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ASU's president addresses calls for transparency by students amid Coronavirus case

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Posted at 5:22 PM, Jan 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 15:37:58-05

TEMPE, AZ — Arizona State University's President, Dr. Michael Crow, said students who need sanitary supplies like hand sanitizer or protective masks can receive them from the university.

ABC15 spoke with the president on Thursday, nearly four days after a confirmed case of Coronavirus within the ASU community.

Dr. Crow said the health services department has individual hand sanitizers if students are struggling to find any.

The president points out that coronavirus is not the only health concern on campus as the flu and other respiratory illnesses can be passed on campus, too.

The president has not spoken publicly on camera since news of a confirmed case from the Centers for Disease Control.

"On all these things, on all public health issues, the key is communication. The key is awareness," Crow said.

Communication is why ABC15 requested an interview with anyone to speak on camera before going to the campus and waiting to speak with Dr. Crow directly.

Students created a petition online calling for the university to be more transparent with information about the positive case within the ASU community.

As of Thursday, there were more than 22,000 signatures.

"Petitions like this are common," Crow said. "Lots of folks sign on to things. Some are students, some are not."

No one with the university has said if the person infected was a student or faculty member, if they were on campus or how long. Dr. Crow said that's because they have to protect this person's identity.

"It turns out in matters of health and identity. We're not able to say who it is. The law is quite clear about that," Crow said.

On Thursday, Dr. Crow said the university is pushing out information on many platforms including creating a website with the latest information, pushing out emails to those within the ASU community and publishing videos.

The university put out a video titled "Facts not fiction on Coronavirus":

The only public information released is that the person who tested positive for coronavirus lives in Tempe, off campus, is under the age of 60, and has mild symptoms.

Public health officials are urging people to know that the risk to the general public is low.

The best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus is proper hygiene.

ASU has posted these ways to keep healthy:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

When ABC15 asked if other students deserve to know where this person has been, Dr. Crow said every person who was in contact with him/her has been contacted.