Updated January 5, 2021, 12:21 p.m.
USHE releases COVID-19 testing plan for Utah colleges and universities
The Utah System of Higher Education released its COVID-19 Intensive Testing Plan today in accordance with the state’s most recent Public Health Order, 2020-27 Updated Statewide COVID-19 Restrictions, replacing the previous requirement to test students every 14 days. The updated health order and accompanying plan ensure flexibility for colleges and universities while using a more efficient testing model to mitigate virus spread among college students.
“We worked closely with state public health leaders and those at Utah’s colleges and universities to develop a more refined approach to testing that requires fewer tests and greater flexibility for our institutions to focus on areas that will have the greatest impact,” said Dave R. Woolstenhulme, USHE Commissioner of Higher Education. “We are building on what we learned this past fall and are confident these steps will help keep our entire higher education community safe over the coming months. It’s important we stay vigilant in our efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 as we return for a new semester.”
Within the intensive testing plan, each public technical and degree-granting institution, as well as any private institution with more than 10,000 students, is required to implement a multi-layered testing strategy that involves continued symptomatic testing, initial testing for on-campus residents and students who attend class in-person, randomized surveillance testing, close-contact testing and focused hot-spot testing.
The Utah Department of Health will monitor the number of tests performed by the institutions to ensure accurate distribution of tests. The institutions will report all test results through the designated UDOH reporting system.
Updated December 21, 2020, 11:00 a.m.
Gov. Gary R. Herbert and Utah Department of Health issue updated COVID-19 testing requirement for Utah colleges and universities
The public health order states:
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). An institution of higher education is not subject to Section (5)(b)(i).
Beginning as soon as possible, but no later than January 1, 2021, a covered institution of higher education shall test enrolled students age 18 years or older who live in on-campus housing or attend at least one course that involves in-person instruction provided by the institution of higher education to identify students with current COVID-19 infection and determine campus COVID-19 infection trends in accordance with the intensive testing plan developed by the Utah System of Higher Education and approved by the Utah Department of Health.
Updated November 8, 2020, 9:30 p.m.
Gov. Gary R. Herbert and Utah Department of Health issue weekly COVID-19 testing requirement for USHE students
Requirement comes as Gov. Herbert declares a new State of Emergency to address hospital overcrowding
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert and the Utah Department of Health released concurrent executive and public health orders today, 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.
Updated: May 27, 2020, 12:30 p.m.
USHE releases path for welcoming students back to campus for fall 2020
Individual public colleges and universities to release localized fall semester plans in the coming days
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah System of Higher Education COVID-19 Higher Education Task Force released a plan today outlining a path for Utah public colleges and universities to resume onsite operations for the fall 2020 semester amid COVID-19 uncertainty.
Utah colleges and universities have been largely operating remotely since the mid-March transition to online instruction. On-campus activity was significantly reduced, and Utah colleges and universities canceled or postponed end of year activities and events as part of their efforts to keep their campus communities as safe as possible.
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” 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.
“Though we can’t fully predict what the fall will look like, we feel we are on a trajectory to welcome our students back to campus while taking necessary precautions,” said Dave R. Woolstenhulme, Interim Commissioner of Higher Education. “We have worked, and will continue to work, to be as adaptable in our plans as possible as we receive updated recommendations from state and federal leaders to ensure a safe environment for our students, faculty, staff, and broader communities.”
USHE proposes the following gating conditions as part of its guidelines for the fall 2020 semester:
Because of the diversity of each college and university in Utah, higher education leaders determined a “one-size-fits-all” approach was not appropriate. For this reason, Utah public colleges and universities, utilizing guidance from the System, will be releasing their individualized fall semester plans over the coming days.
Updated: May 22, 2020, 12:00 p.m.
Colleges and universities in the Utah System of Higher Education are giving nearly $50 million directly to students to help with financial aid, emergency relief, and other supports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that funding, nearly $48 million has come from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. Through each institutions’ emergency fund program, more than $1 million has been available for eligible students across the System.
As outlined by the Department of Education, CARES Act emergency grants to students help cover student expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).
For those students who do not qualify for CARES Act funds, other support is available at each USHE college and university through emergency relief programs, which are funded privately by community donors, ongoing fundraising efforts and more.
“We want our students to know that assistance is available to help them with their student expenses, whether that be food, housing, or childcare,” said Dave R. Woolstenhulme, Interim Commissioner of Higher Education. “I applaud the Department of Education for promptly distributing these essential funds for our students and institutions. We hope these funds provide support to students at the right time so they are able to remain focused on their studies and complete their education.”
Institutions are still soliciting private donations to assist students through their individual emergency relief programs. For more information on where and how to donate, please contact the individual college or university.
|Institution||Total CARES Allocation to Students||Total Other Student Emergency Funds|
|University of Utah||$9,362,665||$550,000|
|Utah State University||$8,714,373||$150,000|
|Weber State University||$5,857,113||$30,000|
|Southern Utah University||$2,812,348||$33,506|
|Dixie State University||$3,088,350||$80,000|
|Utah Valley University||$11,474,604||$55,137|
|Salt Lake Community College||$5,323,937||$127,670|
Updated: March 18, 2020, 3:00 p.m.
Utah’s public colleges and universities to postpone or cancel Spring 2020 commencement activities
Because of the public health emergency created by COVID-19, all Utah public higher education institutions will postpone or cancel their Spring 2020 commencement activities.
To protect the health of Utah communities, Governor Gary Herbert and the state’s COVID-19 Community Task Force have recommended limiting the size of group gatherings and to continue practicing social distancing. These changes to Spring 2020 commencement activities are in line with those recommendations.
More information is available on each institution’s website:
Updated: March 12, 2020, 1:15 p.m.
All USHE institutions are moving instruction online, as many courses as they can, and as quickly as they can, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. See each institution’s messaging for more information.
All public colleges and universities are currently posting updates on their websites:
Updated: March 10, 2020, 11:00 a.m.
Guidance for USHE colleges and universities on COVID-19 campus-wide messaging
The Utah System of Higher Education asks all USHE institutions to consider the following guidance before disseminating messages to their campus community about COVID-19:
Updated: March 3, 2020 3:41pm
Utah System of Higher Education to coordinate planning efforts on COVID-19 at Utah’s public colleges and universities
Will report efforts to Governor Herbert’s Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force
SALT LAKE CITY – On March 2, 2020, Governor Gary R. Herbert announced the creation of the Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force, led by Lt. Governor Spencer Cox. The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education will coordinate Utah’s public higher education planning and response, and work closely with the state task force to inform it of higher education’s efforts. As of Monday, there were no cases of the virus confirmed as contracted in Utah.
Many of Utah’s public colleges and universities have done substantial work in planning for a potential COVID-19 outbreak and informing their stakeholders of their efforts. The Commissioner’s Office has asked that each institution form a COVID-19 working group, if they have not yet done so, that will meet weekly and inform the Commissioner’s Office of their plans and progress. The Commissioner’s Office will share this information with the Governor’s task force.
Each institutional task force will consider:
“As always, our students’ safety is of the utmost priority for us,” said Dave R. Woolstenhulme, Commissioner of Higher Education. “Institutions
have worked hard to prepare for the possibility of COVID-19 coming to Utah. We are working diligently to ensure the best coordination between our office, our institutions, and the State of Utah for the health of all community members.”
The Commissioner’s Office itself will follow the University of Utah’s protocol, as the Office is located in the same general area and shares several services with the University. Updates on higher education coordination efforts can be found at ushe.edu.
All public colleges and universities are currently posting updates on their websites: