TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona are all planning to resume in-person classes for the fall semester.
In a letter to ASU families on Thursday morning, President Michael Crow announced the university is planning to resume in-person classes on Thursday, August 20.
Crow’s letter reads:
Given that circumstances related to COVID-19 continue to evolve, ASU will implement whatever safety measures and health protocols are necessary to keep students and employees safe. And, we will continue to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Arizona Department of Health Services. We will communicate to you throughout the summer about how those recommendations may impact future decisions and modifications to campus life this fall. If you have any questions pertaining to the fall semester, please reach out to the Dean of Students office.
UArizona in Tucson made a similar statement later in the day, saying that in-person classes could resume Aug. 24. University president Robert C. Robbins made the announcement after having his blood drawn for antibody testing.
The statement reads:
"I am pleased to publicly announce today our intention to return to in-person classes at the University of Arizona for the fall semester. We will honor all local, state and federal protective measures that apply, and, of course, there are many factors that remain beyond our control. However, we are tackling what is within our control to ensure our students have the opportunity for a full on-campus experience.
"We have launched antibody testing for the county and will soon begin antibody testing 250,000 health care workers and first responders for the state of Arizona in partnership with the Governor’s Office. Next, we will test our own students, faculty and staff. We are expanding our diagnostic testing capability for COVID-19 infection. In short, we are working with local and national experts to create best-in-class strategies to reopen the campus.
"Our plan is to Test, Trace and Treat to present our campus community a flexible and adaptive teaching and learning environment."
Arizona's third state university, NAU in Flagstaff, also sent a letter to families Thursday, stating that the university hopes to reopen this fall for in-person classes.
"It is a highly fluid situation and I will continue to communicate as plans evolve," says a tweet from NAU president Rita Cheng. "I look forward to having a campus once again alive with the vibrancy, enthusiasm, and sense of possibilities that come with having our students here with us."
"While risk factors cannot be eliminated entirely, we believe we can decrease the risk to health and safety through a variety of measures—steps that other universities across the country also are adopting in their plans for fall 2020 campus openings," she continued. "Together, we have worked to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and reduce risk to students, faculty, staff, and the community. As the spring semester concludes, the time is right to turn our focus toward plans to welcome students to NAU in Fall 2020 and resume in-person classes."
"We believe the time is right to take steps to open the Flagstaff campus this fall," the university says in a letter sent to families. "Consulting with state and federal leaders and health officials, including the CDC and the Arizona Department of Health Services, we are developing and implementing protocols to ensure the safe return of our students."