PROVO, Utah – Earlier this year, Brigham Young University, BYU, students were tied to surging COVID-19 cases in Provo. The university now says it is building on the steps it took this fall to control the spread of the virus this winter.
Mike Roberts, the managing director of BYU Alumni and External Relations, told the Provo City Council that they are mass testing students.
But this winter, they will be increasing COVID-19 testing to meet state standards.
“Right now, we are in the process of working with the state to figure out what that’s going to look like. The numbers per week have been bouncing around,” Roberts said.
BYU will continue requiring students to wear masks on campus. They have also moved classes and activities online.
Roberts said it can be tough to monitor what happens off campus, where students have gotten infected.
But they want to drive home a message of safety before winter semester starts.
“President [Kevin J.] Worthen had just recently done a video that we sent out to our employees and students reminding them to be cautious over the holiday,” Roberts said.
One of the challenges the university faces is increasing enrollment.
Enrollment at BYU rose 6% during fall semester. It is expected to increase during winter semester as well.
There is a simple reason why. Roberts said many students are choosing to delay their missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“We also had a large surge of students coming back earlier than we had anticipated because of the changes in the missionary work, especially international students,” Roberts said.
Roberts also said the school will do as much as possible to warn students about COVID-19 risks.
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