible capacity to eventually operate 24/7 and serve 6,000 people per day. Appointments for the state site open at 9 a.m. Tuesday for eligible residents on the Arizona Department of Health Services website. Those without access to a computer can call 1-844-542-8201. 

The university vaccination site has two locations: a drive-through clinic on the University of Arizona Mall and a walk-through clinic at the Ina E. Gittings Building, 1737 E. University Blvd. Appointments are required for both locations.