The COVID-19 health emergency has caused a lot of changes at the University of Arizona. Earlier this month, the university decided to suspend all in-person classes for the rest of the spring 2020 semester, and move all classes to online formats.
Students who lived in dorms were instructed to seek alternative living arrangements if possible.
With campus now mostly a ghost town, UA’s Housing and Residential Life department is tasked with dealing with the aftermath of a semester turned upside down.
For students whose only living option is in the dorms, university staff have been attempting to relocate them to dorm buildings that have suite-style accommodations, meaning private bathrooms instead of communal ones.
On Sunday, March 15, Housing and Residential Life sent a notice to all dorm residents and their emergency contacts offering a 10 percent refund on their housing and meal plan investments, or a 20 percent voucher that could be used during the 2020-2021 academic year.
For the full 2019-2020 academic year regular dorm prices, not including the Honors Village, ranged from $6,390 to $8,620 plus fees, depending on the residence hall. The most a student could be refunded is $862. Meal plan prices ranged from $1,820 to $6,060.
Students who have chosen to move out of their dorm rooms early must have all their belongings out of their living spaces by Friday, April 17. All students must move out of their dorms by Friday, May 15.
On Tuesday, March 24, Residential Life sent another notice to all dorm residents about a student who was living in the Sonora dorm, located at 910 E. 5th Street, who had tested positive for COVID-19.
They explained the resident is now at home with their family and no longer on campus. The last time the resident was on campus was March 14 through 18 and was asymptomatic at the time.
“Upon arriving home, the resident began to feel sick and was tested at home, out of state,” UA wrote. “The resident’s roommate and close contacts have already been notified. We have confirmed with the resident that they did not utilize any common spaces in the dorm.”
Residential Life confirmed that staff began using “elevated cleaning protocol” in all dorms and their offices on March 9. The Sonora dorm has been cleaned multiple times per day since the resident left campus on March 18.
Yesterday, the university announced that four people within their community have tested positive for COVID-19, including the student in the Sonora dorm. UA Campus Health did not specify whether those other three people were students or staff.
That's a jump of 107 from yesterday's 401.
There are now 75 confirmed cases in Pima County.
The virus has killed 8 people in Arizona, including a Pima County woman in her 50s who had underlying health conditions.
In Maricopa County, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 299, with 48 more cases being reported than yesterday.
Health and government officials have urged the public to avoid unnecessary trips and gatherings of more than 10 people. They warn that the extremely contagious virus is rapidly spreading in the community. Symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear, so people can pass COVID-19 without realizing they have been infected with it. Some people remain entirely asymptotic but are carriers.
Arizona's K-12 public schools remain closed at least through April 10. Here's a list of places where school districts are providing free meals for kids. And here's a list of some educational resources that parents can turn to while their kids are at home.
As COVID-19 has spread, local and state officials limited restaurants to take-out and delivery services in counties where cases of the virus have been confirmed. The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted today to extend that closure through April 10. Here’s a partial list of restaurants that are offering take-out and delivery services.
The closures and recommendations to avoid shopping and commerce have hammered the local economy. Small businesses are teetering on the edge and layoffs are skyrocketing. If you need assistance finding a job, here are some resources. If you need help stocking your kitchen, you can find food banks and pantries here.
Courts have rescheduled most hearings to avoid spreading the virus and the release of some nonviolent offenders from Pima County Jail is in the works.
In the face of the spreading virus, Gov. Doug Ducey halted to evictions for 120 days; ordered bars, gyms and theaters to be closed in any county with confirmed COVID-19 cases; halted all elective surgery to keep hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients; loosened regulations to make telemedicine more available and increase eligibility for AHCCCS, the state's Medicaid program; and activated the National Guard to assist in grocery stores as Arizonans clear the shelves.
COVID-19 symptoms typically occur two to 14 days after exposure, and include headache, fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. However, some cases of the virus are entirely asymptomatic. Practices to avoid infection include social distancing (of at least six feet), washing your hands, avoiding unnecessary trips and not touching your face. COVID-19 can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on stainless steel and plastic surfaces up to three days.
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, speak with a healthcare provider for medical advice. According to the CDC, people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Stay at home and avoid public transportation, but stay in touch with your doctor. If you do leave your home, wear a face mask and clean your hands often. If you develop more severe symptoms (persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, bluish lips) get medical attention immediately. Your local health authorities will give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.
Have you caught COVID-19? Are you feeling ill? Is your small business struggling to make it? Have you lost your job as a result of the outbreak? Are you struggling to manage your kids while schools are closed? Tell us your COVID-19 stories. Send an email or photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.