University of Arizona students express confusion, lack of communication over shelter in place

UA requested to shelter in place following COVID-19 concerns

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -University of Arizona president Robert Robbins called the shelter in place for students who live on or near campus a “last ditch effort,” but students feel it should have been done sooner—and communicated more.

Tuesday was a slow day for Keely Davis, who works at a clothing boutique on University Blvd.

“This morning I’ve been here for a few hours, and I’ve only seen like 3 people,” she said.

After UA and the Pima County Health Department asked for students to voluntarily shelter in place for 14 days, foot traffic around University dwindled a bit. Students living on or near campus are asked to stay at home except for essential activities. Davis said she found out about the shelter in place through word-of-mouth.

“I just was at work…and they were like' oh they just released a shelter in place,'” she said.

The store she works at is still open—so are most other businesses on University, something Davis thinks makes the shelter in place more confusing.

“It’s a lot of pressure to put on students to expect them to take the precautions themselves, when we could be putting actions in place,” she said. “Especially when restaurants are open, bars are open stores are open, everything’s open.”

Bars are open and young folks were grabbing drinks and food on Tuesday. Kaelyn Chang and her roommate, Holly Parker, are both freshmen who live on campus, and were on University Blvd. Tuesday shopping around.

“It’s definitely confusing …like what’s allowed and what’s not,” said Chang.

They said they saw a tweet from the University but haven’t seen any other communications—and not much has changed on campus overnight.

“Nothing. Nothing. There’s been a couple more people that are more strict, but it’s just like faculty,” said Parker.

An email was sent out around 6 p.m. Monday to students. The shelter in place is mentioned in the third paragraph and Arizona has tweeted twice about it, but the university said they have not pushed out more information because they are waiting on the county to lay out guidelines. The sun has already set on first day of the 14 day shelter in place, with nothing from the county. Regardless, Davis said it might be too little, too late.

“I think it’s a little bit of what we need, but also I think it’s a little late for it,” she said.

There are exceptions for the shelter in place which includes classes that are already in person, getting food, working and getting medical treatment.

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