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University of Utah to announce if in-person classes will be suspended for the remainder of the school year due to coronavirus concerns

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Posted at 3:54 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 00:54:15-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah is considering canceling all in-person classes for the remainder of the school year due to concerns over COVID-19. The U of U said the official decision is expected to come Thursday morning as the Lieutenant Governor makes an announcement about how colleges in Utah will respond to COVID-19.

University officials told Fox 13 they are looking at potentially moving in the direction of finishing the semester online. Campus facilities would remain open.

Students are currently on spring break. People on campus told Fox 13 they learned Wednesday that in-person classes will be suspended.

Freshman Megan Hainsworth indicated that her dorm resident adviser sent an email out about the decision.

She and freshman Emil Geisler explained that they have questions about how this will play out.

Geisler said he doesn't know what tests will be like.

"My first thought was like, 'How do I keep an A? And how do I pass my classes?'" he wondered.

Hainsworth said she won't mind the change, and said she's fine staying in her dorm. Though she, too, wants to know how some details will be worked through.

"A lot of my classes are studio-based, so I'm not quite sure how they're going to work out," she said.

Geisler said he has friends at other universities that have taken the same measures in the face of COVID-19, so this wasn't a surprise. Hainsworth understands why the U of U would be taking this step.

"I actually really respect the University for taking such a big step," she said. "I think this is more of a proactive measure, rather than a reactive measure."

The University of Utah explained to Fox 13 they will confirm the decision in conjunction with an expected announcement from Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox relating to COVID-19 and higher education in Utah, at the State Capitol Thursday, March 12 at 9 a.m.

This announcement follows the news of SLC Mayor Erin Mendenhall declaring a local emergency over COVID-19 and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announcing that General Conference in April will be 'technology only.'