Project Orange update

Dear Colleagues,

The University of Utah moved to orange phase on May 11, using operational guidelines developed by the Project Orange campus-wide working group. Please note that in the orange phase most work will continue to occur away from campus, with limited exceptions. For those who are able to return to campus in the orange phase, this process will be gradual and begin primarily with research activities. In the orange phase, telecommuting should continue for most of our employees. In this phase, accommodations should be made for high-risk individuals. Our students will not be on campus.

We are providing these guidelines to assist campus entities in planning and managing their areas through the summer and leading up to fall semester. We will ensure they align with recommendations from the Utah System of Higher Education, the state, and federal authorities.

It is important to note that this will be a gradual process. Operations, even when we are in a specific phase, may look different across our campus. It also is important to recognize that these guidelines are subject to change as conditions evolve based on ongoing assessments of public health data. Accordingly, the guidelines will be updated as needed.

The guidelines use a widely recognized phased, color-coded—red, orange, yellow, green—scheme for the resumption of operations. In this scheme, we are moving out of the red phase, during which the incidence of COVID-19 in our state required us to suspend most daily operations and shelter in place. Given that rates have declined, we are moving to orange, followed by a move to the yellow phase with fewer restrictions, where we would hopefully remain until a vaccine or treatment is found, and a final return to normal operations—the green phase.

The guidelines provide general information as well as specific directives for different campus entities, such as housing, classrooms, offices, etc., for each phase.

At this time, there is no way to know how quickly we may be able to move from one phase to another; it is also possible that conditions may require a return to an earlier, more restrictive phase in the weeks and months ahead.

With that in mind, please know we are grateful for your partnership in following these guidelines as we work together to protect the safety and well-being of our campus community. If you have questions, suggestions or concerns, please send an email to sarah.tice@utah.edu, who is helping coordinate Project Orange efforts.

I would like to acknowledge the great collaboration and thoughtful efforts of the Project Orange working group members in preparing these guidelines for our campus: Wendy Peterson, Ed Clark, Diane Pataki, Marlon Lynch, Robin Burr, Laura Marks, Sarah Projansky, Wendy Hobson-Rohrer, Will Dere, Kyle Brennan and Lori McDonald. They have done us a true service in both tracking local and national events and figuring out how to prepare our campus for next steps.

Sincerely,

Jeff Herring
Chief Human Resource Officer
Project Orange Working Group Chair