BYU Encourages Students to Return Home, Finish Classes Remotely and More CES Updates

by | Mar. 12, 2020

► Related content: The Church and Coronavirus: A Timeline of News Releases and Media Coverage

This story was last updated March 13, 2020 at 3:57 p.m MDT.

Church-owned schools have made several updates for students regarding the coronavirus.


Classes on March 13, 16, and 17 are canceled on BYU’s campus in Provo, Utah. Courses will also be canceled at BYU's Salt Lake Center, BYU–Idaho's campus in Rexburg, Idaho, and BYU–Hawaii's campus in Laie, Hawaii, during those same dates. LDS Business College in Salt Lake City, Utah, will cancel classes March 16–17. On March 18, classes will resume remotely for all five campuses. 

Lab courses and classes which are performance-based at BYU, BYU–Idaho, BYU–Hawaii, and LDS Business College may not be able to meet off-site. Exceptions will be communicated to students via college deans, departments, or instructors.

Housing Information

The update encouraged BYU students to return home for the remainder of Winter semester and to finish their coursework online.

“We recognize individual circumstances may not allow this,” the BYU statement reads. “Services and on-campus housing will continue to be available for those who choose to remain.”

According to BYU-Idaho's website, students may remain in the Rexburg area or return home for the remainder of the semester. Campus services, small-group activities, and approved student housing will remain available to those who stay.

LDSBC's website reads, "students have the choice to remain in the greater Salt Lake City area or return home for the balance of the semester. For students who choose to stay, campus services will continue to be available."

Students attending BYU–Hawaii who wish to stay in the area may do so, while those who choose to go off-island may finish their coursework remotely. Services, small-group activities, and approved student housing will be available for those who wish to remain, according to BYU–Hawaii's website.

Additional BYU Information

Additional changes were announced on Wednesday, March 11. According to the announcement, large gatherings on campus have been canceled. These gatherings include commencement, convocation, devotionals, and forums. However, individual colleges may choose to stream convocations. Devotionals and forums will continue to be streamed at 11:05 through BYUtv each week.

Other recent changes include:

  • • Study abroad programs: canceled for Spring semester
  • • Athletic events: immediately suspended
  • • Public events: lectures, performances, and concerts suspended until further notice
  • • Women’s conference will not be held April 30-May 1, though streaming options are being considered
  • • Employee travel: suspended until further notice

BYU has also encouraged students and part-time and full-time employees to work from home.

Read the full announcement and find frequently asked questions at byu.edu.

Additional LDSBC Information

  • • Commencement: Canceled, though a modified graduation ceremony will be broadcast, with details to be provided at a later date
  • • Devotionals: Broadcast each Tuesday 

Read the full announcement at ldsbc.edu.

Additional BYU-Hawaii Information

Devotionals will be held remotely for the remainder of Winter semester. Students will not be able to gather in the George Q. Cannon Activities Center, but will be able to watch the devotional on BYU–Hawaii's devotional website.

Events, gatherings, public lectures, performances, concerts, and conferences will be canceled until further notice. Winter 2020 Commencement and Culture Night will not be held, and graduates may direct their questions to the Office of the Registrar. Additionally, university-sponsored domestic and international travel is currently being suspended until further notice.

Read the full announcement at byuh.edu.

Polynesian Cultural Center Information

Given that many employees are students of BYU-Hawaii, the Polynesian Cultural Center will also close temporarily.

“We know this is disappointing news and ask for everyone’s understanding," said president and CEO Alfred Grace in a press release. "The decision to close was made to help protect the health and safety of our guests and employees."

The Polynesian Cultural Center both entertains and educates approximately 1.3 million guests each year about the culture, arts and crafts, and traditions of Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, and Aotearoa (New Zealand). 

Guests who have purchased a ticket through the cultural center will receive a full refund or be rescheduled to a date of their choosing. However, customers who purchased tickets through an outside vendor will need to receive a refund directly from them. 

The center also announced that its special upcoming events, the 2nd annual AgDay on March 23, and the 28th annual World Fireknife Championship, held on May 6-9, are canceled for this year. The Hukilau Marketplace will remain open during the closure period.

Read more information about the Polynesian Cultural Center at polynesia.com.

BYU-Pathway Worldwide Information

All PathwayConnect gatherings scheduled for Thursday, March 12, and Friday, March 13, are canceled. Groups that meet via Zoom should continue to do so for the remainder of the semester, and all students should continue their coursework online. More information will be provided in the coming days regarding gatherings for the rest of this semester.

Read the full announcement at byupathway.org

Featured image by Nate Edwards, BYU
Danielle christensen

Danielle Christensen

Danielle is a features writer and editor for LDS Living. Previously, she served as web producer for Church News, where she managed their website and social media platforms. Danielle is a graduate of Brigham Young University in English and has been published with Deseret NewsChurch NewsBYU Magazine, and Spires Intercollegiate Arts and Literary Magazine.

Comments and feedback can be sent to feedback@ldsliving.com