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Utah colleges talk about preparing for fall semester

FILE: Campus gates near President's Circle at the U of U. Credit: Paul Nelson

Colleges and universities in Utah are trying to prepare for going back to campus in the fall.

“The plan is we are opening fall semester as planned,” said Higher Ed Commissioner David Woolstenhulme.

They discussed it in a virtual meeting with the Board of Regents on Friday.

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Higher ed officials met virtually discuss what opening colleges will look like in the fall. Photo: Mary Richards

Andrew Croshaw with the Leavitt Partners spoke about guidance with the state’s color-coded phases and how that relates to college campuses.

“There will also be guidance for students themselves. We are talking about masks, about behaviors in public transit, how to wash hands, in using computer labs and those sorts of things,” he said.

Croshaw said cases of COVID-19 drop when people follow social distancing guidelines, or when there’s a vaccine.

“It’s hard to predict what it would look like in August and September. It really depends on the behavior of people in the state,” he said.

The Utah System of Higher Education will hold weekly meetings with all of Utah’s colleges and university presidents, before possibly making announcements about fall semester, likely in June.

They want to make sure parents are comfortable as well.

But Regents member Wilford Clyde said students and parents are worried about whether they should sign a housing contract.

“I think the landlords need to wake up and say, we need to get in the game here with everybody else,” said Clyde.

University of Utah president Ruth Watkins said she also has been talking with the Pac-12 about their guidance for fall.

BYU says it won’t have an announcement until July.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States