TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Thousands of U of A students are expected to return to campus Monday, bringing the total number of students attending in-person class to nearly 10,000. This is raising concerns among faculty and students who say the university isn’t being transparent when it comes to health safety.
“I’m concerned about it because I believe like we saw in the last time when a large group of students came on campus. We’re likely to see another spike in cases,” said Nick Halsey, a member of the Coalition for Academic Justice at the U of A.
CAJUA is a group made up of students and teachers. They accuse the U of A administration of not consulting with anyone as they planned the reopening of campus.
“It seemed to have come out of nowhere following no clear process of the deliberation, of seeking input from faculty, staff, graduate, the undergrads. From people who are going to have to deal with the consequences,” said Halsey.
The group also accuses the university of not following the county’s health metrics, adding that leaders never released the criteria acceptable to trigger the next phase of re-entry.
“If it’s good for schools and restaurants in Pima County, then it should be good for the university as well. Well it’s not all green, so therefore it’s too early,” Halsey added.
In response to what CAJUA calls a lack of transparency, the group launched a tool where the university community can report COVID protocol violations on campus.
“We’re aiming to give those on campus a mechanism by which they can protect themselves and hold the university accountable for complying with its promises its made with re-entry,” Halsey said.
With hundreds of layoffs and resignations this year, along with the second wave of more than 2,000 students expected back Monday, the group hopes the guidelines the university is following become publicly available soon, and fully-remote learning becomes an option.
The university responded to the accusations, assuring the measures in place to reduce transmission are working. Officials said positive tests on campus are declining attributing that to recent campus data- showing only 11 people tested positive from over 1,200 tests.