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UArizona President says off-campus activity key in coronavirus spread

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PHOENIX – University of Arizona President Dr. Robert C. Robbins says the key to controlling the spread of COVID-19 as campus reopens on Monday is having control of off-campus activity.

Robbins told CBS News Face the Nation Sunday that approximately 30,000 students are expected to return to the Tucson area when classes resume.

“I think the big issue is off campus activity,” Rollins said. “We can control things in the classroom, on campus and in the student union and not having large gatherings of people on campus in official venues.”

Robbins said students who are living on campus are required to get tested for coronavirus; however, it’s not required, just strongly recommended, for students living off campus to receive a coronavirus test before coming to campus.

UArizona has implemented flexible class options to allow for in-person, hybrid or online learning this semester.

Robbins would like to see all students who come on campus for face-to-face learning be tested at least once a week.

The University’s website says from July 31 to Aug. 22, they’ve conducted 8,247 tests with 26 positive test results, which amounts to less than a 1% positivity rate for their community.

Robbins says they know there’s going to be spikes in coronavirus cases and they feel prepared to handle that; however, the University will be watching the numbers daily.

“If we run out of isolation beds, and we can’t handle it and people are getting really ill, then we’ll pull the plug,” Robbins said.

On Sunday, Arizona health officials reported 207 new coronavirus cases and 15 deaths, bringing the state’s numbers to 198,103 cases and 4,771 deaths.

The University has implemented a strict face covering policy that requires anyone on campus to wear a mask both inside and outside.

“We’re anticipating there will be some people who refuse to cover their face because of their expression of their individuality and freedom, but that will go through the dean of students and code of conduct,” Robbins said.

He added that anyone who refuses to follow the policy will be subject to discipline, including expulsion.

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