BYU to resume in-person classes this fall, with several adjustments

Brigham Young University announced plans Tuesday, June 23, to return to in-person classes for the fall 2020 semester. 

In a message posted on the Church-owned school’s website, BYU President Kevin J Worthen shared details of the anticipated return to the Provo, Utah, campus after months of campus-wide on-line instruction prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to return to in-person study, he noted, “is subject to change depending on trends in disease prevalence and guidance from state and local governments.”

The fall semester at BYU will involve a wide range of adjustments, including:

  • A phased return of students to BYU on-campus housing.
  • Hybrid classes that combine in-person and remote learning.
  • Expanded number of BYU Online courses.
  • COVID-19 testing for sick individuals and some testing of asymptomatic individuals.
  • Contact tracing in partnership with the Utah County Health Department.
  • Phased approach for reintroducing activities and events.
  • Required use of face coverings by students, faculty, staff and visitors.
  • A shift to remote instruction and exams after Thanksgiving.

More detailed updates will be released prior to the start of the fall semester.

Earlier this month, BYU-Hawaii announced its fall semester courses will be online only. Meanwhile, some students will return this fall to the Salt Lake City campus of LDS Business College (soon to be renamed Ensign College), which will offer a hybrid format.

BYU-Idaho continues its study options. Decisions are expected by the end of June or early July, a university spokesperson said.

Everyone connected to the BYU campus will “have to play [a] part” in order for the planned return to in-person instruction to succeed, noted President Worthen:

“The BYU mission statement says that all relationships within the BYU community should reflect ‘a loving, genuine concern for the welfare of our neighbor.’ Certainly that can be our motivation for wearing a face covering, washing our hands often, and staying home when we’re sick. 

“We can react with empathy when someone we know tests positive for COVID-19. We can fight the virus of contempt with kindness even as we debate how to best respond as a society to the pandemic.”

The school president also thanked the BYU faculty, staff and student body for their “innovation and determination” following the shift to remote coursework earlier this year.

“The swift action helped slow the pandemic’s immediate impact on our campus community and allowed us to move forward as a university.”

Last March, President Worthen spoke with the Church News about the school’s ongoing commitment to remain a “covenant community” even as the pandemic forced BYU students to disperse across the globe.

“When this concludes, we will have learned things that you can do remotely,” said President Worthen at the time. “But I remain convinced that there is still a reason for gathering here in Provo, and I look forward to that day. But we can maintain our community through the means that are provided for us, to the extent that we can, right now.”