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BYU's fall semester will be traditional, with in-person classes, no masks


(Jaren Wilkey, BYU)

PROVO — Brigham Young University's fall 2021 semester will essentially look the same as a normal, pre-COVID-19 pandemic semester on campus, the university announced Monday.

The majority of classes at BYU will be offered this fall in-person, with classrooms at full capacity, the university said in a news release. Masks and social distancing won't be required.

Since vaccinations are increasing in the community and the prevalence of COVID-19 infections is going down, university officials made the decision to make the fall 2021 semester a traditional one.

"We anticipate the full richness of a typical fall semester filled with opportunities for academic, social and ecclesiastical gathering," BYU Academic Vice President Shane Reese said in a statement. "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."

The fall semester starts Aug. 30.

BYU's decision not to require masks and social distancing in the fall may change depending on disease trends and guidance from state and local governments, the university said. People on campus can still choose to wear masks in any setting.

University officials will also be evaluating virtual learning to see how it has improved some of BYU's courses, the release said. University officials will be looking for ways to implement virtual learning elements during the school's traditional fall semester.

"We are very much looking forward to gathering together again on campus this fall," Reese said.

As of Monday, about 45% of the total Utah population has received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and about 37% of all Utahns are fully vaccinated, according to Utah Department of Health data.

In Utah County, the average case rate per 100,000 people is reported at about 122 over the last two weeks, according to the health department. That is considered a high rate of spread, but is still lower than Utah's overall state case rate per 100,000 people, which is reported at 129 over the last two weeks, according to the health department.


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