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Over a dozen positive COVID-19 cases found in U of U student housing
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Reminder: University of Utah students/staff will be online-only Sept. 27 through Oct. 11

(Screen grab from the University of Utah's "Return to Campus" Webinar. Credit: University of Utah)

SALT LAKE CITY — In an effort to fight the possible spread of COVID-19 the University of Utah will move all education and services online, beginning Sunday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Oct. 11.

The school had already planned to close the campus around the time of the Vice Presidential Debate in early October. The Deseret News reported that the school made this decision in July.

Moving University of Utah classes online

The school calls this closure a “circuit breaker,” intended to pause student activity on campus in the middle of the semester to help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 infections.

The circuit-breaker model was developed in part by the University of Utah Health infectious disease epidemiologist, Lindsay Keegan. 

“If we can create a pause in the middle of the semester, we should be able to reduce the number of infections,” said Steven Lacey, public health division chief in a statement. “We can use this interruption to better protect students, faculty, and staff.”

Classes will resume on campus Oct. 12. At that time, there will be a mixture of in-person, hybrid, online, and video conferencing models available to students. All courses will shift online after Thanksgiving break, which begins November 25.

Campus services move online

Employees of the University of Utah who can or who are already working at home will continue doing so during the circuit breaker. But mandatory reporting employees, including those with University of Utah Health, are excluded from this plan.

Also, research personnel have been asked to keep their time on campus to a minimum and to work at campus facilities only for work that cannot be done remotely.

Most buildings on campus, including the Marriot Library, will be locked throughout this closure and will only accessible to those with ID cards or building keys.

However, the Union building will remain open for students, staff, and faculty. 

As far as security for the Vice Presidential Debate, taking place at Kingsbury Hall, buildings that are located inside a secured perimeter will be on lockdown beginning at 8 p.m. on Oct. 6 through Oct. 7. 

The University reports that there will be “significant disruptions” on campus, which will include roadways and walkways in the areas around Rice-Eccles Stadium, Presidents Circle, University Street, and 100 South beginning Monday, Sept. 28 through Wednesday, Oct. 7. 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from 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 system 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

UtahState 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