U Arizona researchers recommend 3-week shutdown, mask mandate

Researchers at the University of Arizona recommended a 3-week statewide shutdown in December.

The COVID-19 Modeling Team said if action is not taken “immediately,” it would be “akin to facing a major forest fire without evacuation orders.”

The Arizona Department of Health Services said it continues to review modeling forecasts presented by the state universities and “may take additional steps as the situation evolves.”

Researchers at the University of Arizona recommended a 3-week statewide shutdown from December 1 through December 22. In addition, they recommended a mask mandate that would allow local enforcement to fine those who don’t comply.

In a Nov. 27 letter to the State Department of Health Services, the University of Arizona COVID-19 Modeling Team said if action is not taken “immediately,” it would be “akin to facing a major forest fire without evacuation orders.”

Arizona Department of Health Services spokesman Steve Elliott told Campus Reform that the school continues to review modeling forecasts presented by state universities and “may take additional steps as the situation evolves.”

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Colleges across the nation have already shut down campuses and moved classes online due to COVID-19 concerns.

In Pennsylvania, after quarantining students in their dorms for days, Gettysburg College implemented a "de-densification" plan and sent most of its resident students home. 

Meanwhile, East Carolina University sent students living in the dorms home and moved all classes online. Even the country’s largest university system, California State University, said it will remain online for Spring 2021.

Leaders in higher education are among those pushing to move off-campus due to coronavirus concerns. At Georgia Tech, a majority of professors signed a petition asking for classes to be online by “default.”

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However, a poll by Axios and College Reactions revealed that 90 percent of students view online classes negatively, and 13 percent said they would take gap time from higher education if online learning continues. Some elite schools like Harvard and Yale University have seen a 20 percent decrease in enrollment after moving online.

The University of Arizona told Campus Reform that this is not an official recommendation from the school at large.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JezzamineWolk