This is a guidance document for the COVID-19 component of your overall risk mitigation plan, as each event will have risks associated with it beyond the risk of COVID-19 infection. This guidance is by no means intended to be an exhaustive list of COVID-19 risks. Each individual event or activity will have unique elements that require their own mitigation strategies.
Kinds of Events
This guidance covers any event that is sponsored or hosted by USU. For purposes of this guidance, events are divided into two categories—standard events and non-standard events. Where possible, the university encourages departments to host virtual events and limit gatherings where possible.
- Static: Attendees primarily enter, watch, and depart (performance).
- Interactive: Attendees create a traffic flow and interact with each other (networking event or conference).
- Participant: Attendees primarily participate in an activity or production (camps).
- Community: Events with many activities and attendee populations and likely involve a random traffic pattern (homecoming).
Standard events include but are not limited to:
- Smaller student events and gatherings where social distancing is possible.
- Smaller academic presentations and gatherings where social distancing can be maintained.
- Faculty and staff meetings or retreats (groups of internal USU constituents that regularly interact with each other).
- Alumni gatherings.
Standard events must comply with USU’s COVID-19 Face Covering Policy and the COVID-19 safety guidelines. Standard Events are managed at the department level and must be approved by the dean or vice president of the unit.
Non-standard events are events where the possible risk of COVID-19 transmission is higher and central university oversight is required. Non-standard events include:
- Day-long and multi-day events.
- Events where external constituents from outside the local area are invited to attend.
- Events that host a large number of in-person participants (more than 50).
Non-standard events must be reviewed by the COVID-19 Safety Committee and must be approved by the college or division dean or vice president.
Event Approval Process
Event sponsors must complete each step of the following process in getting any event or activity approved. The responsible dean and/or vice president must approve all events organized within their unit. All non-standard events will need to be reviewed by the COVID-19 Safety Committee before dean or VP approval. Certain events such as sporting events, parades, and other large-scale events may be flagged for further review by the Stabilization Task Force.
- Event developed by the unit with consultation, if needed, from risk management.
- For standard events: Approval of final plan by vice president or dean.
- For non-standard events: submission of an event request form.
- Review from USU COVID-19 Safety Committee.
- Plans flagged for risk issues, or those seeking exemption from any aspect of the mitigation plan, will be referred to the COVID-19 Stabilization Task Force for final review.
Creating an Event Mitigation Plan
Your event planning must comply with the following:
- All Utah Department of Health Guidelines for Events during the appropriate stabilization phase.
- USU guidance on travel and visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- USU travel policy and procedures.
The CDC has provided some initial guidance to event planners during the COVID-19 outbreak. While this guidance is geared primarily to mass gatherings or large community events, many of the principles apply to any event that a USU entity may contemplate hosting.
- The overall number of potential attendees.
- The number of potential attendees who are at high-risk of severe COVID-19 illness.
- The density of attendees and the possibility of accommodating appropriate social distancing.
- This should include looking at participants, attendees, and performers.
- The current level of transmission in the local community.
- The communities from which attendees will travel and the potential impact on the local community.
Consider the risk that your event may cause and how it may increase the chance of infection for people attending, participating in, and/or performing, in addition to the broader USU and off-campus communities.
In general, a non-standard event that has a large number of potential attendees, participants, or performers where appropriate social distancing is impossible or impractical for a period of 10 minutes will likely need to be postponed to a later date.
The CDC categorizes risk in the following way:
In order to effectively devise a plan to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, you will need to have some understanding of how the virus spreads. While we can provide some guidelines here, you’ll need to do a bit of research on your own to effectively apply it to your specific event. Consult only reliable sources of information, including the following:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Utah Department of Health
- Utah’s Color-Coded Health Guidance
The virus is thought to mainly spread through close contact from person-to-person in respiratory droplets from someone who is infected. It is also possible to become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. The mitigation procedures developed for an event should include requiring face coverings, limiting contact between people, providing adequate hygiene and disinfection opportunities, and encouraging those who are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home.
Please reach out to Risk Management if you have questions or need help developing the risk mitigation plan.
Key Elements in Your Plan
For either standard events or non-standard events, you must create a mitigation plan.
For non-standard events, as the COVID-19 Safety Committee reviews your plan, they will look for convincing strategies that indicate you will be able to carry out your event/activity in a way that best achieves its purpose, protects all the people involved, and protects the University.
For questions about appropriate risk mitigation strategies, contact Risk Management at email@example.com.
This plan should address the following:
- Face Coverings—You must require face coverings for those who attend the event. You will need to consider providing face coverings for those who arrive without a face covering and how event staff will enforce the face covering requirement.
- Social Distancing - You will need to consider how to provide at least six feet of distance between all attendees, participants, and performers (from separate households) during the course of the event by:
- Limiting the number of people participating or performing.
- Choosing a larger venue.
- Using decals and other indicators of appropriate distancing between attendees.
- Signage to encourage people not to congregate.
- Handwashing stations, hand sanitizer, tissues, garbage cans, etc.
- Disinfecting/sanitizing water fountains, door knobs, and other high touch surfaces between activities and throughout the day.
- Employees, Staff, Facilitators, Volunteers, and Guests
- All events have some sort of staffing. What are your plans for ensuring that your staff will also have the appropriate protections?
- What precautions or protective equipment will be needed for your staff?
- From where will you acquire any necessary protective equipment?
- What will you do if a staff member is sick or begins showing symptoms?
- What is your plan for high-risk individuals or groups? Are you making high-risk individuals aware of the risks of attending?
- What is your plan for tracking guests’ attendance and collect contact information in case contact-tracing becomes necessary if one or more of the guests is diagnosed with COVID-19?
- Are USU travel policies and procedures being followed?
- Communication—Your event plan should address how you will communicate to attendees that face coverings will be required and that individuals who are not feeling well should not attend the event.
- Contingency Plans
- How will you address a participant, attendee, or performer who arrives at the event exhibiting symptoms?
- If someone starts exhibiting symptoms, what will you do?
- Have you planned for ways to isolate the sick individual?
- Individuals who exhibit symptoms must stay at home. If you have a participant from out of the area, will you need to facilitate isolation of the individual
- How will you collect contact information if participants, attendees, and/or performers later need to be notified that an individual at the event test positive for COVID-19?
- Multi-day Events
- If your event spans multiple days and you intend for participants/attendees to stay overnight, how will you provide appropriate social distancing?
- If you’re providing meals, how will you do it safely?
- Who will prepare/provide the food?
- How will it be served?
- How will you prevent people congregating?
- Extracurricular Activities
- What activities outside of the main event do you have planned and how will you ensure proper social distancing is maintained during these activities?
- USU approved signage for preventing spread of COVID-19 must be displayed.
This guidance is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all the risks and mitigation strategies related to COVID-19. It serves as a starting point for questions you should consider about your event.
Report Testing, Isolation, and Quarantine
If you have been tested for COVID-19 or asked to self-isolate or quarantine, please fill out the self-isolation questionnaire.