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UA president holding off on mandating COVID-19 vaccines until legal battle is resolved

A September court ruling opened the door for Arizona public colleges and universities to require COVID-19 vaccinations. The state has filed an appeal, and University of Arizona President Robert Robbins said he wants to wait until the matter is settled before deciding what to do next.

Robbins said other university leaders and the Arizona Board of Regents discussed the matter at a recent meeting and are in agreement. 

“We agreed that we would hold tight with what we are doing right now," Robbins said during a Monday press conference. "All three universities are doing a phenomenal job of encouraging and engaging in the university communities to get vaccinated, doing robust testing and when we find positive cases, isolating them.”  

The Arizona Supreme Court is scheduled to take up the issue in November. In the meantime, Robbins said COVID transmissibility within the university’s community is low.   

“The number of cases we’re finding is low, the wellbeing of our university population continues to be at an acceptable level in terms of no one is getting really sick and ending up in the hospital," he said. 

In addition, about 60% of UA students and more than 50% of faculty members have voluntarily submitted proof of vaccination. 

Rocio Hernandez was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2022.