UVU, BYU Students React To Mask Mandate, Tighter Campus Restrictions
Sep 23, 2020, 6:56 PM | Updated: Sep 24, 2020, 10:30 am
OREM, Utah – Leaders at Utah County’s two large universities have warned if the coronavirus infection rate on doesn’t slow down, campuses could be shut down.
The warning came just as the mask mandate for Utah County goes into effect Wednesday night.
With the mask mandate in place, students at Utah Valley University and Brigham Young University have two weeks for things to improve.
UVU has ramped up with a COVID-19 testing center on campus.
Students who spoke to KSL-TV welcomed the mask mandate.
“Honestly, I just think it’s not that big of a deal,” said UVU student Jerry Rose or the mask mandate. “Just do your part and wear your mask.”
In response to recent COVID-19 trends in our valley, the following letter has been sent to all @BYU + @UVU students from BYU President Kevin J Worthen and UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez.https://t.co/lfmQBuC2JW pic.twitter.com/5FiYiTToXt
— BYU (@BYU) September 22, 2020
“If people ask you to wear a mask, then just put it on,” said BYU student Caler Tregeagoe. “It helps, obviously.”
Both students said if wearing a face mask will keep campus open, they’d comply.
The presidents of UVU and BYU issued a joint statement Tuesday, giving the student body two weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19, or more drastic action would be taken.
“We take safety very seriously, so that is how we see it,” said Scott Trotter, UVU senior director of communications. “It will keep classrooms open. It’ll keep the university functioning. It will help the economy grow, if we’re safe. If we’re smart, and that’s all we’re asking, it’s not that difficult.”
“We are all very much for it, because we’re like, let us just stay on campus as much as possible,” Tregeagoe said.
Both schools have initiated social distancing measures and mask requirements on campus. UVU tracks students’ movements in class to help with contact tracing.
“I just grab my phone and scan the QR code, and it asks me where I’m sitting relative in the classroom,” said Rose.
Health department numbers have shown that UVU has 198 positive cases on campus since August 24, while BYU has reported 1,104 positive cases since August 28.
Both campus communities have about 42,000 students, faculty and staff.
“I don’t know why… BYU is completely different than UVU,” said Tregeagoe.
One key factor maybe the close living quarters for BYU students, whereas UVU doesn’t have on campus housing.
“I hear of certain stories of things going on down here in Utah County, and makes me scratch my head, honestly. We need to use common sense,” said Rose. “(The virus) affects some people worse than others, so why not be selfless instead of selfish.”
UVU’s coronavirus testing center was scheduled to return Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Free COVID-19 testing will be available on campus on Wed. and Thurs. near the Clarke Building. Please register on https://t.co/7hog91sOAd and use code "27110."
We hope that you take this opportunity to get tested regardless of whether or not you are showing symptoms. pic.twitter.com/sscgQeLZQW
— UVU (@UVU) September 23, 2020
BYU sent an email to students with information on the impact of the switch to Orange to campus.
- BYU’s fall semester started with a hybrid of in-person, remote and hybrid classes, and significant efforts have been made to expand BYU’s teaching spaces across campus. BYU’s classroom procedures are consistent with an orange risk level and will continue to operate as previously outlined. Students should wear masks and be seated 6 feet apart from other individuals; when distancing is not possible, instructors must record attendance to assist in contact tracing.
- BYU students and employees will continue to be required to download and use the Healthy Together App or complete either an online or hard copy form to come to campus and access campus services. Professors and supervisors are authorized to verify this has been completed.
- All campus recreational facilities will be closed except for use by approved groups, including academic classes.
- Intramural sports will be suspended until further notice.
- Guests will not be permitted to visit on-campus residence halls. Visiting hours will be suspended and residence hall common areas will be closed. Residence hall basketball and volleyball courts will be closed as well.
- The playgrounds at Wymount Terrace and Wyview Park will be closed.
- Dine-in seating at BYU has been limited and appropriately spaced. Customers must adhere to physical distancing requirements and are encouraged to order takeout.
- BYU Football will play its next two home games against Troy and LA Tech without fans in LaVell Edwards Stadium.