Dear CU Boulder Students, Faculty and Staff,
In response to the current status of COVID-19 in the United States, CU Boulder has activated an emergency operations team focused on coordinating the university’s response. I serve as the leader of that cross-campus group and am writing to provide an update on the university’s current plans and actions.
CU Boulder is continuously updating its information and guidance for the university community to address changing local and global conditions. Information will also continue to be available at colorado.edu/coronavirus. The website contains responses to a list of frequently asked questions that we’ve received, and I’d encourage you to look there as a first source of answers.
Coronavirus screening update
As you have likely seen in the news, Governor Jared Polis announced Colorado’s first two presumptive cases of COVID-19 this afternoon, which are now in the process of being confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
At present, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campus. In light of this afternoon’s announcement, we recognize the increased likelihood of local instances of COVID-19. This week, two COVID-19 screenings of CU Boulder employees were conducted in accordance with the CDC higher education guidelines and in coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. One of those tests came back negative. We expect results on the second test soon. We will continue to coordinate with public health officials to monitor and manage the latest developments in our community. In the event of a confirmed case in the Boulder area, we will notify the CU Boulder community and provide you with guidance on any operational impacts.
Criteria for operational changes
We have received questions regarding how COVID-19 may impact university operations. These decisions will depend on how many cases are confirmed locally, where the affected people live, what containment measures can be applied and what guidance we receive from local, state and federal authorities.
Our emergency operations plan includes methods of continuing operations as long as it is safe to do so. With infectious diseases, our campus response measures depend on the type of disease and the outbreak’s impact on the health and welfare of everyone on campus. Based on the specific circumstances involved, our response measures will scale with the needs of our community.
Enhanced cleaning and preventive hygiene
To promote the safest possible conditions on campus, we are providing enhanced cleaning throughout campus with increased attention to commonly touched surfaces. You can support these efforts by following our previously issued preventive hygiene guidance, including washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands and cleaning and disinfecting shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently. There will be additional promotional materials posted on campus to encourage handwashing and other preventive measures.
International travel update
There will be no university-sponsored international undergraduate student trips departing from our campus for the remainder of the spring semester without authorization by the Provost. This does not include students on trips that have already started. A decision on international travel for future terms, including Maymester, will be made as the situation develops. If an international trip is canceled the participants will be contacted directly by the university sponsor.
Any university-related international travel by faculty and staff is restricted. Requests for international travel will require additional review and approval by the Provost. The utmost consideration for approval or disapproval of travel will be the health and safety of CU Boulder’s faculty, staff and students.
We know that there are many questions that we will need to address, including leave policies, potential needs for increased distance learning, and other matters. We will continue to evaluate needs and provide additional guidance. We will communicate regularly with the campus community as decisions are made.
All members of the community are encouraged to continue to visit the www.colorado.edu/coronavirus webpage regularly for FAQs, including the best ways to protect your health, and additional updates as they become available.
Thank you for reviewing this information and for your support as we work through this situation.
Associate Vice Chancellor