Face coverings still required on campus

As we approach the end of the academic year, we want to thank our campus community for its hard work, adaptability and resilience in making this semester so successful. By working together and diligently following public health guidelines, we have been able to limit the spread of the coronavirus on our campus and to meet our goal of providing in-person academic courses, on-campus housing and the continuation of critical research.

As previously announced, we expect the vast majority of classes this fall will be held in person and those offices providing student and other services will return to regular on-campus staffing. We are asking all administrators to now begin preparing work plans to support that expectation.

Our town hall meeting on March 31, 2021, provided insight into that planning process and a recording/transcript of the meeting is available here. We look forward to hosting more of these sessions in the months ahead.

We recognize the question on everyone’s mind is, “Can we do this safely?” Our top priority has been and continues to be the health and safety of our students, staff and faculty.

While much can change between now and the end of August, we believe that with careful planning and adherence to the best practices listed below we can have both safe and successful summer programs and a fall semester. Current best practices are the following:

Wear a mask

Face coverings will continue to be required in all university-owned and -operated buildings based on public health guidance from the state, CDC and University of Utah Health after the state’s formal mask mandate ends on April 10.

Vaccination is proving highly effective in preventing severe COVID-19, hospitalization and death from coronavirus. Vaccination does not, however, eliminate the possibility of a vaccinated individual carrying the virus and potentially transmitting it to an unvaccinated individual, who could then develop severe COVID-19. Accordingly, we need to continue face coverings at the University of Utah until all members of our campus community who seek vaccination have had the opportunity to receive one.

A decision about requiring masks in the fall will be made closer to the start of the 2021-22 academic year and will be based on public health guidance at that time.

Get your vaccination

We encourage campus community members to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are able. Vaccination appointments are available through University of Utah Health at uofuhealth.org/vaccine and through various other health care providers (coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine-distribution and vaccinefinder.org). If you need assistance scheduling a vaccination appointment you may call the U’s COVID-19 hotline at 801-213-2874. Read more about the importance of vaccinations and the role they play in achieving “herd immunity.”

Participate in weekly testing

The campus community is encouraged to continue participating in free weekly, university-provided asymptomatic testing. This service is expected to continue through the fall and is an important way we can help slow the spread of the virus and detect the presence of variants. Weekly testing is encouraged even if you’ve received a vaccine. Schedule your test here.

Address self-reporting and contact tracing

If you are diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19 you should self-report and participate in university contact tracing.

Follow public health guidelines

Continued adherence to good public health practices is critical to limiting the spread of the virus. These practices include frequent hand washing, physical distancing, wearing a face covering and staying home when you don’t feel well. In addition, the university will continue its enhanced cleaning of high-use public areas and areas where positive cases have been confirmed, as well as regular maintenance and changing of air handlers and filters.

Learn about accommodations

Specific questions about temporary work adjustments for campus employees should be directed to Human Resources at askhr@utah.edu. Questions about faculty and/or staff disability-related accommodations should be directed to main campus Human Resources. Questions about student disability-related accommodations should be directed to the Center for Disability & Access. Questions about accommodations related to patients, visitors or other university patrons (non-staff, non-student) should be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action or oeo@utah.edu.

Thank you for your continued commitment to keeping our campus safe.