The University of Utah shifts to two weeks of online-only classes ahead of VP debate

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) — The University of Utah is shifting to two-week online-only learning and services in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 before the Vice Presidential debate scheduled at the university.

According to school officials, students will start the two-week online-only learning on Sept. 27 and will run through Oct. 11, the debate is scheduled for Oct. 7, 2020.

The school is calling the shift a “semester circuit breaker.”

“The idea of a ‘circuit breaker’ was based on models developed by University of Utah Health experts with the goal of creating a pause in the middle of the semester to help reduce the number of COVID-19 infections.  The university was already scheduled to shift to online coursework around the vice presidential debate and decided to extend online-only classes for an extra week to help reduce possible COVID-19 infections on campus,” as stated in a press release from the university.

The following was released by the University of Utah addressing what students and staff need to know about access to campus during the circuit breaker:

  • University employees who can work from home during this two-week period should do so. This excludes University of Utah Health employees, mandatory reporting employees (check with your immediate supervisor on your status), and employees in Housing & Residential Education (HRE). Research personnel are asked to minimize their time on campus as much as possible and use campus facilities only for work that can’t be done remotely.
  • All buildings (except those run by HRE, the Union Building, and U of U Health clinical facilities) will be locked throughout the circuit breaker and only accessible to those with ID cards or building keys. 
  • Buildings located inside the secured Vice Presidential Debate perimeter will be locked down from 8 p.m. on Oct. 6 through Oct. 7. Researchers needing access to specific buildings in this area have been identified by the Office of the Vice President for Research and only staff who have been vetted and credentialed will have access to them. 
  • The Union building will remain open for students, staff, and faculty only (university ID required) during this two-week period with additional restrictions on access Monday, Oct. 5. through Wednesday, Oct. 7.
  • The Marriott Library will be closed during the circuit breaker period. 

Learn more about the Circuit Breaker.

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