How Arizona universities are riding the waves of COVID-19

As the end of the semester nears, holiday travel ramps up and the pandemic reaches a critical juncture, college campuses and their thousands of students are being further scrutinized. /Photo by Allie Barton/Cronkite News

By Haillie Parke | Cronkite News

As cases of COVID-19 continue to surge in Arizona and the rest of the nation, the state’s three public universities are wrangling their approaches to the pandemic in similar but separate ways.

Arizona State University developed a saliva-based test and aims to monitor the spread through frequent mass testing.

The University of Arizona, unlike its counterparts, invested in a wastewater test to monitor the spread in highly populated places on campus and suggested a schoolwide shelter-in-place initiative.

Northern Arizona University, the smallest of the three, has changed the least. It adopted ASU’s saliva test and shares UArizona’s system for contact tracing, but it has been the most lenient with in-person education, offering classes with fewer than 45 students.

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