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Updated masking guidelines

A message to faculty from Senior Vice President Dan Reed.

Dear University of Utah Faculty,

Colleagues, I know the start of the fall semester has been both rewarding and stimulating, with renewed student interactions and exciting new research and scholarship. I also know it has been challenging and stressful to teach during these constantly evolving circumstances.

As we regularly assess the state of coronavirus infections on campus, I am writing to share our policy related to classroom COVID-19 exposures. These policies follow CDC guidance and are designed to support you and further reduce the spread of the coronavirus, while preserving our in-person education and campus activities and experiences.

As an instructor, if you are alerted to an exposure in your classroom, you should reach out to your department chair and/or dean to determine any college-specific responses. Concurrently, the contact tracing team will contact the students in your class and establish one of two paths forward with each student:

(1)  Unvaccinated Student—You are expected to quarantine for 10 days from the date communicated to you by contact tracers, and wear a mask while in class until 14 days after the date of exposure. Please get tested 3 to 5 days after exposure. You will be able to coordinate with your instructor to receive online materials while you are quarantined.

(2)  Vaccinated Student—You are expected to wear a mask while in class for 14 days from the date communicated to you by contact tracers. Please get tested 3 to 5 days after your date of exposure. If you choose not to wear a mask in class during this period, you will be able to coordinate with your instructor to receive online materials while learning remotely.

The following actions are to be taken after detection of a positive case in your class:

  • As an instructor, you should inform your students that if they attend the class in-person, they MUST WEAR A MASK for the next 14 days, per CDC guidance.
  • Any student who CHOOSES NOT TO WEAR A MASK during that 14-day period must participate in class remotely.
  • Note that these mask requirements are backed by the same progressive student disciplinary process we used last year.
  • As an instructor, you must deliver appropriate educational content to all students who are remote, either because they are unvaccinated and must be quarantined, or because they decline to wear a mask for the 14-day period.
  • As always, should you as an instructor become sick, due to COVID-19 or any other reason, the normal processes to provide alternative coverage for your class apply. Please work with your department chair and dean.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with ideas and suggestions that can further enhance the safety and quality of our on-campus experiences.

Key campus COVID-19 statistics

  • This fall, the U has averaged roughly eight COVID-19 cases per day. There has been no change in this daily number since the semester began (i.e., the number is flat).
  • Over 70% of our students are fully vaccinated and an additional 6% are partially vaccinated. The number of vaccinated students is rising weekly.
  • Over 83% of benefitted faculty and staff are vaccinated. We will receive updated information next week.
  • University of Utah Health currently has capacity to handle normal ER cases.


Dan Reed

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs