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University of Arizona Exempts Vaccinated Students From Testing

May 2021
Note: This article highlights the experiences of one United Educators (UE) member and doesn’t represent UE risk management or legal advice.

The University of Arizona is taking several steps to encourage students and employees to get vaccinated on campus or elsewhere, including exemption from on-campus COVID-19 testing requirements.

Vaccinated students also receive $5 rewards to the student union/bookstore.

Fully vaccinated students receive the reward and exemption if they upload their COVID-19 vaccination record to the university’s Campus Health website. The university boasts that the site is secure and complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountabiliy Act (HIPAA).

Elimination of the testing requirement may be a particularly significant motivator for the university's students to get their vaccines.

At the public university in Tucson, Ariz., weekly testing is required for:

  • All campus housing residents
  • All students registered for courses on the main campus with an in-person requirement
  • All students spending time on the main campus to use other services
  • All employees working on the main and medical campuses

University of Arizona students who don’t comply with the testing requirement after multiple reminders are at risk of losing access to university wifi on campus, says Steve Holland, Chief Risk Officer for the university’s Risk Management Services department. Losing wifi access could have a significant negative effect for students completing coursework online, particularly those without other forms of internet access.

University Requires Wellness Screenings for All

Because even fully vaccinated students have some risk for contracting and spreading the disease, it’s important to take additional actions to protect them and the rest of your campus.

At the University of Arizona, even though fully vaccinated students will be exempted from testing, they still must complete a self-administered wellness screening every day they plan to be at a university location. The check includes students taking their own temperature and assessing themselves for COVID symptoms. Employees and volunteers also must participate in screenings.

The university, a research institution located in an urban area, encourages these students to remain cautious and continue practicing additional mitigation strategies such as:

  • Wearing masks
  • Maintaining physical distancing
  • Practicing good hand hygiene

In addition, the university continues to impose limitations on large gatherings.

The university also conducts wastewater testing in targeted residential facilities to identify COVID outbreaks early.

“This form of wastewater-based epidemiology has been praised as a proactive tool that provides an opportunity for mitigation measures before disease spreads through residents,” Holland says.

The university, founded in 1885, has about 47,000 students (about 38,000 are on the main campus). It has been a UE member since September 2017.

Go Back:
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