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Robert Robbins

University of Arizona President Robert Robbins details the antibody testing his school will begin next month on students, faculty and staff. With him is Gov. Doug Ducey (Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer)

TUCSON — As Arizona’s surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continued Thursday, University of Arizona’s president cast doubt that the campus in Tucson would reopen in late August as planned.

President Robert Robbins said the increases in cases and hospitalizations were “alarming" and that officials would continue to carefully monitor conditions before making a decision “with great deliberation" on whether students would return to campus in August.

Robbins said he'd feel comfortable reopening on Aug. 24 if use of face coverings, social distancing and staying at home, flattens the virus' growth curve.

“But if I had to say today would we would reopen, no, because ... the ICUs are full,” he said. “We cannot have a situation where we're bringing students back to campus, asking our faculty and staff to come back to campus when we're in truly an exponential growth of the number of cases here.”

In Tempe, Arizona State University President Michael Crow told faculty members and other employees in an email Wednesday that the university remained on track for students to return to ASU campuses in late August.

“Much time and thought has also been dedicated to how to bring ASU employees back to our campuses and facilities in the safest and most diligent manner," Crow said.

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