Following Northern Arizona University’s reopening and switch to in-person instruction, members of the Flagstaff community have reacted in different ways. Vice Mayor, Adam Shimoni, participated in several community protests during the Summer season, and has been a large voice in the safety driven movement to protect the faculty and staff at NAU. Shimoni says, “with NAU bringing back 16 to 20,000 students here to flagstaff in the coming weeks, public health needs to be top priority, and that needs to be the message that is radiated through leadership at all levels. From city, to county, to state, to federal, and unfortunately that’s not the priority, and at the end of the day we’re talking about human lives.”
Shimoni argues, “if there is an outbreak on campus, it’s really gonna come down to the individuals who are a part of that community. The NAU community stepping up and putting a stop to it, and looking beyond their own well being, because at the end of the day, students likely will be fine.”
NAZ Today’s Quannah Arnold interviewed Associate Manager, Miranda Ariaga, of the newly reopened Galaxy Diner, who said although they understand the need for safety precautions in the time of COVID, the higher amount of foot traffic because of the university reopening, has helped business. “95% of my staff are NAU students, we have The Standard right across the street, so that brought in traffic as well as reopening August 7th. We got a lot of traffic from them wanting to work here, a lot of the students wanted this place to come back so a lot of them came in for our milkshakes. So the business has been well, with students coming back it seems a little busier honestly.”
NAZ Today’s Quannah Arnold also spoke with Coconino County Epidemiologist, Matthew Maurer, who explained, social distancing is “one piece of the puzzle, what [he] talked about before was, the main ways to really prevent the spread of that illness. So the [social] distancing is that one piece, so we put it at that six-foot range, because how those respiratory droplets can spread from one person to another.”
NAU argues it has taken the necessary precautions to reopen early, and has not only provided students with masks and thermometers, but has begun randomly testing 2,000 students and faculty each week.