PHOENIX (3TV / CBS 5) – In Arizona, thousands of students will be returning to campus this week after winter break. Some teachers are worried about what the spring semester will look like. As COVID cases increase, universities are implementing new protocols in hopes of curbing the spread of the virus.
University of Arizona professor Gary Rhoades is one of many United Campus Workers Union teachers writing to college leaders asking them to start spring semester online.
“What concerns me is the health and safety of unvaccinated students,” Rhoades said. “No place has indicated that they will start remotely, which in our opinion makes the most sense.”
This will not happen at either of the state’s two largest universities. Instead, additional security measures will be put in place.
Masks will be mandatory in all classrooms at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. However, the UArizona requires students and staff to wear surgical grade masks or higher, as opposed to cloth. ASU is bringing back its daily health check, which requires all students and employees to complete a health questionnaire each morning before class. Students and staff are also required to take a COVID test before returning to campus and submitting their results online.
Arizona’s three major public universities have announced that they will require employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 8.
In Arizona, students living in dorms will need to get tested for COVID before moving in, but testing is only encouraged for students who come to campus every day.
“Many of these measures are good and a good step in the right direction,” said ASU English professor Richard Newhouser.
Staff need to be vaccinated in both schools, and students are not.
Newhouser said he had previously received emails from students concerned about their return to campus.
“I have already received a few emails from my students, one worried about avoiding Covid and another from a student recently recovered from Covid and wants to make sure the others are safe,” Newhouser said .
If a student contracts COVID, ASU says they have a Zoom-based option that has been installed in every classroom. For students who are absent for an extended period, they should make arrangements with their teachers.
Take a step back: U.S. colleges are returning to online courses
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