Published: Nov. 20, 2020


  1. Employees and researchers who are not already approved for on-campus or field work will continue remote work until instructed otherwise.   
  2. Boulder County’s shift to level red on the state COVID-19 dial does not directly impact approved research, scholarship and creative work activity at this time.   
  3. Anyone performing work that has been approved should follow all CU BoulderBoulder County and Colorado guidance.

Dear research community,

As you may know, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has announced that several Colorado counties including Boulder County will move to level red on the state COVID-19 dial, effective Friday, Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. CU Boulder continues to monitor conditions and share updates on the campus COVID-19 Updates & Resources webpage.

The CU Boulder research enterprise continues to operate in accordance with state, local and campus guidance, which means that our operations will not change significantly because of this announcement. 

We continue to ask employees and researchers who are not already approved for on-campus or field work to continue remote work until instructed otherwise. Anyone performing work that has been approved should follow all CU BoulderBoulder County and Colorado guidance. Research leaders across campus continue to carefully monitor densities in buildings and rooms to ensure compliance with capacity requirements.

In anticipation of potential changes in the dial status, the campus Health and Safety Policy was updated to address parameters for research activity under a stay-at-home order. NOTE: The Nov. 20 change DOES NOT include a stay-at-home order for Boulder County at this time. For possible future reference, that guidance is included here.

Critical research includes research and creative work that must be done on campus in conjunction with the following criteria:

  1. Research that must be maintained for the health and safety of human subjects.
  2. Research for which discontinuation would generate data and sample loss that would be effectively irreplaceable.
  3. Maintenance of critical equipment and a safe standby mode of laboratories.
  4. Maintenance and continuity of use of critical animal populations that are hard to recreate and/or ethical conduct of research with animal subjects.
  5. Maintenance and care of plant populations that are hard to recreate and represent long term research.
  6. Research or creative work activities, in the field or other research/creative work spaces that:
    • could not be paused without causing significant setbacks,
    • could not be restarted without a significant investment of time or money,
    • will put grant or contract deliverables at risk or cause significant fiscal liability/loss, 
    • represent time-sensitive and critical graduate student projects and career milestones required to ensure timely graduation and career progression or,
    • have scheduled deliverables that can only be accomplished within campus spaces.
  7. Research supporting national security and critical infrastructure.
  8. COVID-19 research with a timeline relevant to the current pandemic.

As a reminder, anyone with Buff OneCard can participate in the COVID-19 surveillance monitoring program. This is a quick saliva-based test available to all CU affiliates. Information on testing sites is available online.

I continue to appreciate your flexibility, resilience and dedication during this time. Your continued commitment to excellence makes a difference for our students, colleagues and community and enables us to continue to shape a better future far beyond our campus.   

Stay well,

Terri Fiez signature
Terri Fiez
Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation