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. Utah State University will begin testing students the week of November 9.
The public health order from the governor and the department of health states that 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. This is being done to identify potential asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 and prevent spread.
USU President Noelle Cockett sent an email to students Monday, Nov. 9, outlining how the university will take action to join the statewide efforts to address the latest concerns.
“The Utah Department of Health has said that hospitalizations and ICUs are nearing capacity, and healthcare providers will be unable to care for Utahns in the coming days if this surge continues,” she said in the email. “It is essential for us to follow the governor’s order.”
“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.”
The governor’s order calls on the public to take the following actions:
- Wear a mask in public and when within six feet of anyone you don’t live with.
- Keep social gatherings to household-only until Monday, Nov. 23.
- All events and extracurricular activities will be made virtual, postponed or canceled at least through Thanksgiving break. This includes student clubs, intramurals, club sports and speaker events not tied to classes.
At USU, Weekly Testing for Students Will Begin
USU recently began ramping up efforts to test all students and employees who are leaving town for the Thanksgiving break. This effort aligns with Utah’s public health order to test students weekly for COVID-19. The university is working with the state to acquire rapid tests for this purpose. To be tested, students will self-swab with a short nasal swab under the supervision of USU staff.
For Logan students, USU will begin free weekly testing during the week of November 9, for all students during who live on campus this and will test students living off-campus next week. Students will receive more information in the coming days about how to schedule a test.
USU is also working toward providing testing on the Eastern and Blanding campuses in the coming weeks.
Some students will not have to be tested weekly, including: student-athletes already being regularly tested, those who have tested positive within the last 90 days and students who have left campus to study remotely at their permanent home.
Testing continues to be available for students and employees who have symptoms or think they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Learn more at www.usu.edu/covid-19/testing/.
Campus Facilities Remain Open
For now, USU campus facilities will remain open during regular hours, including the library, computer labs and recreation facilities. Dining locations will remain open, but beginning, Tuesday, Nov. 10, cafés will be take-out only due to limited seating capacity.
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