ASU now requiring face masks for employees, students and visitors on campuses
Employees, students and visitors at Arizona State University are now required to wear face masks on campus, ASU President Michael Crow announced in a statement on Friday.
The university previously announced face masks would be required for the start of the fall semester in buildings and outdoor community spaces where social distancing isn't possible.
The policy was accelerated in response to the rise in COVID-19 cases 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," Crow said in the statement.
The requirement is effective immediately, and outdoor community spaces include garages and parking lots, ASU shuttles, bicycle racks and sidewalks.
Crow said the acceleration is also in response to a request from Greater Phoenix Leadership of the Arizona business community, who urged the state's universities to encourage wearing masks in public settings in order to slow the transmission of COVID-19.
The organization of business leaders supported its request with information from health-care and bioscience professionals in Arizona who emphasized the goal of avoiding a second shutdown of businesses.
"Since the executive order was lifted, many believe something has changed and it is somehow now safe to resume normal life,” said a statement from health-care professionals in the announcement. "Sadly, this is far from the truth. 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."
Crow said the request was a reminder to take precautions to protect ourselves and those around us.
"Working together, we can better care for one another and our actions will help to keep our community healthier and stronger," Crow said.
Other Arizona schools say fall protocols aren't finalized yet
Grand Canyon University officials said the university is still finalizing plans to minimize the spread of COVID-19 this fall. This may include following ASU's lead and requiring masks.
The university expects to release more details to students about what the plan will look like in the near future, said Bob Romantic, a GCU spokesman.
"The environment surrounding COVID-19 continues to change and we learn more every day about the virus and its impact," Romantic said. "Evidence continues to grow about the effectiveness of wearing masks in order to prevent the spread of the virus and it will likely be a significant component of our plan if conditions don’t change before August."
GCU expects residence halls to be at capacity on its Phoenix campus this fall, which means 14,000 students would be living on campus.
Romantic said total enrollment is anticipated to be around 24,000 students.
"It is shaping up to be the largest incoming class in our history," he said.
Northern Arizona University will require face masks for faculty, staff and students in the fall for "public areas and when physical distancing cannot be maintained," a university spokesperson said in an email on Friday.
Officials said NAU will provide face masks to students and employees. The protocols for fall are still being finalized.
University of Arizona officials did not immediately respond to requests from The Arizona Republic on Friday.
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