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At Arizona State University, we have said for some time that COVID-19 is here to stay and that we will continue to move forward, adjusting operations based upon public health recommendations. This is part of our continued commitment to building a Community of Care, where we are all doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 to keep our community healthy and well.
As you may have heard, new data available on the COVID-19 delta variant has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update its face-covering recommendations.
As of Tuesday, July 27, the CDC recommends that people wear face covers in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status in areas of substantial or high transmission of the virus. Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ has endorsed this recommendation and has urged the public to follow suit.
The CDC’s updated recommendations are based on data indicating that the delta variant is more aggressive and more easily transmissible, regardless of vaccination status. While the data continue to confirm that the vaccine protects people from becoming seriously ill or requiring hospitalization, they may become infected and transmit the virus, including to people who are not or cannot be vaccinated and to individuals at high risk of serious complications.
With the start of the fall semester a few weeks away, we must remain vigilant and take modest steps to protect all community members so that we can continue to fulfill our mission. Doing so is part of our Community of Care and recognizes our fundamental and shared responsibility for the health and safety of our campus environments and the tens of thousands of people who study, work and visit here.
For that reason, effective immediately, ASU is now strongly recommending that everyone on campus wear a face cover when inside a university building. We previously communicated that face covers would be required in certain health care centers and on-campus shuttles. Those requirements may extend further to select buildings and at events that may pose a higher risk of transmission. Notification will be provided in advance of events and/or at building entrances if face covers are required. Consistent with the governor’s executive order and the CDC guidelines, we are not making distinctions between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. This will apply to all individuals regardless of their vaccination status.
Our fall campus operations plans — including in-person classes, residence hall occupancy, athletic contests and events, and on-campus dining — otherwise remain in place, and we are looking forward to welcoming back more than 75,000 students as the fall begins.
The vaccine is the best protection against COVID-19 in reducing serious illness, hospitalization and the spread of the virus. The university continues to strongly recommend that everyone get vaccinated, and ASU continues to provide vaccines free of charge to students and employees. The CDC guidelines that we are following are based on the transmission rate in our community and increasing vaccinations may help slow transmission. If so, the applicable face-covering guidelines may change accordingly.
Be safe, Sun Devils!
Executive vice president and university provost
Morgan R. Olsen
Executive vice president, treasurer and CFO
Posted: July 30, 2021 at 12:45 p.m.