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Spring 2022 Back-to-School Town Hall

U senior leadership discussed COVID-related questions including the impact of the omicron variant, updated health and safety protocols, new self-serve testing options, staffing shortage issues and more.

In today’s town hall (recording below), campus leaders discussed plans for Spring semester in light of new pandemic challenges. In short, the bad news is that we are expecting to see a steep spike in cases over the coming weeks due to the highly contagious Omicron variant. The good news is that the vast majority of our campus community is vaccinated, which will help slow the spread, minimize serious illness and reduce staffing shortages.

We know how essential face-to-face interactions are in fostering the educational and research excellence the University of Utah is known for. To that end, we’re dedicated to preserving an on-campus, in-person experience. As of now, we do not anticipate having to cancel classes or return to virtual learning during the spring semester. However, we should prepare to see a temporary drop in staffing over the next 6-8 weeks, which means some services and operations may be delayed. Please be patient and understanding as we navigate these new challenges together.

As we head into our seventh semester impacted by the pandemic, we want to thank you all for your efforts to keep the health, safety and well-being of each other a priority. For latest Covid-19 updates, including testing options, vaccination clinics, guidelines for gatherings, etc., please check coronavirus.utah.edu. The latest safety and health protocols are posted here as well.

Your individual behavior does make a difference. Together, we can minimize the impact of this next wave.

Taylor Randall, president
Michael Good, senior vice president for health sciences
Martell Teasley, interim senior vice president for academic affairs
Lori McDonald, vice president for student affairs
Jeff Herring, chief human resources officer

Topics covered in Town Hall*:

  1. Welcome messages of encouragement and compassion
  2. Update on Omicron cases in Utah and on campus
  3. Updated health and safety protocols on campus
  4. Recap of Jan. 7 Academic Senate meeting and resolutions
  5. New quarantine and isolation guidelines
  6. Impact on campus housing community
  7. Booster requirement for students during Spring semester
  8. Explanation of why the U isn’t requiring vaccines for staff and faculty
  9. New asymptomatic self-serve testing options available on campus

*Note, the Town Hall was recorded before Salt Lake County implemented a temporary mask mandate.