NewsGetting Back to School


Tempe state representative questions if ASU opened too soon

Posted at 6:06 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 00:09:42-04

TEMPE, AZ — Across the ASU campus, concerns about COVID-19’s spread and the university’s virus management are varied.

“There’s some precautions, but it could have done some things better,” said one student.

Another, however, says they approve of the school’s efforts to contain the virus. “They’re being totally thorough in terms of their testing and revising their strategies.”

By weeks end, ASU released new numbers. Of the students, 452 were diagnosed with COVID-19, along with 28 members of the faculty and staff with 37,149 people tested.

“In my district, we’re seeing an uptick that coincides with the university opening up about a week ago,” said State Representative Athena Salman, whose district includes ASU’s Tempe campus.

Salman is questioning if ASU’s return to on-campus instruction happened too soon.

She sees parallels with Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina, which opened up only to shut back down after new COVID outbreaks on campus.

“In just a week span, we have seen the positive cases triple,” Salman said. “It’s having the potential that down the road, we are creating these hot spots.”

In a letter to ASU President Dr. Michael Crow, Salman is asking for the university’s plan. Its processes and protocols on how it manages on-campus learning during a pandemic.

She says her concerns are based on stories she is hearing from students and faculty members.

“Even though everyone was masked, the faculty member was coughing throughout the lecture, causing concerns with her,” Salman said one student wrote to her. “I’ve had faculty reach out and say they are incredibly frustrated about not being able to inform students of potential COVID-19 exposure,” she added.

Representative Salman believes ASU needs to be prepared to suspend classes on campus if the COVID numbers continue to increase. “We need to be looking at all options on the table.”