Dec. 31, 2021
I hope this email finds you and your family healthy and safe during this difficult time. I want to update the CU Boulder community on the impacts of the historic Marshall Fire in Boulder County as it pertains to our students, faculty and staff. While the fires may be extinguished, the long road of recovery and healing in many local neighborhoods is just beginning.
As we near the start of the semester, we ask our campus community to act with compassion. Several hundred CU Boulder faculty, staff and students live in the evacuation areas and have not been able to return to their homes yet. They may not know if their homes are still standing.
As this recovery begins, we have decided to begin the spring term on Monday, Jan. 10, with fully remote instruction for the first two weeks of the semester. By delaying our in-person return until Jan. 24, we are doing our part to support the community. Because of the impacts of the fires, in combination with concerns about the COVID-19 omicron variant, the broader Boulder area is not in a position to welcome back thousands of students over the next week. The remote start will allow us to provide the support needed to our impacted students, faculty and staff. It will also help us provide resources in support of communitywide recovery efforts.
Research and creative work will continue as usual in accordance with masking and social distancing requirements. We encourage faculty and research staff to be flexible with accommodating researchers and graduate students during this time.
On- and off-campus housing and student fees
Residence halls will remain closed until Jan. 21. We will reduce room and board rates and pro-rate other fees to account for the two weeks of remote instruction and operations. We recognize some students, who may have been impacted by the fire or are experiencing other unique circumstances, may need on-campus housing sooner, and they should email University Housing. Students living in our residence halls will receive additional information shortly.
In order to further support our community during this time, students living in off-campus housing are strongly encouraged to delay their return to the Boulder area until Jan. 21, in advance of the start of in-person classes.
Academic and work accommodations
Employees impacted by the fire who need work accommodations as the semester begins should contact their supervisors. Students impacted by the fire who need academic support should contact their instructors directly and—for further assistance—Student Support and Case Management. Faculty should conduct their teaching, research and creative work remotely unless they need to be on campus for these activities.
Staff are also encouraged to work remotely during this time unless their presence on campus is necessary to help support continuity of operations, which should be determined in consultation with their supervisors.
We recognize that this disaster comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant. The Boulder community has reported a very sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in the past week and the surge is likely to continue into January. Our Scientific Steering Committee and our campus Public Health Office continue to meet frequently to assess specific conditions on our campus, in the Boulder community and statewide to make recommendations to campus leadership. We strongly encourage everyone to get a COVID-19 booster shot and will update our campus community in early January about any new vaccination requirements.
For anyone in our community affected by this disaster, please know that CU Boulder stands with you. We have launched a new webpage where you can access resources to navigate this crisis in the days and weeks ahead.
This year has been a challenge for us all in so many ways. As we turn our attention to the coming year, I wish the best for all the Buffs here in Boulder and beyond in 2022. Please take care of yourselves and each other.