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ASU will not require COVID-19 vaccines, testing or masking

The University updated its COVID-19 guidelines for unvaccinated students three weeks after Gov. Doug Ducey barred universities from requiring proof of vaccination

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ASU civil engineer then-sophomores Jillian Franke and Catherine Baxter sit inside the Memorial Union during a tutoring session on Friday, August 28, 2020, at the Tempe Campus.

ASU announced in an email Tuesday that all students will no longer be expected to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus in the fall, although the University still "strongly encourages" vaccination.  

Unvaccinated students are also recommended to continue submitting daily health checks, participate in weekly COVID-19 testing, stay home if they are feeling sick and wear face covers in all indoor spaces, though it is not required. 

ASU is encouraging all students, regardless of if they are vaccinated, to wear face covers in crowded areas. Remaining consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, all students may still be required to wear masks in certain situations such as ASU shuttles and inside health centers.

"ASU continues to expect people to follow CDC guidelines, and we will continue to use these guidelines to inform the university’s activities," the email from vice president of student services Joanne Vogel said.

On July 2, the University updated the COVID-19 employee health protocols, calling on unvaccinated staff and faculty to follow the same recommendations as students. 

The announcement comes three weeks after Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order prohibiting universities from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine, testing or wearing face masks.

Under the order, COVID-19 testing can only be required in case of a "significant" outbreak in student housing. 

“The vaccine works, and we encourage Arizonans to take it. But it is a choice and we need to keep it that way,” Ducey said in a news release.

In response to the executive order, the University issued a statement on June 15 declaring ASU's compliance but did not issue official guidance until Tuesday. While ASU never announced a vaccine requirement, it did have to walk back some of its policies that differed for unvaccinated and vaccinated students. 

The newest protocols override the University's press release from June 14 that “expected” students to be vaccinated before the start of the Fall 2021 semester and required unvaccinated students to wear masks on campus, participate in COVID-19 testing twice a week and submit a daily health check.

The University will continue to have COVID-19 vaccines available at ASU Health Services, and students can make appointments through the Health Portal

ASU has not yet released guidance on social distancing in classrooms or at larger University events such as athletic events.

Latest COVID-19 numbers

The University reported a total of 16 active COVID-19 cases among students, faculty and staff.

According to the University update, 13 of the reported active cases are among students, and the remaining three positive cases are among faculty and staff.

There are no active student cases on the Tempe, Downtown Phoenix, West or Polytechnic campuses; all cases are off-campus in the metropolitan Phoenix area.

Since Jan. 1, the University has reported 2,302 total positive cases out of 99,073 tests administered, yielding a total positivity rate of about 2.3%. 

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 900 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 new deaths in the state Monday. 

As of Monday, the State has administered over 6.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 49.8% of people in Arizona have been vaccinated.

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Morgan FischerPolitics Editor

Morgan Fischer is the politics editor, she works with her desk to cover topics related to politics in the ASU community. She has previously worked as an intern for RightThisMinute. 

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