level of transmission: high
The University of Utah is currently operating under health guidelines for a high level of transmission of coronavirus. In the high transmission level, face coverings are required in all settings, a physical distance of 6 feet from others should be maintained and private social gatherings are limited to 10 people. This status aligns with a new COVID-19 Transmission Index implemented by the state of Utah on Oct. 15, 2020. The index uses a high, moderate and low framework based on public health metrics that correspond directly with case rates, positivity rates and ICU use in a county. In addition to state guidelines, a full list of campus guidelines while in the high transmission level can be found below. Members of the campus community should also protect themselves and our healthcare system as we enter flu season by getting a flu shot.
WHAT WE ARE DOING TO HELP PROTECT YOU
Students, staff, and faculty have responded with remarkable understanding, patience, and flexibility to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting changes to our campus operations. With the arrival of the Fall 2020 Semester, it will take all of us, working together, to reduce health risks and ensure that this academic year is successful.
What the U is doing:
- Asking all students, staff, and faculty to complete a health training and agree to follow campus guidelines.
- Requiring the use of face coverings and physical distancing on campus.
- Cleaning high-use spaces and high-touch surfaces frequently.
- Installing clear plastic barriers at most customer-service counters.
- Providing hand sanitation stations inside main building entrances and near the doors to classrooms and labs.
- Increasing the number of air changes in buildings and using high-efficiency air filters to provide good ventilation.
- Creating traffic flow patterns to limit bottlenecks at entrances, exits, and in hallways.
- Reducing occupancy in residence hall rooms.
- Adopting protocols to limit capacity in common spaces such as the libraries, computer centers, and the Student Life Center.
- Preparing a fall schedule that includes shifts to online courses to reduce the potential spread of coronavirus.
- Working closely with U of U Health and state officials to ensure we have the latest data and expert advice.
What the U asks you to do:
- Complete the online health training.
- Follow health guidelines to wear a face covering, practice physical distancing, wash hands frequently, and follow other basic hygiene protocols.
- Stay home or in your residence hall unit if you have a fever or other symptoms associated with COVID-19.
- Fill out a self-reporting form if you have COVID-19 symptoms, are being tested for the disease because of symptoms, or have had exposure to someone who is positive for COVID-19/been diagnosed with the disease.
- Limit in-person meetings to 20 or fewer people.
- Continue to telecommute if feasible given your work duties.
- Treat each other with respect and kindness during this unprecedented and challenging time.
STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK
- The university is asking students, faculty, and staff to stay home if they are sick. Additionally, follow university employee exposure guidance. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, new or worsening chronic cough, runny nose, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, headache, muscle/body aches, or difficulty breathing/shortness of breath.
- You should only come to campus if ALL of the following are true:
- At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
- You do not have any other flu-like symptoms (for example, cough, or shortness of breath).
- You have had no fever for at least 24 hours (that is one full day of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers).
- You have not had contact with anyone who is COVID positive (including the five days before they were positive) for 14 days.
TESTING, TRACING, AND METRICS THAT MATTER: OUR PLAN
At the University of Utah, the health and well-being of students, staff, and faculty are top priorities. A team led by public health experts at U of U Health has developed a plan to test, trace, and monitor campus for cases of COVID-19, as addressed in the FAQ below.
Information for the campus community about scheduling a COVID19 test please is available via this link.
The evolving nature of the pandemic and the university’s focus on reducing risk to the extent possible means that university operations must be flexible, nimble, and informed by public health, state, and federal guidance. The U’s health experts and administrative leaders are tracking a number of indicators to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on campus as well as in the community. Some of the most important metrics are the following:
- Weekly number of new COVID-19 cases on campus and in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, and the state of Utah
- Stress on our hospitals measured by in-patient and ICU bed capacity
- Testing and contact tracing capacity
- Quarantine and isolation capacity for students living in on-campus residence halls
- Impact of COVID-19 on our campus workforce
These metrics will inform senior leaders’ decisions about campus operations.
