A roundup of COVID-19 updates and resources

A roundup of COVID-19 updates and resources

By Pila MartinezUniversity Communications
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To make a disposable surgical mask fit better, try the "knot and tuck" technique recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To make a disposable surgical mask fit better, try the "knot and tuck" technique recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Watch someone demonstrate how to take the saline gargle test in a video posted on the University's YouTube channel.
Watch someone demonstrate how to take the saline gargle test in a video posted on the University's YouTube channel.

Face coverings, vaccination and testing remain the best strategies for minimizing the risk of COVID-19, President Robert C. Robbins underscored this week during a livestreamed briefing and a message to campus.

"Our objective as an institution remains the same: to provide a high-quality educational experience for our students while minimizing the risk posed by the COVID-19 pandemic," Robbins said during Monday's briefing. "These measures – vaccination, masking, isolation and treatment of positive individuals – all contribute to this goal."

In an email sent to all students, faculty and staff this morning, the president outlined mitigation strategies in place to protect the health of the campus community as the omicron variant continues to raise infection rates.

"I want to ensure the University is doing all we can to safeguard public health and minimize the latest wave of infections," Robbins wrote in his message.

Faculty and staff can learn more about the current state of COVID-19 by attending a Jan. 20 webinar with Deepta Bhattacharya, professor of immunobiology. In the presentation, Bhattacharya will discuss the latest information on the omicron variant, COVID-19 vaccines, interactions between the vaccines and the best strategies for staying healthy and safe. Registration is required to attend the webinar, which will be held virtually from noon to 1 p.m.

Additional updates can be found below.


  • Three-ply disposable surgical masks are being provided in all classrooms as well as at the main entrances of all campus buildings. For the most up-to-date information, see the face coverings webpage. 
  • Facilities Management has ordered 1 million surgical masks. Half were expected to arrive today; the remainder should arrive next week.
  • Surgical masks are being provided to all faculty, staff and students at no cost.
  • Faculty and instructors who are teaching in-person or flex in-person classes can request KN95 masks from building managers or their dean's office.
  • Watch a one-minute video on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to learn the "knot and tuck" technique for improving the fit of surgical masks. The CDC has additional guidance on how to wear masks in order to make sure they work as well as possible.


Regular testing is highly encouraged for students and employees, who can get a free rapid antigen or saline gargle PCR test by appointment at the former Cactus Grill in the Student Union Memorial Center.

  • TakeAway Testing kits are available at multiple locations on campus. Find testing instructions and a list of all testing locations and hours, along with a map that shows the locations of the types of testing available on campus, on the TakeAway Testing webpage. The page also lists University testing locations in Oro Valley, Phoenix, Sierra Vista and Yuma.
  • TakeAway Testing kits are for faculty, staff and students only. To find out how to get family members tested, visit the Pima County COVID-19 Testing Centers webpage.
  • In this one-minute video, you can watch someone demonstrate how to take the saline gargle test.


Campus Health continues to offer vaccinations (including booster doses) by appointment for students, employees and designated campus colleagues. See vaccines.gov for availability through community providers. 

Assistance with testing, vaccination and related topics
Contact the COVID Ambassador Team by calling 520-848-4045 (calls answered 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily) or emailing covidhelp@arizona.edu.

Visit the Life & Work Connections Support and Resiliency Hub to access information on employee assistance counseling, resources for parents and an archive of articles on resiliency, coping strategies and caregiving during stressful times.

Event Planning
Visit the Events & Gatherings page on the University's COVID-19 website for guidance on holding in-person events, including an event planning checklist and tips on room layout.

HR Guidance
Visit the Human Resources website for COVID-19 Guidance for Employees and Workplace Decision Guidance for Supervisors for information on flexible work arrangements, supervisor decision tools, guidance on workplace location and protocols for positive cases.

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