On Jan. 17, a record-breaking 2,345 COVID-19 cases were reported on ASU's campuses — and many students are not happy with the policies that led to that point.
On Jan. 5, ASU released a list of policies and requirements, including a requirement for students, faculty and staff to take a COVID-19 test before coming back to campus. Face coverings are also now required inside all classrooms and in buildings where social distancing is not possible.
Daily health checks — a questionnaire asking students and faculty if they'll be on campus and how they're feeling that day — are still required as well as vaccinations for faculty and staff unless medially or religiously exempt. The University has repeatedly said it expects students to be vaccinated, but it's not a requirement for them. On Jan. 2, The State Press reported just under 24,000 ASU employees have provided proof of compliance with ASU's employee COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Some students still question whether ASU is doing enough to protect students.
"I think ASU was handling the virus well at first, but now as the pandemic continues, they're putting in less effort to protect their students and staff," said Jessenia Contreras Linares, a sophomore studying community health. "They stopped being strict with the safety measures they first put in place, an example being with social distancing on campus."
Per ASU policy, a student must have confirmation of a COVID-19 diagnosis or other illness to attend class via Zoom. Contreras Linares said she would be more comfortable having her classes online, but she isn't allowed.
"As a student who is aspiring to one day work in the medical field, it is almost disappointing to see how ASU has been treating the pandemic, especially as we are seeing a surge in COVID cases again," Contreras Linares said.
The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 7,567 new cases on Tuesday. Cases declined to 1,089, the University reported Monday.
"ASU should be in a hybrid learning environment — allowing students to be both online and offline, and not ask for documentation whether you're sick or not," said computer science senior Ananay Arora in an email.
"Being back in-person when the virus is ramping up seems selfish on the university’s behalf to try and make money," said Jamie Bennett, a junior digital audiences major.
But Bennett said she felt the responsibility relies more on students rather than the university when it comes to COVID-19.
"While I think they're (ASU) doing as much as they can, it still feels like there are flaws," she said. "I think the policies they have in place are effective enough though. I’m just concerned about the spread of COVID, considering students are still going to parties and then coming to class the following day."
And daily health checks?
"The daily health check is based solely on the students honesty. Who is to say they won't lie?" Bennett said.
Daily health check data was removed from weekly updates about COVID-19 on campus and University spokespeople have been slow in getting relevant data to The State Press after several requests.
Arora has heard nothing but bad things about daily health checks, which he called a terrible user experience.
"I think the correct way to implement a daily health check is to ask if I’m fine at the time when I'm logging into MyASU," he said in an email. "As a result of this frustration, a lot of students have turned off the functionality by telling the app that they're not going to be on campus for the next three months."
Andrea Ramirez is a part-time reporter at The State Press. She has previously worked for The State Press for Spring ‘23.