In what circumstances is the U performing tests to screen for COVID-19?
SYMPTOMATIC OR CONFIRMED EXPOSURE (VIA CONTACT TRACING)
University students, faculty or staff with COVID-19 symptoms or confirmed exposure should call the University of Utah health and testing hotline at 801-587-0712 or visit https://healthcare.utah.edu/coronavirus/reserve-test/ to schedule an appointment through University of Utah Health.
Students, faculty and staff can also visit the state’s coronavirus site at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/testing-locations/ to find additional testing locations.
U of U Health faculty and staff with COVID-19 symptoms or confirmed exposure should call work Wellness at 801-581-2227 (select option 1) before returning to work.
STUDENTS living IN HOUSING & RESIDENTIAL EDUCATION FACILITIES
Students living in Housing & Residential Education facilities are required to be tested each week during the semester, beginning the week of January 18-22.
Testing will be done at two locations on campus: Officers Club in Fort Douglas and Saltair Room in the Union. Residents should log in each week using the appointment link below. Frequently Asked Questions for HRE students can be found here.
STUDENTS REGISTERED FOR IN-PERSON CLASSES
Students visiting campus for in-person classes are encouraged to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. Each Thursday throughout the semester students will be notified via their Umail account and text with information about how to schedule a test during the coming week.
STUDENTS REGISTERED FOR ONLINE ONLY CLASSES
Students registered for online only classes are not required by the university to be tested. Online students who are concerned and would like to be tested but don’t meet the above criteria (symptomatic or exposed to a confirmed positive) can participate in the optional COVID-19 testing.
FACULTY AND STAFF (including health care employees)
Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing is available for all U of U faculty and staff who have NOT been identified as a close contact by a contact tracing team but still have concerns and would like to be tested. This testing is not mandatory but offered as part of the university’s efforts to contain and slow the spread of the virus. There are two testing locations on campus: Union Building and the Officers Club in Fort Douglas.
Note: Availability of these tests throughout the semester will depend on supplies and laboratory processing capacity.
Who pays for the tests?
- Asymptomatic tests: The university is covering the cost of asymptomatic tests for students, faculty and staff.
- Symptomatic tests for students living in HRE facilities are covered by the university.
- Symptomatic tests for non-residential students, staff and faculty should be submitted to each individual’s health insurance provider.
What type of test is being used and how long will it take for test results to come back?
Beginning with spring semester testing, a saliva-based Thermo TaqCheck PCR COVID-19 test will be used. Test results will be delivered within approximately 24 – 48 hours.
How are positive tests recorded?
Students living in residence halls have completed a consent form that allows test results to be shared with Housing & Residential Education (HRE). In the event of a positive test, HRE will notify the student by telephone and engage in contact tracing protocols. Negative results will be sent by email.
Students living in HRE facilities who test positive for COVID-19 should complete this self-report form.
All other students and staff and faculty are asked to self-report all COVID-19 tests using this form, which will help the U track case counts, conduct contact tracing, and enact cleaning protocols for affected campus spaces.
Does the U expect students, staff, and faculty to quarantine until they receive test results?
All students, staff and faculty who seek a test based on symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to quarantine while awaiting results.
Is the U conducting contact tracing?
Yes. Upon receiving a positive test report, trained interviewers employed by U of U Health will work with the individual who is positive for COVID-19 to build a contact list. The interviewers will then reach out to individuals who have potentially been exposed to the virus and ask them to get a coronavirus test and quarantine.
Where will people who have possibly been exposed to coronavirus be tested?
Faculty, staff, and students who are informed they may have been exposed to coronavirus may contact their primary health care provider for a test or call 801-587-0712 for guidance. All campus community members should quarantine while awaiting test results.
I think I have symptoms of COVID-19. Who can I reach out to for advice and guidance?
The university has established the Health and Testing Questions Hotline to answer questions about symptoms, testing, and contact tracing of COVID-19. That number is 801-587-0712. Other questions related to COVID-19 impacts on-campus operations may be directed to the General Campus Questions Hotline at 801-213-2874.
