Updated 9/24/2020

As of 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23, CU Boulder shifted to remote course instruction for at least two weeks.

Additionally, effective as of 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, is a Boulder County Public Health order that places the residents of 36 specific off-campus properties under a mandatory stay-at-home order for 14 days. Also for a 14-day period, the public health order prohibits gatherings of any size among residents of Boulder who are between the ages of 18 and 22 years.

Details of what this all means for CU Boulder students, faculty and staff are below. Campus officials will continue to update this webpage as details emerge.

On this page:

Reasons for These Shifts

  • The public health order aims to further reduce new cases of COVID-19, particularly among 18- to 22-year-old CU Boulder students–the population that represents the greatest number of residents testing positive.
  • Our cases of COVID-19 are not dropping quickly enough, and additional actions are necessary as we continue with temporary remote instruction

Boulder County Public Health Order 2020-07: 

  • Boulder County frequently asked questions are available regarding the order issued on Thursday, Sept. 24, effective at 4 p.m. for a period of 14 days.
  • The order prohibits gatherings of any size within the city of Boulder that include any persons between the ages of 18 and 22 years. Unless otherwise permitted by the order, a gathering is two or more people between 18 and 22 years old engaging in any activity outside of their residence.  
  • The order also implements a mandatory stay-at-home order for CU Boulder students living in specific collegiate group homes, like fraternities and sororities, and residences with documented histories of public health order violations.
  • The BCPH website includes full details of the order and a list of the 36 addresses subject to the stay-at-home requirements.


  • All undergraduate and graduate classes are temporarily being taught remotely as of Wednesday, Sept. 23.  
  • Labs, studio and performance classes are also remote, unless approved by the appropriate college or school dean for an on-campus format.
  • Courses already designated as remote or online are continuing in their regular formats.
  • Remote instruction FAQs for faculty and instructors are available on the Academic Affairs website. The Sept. 21 provost's letter also provides information for instructional personnel. 
  • Students who wish to change from in-person or hybrid in-person classes to remote learning should contact their instructors and their advisors.
  • Resources and services for academic help are available.
  • Remote learning tips and resources for students are available.
  • The Office of Information Technology’s COVID-19 Resources webpage provides resources, guidance, and links to services and support to make remote teaching, learning and working easier.
  • The Writing Center is open to the campus community.
  • University Libraries resources and services continue to remain open:
    • Check out books and other library materials using the contactless pickup service. Some materials are available only electronically via HathiTrust.
    • Librarians are ready to help with research and coursework. Reach out using Ask a Librarian, providing live help on Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and during weekends from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Loaner laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots are available at no cost to students with demonstrated financial need. Please ask a faculty or staff member to complete this form on your behalf.


  • Researchers and research-related activities are not impacted.
  • No requests are necessary related to previous return-to-research approvals.

Campus Operations

  • The CU Boulder campus remains open. 
  • The University Libraries are continuing contactless pickup and virtual services, while study spaces in the business and Gemmill libraries are closed. However, the Gemmill Library will restart reservable study spaces on Oct. 5. 
  • The Rec Center remains open on an appointment basis only.
  • Staff who have been working on campus during this time should continue to report to work. 
    • Staff already working remotely will continue to do so unless instructed otherwise by their supervisors.
  • Student employees and work-study students should report to work as scheduled unless directed otherwise by their supervisors.
  • The Office of Information Technology remains open. The IT Service Center is available for call and email support from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Friday. Buff Techs provide in-person computer and device support by appointment only.

Residence Halls & Living on Campus

  • Residence halls and dining locations remain open with the current safety protocols in place. 
  • During this time, students living in university housing are asked to remain in student housing and comply with local and state health guidance and the university's voluntary self-quarantine directive. 
  • Gatherings of any size are not permitted for students living on campus and in Boulder. Gatherings in communal areas are not permitted. Unless otherwise permitted by the order, a gathering is defined as two or more people between 18 and 22 years old engaging in any activity outside of their residence.
  • For students (other than those who are in isolation or quarantine) in the residence halls during this remote learning period:
    • Avoid gatherings, including in communal spaces in the residence halls. Wear a face covering when you leave your room or apartment, do not have visitors or guests in your hall or room, and complete your weekly saliva monitoring appointment.  
  • For students (other than those who are in isolation or quarantine) who wish to move home during the two-week remote learning period:
    • We strongly encourage students to stay on campus to prevent the spread of the virus and to actively engage in programming and support services.
    •  If you are still planning to return home, please complete this form to share your plans with us.
  • For students (other than those who are in isolation or quarantine) who want to move out of the residence halls for the rest of the semester/academic year:
    • If a first-year student currently living on campus wants to be released from their housing contract, the student may petition for an exemption to the live-on requirement by submitting the Freshman Release form in the MyCULiving portal.
    • Students should refer to their housing contract for further information on the process of early termination.
  • Residential students who are currently in isolation or in quarantine through the public health office must comply with the directives they have been given and may not travel without permission from Boulder County Public Health or the CU Boulder Public Health office.

