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Southern Utah University and Utah State University are the latest to join colleges reopening in the fall

Southern Utah University is the latest of state colleges to announce it expects to see students back on-campus in the fall. (Photo courtesy Southern Utah University)

SALT LAKE CITY — Southern Utah University and Utah State University are among the latest to join state colleges and universities returning to in-person classes in the fall.

The news comes one day after the University of Utah and private liberal arts school Westminster College in Salt Lake City announced they would also be resuming on-campus instruction. 

Southern Utah University’s guide to welcoming students back

The university reports it will follow guidelines from local and state health officials, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“This is a significant step in getting back to a sense of normalcy,” said SUU President Scott L Wyatt, in a statement.

However, when students come to campus for the fall semester the on-campus experience will be slightly different. We’ll take precautions to protect our campus community. We all have a responsibility to protect each other. I can promise, though, we’ll still provide the atmosphere that makes SUU a great home away from home.”

SUU’s exact plan for reopening has yet to be released.  But it will detail how the school will implement social distancing guidelines, diagnostic testing, and contact tracing. 

After the COVID-19 outbreak in mid-March, all Utah colleges and universities transitioned to online classes — finishing the spring semester remotely. 

“When you come back, know this –  Cedar City, like most of rural Utah, is one of the safest places in the country,” Wyatt said in a video announcement sent to students. “We’ve had very few cases of COVID-19 and have fewer of the problems that people experience in larger cities during a pandemic.”

Summer classes will continue remotely.

The university says plans for a fall return may change depending on updates. 

Utah State University’s plan for having students back on campus 

Utah State University (USU) also announced on Wednesday that they expect to have students back in the classroom this fall. 

Our students have responded to this situation with grace and resilience, and we are excited to again see them come to our campuses,” said USU President Noelle Cockett.

To comply with Utah’s Leads Together Plan 3.0, the university says new protocols will be in place to keep students and faculty safe. The protocols include diverse ways of teaching, such as in-person classes, hybrid instruction, and online classes in some cases. 

Additionally, USU says they will “implement state guidelines on face coverings, sanitizing, and social distancing while limiting the number of students in classrooms and other prevention precautions.”

Over the summer, USU intends to “create institutional stabilization policies, including repopulating campus; monitoring for incidences; containing potential outbreaks; and temporarily suspending in-person operation, if necessary.”

The school has not yet released an exact plan for re-opening. President Cockett said the university will make more details available over the next several weeks. 

“We are counting on our faculty, staff, and students to be socially responsible with the protocols we will put in place so everyone benefits from a successful fall semester,” said Cockett. “Our plans for fall semester will only continue if we all move forward with care and concern for our fellow community members.”