All across the state of Utah two different vaccines are being used to fight the spread of COVID-19. Vaccinations began in the state in December with health care workers and other high risk groups. Various health agencies are now working to get as many people protected as quickly as possible.
COVID-19 SELF-REPORTING FORM
- If you are tested for COVID-19 please complete the University of Utah COVID-19 reporting form.
- Keep track of places that you visit on campus and people with whom you interact. Reporting is paramount to campus safety, enabling contact tracing and proper disinfection of the workplace by campus Facilities personnel.
- Report Any Health and Safety Concerns to Environmental Health and Safety.
- Workplace health and safety concerns can be reported through the EHS hazard form. All reports will be treated as confidential and investigated as soon as possible.
- Health and safety guidance cannot anticipate every unique situation. Therefore, individuals on campus must take personal responsibility to be informed and take actions based on common sense and wise judgment that will protect health and support the mission of the university.
- Housing & Residential Education residents should also complete the HRE Self-Report form.
FACE COVERINGS REQUIRED ON CAMPUS
- Face coverings (covering with two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric) are required inside university buildings and in outdoor public settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- Face coverings must cover both the nose and the mouth. Plastic face shields do not meet this requirement but may be worn in conjunction with a cloth mask.
- Wash your face coverings often.
- All personnel must complete the online returning to campus safely course on Bridge (login with your uNID).
PHYSICAL DISTANCING (6 FEET) MUST BE MAINTAINED
- Close contact is defined as being less than six feet from another person for a cumulative period of 15 minutes in a 24 hour period.
- Maintain at least 6 feet of separation as often as possible.
- Minimize face-to-face contacts and avoid large gatherings.
- In-person interactions should be limited to fewer than 10 people while maintaining 6 feet of separation at all times
PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE
- Wear a face covering. Homemade and purchased cloth face coverings and disposable face coverings are acceptable and should be worn whenever inside buildings and outside when 6 feet of physical distancing is not possible. The covering should fully cover your mouth and nose and fit snugly against your face without gaps.
- Wash cloth face coverings after every use using regular detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting. Disposable masks should only be used for one day and placed in the trash after use.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When inside campus buildings, maintain 6 feet of physical distance (about two arm lengths) between you and other people.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow (if you don’t have a tissue) when coughing or sneezing. Used tissues should be disposed of in the trash. You should immediately wash your hands or exposed elbow with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects daily. Wipe down tables, workstations, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, telephones, cellphones, keyboards, etc. Items such as keyboards and mice can be sanitized with 70% alcohol wipes to avoid damaging electronics.
- Avoid using someone else’s equipment. Don’t use other individuals’ phones, desks, offices, work tools, and equipment when possible. Clean and disinfect them before and after use.
- Monitor your health daily. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. Take your temperature if you develop symptoms.
ON-CAMPUS OFFICE WORK GUIDELINES
- Remote work should continue to be encouraged.
- Whenever possible, temporary work adjustments should be made for employees in high-risk categories.
- Take steps to minimize the number of individuals in the office at any given time, such as rotating shifts and staggering schedules.
Most recent information regarding COVID-19 at the University of Utah
University of Utah Case Counts
The table below includes reported positive COVID-19 cases among University of Utah staff, faculty and students. Students who also are employees of the university are only reported in the student number to avoid double counting. The University of Utah has more than 32,000 students (3,400 living in university-owned facilities) and 30,000 employees. Approximately 75% of employees continue to work remotely but have self-reported to authorize sick leave.
Positive COVID-19 cases:
|Spring Semester Cases|
(January 1- May 5)
(Aug 24 - Dec 31)
|Students - Total||1||2.9||602||2228||2841|
|Students in Campus Housing|
(part of total)*
Directory for all covid-19 resources
As campus activities—education, research, and community engagement—resume we want you to have the most up to date information available. Please refer to this A-Z guide to answer all your questions.