Board Principles for University COVID-19 Response Planning

The success of our students as well as the health and well-being of our students, employees and other members of the university community are the top priorities of the Arizona Board of Regents and Arizona’s public universities. Through the spring, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona have continued to maintain excellence in education and research while responding to the challenges presented by COVID-19. As students return to campus over the next few months, we will continue to implement safety measures and protocols. Our goal is to minimize health risk to students, employees, and the community as we provide excellent instruction through in-person and on-line platforms and continue other university operations. (Click here for news release about the principles.)

The board will review university COVID-19 planning efforts, which should:

  1. Promote the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff;
  2. Address the continuity of courses of study and other essential operations;
  3. Provide timely communications with key constituencies, on- and off-campus;
  4. Address such special considerations as clinical programs, research programs, health and counseling services, student basic needs, meal plans, and residential housing;
  5. Address implications for student services and intercollegiate athletics; and
  6. Evaluate and address the short- and long-term financial implications.

Recognizing that the universities operate globally and through multiple modalities, response planning will be university specific. All proposals and practices will comply with applicable law, including Arizona executive orders. Each university will consider guidance about managing risk provided by reliable external sources, including the Arizona Department of Health Services, Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the Department of Education, and professional higher education associations. As noted in the CDC Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education, “[i]mplementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each [higher education] community.”

Each university’s response planning should address university-specific proposals for:

  • Testing or screening of students, faculty and staff;
  • Contact tracing;
  • Promoting behaviors that reduce the potential for spread of the virus;
  • Distancing and reduced density in classrooms, work areas and public areas;
  • Addressing risk in residence halls and food service areas;
  • Education and direction for employees and students on issues related to public health (e.g., social-distancing, hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, wearing of masks, signage promoting behavior to promote healthy behavior);
  • Education and direction for employees and students on university health services, counseling support services and disability resources;
  • Protocols for responding to students or employees who may have come into contact with an infected individual;
  • Protocols for responding to students or employees who test positive for the virus or who experience symptoms consistent with the virus;
  • Changes (if any) to university policies;
  • Changes to class scheduling or the academic calendar;
  • Procurement, maintenance and distribution of supplies, including personal protective equipment;
  • Preparing student health resources and facilities for both the physical and mental impacts of COVID-19;
  • Addressing facilities issues, including enhanced sanitation;
  • Addressing public events on campus and community participation in campus activities;
  • The university’s commitment to working with local municipalities and the state to promote healthy behaviors and environments;
  • The university’s commitment to timely and thoughtful communications with all stakeholders; and
  • The university’s commitment to comply with any applicable reporting requirements.

The board encourages the universities to collaborate whenever possible. The board anticipates regular updates from the universities regarding their response planning, which may evolve as circumstances change and as additional reliable information about the transmission and treatment of the virus becomes available.