Keeping campus safe: 4 steps to reduce the spread

Masks, double masks, social bubbles, physical distancing, washing your hands frequently, living alone in a cave—there’s no shortage of guidance on best practices to keep you and the people you care about safe.

But, for staff, faculty and students coming to campus frequently (or infrequently), Dr. Kimberley Shoaf, a professor in the Division of Public Health and branch director of the health and safety branch of the university’s incident management health, has a four-step recipe she encourages everyone to follow to stay safe.

Stay away from campus (and other people) if you’re sick

This one is simple. If you’re not feeling well, stay home and take care of yourself. Employees with concerns about how this may impact their job should talk directly to their supervisors, and if needed, can also contact Human Resources for guidance. Students with concerns about how not being in class might affect their grade should talk with their instructors, and if needed, can contact the Office of the Dean of Students for guidance. Keeping the coronavirus (and other illnesses) off of campus in the first place is one of the best ways to prevent it from spreading among our community.

Get tested regularly

Campus COVID-19 testing is free, easy and another great way to make sure you’re not contributing to the spread of the illness. Remember there are two types of testing on campus, one for those with symptoms, and one for those who don’t have any symptoms but want to make sure they’re not infected. The U has gone above and beyond what is required by the state in offering high-quality asymptomatic testing for the entire campus community. Register for a test here.

Self-report at coronavirus.utah.edu

The U has a dedicated team of contact tracers, front-line custodial staff, housing officials and planners who jump into action every time a COVID-19 case is reported on campus. Reporting is easy and ensures all of the proper steps are taken to minimize the spread of the virus on campus. If you test positive and haven’t been to campus we want you to report as well so that we can be sure that the numbers we report to the public are as accurate as possible. To report a positive case and see the latest numbers, visit coronavirus.utah.edu.

Comply with self-isolation and contact tracing guidance

“Do I really have to do this?” It’s a refrain contact tracers are hearing more and more from members of the campus community. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Current guidelines for the campus are designed to slow the spread of the virus. It’s not personal. How will you know it’s an official University of Utah contact tracer? Read more here.

A final reminder from Shoaf, just because COVID-19 numbers are falling in Salt Lake County don’t let your guard down. She encourages everyone to keep masking, physical distancing, washing their hands and following all public health guidelines. The availability of vaccinations for the broader community in the coming months means that things will get better sooner than later. Until then, she says, remain diligent.

For the latest campus coronavirus visit coronavirus.utah.edu.