Utah Universities Announce Plans To Test All Students For COVID-19

Nov 9, 2020, 6:15 PM | Updated: Nov 10, 2020, 5:25 pm
USU implemented a mask mandate across its Logan campus....
USU implemented a mask mandate across its Logan campus.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Universities across the Beehive State have announced details on how they plan to test students for COVID-19, as required by Gov. Gary Herbert’s new executive order.

“Students who are enrolled in a public or private institution of higher education (university or college) and who live in on-campus housing or attend at least one in-person class must get a COVID-19 test each week,” state officials said in an FAQ. “Students who test positive should follow the isolation requirements they receive from their school and/or the public health department.”

Health officials said they’re particularly concerned about 15- to 35-year-olds, as that age group has more potential of spreading COVID-19 without even knowing they have the virus.

“The data shows us that the 15- to 35-year-olds right now are really driving a lot of the infection rate for the rest of the state,” said Tom Hudachko, spokesperson for the Utah Department of Health.

Brigham Young University

BYU officials said they will comply with every part of the governor’s order, including weekly testing for students that live on-campus and/or attend at least one in-person class.

All in-person events (not classes) for the remainder of the semester have been canceled until they can be reapproved through the school’s approval process or moved to remote delivery.

That change includes Tuesday’s devotional, which will be delivered remotely by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“BYU plans to continue with an in-person winter semester with the same modes of instruction as the current fall semester (remote, in-person and hybrid classes),” officials said. “This is subject to change depending on trends in disease prevalence and guidance from state and local governments.”

Dixie State University

DSU officials said mitigating the spread of COVID-19 is at the forefront of their minds and weekly testing will be available to all students as well as faculty and staff, based on availability.

They encouraged students who live on-campus or attend at least one in-person class to participate in weekly testing.

“While we don’t know all the specifics at this time, we do know that the self-administered nasal swab tests will be available on campus, results will be available in 15 minutes, members of the University community will not incur any fees, their privacy will be maintained throughout the process, and anyone who does test positive will be asked to immediately quarantine. We will begin weekly testing on our campus as soon as possible.”

School officials also said they will provide updates on the state’s high school football championships, which will be held in southern Utah.

Ensign College

“Ensign College will comply with all requirements,” officials said. “Beginning immediately, all extracurricular activities at the College are on hold. Plans are being made to have weekly testing available to all students by Jan. 1, 2021, at the latest. More information on the College’s testing processes will be communicated at a later date.”

Southern Utah University

“According to an announcement from President Scott L. Wyatt, Southern Utah University students can expect to begin weekly testing as soon as next week,” officials said. “The tests will be free, will provide results in minutes and accessible on campus.”

All SUU events have been canceled or moved online.

University Of Utah

The University of Utah is already getting a jump on testing. Their goal is to test every single one of their 32,000 students in the next two weeks, before Thanksgiving.

“What we’re looking at in the next couple weeks is trying to get all of our students tested, or at least give them the option to be tested before they return to the communities,” said Chris Nelson, spokesperson for the University of Utah. “University of Utah students come from around Utah, every county, and we know it’s not just for the safety of our students, but also for their families and the communities they’re returning to.”

Students that test positive with a rapid test will be asked to provide a saliva sample for a confirmatory test.”

In the meantime, they will be presumed positive so they will be asked to isolate to prevent spreading to other individuals while they’re waiting for their results,” officials said. “If they are confirmed positive, then, of course, the isolation period begins. Students who test positive will follow the 14-day protocols for isolation and quarantine that comes as part of that.”

Utah State University

USU officials said free, weekly testing will begin for Logan students who live on-campus this week, and next week for off-campus housing.

“We are concerned as we look at students heading home for the Thanksgiving holiday, and these actions are an effort to protect our students themselves, but also their family members and our own Aggie family,” USU President Noelle Cockett said.

USU began ramping up testing efforts last month by opening an on-campus testing site staffed with university personnel.

Nursing students are assisting with samples and a veterinary science lab is getting the results.

“Having our own resources will be a huge benefit, so we can just send people in, get them tested and get results much more quickly,” said Amanda DeRito, a spokeswoman for Utah State University.

The university is working with the state to acquire more rapid testing kits. Students will self-swab under the supervision of USU staff for those tests.

Utah Valley University

UVU officials said anyone with an active university ID can make an appointment at one of four locations on campus for a rapid test.

“We expanded our testing for the UVU community a few weeks ago. Thanks to additional test kits from the Utah Department of Health, we are now rolling out more testing opportunities to reach as many students, staff and faculty as possible, especially before Thanksgiving, and our shift to remote instruction,” said UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez. “These tests are free, less invasive than those offered in the past, and provide results within hours. They will provide valuable information and knowledge that could change behavior and potentially save lives.”

UVU is also working with Test Utah to provide free community testing. Anyone can make an appointment Monday for testing on Wednesday, or schedule an appointment on Nov. 16 for testing on Nov. 18.

Testing will be at the UCCU Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the North Gym on the second level.

“Those who wish to be tested should park in the UCCU parking lot located directly to the west of the event center,” officials said. “There will be ushers present to direct you to the testing location. Masks and social distancing are required while on campus.”

Weber State University

WSU officials said testing will be available for all members of their campus community beginning Nov. 16.

“All WSU students living or working on campus and those attending classes in person are expected to be tested for COVID-19 weekly,” they said.

Select groups will begin testing on Tuesday “to help pilot the new testing arrangement and work out any logistical issues prior to making this resource available to the larger campus population.”

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Utah Universities Announce Plans To Test All Students For COVID-19