In an interview with The State Press, Arizona State University President Michael Crow confirmed there are 15 reported cases of ASU students who have COVID-19.
Crow says the number includes students who are at home or still located in Arizona. Only one of the students is hospitalized, due to a pre-existing condition.
On Tuesday, the university issued the following statement:
The university can confirm that as of yesterday it had 15 confirmed cases among our student population. Due to privacy laws, we will not be disclosing the location of those individuals.
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country and around the state, it is our expectation that the Arizona State University community will be among those that continues to experience positive test results. ASU is working in close coordination with the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County Health Department and will continue to respect personal privacy, deferring to public health agencies regarding disclosure of positive test results and related information. Any member of the ASU community who shows symptoms of COVID-19 is required to self-isolate and independent of a person’s residence, the health care protocol is the same for anyone who has tested positive: self-isolation for a minimum of 14 days, regular (remote) health screening, daily food delivery and (remote) personal and emotional support. ASU will work with the county and the state on contact tracing anyone who may have come into contact with a positive case.
Given the rapidly evolving circumstances regarding COVID-19 and our interest in ensuring the health and well-being of our students, we are strongly encouraging those who live in university housing and whose circumstances permit to consider moving out of the residence hall to a family residence or living environment that minimizes contact with others. This will help if students need to be isolated, become ill or if the state moves to a shelter in place situation. Residence halls will continue to remain open and essential services will continue to be provided to students who need to remain on campus.
ASU has already increased the cleaning of student residential areas, particularly high-touch surfaces and are reminding students about appropriate social distancing protocols. University dining has moved to take-out only or a grab-and-go concept to eliminate gathering at mealtimes and no visitors will be allowed in residence halls.
ABC15 has learned at least some of the students were part of an arts program that traveled to New York City about two weeks ago.
ASU had some restrictions in place, but not for New York at the time the students were there.
Students on this trip were given the option of returning early. Officials say some of the students exhibited symptoms, others have not and are still awaiting test results.
ASU student Stephanie Rodriguez says she's moving out. "I don't wanna like risk it, you know?"
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich weighed in on Twitter, saying "he's deeply concerned."
I’m deeply concerned that 15 ASU students have/had COVID-19. Why weren’t campus facilities closed sooner? ASU needs to release more information to the public now. This is a serious public health concern. Thousands of students & staff who could have been exposed are heading home.— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) March 25, 2020
In January, the Arizona Department of Health Services confirmed our state's first case of coronavirus was a member of the ASU community, who lives in Tempe. Officials say he has since recovered.
Crow told the State Press that university housing will remain open and students will have the option to live there until further notice.
Earlier this month, ASU moved all in-person classes online. Crow said he is pleased with how well students and faculty handled the transition and said the online learning environment has encouraged the ASU community to engage more frequently and thoroughly.
Despite the troubling conditions, Crow told the State Press, “At the end of the day, mark my words we’re going to come out of this, stronger and better.”