TUCSON, Ariz. — The University of Arizona is recommending its students shelter in place for 14 days in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
UArizona President Dr. Robert Robbins made the announcement at the university's weekly COVID-19 update meeting Monday morning, calling the move "a last-ditch effort" to stop the spread of the virus among students.
"In the last 10 days, we’ve had 847 cases, so what changed? Students came back and they started partying," said Dr. Robbins.
THE PIMA COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT, IN CONCERT WITH THE UNIVERSITY, IS RECOMMENDING A 14 DAY VOLUNTARY QUARANTINE. THIS INCLUDES EXCEPTIONS FOR BASIC NECESSITIES LIKE FOOD AND MEDICAL CARE, IF THEY CANNOT BE DELIVERED.— #BearDownMaskUp (@uarizona) September 14, 2020
Robbins said the recommendation came in cooperation with the Pima County Health Department, and the school will release details later Monday.
"We are really serious now. This is it. This is your last chance. Heed the warnings," he said in the virtual conference.
Earlier in Monday's weekly Zoom news conference, Robbins confirmed there would be no changes to the university's current class plan with only essential classes under in-person instruction. Robbins said there are "less than 5,000 students" who are taking in-person classes on the campus.
Though he did say there would be consequences for those who do not follow recommendations.
"There have definitely been some interim suspensions. There have been individuals expelled from the university. So I hope that a few do not destroy our efforts to continue to have the university move forward," he said.
He adds it's all up to the students now.
"I can teach it to you, but I can’t learn it for you. We need our students and our citizens to learn this. It’s fairly simple. Wash your hands, cover your face, stay away from people," said Dr. Robbins.
Pima County Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen, who also attended the news conference, said there are exceptions to the shelter-in-place including grocery shopping, going to work, medical care and classes.
Currently, two student have been issued interim suspension due to COVID-19 violations. An interim suspension does "not allow those students to be on campus or participate in any activities until the Dean of Students completes an investigation." There are also three organizations, that include Kappa Alpha Order, Theta Delta Chi and Sigma Nu on interim loss of recognition, meaning the organization "cannot operate, hold chapter meetings or social activities until an investigation has been completed, according to UArizona Dean of Students, Vice Provost, Kendal White. National Headquarters are informed if it is a fraternity, sorority or a national organization.
"The Dean of Students can and will issue interim suspension of individuals and interim loss of recognition when both situations are at play," Kendal White said.
A list of fraternities and sororities status are posted on fraternity and sorority programs website.
The Pima County Health Department released further details Tuesday regarding the quarantine recommendation for students living on and off-campus.
Students living on campus or within the areas between 6th Avenue to the west, Campbell Avenue to the east, 10th Street to the south, and Helen Street to the north are asked to use delivery services for groceries, food and other needs they require to limit their exposure to other individuals, according to PCHD. Students who test positive for COVID-19 who live within the given area will be offered the option of staying in isolation dormitories on campus.
Off-campus housing management are advised to provide isolation housing for any residents who test positive for COVID-19, according to PCHD. Apartment complexes with ten tenants or more living within the given area and house mainly students will be directed to close pools and spas, recreation, game areas, fitness rooms or gyms, and prohibit gatherings of more than ten individuals.
“We are working incredibly close with leadership from the UArizona, the off-campus housing providers in the areas around campus, and the Greek housing community to protect their residents, staff, and the public,” Dr. Cullen said in a statement. “The ultimate goal for all of us is to slow the spread amongst these students and prevent a surge in cases County wide as we see cases continue to decline otherwise. We need students to do their part and take this opportunity to stop the spread.”
Continued transmission past the 14-day period may result in extending the recommended time and additional limitations.
Watch the full Zoom news conference from the University of Arizona in the player below:
This is a developing story. Stay with KGUN 9 for the latest updates.