University of Arizona resuming in-person classes, delaying sports

UA testing thousands of students for COVID-19

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The University of Arizona will delay fall sports until 2021 due to COVID-19, but students will return to the classroom in less than two weeks.

"Going to class is different than high impact, elite, athletic competition, Olympic level competition for our soccer players and things like that," said University of Arizona President Dr. Robert C. Robbins during a campus reentry press conference Thursday.

Robbins said there's not enough data to know the health outcomes for a student athlete.

"An undiagnosed case that you put out to do 20 minutes of activity on a football field with 300 pound people colliding that's not, in our opinion as the PAC-12, safe," Robbins said.

However, with safety measures in place, university leaders believe students in a classroom are much better off.

"We are going to be controlling the environment," said Dr. Richard Carmona, the director of the Campus Reentry Task Force. "The classes are only going to be a certain amount of students, there is space, there is social distancing, masks are required."

So far the university has tested about 1,200 students and one has tested positive. All students living in the dorms will be required to get an antigen test. All students have the option to get tested.

University leaders say they’re cautiously optimistic as they’ve watched Arizona’s new case numbers decline in recent weeks, but they recognize this school year will be different than anything they’ve seen before.

"You can call this an experiment because no one has ever done this before," Carmona said. "Why you see every university doing it differently is because COVID-19 is new to the world."

Classes at the U of A will start on Aug 24.

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