A message from President Noelle Cockett
Dear USU students and employees,
I recognize the tremendous burden many of you are feeling as the university has responded rapidly to the current public health crisis. Your efforts have kept COVID-19 cases to a minimum and have ensured that we did our part to protect our campus communities across the state. Your efforts have also allowed us to stay focused on our critical mission of educating the next generation of citizens and scholars.
Today, we have good news about our path forward. Governor Gary Herbert has announced that today, May 1, the state of Utah will transition from the red urgent phase of the state’sUtah Leads 2.0 plan into the orange stabilization phase. This signals a move from high to moderate COVID-19 risk for everyone except high-risk individuals. For most us, this move will not greatly change the way we work or learn at present, but it will provide a careful transition to expanding our activities in the future. The governor’s guidance includes the following:
· Wear a cloth face mask in public or while interacting with people from other households. The state will provide two million cloth masks free of charge to residents as part of theMask for Every Utahn project. I strongly encourage all students and employees to wear face masks at USU, particularly when it is difficult to social distance (stay 6 feet away) with others.
· Follow strict hygiene standards. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, avoid touching your face, cover coughs and sneezes, and regularly clean high-touch surfaces.
· Continue to social distance with those from other households. The orange phase provides for gatherings of up to 20 people, but only if social distancing is still possible.
· Stay home if you are sick – even with mild symptoms. The Utah Department of Health is recommending that anyone with one of these symptomsget tested for COVID-19: fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches and chills, or decreased sense of smell or taste.
Students will continue to learn online for the first 7-week and the 14-week session of summer semester. We hope to provide face-to-face learning opportunities during the second 7-week summer session. This is contingent on our state being able to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. For fall semester, we are planning a mixture of online, blended and face-to-face learning opportunities.
Employees will work remotely as much as possible. When you work on campus or meet with fellow employees or members of the public, follow the guidelines above to protect yourself and others. Campus departments and offices will begin making plans for how to carefully bring more employees back to campus when the state transitions to the yellow, or low-risk, phase.
Though events and travel are still canceled until June 1, we will provide more information and guidance on future events, travel, and other university operations soon. You can also find more information about how USU is addressing the COVID-19 threat at usu.edu/covid-19.
Noelle E. Cockett