June 12, 2020
Dear faculty, staff and students:
Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) today announced 17 recent positive cases of COVID-19 in our community, many involving CU Boulder students. According to disease investigators, some cases are related to parties that occurred in the University Hill area from May 25 to June 4. Other cases are related to a protest march in Boulder on June 5, the virus spreading among roommates, individuals who recently traveled and other reasons.
First, we ask that any CU Boulder community members with connections to the identified events review guidance from BCPH. Students can utilize campus Medical Services at Wardenburg Health Center to get tested or contact their primary care physician. Services through Wardenburg Health Center are confidential.
Second, these positive cases demonstrate the vital importance of every one of us following public health guidance. Noncompliance has serious consequences and places our entire community and our ability to deliver our educational mission at risk.
Our university is doing its part to enable students to return to campus this fall. We will have testing. We will have contact tracing. We will have personal protective equipment. We are making our classrooms, facilities and residence halls as safe as possible. Our faculty and staff have been working around the clock to update our courses and instructional approaches to enable students safely back on campus.
This concentration of cases could have likely been prevented if those involved — particularly those hosting and attending parties — had followed public health orders. We all need to live up to our responsibilities, as some students are putting their own health and their own and other students’ on-campus educational opportunities in jeopardy by engaging in behaviors that imperil the health and safety of our entire community. We are prioritizing the health and safety of our campus and the community. We will not stand idly by if students are unable or unwilling to meet their obligations. This includes educating students, referring those who may have violated public health orders and university policies to a student conduct process and working with local public health officials to ensure that our campus and community's health is not compromised by the actions of a few.
We acknowledge the reality that living with COVID-19 means there will be positive cases, which is why we have a detailed plan to mitigate the risks. During March, April and May, our campus increased communications with students about why and how to comply with state, county and city orders. We will continue to step up these communications and other measures throughout the summer and fall, including:
- Instructing campus community members that they must follow all public health orders, including strict limits for any public or private gatherings
- Updating the Student Code of Conduct to reflect the necessity for behaviors that promote health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. This applies on and off campus and will include educational efforts and appropriate sanctions for non-compliance with public health orders.
- Adopting mandatory training for students, faculty and staff that includes instruction on physical distancing, wearing face coverings, hand hygiene and sanitation.
- Collaborating with BCPH, the City of Boulder and others to comprehensively address how a combination of increased public education and direct outreach, along with enforcement measures, can combine to influence the choices made in our community.
- Working with students, faculty and staff who become infected or exposed to engage in contact tracing to prevent the further spread of the virus.
This plan will only work and we will only be able to stay safe this summer and successfully return to campus this fall if every member of our community fully embraces their individual responsibilities to keep themselves and others healthy.
We must all do our part to respect each other and keep each other safe. We must not endanger each other with behaviors that do not live up to the values of our Colorado Creed.
CU Boulder will do its part. We ask each person in our community to do theirs.