PROVO, Utah – Last year, BYU students were accused of causing a major spike in COVID-19 cases. While the university took steps to slow the spread, this year they are increasing testing even more.
BYU spokeswoman Natalie Ipson is optimistic it will work.
“When the case count began to rise at the beginning of fall semester, the decisions and actions of our students to be more vigilant helped us to flatten the curve so our in-person classes could continue,” Ipson said. “We believe that can be the case again this semester.”
However, the school has also delayed the start of the semester to Monday because of Utah’s post-Christmas COVID-19 spike just to be on the safe side.
The biggest difference students will notice is in the testing itself.
Students returning to campus will have to get tested, which is a new state requirement.
“We’re really encouraged to see that they want to participate and they want to be compliant with what the state has asked of them,” Ipson said.
BYU is also doing random testing, focused testing of hotspots, and strategic testing of certain groups like athletes.
If students want to come to campus, they will also need to download and use the “Healthy Together” app.
“We’re also increasing the number of places where students will be required to show the Healthy Together passport,” Ipson said. “That verifies that they’ve completed a daily symptom check and they haven’t been in close contact with a known positive case of COVID-19.”
There will also be people on campus reminding students, faculty, and staff to wear a mask.
Lastly, BYU President Kevin Worthen has posted a video message reminding everyone to follow public health guidelines.
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