March 16, 2020
Dear CU Boulder Students, Faculty and Staff,
As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop quickly, I want to assure you that the health and safety of all of our community members is our top priority. I realize things have changed quickly and it’s unsettling for everyone. As this public health outbreak evolves, we as a campus community and each of us as individuals, must evolve with it.
I am writing today to update you on further actions the campus is taking to help slow the spread of this public health threat. While the campus remains open, we believe it is necessary to continue to reduce our daily operations because we know that fewer people on campus reduces the risk for everyone. None of our decisions have been made lightly. For the health and safety of all, today we are taking the following additional actions:
- Go Home If You Can: Based on the latest guidance from public health officials to reduce the total number of people on campus, effective immediately we are asking residential students to begin the process of checking out of the residence halls and moving back to their permanent homes. Our Housing and Dining Services will be sharing additional details this afternoon in a follow up communication, including a process for those who are unable to leave campus to stay in the residence halls, guidance on how we will continue to provide services for those who do need to stay on campus, and information regarding the proration of room and board fees for residents who are leaving campus this week.
- Employee Operations: Additionally, today our Department of Human Resources will complete its collection from campus units lists of all critical services employees and begin the rapid transition of all non-critical employees to remote working by Wednesday, March 18. Critical services employees are those individuals who perform activities and tasks that must be done on campus and cannot be deferred during an emergency. Their work includes public safety; housing, dining and health services; maintaining on-campus technology, infrastructure and transportation service; protecting the integrity of our research; and supporting the core functions of our academic mission. Human Resources will be following up with HR liaisons and supervisors with additional details regarding who is and is not a critical services employee and remote working expectations, including rules governing the use of paid administrative leave for those who are unable to perform all of their job functions remotely. The university continues to evaluate access to buildings. Additional changes will be communicated through building proctors.
- Research: Our Research & Innovation Office is working with our research institutes, colleges and schools, and laboratories to identify critical laboratory operations and staff, and suspend all non-essential research activities on campus. By the end of Wednesday, all labs will be closing except for where there would be a critical risk of disruption, catastrophic loss, or animal negligence. Exceptions beyond this requirement must be approved by the dean or institute director and the vice chancellor for research and innovation. Access to research spaces will be limited to individuals who have been identified as critical to those operations. More details will be coming directly to the research community from Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation Terri Fiez and at www.colorado.edu/rio.
- Rec Center Closure: To minimize health and safety risks to CU Boulder students, employees and the larger community, the CU Boulder Recreation Center has suspended operations. If you need to retrieve items from your locker you may do so until 6 p.m. today (Monday, March 16). You must have a Buff OneCard or a membership to gain access to the Recreation Center. It will reopen at a to-be-determined date.
- Exams: For those in instructional roles, please be flexible about exams, quizzes or graded assignments that are scheduled to take place or be due during the remainder of this week. Either postpone exams, quizzes and graded-assignment due dates until after spring break; or continue with the scheduled dates, but offer all students the option to take a makeup exam or quiz or turn in their graded assignments after spring break. The provost will follow up with a message later today.
As I shared late last week, we have switched to remote teaching and learning for the remainder of the semester, canceled nearly all events and instituted remote working for employees who can work off campus. I realize this is a lot to absorb in a short time, but quick decisions and reasonable precautions are of the essence in the days and weeks before us.
We couldn’t have a better campus team handling the pandemic. I’m optimistic we’ll weather this successfully, together, as a community.
Everything we are doing is for the health and safety of our campus community members and their families, and for the greater good of the Boulder community, the state of Colorado and beyond.
Please stay current on all campus updates at colorado.edu/coronavirus.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult and challenging time for everyone.