Requirement comes as Gov. Herbert declares a new State of Emergency to address hospital overcrowding
The public health order was updated on 11/23/2020, reducing the testing requirement, for students taking one in-person course weekly or living on campus, from once every week to once every two weeks (14 days).
The public health order states:
Restrictions on institutions of higher education.
- a. For the purposes of this Order, an institution of higher education, including a public or private degree-granting institution or technical college, is considered to be a business subject to Section (5).
- b. Beginning as soon as possible, but no later than January 1, 2021, the following institutions of higher education shall require each individual age 18 years or older who is enrolled as a student of the institution of higher education and who lives in on-campus housing or attends at least one in-person class provided by the institution of higher education to obtain a diagnostic test approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to determine current COVID-19 infection at least once every fourteen days:
- i. a public degree-granting institution of higher education identified in Utah Code § 53B-1-102(1)(a); and
- ii. a private degree-granting institution of higher education that has more than 10,000 enrolled students residing in Utah.
Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert and the Utah Department of Health released concurrent executive and public health orders on November 8, 2020, including a requirement for all Utah System of Higher Education colleges and universities to test their students for COVID-19 weekly.
The public health order states:
“Beginning as soon as possible, but no later than January 1, 2021, students enrolled at public and private institutions of higher education, who either live on campus or attend at least one in-person class per week will be required to be tested for COVID-19 weekly.”
To support this testing requirement, USHE institutions will scale up weekly testing for their campus communities statewide. The total headcount at USHE institutions, including all technical colleges in the state, is roughly 230,000 students.
“We can reach a large portion of Utah’s population through our campus communities, and, through increased and consistent testing, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 in the State of Utah,” said Dave R. Woolstenhulme, Commissioner of Higher Education. “We are supportive of the requirement to test our students weekly for COVID-19, and we are in the position to make a positive impact.”
In collaboration with state and local leaders, public health departments, and education experts, the Utah System of Higher Education developed a set of “gating conditions” in May 2020 to define a path allowing colleges and universities to bring students back to campus in person and resume many campus operations for the fall 2020 semester. USHE colleges and universities, utilizing System and state guidance, have reviewed and modified their individualized plans throughout the fall semester to slow the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to offer high-quality education to Utah’s students.