By Corinne Murdock
Arizona State University (ASU), Northern Arizona University (NAU), and University of Arizona (UArizona) all announced a mask mandate on Wednesday. NAU even encourages students to police their peers on mask wearing and social distancing. As of press time, UArizona hasn’t updated their face covering policy – though President Robert Robbins promised that further guidance would be available this week.
All three universities will enforce the mandate indoors where social distancing isn’t possible. This includes classrooms, teaching or research labs, all clinical programs and centers that serve the public, meeting rooms, workshops, and design or production studios. The universities say that they may even require masks in certain outdoor settings and activities where social distancing can’t be maintained.
These mask mandates will go into effect when classes resume – for ASU, that’s next week. NAU and UArizona start classes in two weeks’ time.
Several weeks ago, ASU said that masks would be recommended only for most students except for certain health care centers and non-campus shuttles. However, the university did allude to the possibility of expanding its mask mandate beyond those areas.
“ […] ASU is now strongly recommending that everyone on campus wear a face cover when inside a university building. We previously communicated that face covers would be required in certain health care centers and on-campus shuttles. Those requirements may extend further to select buildings and at events that may pose a higher risk of transmission,” wrote ASU. “Notification will be provided in advance of events and/or at building entrances if face covers are required. Consistent with the governor’s executive order and the CDC guidelines, we are not making distinctions between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. This will apply to all individuals regardless of their vaccination status.”
Students have already planned protests against ASU’s mask mandate. Maricopa County Young Republicans and the Arizona Young Republicans announced that they would take part in a protest on Friday. Republican governor-hopeful Kari Lake and other special guests will make an appearance at the protest.
“We are going to stand with our brother[s] and sisters at ASU tomorrow!” wrote Arizona Young Republicans. “The madness must end! #FreeASU[.]”
— Arizona Young Republicans (@ArizonaYRs) August 12, 2021