Public Health Guidance for Traveling Home

  • All students are strongly encouraged to remain in Boulder in their local residences during the two-week remote learning and the public health order period to prevent the unintended spread of the virus to other communities.
  • Students should think through the risks of traveling home and ensure that the people they’ll be living with agree to allow them to stay. 
  • Students who are in isolation or quarantine are not allowed to leave without permission, in accordance with Boulder County Public Health Order 2020-07.
  • CU Boulder strongly encourages other students who wish to move home during this time to get tested for COVID-19 and have a negative result before moving in order to help prevent spread of the virus to other communities. Students should complete the test two to three days before departure. There are multiple ways to get tested for free if you are asymptomatic.
    • On-campus students can get tested at one of our on-campus monitoring sites to see if there is a need for a diagnostic test.
    • Both on- and off-campus students can visit the county’s free testing clinics. One site is available through Sept. 30 and one site is available through Oct. 2, though both could be extended based on positivity rates in the county. 
    • Students who are symptomatic should contact the Public Health Clinic at Wardenburg.
  • Students who want to return to campus after being at home must contact their health care provider for testing if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. For students who are not experiencing symptoms, we will require them to get tested and receive a negative test result 24 to 48 hours prior to returning to campus.
  • In conjunction with CU Boulder, state and local public health officials, additional health guidance for students who want to return home temporarily or permanently during this time includes:
    • Students should think through the risks of traveling home and ensure that the people they’ll be living with agree to allow them to stay.
    • Public or shared transportation, including air travel, is not allowed for students in isolation, quarantine or who have been identified through contact tracing as a close contact of a COVID-19-positive individual.
    • Students who live at specific addresses identified in Boulder County Public Health Order 2020-07 face additional restrictions on returning home that are outlined in the order and must contact the CU Boulder Public Health office before leaving: 303-735-0017 or contacttracing@colorado.edu.  
    • If you are traveling: 
      • Wear a face mask and ride in the rear seat of the vehicle (if in a taxi or rideshare).
      • Where possible, keep a window open for the duration of the journey.
      • Handle your own luggage and wipe down your personal items after reaching your destination.
      • Use cashless payment options, if possible.
      • If using rideshare or other delivery service options for food or groceries, opt for contactless drop-off.

Isolation Spaces for Students Living on Campus

  • In order to meet community needs, we have expanded the number of isolation spaces that are available for on-campus residents to reduce community spread and care for our students. 
  • Isolation spaces are evaluated and considered by public health experts, and each space must have proper ventilation and a private bathroom or bathroom separate from those in use by residents who are not COVID-19-positive. 
  • In order to protect the privacy of students in isolation, residents will not be notified that isolation spaces are in use in their building.
  • We have worked to create dedicated isolation buildings. In limited cases, we may need to isolate students with COVID-19 in buildings where healthy students also live. Our students' health and well-being are paramount. In these instances, we will work with our health and facilities experts to take all possible precautions, including providing private or dedicated restrooms for students in isolation and ensuring proper ventilation for all spaces. 
  • Students who are in isolation spaces receive daily check-ins from Health and Wellness Services to monitor their physical health symptoms, as well as to provide support, including but not limited to food, supplies and mental health resources.

Living Off Campus

  • Off-campus students must comply with local and state public health orders.
  • Gatherings of any size are not permitted among 18- to 22-year-olds living in Boulder. 
  • Off-campus students who are not subject to stay-at-home requirements may visit campus during the remote learning period, as long as they are not gathering. The limitation on gatherings does not apply to work or educational activities including designated in-person lab, studio or performance classes.

Where to Study

  • Students who are not subject to stay-at-home requirements may study anywhere on or off campus, as long as they are alone and appropriately physically distanced from others.   
  • Students who are not subject to stay-at-home requirements may continue to reserve study space on campus if needed to access remote instruction or coursework (for example, in cases where a student needs a stable internet connection), or to study in between approved in-person lab, studio, or performance courses.

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition
    • In recognition of how COVID-19 is impacting our students, we are extending the deadline to Sept. 29 to receive a 60% rebate. Students who choose to take a leave of absence or withdraw from classes for the semester can work with the Office of the Registrar on the process for withdrawing or taking a leave of absence. Students receiving financial aid through CU Boulder should review the Office of Financial Aid's withdrawal policy and contact Financial Aid for individual questions.
  • Fees
    • There will not be fee reductions or refunds while in the remote course instruction period that expires Oct. 7. Students will continue to benefit from services and support resources funded through fees. If the campus were to go fully remote for the remainder of the semester, students would receive a graduated refund for certain fees based on the timing of that decision. 
    • Students who go fully remote for specific health-related reasons and still have in-person courses should contact the Bursar’s Office directly.
  • Campus housing and dining: Students should refer to their housing contract for information on the process and financial implications associated with early termination. 

Medical Care & COVID-19 Testing


  • The university moratorium on all in-person, on-campus events remains in effect
  • Gatherings of any size are not permitted for students between the ages of 18 and 22 living in Boulder. All others: Gatherings are limited to 10 people or less.   

Outbreak Status

  • As of Wednesday, Sept. 23, CU Boulder was listed as an outbreak site in the state outbreak database.
  • The university’s actions of following the county recommendation that all students abide by a voluntary self-quarantine, moving to temporary remote course instruction and supporting the Sept. 24 public health order are meant to help contain the outbreak.
  • The university will work with state and county public health officials to address the outbreak and follow any additional guidance.


  • Serious public health violations like hosting or attending a large gathering or breaking isolation will result in an interim 10-day suspension pending adjudication through Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, with the presumptive result being suspension for the remainder of the semester.
  • Under the county public health order, violators may face criminal charges and other penalties. 

What it Will Take to Return to the Classroom

  • If we can reverse the trend in positive cases, we hope to return to in-person learning.
  • This will take everyone’s compliance to wear a mask, physically distance, wash hands frequently, avoid gatherings and stay home except to complete essential tasks.
  • This is the last opportunity for our campus to bend the curve of infection before–in partnership with our local and state public health partners–we make a determination regarding our operating mode for the remainder of the fall semester. 
  • We can do this together as a community.

Programs, Services & Support