BYU-Hawaii, LDS Business College make different plans for fall semester; BYU, BYU-Idaho weigh options
Fall semester courses will be online only at BYU-Hawaii. Meanwhile, some students will return to the Salt Lake City campus of LDS Business College.
PROVO — The four Latter-day Saint colleges and universities will differ in the way they handle the coronavirus pandemic this fall.
Fall semester courses will be online only at BYU-Hawaii, the school announced Wednesday. Meanwhile, some students will return to the Salt Lake City campus of LDS Business College, which said Thursday it will offer a hybrid format.
BYU and BYU-Idaho continue to study their options. Decisions are expected by the end of June or early July, university spokespersons said.
The schools owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been as cautious about reopening as the church has about returning to services. In some cases, the two are tied together even more closely. For example, BYU’s campus remains closed not only to students but to Young Single Adult wards that hold their worship services there on Sundays.
“We recognize that this news may be disappointing to those who have anticipated joining us on campus this fall,” BYU-Hawaii’s news release said. “The administration, staff, and faculty of BYU–Hawaii share that disappointment and look forward to the day when we can safely gather face-to-face.”
The decision was based on concerns about travel restrictions and housing limitations caused by physical distancing guidelines, among other issues.
Hawaii has reported 685 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 17 deaths.
Utah has been seeing that many cases every two or three days, though it also has been among the most successful states at restricting the pandemic’s spread. The state now has had 13,252 confirmed cases of the disease caused by the 2019 coronavirus and 131 deaths.
LDS Business College, which will be renamed Ensign College on Sept. 1, will offer students multiple options. They can choose to register for remote, online-only courses. Or they can select hybrid courses.
“Students in hybrid courses will alternate days on campus with remote attendance to help minimize congestion on campus. Smaller class sizes will allow for appropriate social distancing in physical classrooms. It is estimated that a maximum of 20% of the student body will be on campus at any given time,” a college news release said.
Each class will be capped at 25 students. The school plans to continue to livestream weekly devotionals until pandemic restrictions ease further.
The college will maintain state and local hygiene protocols, including 6-foot physical distancing. Face masks and hand sanitizer will be available.
LDS Business College has had two cases of COVID-19 among its students, faculty and staff, spokesman Royce Hinton said.
LDS Business College’s fall plans could change.
The school “will be prepared and willing to revert all on-campus classes to remote-only instruction should government guidelines change in response to a resurgence of the virus at any point during the semester,” the news release said.
Several Utah public universities plan to have students return to campus in the fall with hybrid-style courses, such as the University of Utah, Utah Valley University, Southern Utah University and Utah State University.
BYU cited uncertain coronavirus conditions in Provo as a reason its decision might linger until July. The university has counted 11 cases of COVID-19 among its students, faculty and staff as of Monday.
Idaho is in its third stage of reopening, a stage scheduled to end on Friday. BYU-Idaho will not open its building during the third stage. With university approval, limited gatherings of 10 to 50 people may happen on a case-by-case basis with physical distancing and other precautions.
Idaho has had 3,260 cases of COVID-19 with 128 deaths.