Stage 1 details, University Updates, Antigen Testing, COVID Reports

Aug. 10, 2020

Dear Colleagues, 

The Arizona Law COVID Task Force is busy implementing the New Safe Return Plan for the College of Law. 

As always, please continue to submit questions, concerns and suggestions to our virtual Suggestion Box. You can also find answers to many questions that have been submitted in our extensive Faculty and Staff FAQ. We update it frequently.

If you scroll down, you will find the note we sent today to our students.  In that note we shared: 

  1. Additional details for Stage 1 at the College of Law
  2. University updates for Stage 1 including Antigen testing for students
  3. COVID-19 Reports

In addition, we’d like to share information about testing for university employees.  This information is copied directly from the university testing page: https://covid19.arizona.edu/covid19-testing 

Testing for Employees

Diagnostic Testing for Employees

Employees who are symptomatic or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive should stay isolated and contact Campus Health or their healthcare provider.

Asymptomatic employees who are concerned that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 will have the opportunity to register for an antigen test. More information coming soon.

The Arizona Department of Health Services is offering free COVID-19 testing in Pima County.

Antibody Testing for Employees

Antibody tests determine whether a person has been exposed to the virus in the past, not if they are currently infected. This simple test is currently being successfully used in the antibody testing research study for the State of Arizona’s first responders and medical providers, and has recently been expanded to include education workers, including all University of Arizona employees.

Sign up for Anitbody Testing here

More when we know it...

Marc, Bernadette, and Leah

on behalf of the Arizona Law COVID Task Force 

 

Sent: Monday, August 10, 2020 9:45 PM
Subject: Stage 1 details, University Updates, Antigen Testing, COVID Reports

​Dear Students,

The Arizona Law COVID Task Force is busy implementing the New Safe Return Plan for the College of Law. 

As always, please continue to submit questions, concerns, and suggestions to our Student Suggestion Box.  Check law.arizona.edu/covid for updates, and refer to our extensive FAQ for Current Students and Incoming Students for answers to many of the questions we’ve received from you.  We update it frequently.

Today we want to share with you:

  1. Additional details for Stage 1 at the College of Law
  2. University updates for Stage 1 including Antigen Testing
  3. COVID-19 Reports

College of Law Plan for Stage 1

The College of Law is in the midst of new student orientation and we are ready for the start of JD classes next week.  In accordance with University directives, classes at the College of Law will start fully online, aside from a few “hands-on, in-person” clinic and externship components.   

Nonetheless, every College of Law department is firing on all cylinders -- on campus and remotely -- including but not limited to:

  • the Law Library, with its vast array of Stage 1 services and resources; 
  • Student Affairs, always prepared to address students’ challenges; 
  • Law IT is at-the-ready for technology troubleshooting; 
  • Career Development, with its many contacts and resources; 
  • Academic Support, including a new Academic Success Program launching this fall designed to assist students in mastering the skills and knowledge needed for success in law school, on the bar exam, and in practice;
  • and more. 

International students should note that while in-person instruction is limited during Stage 1, UArizona and the College of Law still meet the USCIS requirements for hybrid course delivery.

Remember, during Stage 1, the College of Law campus will be open to students only when they are engaged in “hands-on, in-person” clinic or externship components. 

Student Support: 

If you are experiencing challenges during the semester -- for whatever reason -- New Safe Return Plan-related or not -- you should reach out to Dean Jordan-Curtis immediately and we will work with you to help you be successful this fall however we can. 

Additionally, please remember: 

Returning to Campus:

For those who need to come to campus during Stage 1, please be sure to follow all University and College of Law guidelines and directives -- these are required to come to campus for any reason at any time: 

  • Complete the Wildcat WellCheck -- get in the habit now! 
  • Wear a face covering -- you will receive one with your welcome back kit 
  • Practice social distancing
  • Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer 
  • And please stay home if you are sick

We are all in this together.  The success of the College of Law New Safe Return Plan for Fall 2020 depends on each one of us.  If we all follow the guidelines for a safe return to campus, then we significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection outbreaks.  In turn, we can enjoy time on campus, albeit limited and different than that to which we are accustomed.  We will also be helping the larger Tucson and Arizona communities. 

University Update

If you watched the University’s press briefing on Thursday, you once again heard cautious optimism from President Robbins and Dr. Carmona as our COVID numbers continue to trend downward from their recent peak. 

President Robbins and Dr. Carmona also spoke to the criteria provided by our College of Public Health that will help determine our movement from one stage to the next.  At this time, as previously shared, Stage 2 is still scheduled to begin on August 31, and Stage 3 on September 8 -- but the criteria could cause a change to these start dates.  Please watch the press briefing for full context and additional details; and we will update the community as we know more. 

Here is a screenshot of the criteria the university is considering to guide its move from stage to stage: 

                                   

President Robbins also expressed a desire to ramp-up antigen testing for all those returning to campus since so many young people are asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.  We welcome this additional safety measure and encourage all students to get an antigen test before returning to the College of Law campus. Antigen testing begins today at the North Rec Center for off-campus students.

Further, the university advises: “All students who are currently living out-of-town are strongly encouraged to have a diagnostic test in their hometown within 5-days of their planned return to campus. Those who test positive should remain isolated at home and should only come to campus after quarantine/isolation in accord with CDC quarantine and isolation guidance.”

COVID-19 Reports

College of Public Health:

As we do each week, we have included the most recent report by Dr. Joe Gerald of the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health.  Dr. Gerald’s informative and authoritative forecast models reports are shared widely among the University’s deans and administrators.  We share them with you so that you have critical information as you make decisions for yourself and your family in the days, weeks, and months ahead. 

This week’s report is more optimistic -- though still cautiously so -- than recent previous ones.  The data shows viral transmission is slowing, the percent-positive case remains steady at 12% (public health recommendation is 3 - 5%), and COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths are decreasing.  Dr. Gerald attributes this positive trend to the face coverings mandate.  Despite Pima County’s progress, Dr. Gerald remains concerned about testing capacity given the high positivity rate and the average test-return time of 5 days or longer.  Please see the attached report for additional information. 

UCSF Grand Rounds:

This week's UCSF School of Medicine Grand Rounds consisted of a fascinating and informative interview with Dr. Ashish Jha, faculty director of the Harvard Institute of Public Health and incoming Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health

Dr. Jha humbly shares the mistakes he and other public health experts made at the beginning of the pandemic, the lessons learned, and the optimistic future for vaccines and the containment of the virus.  He also discusses the disparate impact on our minority communities, the one chance we get at re-opening schools, and the role politics have played in the national response. 

Insightfully, when asked about the testing, Dr. Jha shared that at this point, “I’m not trying to diagnose disease in a person, I’m trying to identify disease in a population.”  This perspective highlights the benefits of quick-result, lower sensitivity antigen testing, which President Robbins also promoted this week.  This has always been the motivation behind the College of Law’s voluntary antigen testing and research project which is outlined in the New Safe Return Plan, and will be shared in more detail very soon.  We are hoping to register 90 volunteers for this program.  

We hope you are able to relax and enjoy these last few days of summer!

Marc, Bernadette, and Leah
on behalf of the Arizona Law COVID Task Force