BYU fall semester to feature full-capacity classes, no masks

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PROVO, Utah (ABC4) – Brigham Young University’s fall semester will operate like a normal fall semester with full-capacity classrooms and the dropping of mask and physical distancing requirements.

Officials announced the update Monday, saying the decision comes in response to a downward trend in COVID-19 infections and an increased number of vaccinations within the campus community.

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The vast majority of courses will now be offered in-person, with full-capacity classrooms. This comes after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed students to virtual learning.

BYU officials say they will evaluate how that virtual learning may have improved some elements of courses and curricula, with the “hopes to incorporate the best of those changes as it prepares for a more traditional fall semester.”

In addition to classes largely returning to normal, masks and physical distancing will not be required during the fall semester. Officials say this decision could change depending on trends in COVID-19 prevalence and guidance from state and local governments. Those on campus may choose to wear a mask in any setting.

“We anticipate the full richness of a typical fall semester filled with opportunities for academic, social and ecclesiastical gathering,” says BYU Academic Vice President Shane Reese. “We’re grateful for the resilience, creativity and fortitude of our students, faculty and staff as they’ve adapted and overcome the higher education challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are very much looking forward to gathering together again on campus this fall.”

BYU recently announced plans to return to full capacity at LaVell Edwards Stadium ahead of the 2021 fall football season. Tailgating is also expected to return this fall, in addition to other fan activities.

In Salt Lake City, the University of Utah has announced masks will no longer be required for fully vaccinated people on the school’s campus after May 24. Weber State University has also announced masks will no longer be required for fully vaccinated people on their campus.

Utah lawmakers recently passed a bill, which Governor Spencer Cox signed into law, prohibiting colleges and universities from requiring students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend in-person classes, unless they allow students to opt out for medical or personal reasons.

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