SALT LAKE CITY — Administrators have been looking at how to keep their students connected, while being safe and most importantly, how their education will move forward in the upcoming fall semester.
“It is true, Fall 2020 will not look like any previous fall semester,” says Robert Wagner, the academic and instructional services Vice President for Utah State University.
Most universities are providing a “hybrid” of both online and face-to-face classes. The University of Utah is planning on 32,000 students back on campus this fall. Utah Valley University plans for 33,000 students, and Utah State University plans on having 16,000 students back at their Logan campus.
“At this point we will be requiring masks for both our students as well as our faculty,” says Wagner.
Most universities will start on time, skip fall break and end on-campus classes before Thanksgiving break, leaving the last few weeks of the semester all online.
“People will go away and we’re afraid of what they might bring back,” said Chris Nelson, spokesman for the University of Utah.
The university was already planning on a different fall semester after they announced they were hosting the Vice Presidential Debate. Nelson said the debate is still on the schedule to be held at Kingsbury Hall.
“The debate will go on, but it will be much scaled back in terms of national and international media,” said Nelson.
The university is also uniquely tied to the University of Utah Health and says they are prepared for the spread of COVID-19. The virus spreading is inevitable, but Nelson says they hope to reduce the amount of people the virus spreads to.
“We put around 15% of our beds aside for students who get sick and need to be isolated,” says Nelson.
USU, Utah Valley and the U are all requiring face masks for students on campus as well as making sure all face to face courses follow social distancing guideline, using multiple classrooms if needed.
“A lot of the plans that we’re putting in place, we’re doing it in such a way that we can pivot, change and we can adapt,” says Wagner.
A Brigham Young University spokeswoman says they are waiting to make any announcements about fall semester until the end of the month.
There are 19 committees working on what the semester will look like for BYU students.
As for college athletes, all university administrators said there are more announcements to come.