portrait of Dr. Michael Dake

Welcoming Health Sciences Students Back to Campus: A Reentry Update

July 31, 2020

Last week, President Robbins announced that the University of Arizona will open for in-person classes for the fall semester as one of four learning modalities that will be available for students.

On the Health Sciences campuses, we already have been welcoming our medical students back to classes and clinical rotations, and we will do the same on Aug. 24 for our students in the College of Nursing, the College of Pharmacy, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Along with the university as a whole, we will offer students a combination of learning modalities: in-person, flex in-person, live online and iCourse.

Resuming Classes and Experiential Learning

Our return to in-person learning opportunities couldn’t have happened without the incredible efforts of faculty, staff and administrators in our five colleges, who have essentially rebuilt education and experiential learning programs from the ground up after the pandemic required significant alterations. Our teams also have worked closely with clinical partners to emphasize new safety measures and precautions for our trainees and their patients in clinical education settings.

I am confident that our students who participate in clinical and other professional activities will gain irreplaceable experience as they put their learning into practice and witness firsthand the evolution of their chosen career in the face of a pandemic. As COVID-19 continues to affect our communities, we are monitoring these programs closely alongside our clinical partners to make adjustments as necessary.

Safe Returns to Laboratory and Building Use

Along with a return to in-person education and training opportunities, many of our research laboratories are now operating with a waiver approved by the Office for Research Innovation and Impact, and they are carefully applying the required safety precautions for faculty and students alike.

In addition, across our Health Sciences campuses, our risk management, planning and facilities teams are implementing safety measures such as hand sanitizer stations at every building and classroom entrance, hands-free restroom fixtures, and room and elevator capacity limits that account for safe social distancing practices. Visit Health Sciences Connect to see how we are preparing our buildings to help keep our faculty, students and staff as safe as possible.

Resources Available

The university has created a comprehensive website to provide a central location for a list of resources and links to various FAQs. I encourage you to visit regularly for updates. You can learn more about the Test, Trace, Treat program, as well as find specific guidance for employees who continue to work remotely and those who return to work on campus.

I would like to extend my deep gratitude to the Health Sciences community for coming together in this challenging time to find creative solutions to continue preparing the next generation of health care professionals. Our efforts in this regard have been nothing less than exceptional.

Thank you for the work you are doing, and will continue to do, to serve our community and our state in these challenging times.

Michael D. Dake, MD
Senior Vice President for University of Arizona Health Sciences