COVID-19 classroom monitoring update

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On Jan. 20 Utah Valley University released an announcement via email regarding the process of COVID-19 classroom monitoring. The announcement noted that at-home testing and public/private testing has affected the accuracy of the number of cases across campus.

Wayne Vaught, provost senior vice president of academic affairs, Robin Ebmeyer, director of emergency management and safety and Sue Jackson, resident epidemiologist are hopeful that they will see case numbers drop. They trust in the ability of faculty and supervisors across campus, and believe they will make the right decisions to safeguard the health of those they are entrusted with leading and teaching.

In reference to classroom testing procedures, the announcement stated, “monitoring was implemented to help identify hot spots and assist in determining when we should transition a course to remote delivery.” However, due to the inconsistencies in at-home tests and public or private testing, they now have “an incomplete picture of infection rates,” claiming the information “is no longer helpful in managing the spread of the virus.”

As a result of  outside and at-home testing, the number of cases on campus may not reflect reality, and it is difficult to know how inaccurate those counts are. “Due to limited COVID-19 testing supplies statewide, we are temporarily suspending the COVID-19 classroom monitoring process,” said the announcement. 

Following this claim, Vaught, Ebmeyer and Jackson noted that, “Under the current circumstances, each department and course must be treated on a case-by-case basis.” This means that department chairs and supervisors will be working with faculty and staff to make the appropriate decisions, which may include temporarily moving to an online format. 

Vaught, Ebmeyer, and Jackson remind us that UVU has vaccinations and booster shots and for those who are symptomatic, or if required for course attendance, COVID-19 testing is available on campus. For students, faculty and staff who are asymptomatic, there are now free at-home test kits.

Vaught, Ebmeyer, and Jackson expressed their appreciation for all that the UVU community has done thus far and they look forward to a productive semester.