Are universities doing enough? Student wants more coronavirus testing, rules enforcement

Posted at 7:11 AM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 10:18:42-04

As Arizona universities report COVID-19 cases on campus, there's concern about what happens next. What if there's a major outbreak? Are universities doing enough to prevent it?

It's top of mind for Vincent, a University of Arizona student. We talked with him a day before he headed to Tucson for his senior year and he really didn’t know what to expect.

“There are a lot of things the university hasn’t stated if X event happens, which I think would provide a lot of comfort for me and other students," Vincent says.

He's seen COVID outbreaks halting in-person classes at the University of North Carolina and Notre Dame. And he knows of COVID cases at Arizona State University and his own school.

While UArizona requires mandatory COVID testing before students can move into dorms, Vincent says there is no follow-up testing plan that he has seen. And he's concerned there's no testing for students before they go into in-person classes. He has two of those this semester.

UArizona also has a staggered plan for in-person teaching. They have isolation dorms for students testing positive. The administration is asking students to answer health questions by text and they want students to use a COVID watch app that warns users when they have been exposed to others testing positive.

Now moved into his on-campus housing, Vincent says it seems the school he loves is depending too much on self-reporting. "We were given thermometers when we went in for COVID testing... How can we expect college students to take temps every day when they're not even wearing masks?" he says.

And Vincent says he's seeing a lot of large groups not wearing masks or social distancing. But the bigger problem, Vincent says the school seems to be ignoring a lot of what he's seen. He's concerned about a lack of accountability.

"That kind of scares me because it looks like there's no enforcement... If the administration is not being serious about this issue how can you expect students on campus to take it seriously?"

Click on the following links to learn more about COVID precautions at the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.