ASU, NAU requiring all students, employees and visitors to wear face masks

A highly magnified, digitally colorized transmission electron microscopic (TEM) image showing a coronavirus (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID))

Two of Arizona's public universities have released new guidelines for students and staff members amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On June 12, FOX 10 obtained a brief statement from officials with Northern Arizona University, who say the school will now require face covers for faculty, staff, and students in public areas and when physical distancing cannot be maintained. The school will provide face masks to students, faculty, and staff.

Officials with NAU also say they are working on finalizing their protocols for the fall.

Officials with Arizona State University, meanwhile, say employees, students and visitors will also be required to wear face masks on all four ASU campuses effective immediately. The rule applies inside all buidlings.

Face masks will also be required for "outdoor community spaces" like garages and parking lots, shuttles, sidewalks and bike rack areas.

This requirement was already planned to be effective at the start of the fall semester, but the recent spike in cases has changed ASU's approach.

"Given the current rise in COVID-19 cases we’re seeing in Arizona and a lax attitude toward face coverings and other social distancing measures since Gov. Ducey’s Stay At Home Executive Order was lifted, we feel it is important to accelerate our policy," according to a statement from ASU President Michael Crow.

The statement emphasizes the importance of taking the proper precautions to slow the spread of the virus.

"Since the Executive Order was lifted, many believe something has changed and it is somehow now safe to resume normal life. Sadly, this is far from the truth," the statement continues. "There is no vaccine and no treatment for COVID-19, and, it is just as contagious now as it was last month or the month before."

Classes for the fall are planned to resume on Aug. 20, and will be offered in three different formats:

  • ASU Immersion: On-campus, in-person
  • ASU Sync: Remote learning using live lectures via Zoom; classes can be simultaneously held in person
  • iCourse: Completely online classes

Many classes will be a combination of in-person and ASU Sync experiences, according to the university.

University officials say that all classrooms, which will be cleaned daily, will have sanitizing supplies available for students. Class attendance will also be reduced by half, with students attending in-person classes on alternating days.

Read the unversity's statement here.

ASU moved to online instruction on March 16 and has continued to use remote learning throughout the 2020 spring and summer semesters.

The school also moved its spring commencement to a virtual ceremony.

ASU’s Tempe campus is one of the largest college sites in the country with 53,000 students. The university has another 22,000 students on its other campuses in Mesa and Phoenix.

The university's plans to return to on-campus learning comes as more than 1,500 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Arizona on June 6.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. But it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death for some people, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.

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