BYU, UVU Warn Students ‘Behavior Must Change’ After COVID-19 Spike

Sep 22, 2020, 3:31 PM | Updated: 4:37 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Just two hours before state health officials announced Provo and Orem would move back to the orange threat level, the Presidents at Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University issued a joint letter warning students they must change their behavior as COVID-19 cases spike in Utah County.

BYU President Kevin J. Worthen and UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez said they are grateful that students have been allowed to start the school year with in-person classes and thanked everyone who has complied with the pandemic safety guidelines.

“However, we are greatly concerned about the dramatic rise in positive cases of COVID-19 in Utah County, particularly among college students,” the letter said. “This is both alarming and unacceptable.”

The letter stated that Utah’s two largest universities are concerned for the health and well being of students as well as the local community “who are affected by the trends we have seen in the last week.”

A couple of hours after the letter’s release, Governor Gary Herbert and other state health department officials announced they are moving Provo and Orem into the orange health restriction.

The move to orange brings the following changes:

  • In-person classes at universities are allowed but the biggest difference between orange and yellow levels is common areas in residence halls are closed.
  • Restaurants need to use takeout, curbside pickup, or delivery options as much as possible.
  • For sports or other recreational activities, the state says don’t participate if participants can’t be more than 10 feet apart.
  • Social gatherings should be limited to 20 or fewer people.
  • Religious services are allowed but there have to be at least six feet between households.
  • The state recommends that gyms stay closed.

“Behavior must change,” the letter said. “We implore you to stay home except for in-person classes, work, church, and other essentials. We ask that you limit your social interactions to only those within your household and avoid small gatherings where individuals are not wearing masks or maintaining physical distance.”

The letter said people who are feeling sick should stay home.

It ended with a stern warning. “If circumstances do not improve within the next two weeks, more dramatic action will be necessary. This may include a two-week quarantine, closing campuses to the public, or a complete retreat to all-remote instruction for the rest of the semester.”

The new orange designation in Provo dashed the hopes of 6,000 BYU football fans who were planning to attend the Cougars home opener on Saturday. Fans will not be allowed at either of the next two home games at BYU.

For more information about each level or industry, go to

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

The Nurse Crisis and Patent Risk....
Debbie Worthen

Utah registered nurses are leaving the field, creating the ‘perfect storm’

"Without nurses, we can't have hospitals." Utah nurses are overworked and underpaid. Some say it's put people at risk.
7 days ago
Four-year-old Viola Fairfax-Panza Getting her COVID-19 vaccination, held by her mother Keke Fairfax...
Jed Boal

Salt Lake Co. distributes COVID vaccines for children 6-months and older

Salt Lake County begins COVID-19 vaccinations for children 6 months and older.
7 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Stephen Zenner/Getty Images)...
Jed Boal

Utah’s youngest kids should be able to get COVID-19 vaccine next week

Kids as young as 6 months old should be able to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the middle of next week. This is an eagerly awaited opportunity for many parents and an issue of concern for others.
11 days ago
Utah COVID testing site. Getty images...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

New mobile COVID-19 testing sites open in Utah

With the summer travel season underway and a steady stream of people still testing positive for COVID-19, Nomi Health opened several mobile testing sites across Utah.
20 days ago
The CDC is released updated mask guidance as researchers learn more about COVID-19. (KSL TV)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Charter school asks students not to mask to help ‘normalize’ not wearing masks at school

The American Preparatory Academy asks students not to wear a mask during their last three days of school to help with their 'academic and emotional growth.'
1 month ago
AURORA, CO - DECEMBER 15: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigat...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Pfizer booster shot is now approved for children 5-11, here’s what a doctor advises

The CDC now recommends Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for children ages five to 11. But, a leading pediatric epidemiologist suggests some parents may want to wait based on their summer plans.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
BYU, UVU Warn Students ‘Behavior Must Change’ After COVID-19 Spike