Students living in University housing for the fall semester will be required to get tested for COVID-19 with a PCR test before moving in, Provost Mark Searle said in an email to students sent early Thursday morning.
Proof of a negative test must be provided to the student's residential hall at least 48 hours before move-in. Students with housing reservations should receive additional information about testing requirements soon, the email said.
Testing has been made available and with no added costs for students and employees. The PCR test is a saliva-based or nasal swab test with results that determine whether someone currently has the virus or not.
Students not living in University housing but returning to campus for classes and other activities are strongly recommended to get tested before arrival, but it is not required.
The email with testing guidelines comes to student inboxes three days after University President Michael Crow confirmed classes and a variety of other on-campus services still begin on Aug. 20.
"In the last several months, we have learned a great deal about the virus and I am confident in the systems and protocols we have put in place at ASU to allow students to continue their academic studies and for employees to support our mission," Crow said in the statement.
When students test positive once school starts, rooms for isolation space will be provided, a University spokesperson said, without clarifying how many or where.
The spokesperson added that the University will work with the student directly and daily to communicate isolation requirements, offer medical advice and notify other students they may have come in contact with.
The spokesperson did not clarify who from the University would tackle this job, if it would be done in-person, how many people would be responsible for such tasks and if those workers would be offered hazard pay.
In addition, the Thursday email reminded students they are required to complete the Community of Care, a training course for updating everyone of on-campus protocol and safety guidelines related to COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A self-screening portion of the ASU app is expected to be made available on Aug. 7, which students are recommended to complete daily. Students who feel sick or show symptoms of the virus are recommended to not attend class in-person. The email said more information will be posted about how to submit daily health check information.
The University will not allow social gatherings that are incompatible with health guidelines issued in early June. Off-campus events will be disciplined under section F-17 of the Student Code of Conduct, a known approach that allows University officials to handle off-campus events that could pose a threat to the school.
Upon arrival, students will receive a Community of Care kit with two masks, hand sanitizer, wipes and a thermometer.
According to a University spokesperson, 150,000 kits have been produced at approximately $9 per kit. Students will not be charged for their kit.
In addition to testing and course completion requirements, Searle said students should continue to adhere to known safety protocol including wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, maintaining six feet of distance, monitoring personal health, cleaning frequently touched surfaces and getting tested if experiencing symptoms or exposure.
"We expect all students to adhere to these guidelines at all times," Searle said in the email. "With the cooperation and care of every member of the ASU community, we are confident that we will have a successful start to the fall semester."
Piper Hansen is the digital editor-in-chief at The State Press, overseeing all digital content. Joining SP in Spring 2020, she has covered student government, housing and COVID-19. She has previously written about state politics for The Arizona Republic and the Arizona Capitol Times and covers social justice for Cronkite News.