UArizona Ends Spring Semester with Low COVID-19 Numbers, Ongoing Vaccinations
The university will end the school year with a series of scaled-down in-person graduation ceremonies. Vaccinations will continue to be offered on campus through June 25.

By Alexis Blue, University Communications
May 3, 2021

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woman getting vaccinated
The University of Arizona vaccination POD is continuing to operate inside the Ina E. Gittings Building. Chris Richards/University of Arizona

In his final COVID-19 briefing of the spring semester, University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins thanked university students, employees and supporters for their efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus and allow for a successful end to an unprecedented school year.

May 5 is the last day of spring classes at the university, and the number of positive COVID-19 infections on campus remains low, thanks in large part to increased vaccine availability and ongoing cooperation with public health measures such as social distancing, mask wearing and regular university-mandated testing.

Between April 26 and May 1, the university administered 4,731 COVID-19 tests, with 10 positives – a positivity rate of 0.21% Wastewater testing on and around campus also suggests that infections are continuing to decline, Robbins said.

The university was able to finish the semester in Stage 3 of its operational plan, which allows for classes of up to 100 students to meet in person. Graduation seniors will be able to celebrate the end of the school year in a series of scaled-down in-person graduation ceremonies May 10-18.

"We could not have reached this point in the semester without the incredible efforts of our faculty and staff. Thank you all for your incredible hard work this academic year," Robbins said. "I also want to give a special thanks to our students, as well as their families and supporters. I know this year has presented new challenges at every turn, and you have still accomplished a great deal while adapting alongside our faculty and staff to new ways of working, learning and communing with one another. Thank you all for your incredible effort."  

Monday's briefing was the last in a series of regular weekly briefings on the university's COVID-19 status, offered virtually throughout the school year by Robbins and 17th U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, a Distinguished Professor in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.   

The university will pause the weekly briefings during the summer, holding them only as needed. Regular briefings are expected to resume as the fall semester nears.

Vaccination Efforts Continue on Campus, in Underserved Communities

The university's vaccination POD, or point of distribution, continues to operate, and to date has administered more than 212,000 shots. Due to the heat, the POD moved fully indoors on Monday. All vaccinations are now offered in the Ina E. Gittings Building, 1737 E. University Blvd.

"The positive impact created by the POD is a testament to the skill, expertise and dedication of our entire vaccination team, which includes faculty, staff (and) community volunteers, many of whom are our students," Robbins said.

Walk-ins are accepted at the POD. Those who would prefer to schedule an appointment can do so by visiting podvaccine.azdhs.gov. Those who need assistance with scheduling can call 602-542-1000 or 844-542-8201 for help in English or Spanish. Those with additional questions about the UArizona POD can call the COVID Ambassador Team hotline at 520-848-4045 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily or email covidhelp@arizona.edu.

An estimated 40.9% of Arizona residents and 38.4% of Pima County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. In Pima County, 86.6% of adults 65 and older and 64.3% of those ages 55 to 64 have received at least one dose. 

As more people are vaccinated and demand decreases – and other avenues for vaccination become increasingly available – the university's state POD will be adjusting its operating hours, and June 25 is expected to be the POD's last day.

The POD's hours are:

  • Through May 9, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
  • May 10-22, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
  • May 23, CLOSED
  • May 24-28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
  • May 29-31, CLOSED
  • June 1-25, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday (second doses only)

The university also is continuing to provide vaccinations in underserved Arizona communities.

Dr. Cecilia Rosales, associate dean and professor in the College of Public Health, joined Monday's briefing to talk about the university's MOVE UP initiative, which stands for Mobile Outreach Vaccination and Education for Underserved Populations.

Working in conjunction with community and public health partners, the project provides vaccinations and outreach in rural or underserved areas throughout the state via two university-operated mobile health units staffed by university health providers and students: the College of Public Health's Primary Prevention Mobile Unit and the Family and Community Medicine Mobile Unit.

"Early on in the COVID pandemic it became evident that communities of color and the hard-to- reach populations were disproportionately and adversely affected by this pandemic in terms of transmission (and) in terms of hospitalizations, morbidity and mortality," Rosales said.

Those populations also were less likely to get tested and vaccinated, and the mobile health units were deployed to help address those disparities, Rosales said. The university initiative has delivered vaccinations to thousands of individuals in underserved areas, including farm workers, truck drivers, Spanish-speakers and homeless populations.

"We're a global community," Rosales said. "And we have to think about everybody – not just within our own little hub."

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