University of Arizona set to test students for COVID-19 before Thanksgiving break

UA mandatory testing

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The latest COVID-19 numbers at the University of Arizona show no one has tested positive since Friday, but the university will soon start testing students before heading into the Thanksgiving break.

“Right now, students are viewing testing as nothing because they don’t want to isolate if they test positive,” said Steve Kozachik, Ward 6 City Council.

Kozachik is pushing to adopt a policy that’ll mandate testing at the University of Arizona as a condition for off-campus students to return to in-person classes following the break.

“The university needs to be at the table with the rest of the community and say testing for these 35,000 students is mandatory if they’re going to be living in the City of Tucson”

University of Arizona President Dr. Robert Robbins said starting Nov 9, testing will ramp up with the capability of testing 8 to 10 thousand students a week prior to the holiday season.

But not every student will be tested.

“The mandatory test that we can require is when they live in one of our dorms. The ones we can’t mandate are the off campus students because they’re private citizens," said Robbins.

Data shows in the last 10 days, out of nearly 7,000 tests on campus, only 44 tested positive. Officials said the testing blitz will end 10 days before the break to allow those testing positive to isolate on campus.

“We’re encouraging students to complete the semester completely remotely if visiting family outside of the Tucson area,” said Robbins.

This Friday students will be required to fill out a survey informing the campus about their holiday travel plans.

“If you’ve tested positive already, you don’t have to retest for travel plans for exit and reentry as long as it’s been within 90 days," said UA Communications Vice President Holly Jensen.

Meanwhile, Kozachik is calling on other leaders to begin crafting a policy that’ll make testing mandatory before coming back in January.

“If Thanksgiving doesn’t work let’s work it out so they take the test before they come into the community,” said Kozachik.

Starting next Monday, classes of up to 50 students will be permitted to return to in person instruction.

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