Oct. 7, 2020
Dear students, faculty and staff,
I am writing today with some encouraging news.
As you know, CU Boulder shifted to temporary remote course instruction, effective Wednesday, Sept. 23. The following day, Boulder County Public Health issued a public health order to prohibit gatherings for individuals aged 18 to 22 years old in Boulder, and placed the residents of specific off-campus properties under a mandatory stay-at-home order for 14 days.
During this time, our students have done an amazing job. We have seen a significant decrease in our number of positive cases through our on-campus diagnostic and monitoring tests, and a significant decrease in positive cases in Boulder County. Violations in the residence halls are down, and we are not aware of any summons from this past weekend for students hosting large gatherings on University Hill. I encourage our students—and everyone in our community—to keep up the good work and to keep these trends moving in the right direction.
With sincere gratitude for the outstanding work of our student body, we will transition from our temporary remote teaching mode and resume in-person/hybrid teaching on Wednesday, Oct. 14. We expect most classes to fully return to their original fall 2020 instructional modes by this date, with exceptions based on specific public health requirements and individual faculty requests, subject to department chair and dean approvals.
Students can begin checking with their instructors this week for specific guidance on when and how to transition back to in-person learning experiences (for courses that originally were in person, or included in-person components). Faculty and students should communicate with each other about expectations and preparations for returning to in-person learning. Faculty should consult with their department chairs and/or deans to resolve logistical challenges associated with the transition back to on-campus teaching activities.
Additionally, thanks to your actions, Boulder County Public Health has announced a new public health order today that initiates a “step-down” approach for gatherings of 18- to 22-year-olds in Boulder. There will be four status levels, depending on county COVID-19 metrics, ranging from no gatherings at all to gatherings of six individuals. Students aged 18 to 22 years old should continue to abide by all current COVID-19 orders limiting gatherings to no more than two people through at least Tuesday, Oct. 13. At that point, Boulder County Public Health will make a determination on adjusting those restrictions, and if the CU community continues to keep the numbers of COVID-19 cases down, students will begin to see greater opportunities for in-person social interactions. We know this has been a difficult period, but we’re making progress and need our students to continue engaging in the right behaviors to keep infections down.
Our students’ ability to have in-person social interactions also depends upon their continued participation in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. All students who temporarily returned home during the past two weeks are strongly encouraged to get tested prior to returning or complete a monitoring test when they return. On-campus students will continue weekly COVID-19 monitoring testing under the protocols that have existed through the course of the semester.
We also need to demonstrate to Boulder County Public Health that we are providing testing for our off-campus students. We have expanded testing to accommodate 3,000 off-campus students, faculty and staff for testing each week. Up to 450 people can be tested each day at the University Memorial Center and 150 people can be tested each day at the Sustainability, Energy & Environment Community building on campus. I encourage our off-campus students, faculty and staff to get tested and help us detect COVID-19 cases early.
We also need students to participate in contact tracing. Not only is this required by the public health order, it is one of the best methods we have of protecting the campus and the community. Students will not be penalized in any way for engaging in contact tracing.
As for the 38 residential properties affected by the county’s stay-at-home order, they can emerge from previous health restrictions by instituting certain measures. More information is available here.
The decision to move back to our hybrid instructional model was made together with Boulder County Public Health based on a variety of factors, including our expanded testing and our progress in bending the curve. I am grateful for the actions you are taking to keep your neighbors healthy and for your resilience and support for each other. You have done a great job in containing the outbreak. If you keep following the guidelines, we can build on this momentum heading into the second half of the semester and beyond.
Please continue to take care of yourselves, and thank you for everything you are doing for the health and safety of our community. For questions and the latest guidance, you can visit our COVID-19 website.