COVID-19, the virus responsible for the current global pandemic, is a highly contagious and potentially lethal virus. Current research suggests that the virus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. However, the full extent of how the virus transmits is unknown. Community spread of COVID-19 is occurring nationally, including in Salt Lake County, Utah, meaning the virus is spreading through the community in a way that cannot be attributed to travel to a specific location or exposure to a person known to be infected. In addition, many people who contract the virus may be asymptomatic and unknowingly spreading the virus. There is no vaccine currently available for the virus. There is no known treatment for all the adverse effects attributed to COVID-19.

Westminster University is planning for 2020 fall semester classes to begin on campus August 19 and finishing online after Thanksgiving (when there would be just one more week of classes). Westminster will offer a full array of in-person, online, and hybrid courses so that all students can engage in our rich and diverse curriculum while making progress toward their degrees. Food services and residence halls will be organized with safety in mind, as will our classrooms and co-curricular activities, and we expect to offer our athletes on-campus programs. Finally, regardless of the learning environment for fall 2020, the tuition and fees will be the same. The tuition and fees you provide are in exchange for learning, academic credit, and certain non-academic services that will be provided whether in-person, in a hybrid environment, or entirely remotely.

Assumption of Risk

The college is engaged in numerous efforts to reduce—as much as possible—the risk of COVID-19 infection on campus. The college is following directions and best practices articulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and other applicable federal, state, and local governmental authorities. Efforts include increased cleaning, implementation of mask-wearing protocols, social distancing measures, and other recommended mitigation strategies. The CDC website and the college's coronavirus resource page contains all current recommendations for this evolving situation. If you want additional information on the college’s mitigation strategies, please contact the Director of Campus Safety.

Despite the college's best efforts, it is impossible to eliminate the risk of positive cases or an outbreak on our campus. We cannot guarantee that people present on our campus will not be exposed to and become infected with COVID-19. There is a risk of infection in and from many different places away from the campus and in many different ways, and even if the college follows the practices recommended by CDC, OSHA, and other recognized authorities, there is still a chance that community members may become infected. The risk of exposure and possible infection is real and present in any community environment where large numbers of people are regularly interacting, including college campuses. By enrolling in courses for the 2020-2021 academic year, you are acknowledging the risk of COVID-19 infection on campus and agreeing to share in the responsibility to follow all College and health-authority-recommended practices.

Shared Responsibility

Taking steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus is a shared responsibility. Every member of our community—including you—must do their part. There is an expectation that you will comply with the following health-authority-recommended practices—not only to ensure your own well-being but the well-being of others:

  • Engage in social distancing. Keep distance from others outside your household (about 6 feet).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and do not come to campus if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Wear a face covering when in shared indoor spaces (including the resident halls) and in outdoor areas where maintaining social distance may be difficult.
  • Perform daily symptom checking and participate in contact tracing as requested by the college.
  • Monitor temperature for a fever above 100.3 degrees F (38 degrees C).

It is the responsibility of all members of the campus community to stayed informed about and comply with the college's COVID-19 Guidance. Failure to comply with these expectations and other COVID-19 guidance may result in sanctions and corrective actions up to and including expulsion as set forth in the Student Code of Conduct.

Please know that we are continuously monitoring daily updated guidance and information to determine appropriate action and we will be keeping you informed about any developments. Please know that you are responsible for reading all emails and/or Westminster University communications addressing COVID-19 and additional steps we will be taking to address this rapidly evolving situation.