TUCSON, AZ — The University of Arizona will begin to allow more in-person classes to resume Oct. 12 if the number of coronavirus cases on or around campus continues to decline.
Robert C. Robbins, the university's president, made the announcement Monday during his weekly coronavirus update.
"As we discussed last week, the university's measures in place to reduce transmission of coronavirus are working, and our partnerships with Pima County and the city of Tucson have had positive impact in the near-campus neighborhoods," Robbins said.
Most classes have been offered in an online format since the academic year began Aug. 24. Robbins said about 6,200 students are attending only "essential courses" – like labs and fine arts classes – in person as part of phase one of the university's campus reentry.
Oct. 12 would be the university's first day of the plan's second phase. The hope would be for in-person instruction to begin for classes with 30 or fewer students that were designated in-person or flex in-person courses at the time of registration. In-person courses were designed to be taught fully in-person, while flex in-person courses were always going to include a mix of online and in-person instruction.
Entry into the second phase is contingent on the continued decline of new coronavirus cases, Robbins said. The school has not recorded any cases of the virus in a classroom or laboratory setting since August.
The university's most recent testing data from Friday, showed 11 new positives from 1,282 new tests conducted by the university, for a positivity rate of 0.9%. Of the 11 cases, one was a dorm resident, several were off-campus students and university employees.
UofA head football coach Kevin Sumlin announced Monday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, despite taking aggressive precautions since the start of the pandemic.
He said he is not experiencing any symptoms but that he has entered self-isolation, and that the team's schedule will begin Oct. 9 as planned.
"My positive test result, while a shock, is a stark reminder of how we must all remain vigilant in our focus on hand washing, physical distancing and face coverings," Sumlin wrote. "I am feeling well and will be engaged in our ramp-up activities on a virtual basis until I complete the isolation protocol. I look forward to being back on field in time to begin preparing for the season."