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USHE releases COVID-19 testing plan for Utah colleges

Testing plan to commence January 2021

The Utah System of Higher Education released its COVID-19 Intensive Testing Plan today in accordance with the state’s most recent Public Health Order, 2020-27 Updated Statewide COVID-19 Restrictions, replacing the previous requirement to test students every 14 days. The updated health order and accompanying plan ensure flexibility for colleges and universities while using a more efficient testing model to mitigate virus spread among college students.

“We worked closely with state public health leaders and those at Utah’s colleges and universities to develop a more refined approach to testing that requires fewer tests and greater flexibility for our institutions to focus on areas that will have the greatest impact,” said Dave R. Woolstenhulme, USHE Commissioner of Higher Education. “We are building on what we learned this past fall and are confident these steps will help keep our entire higher education community safe over the coming months. It’s important we stay vigilant in our efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 as we return for a new semester.”

Within the intensive testing plan, each public technical and degree-granting institution, as well as any private institution with more than 10,000 students, is required to implement a multi-layered testing strategy that involves continued symptomatic testing, initial testing for on-campus residents and students who attends class in-person, randomized surveillance testing, close-contact testing and focused hot-spot testing. 

The Utah Department of Health will monitor the number of tests performed by the institutions to ensure accurate distribution of tests. The institutions will report all test results through the designated UDOH reporting system.

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The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) is governed by the Utah Board of Higher Education and is comprised of Utah’s sixteen public colleges and universities. The CEO of USHE is the Commissioner of Higher Education. For more information, visit ushe.edu.