The University of Arizona (UA) is advising students to shelter-in-place for two weeks in an effort to slow coronavirus infections. President Robert Robbins made the decision Monday morning after Friday’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 1,148 positive cases around the university since July 31.
“The Pima County Health Department, in concert with the University of Arizona, is recommending a 14-day shelter-in-place for students living both on and near campus, and particularly those in congregate settings such as high-rises, mini-dorms, apartments with more than 10 students and our Panhellenic houses,” Robbins said during Monday’s weekly COVID-19 briefing.
The school will urge on-campus residents, along with certain off-campus areas, to only leave their rooms for essentials, medical appointments or classes that are conducted in-person. The shelter-in-place recommendation will also apply to sorority and fraternity houses, in addition to some high-rise apartment buildings.
Robbins cited the uptick of positive cases at unsanctioned off-campus parties since the university started classes this fall.
“What changed? Students came back and they started partying,” Robbins said.
The announcement came after 8.8% of COVID-19 diagnostic tests came back positive in Friday’s latest update. In contrast, Robbins said health officials would like to see a positivity rate of under 5%, or else classes may be transitioned back into a fully remote format.
“At this point we are being very cautious about our ability to manage the caseload while providing ample on- and off-campus testing options,” Robbins said.
Moreover, the university announced further information regarding these safety precautions and the shelter-in-place recommendation will be released at a later date.