The University of Arizona announced that its two-week shelter-in-place request is set to expire Wednesday.
The shelter-in-place, intended to limit the spread of COVID-19, started Sept.14 after the university’s infection rates surged. During that time, the only exceptions for students to leave their housing included attending essential in-person classes, seeking medical treatment, COVID-19 testing, getting food and groceries or attending work.
However, in a University of Arizona weekly press briefing Tuesday, officials said recent COVID-19 testing data has shown numbers are decreasing, allowing for the university’s reopening.
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University President Robert Robbins said the most recent testing data from Friday, Sept. 25, which measured tests dating back to Sept. 19, showed “36 positives out of 1,051 tests conducted by the university.”
In the 10-day window from Sept. 19 to Sept. 28, there were 274 positive cases.
“This is not a time to become complacent, however. I continue to see groups of students around the university boulevard and elsewhere without face coverings, and I beg you to please listen and follow the guidelines,” Robbins said in the meeting. “This works. There is no question about it.”
If cases begin to rise again, Robbins said the shelter-in-place recommendation could be reinstated. While the university’s shelter-in-place is voluntary, Robbins said Pima County health officials will place more “legal” and restrictive guidelines on the university if numbers “skyrocket.”
Dr. Richard Carmona, who is leading the re-entry task force, also attended the meeting and said the university would like to increase its testing but students are not getting tested because they do not want to quarantine. Carmona said if that continues, the university will make testing mandatory for students who come on campus.
“We can do this, we can keep the university open, but only if we get 100% compliance from all those on the university and those who interact with the community from the university,” Carmona said.
As of Tuesday, the university only has mandatory random testing for students living on campus and is considering similar options for students living off-campus.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: University of Arizona shelter-in-place request expiring as COVID-19 cases decline