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AM News Brief: Navajo Nation COVID-19 Restrictions, Birds And Wildfires & USU Cancels Spring Break

Photo of campus.
Courtesy Utah State University
Utah State University has canceled spring break in an effort to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 because of travel. This story and more in the Wednesday morning news brief.

Wednesday morning, September 23, 2020


Businesses And Climate Change

As the economy suffers through the coronavirus pandemic, one way businesses can become more resilient is by reducing their environmental impact, according to a recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Utah companies are taking note. Twenty-nine organizations in the state recently pledged to measure and improve their environmental impacts. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Northern Utah

USU Cancels Spring Break

Utah State University has canceled spring break in an effort to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 because of travel. It was originally on the calendar for March 8-12. Instead, the spring 2021 semester will begin a week later than planned. Classes will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 19. In a statement, Frank Galey, USU’s executive vice president and provost, commended students and faculty for “gracefully adapting” to changes — and said the university must “continue to be diligent” into 2021. — Elaine Clark

Provo, Orem Color Shift

Wednesday at midnight Provo and Orem will move from the yellow, low risk phase of pandemic guidelines to the orange, moderate risk phase. The two cities are the driving force behind the recent spike in cases in Utah County. Governor Gary Herbert said the state is taking a surgical approach to tightening restrictions by addressing the outbreaks there. Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi said it’s disappointing the city is moving backwards in their pandemic response but she hopes it’ll serve as a rallying cry for residents. Also effective tonight, Rich County will move to the green, new normal phase. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.


Megafires And Migratory Birds

Large numbers of migratory birds have reportedly dropped dead across the West including in the Rocky Mountain region. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes New Mexico and Colorado bird deaths were part of something natural that happens from time to time: a severe cold front. But there are concerns that mega wildfires are also playing a role, though more research is needed. To report a dead bird sighting, go to — Madelyn Beck

Navajo Nation Reissues Stay-At-Home Orders

The Navajo Nation is implementing strong restrictions as it looks into new clusters of coronavirus cases. The Navajo Department of Health re-issued a stay-at-home order and a 57-hour weekend lockdown that starts Friday night. Navajo President Jonathan Nez said new clusters are connected to family gatherings and that health officials have tracked the COVID-19 cases to travel off the reservation. The most recent report from the Navajo Department of Health indicates nine new cases and no recent deaths associated with the coronavirus. — Diane Maggipinto

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