What Fall Will Look Like
Learn how the fall semester will look different and how you can best prepare. We’ve outlined what to do before the start of the semester, how to prepare each day before coming to campus, and what to expect in terms of classrooms, residence halls, cohorts and transportation. We also offer our campus community support services and resources.
We’ve developed many ways for our community to remain safe this semester while on campus. From building updates and class adjustments to sanitation protocols and building ventilation, learn how we’re preparing for our students, faculty and staff to safely join us this fall.
- I’ve already registered for fall. Can I change my class schedule?
- How will the university determine which courses will be offered in person? Will classes that need the in-person experience (e.g., labs) take priority?
- How will you address reduced density for classes?
- How do 8-week course sessions help minimize the spread of the virus?
- What happens if the campus has to go fully remote again?
- Will there be classes held through the Wednesday of Thanksgiving week?
- Why not come back after Thanksgiving?
- Why not just go remote entirely like the Cal State system or Cambridge?
- How will classrooms be cleaned and sanitized?
- I am an international student and am confused about the status of my visa because of the blend of in-person, hybrid, remote and online courses that are being offered.
- If you have concerns or are unsure about remote learning, how do you communicate with faculty?
- I am a student with a disability. How can I receive accommodations for online learning?
- I would like to order or shop at the CU Book Store. Are they open and shipping orders?
Degree-seeking students have the opportunity to add, drop or swap classes during the schedule adjustment period (Aug. 3–9), with access available for all students during open enrollment (starts Aug. 10).
- For more information on changing your class schedule, view the full announcement
- Learn more about online, remote and hybrid instruction
When determining which courses will be offered in-person, we will emphasize in-person delivery of labs and studio courses.
We will also prioritize other classes for in-person delivery whose academic outcomes are difficult to achieve virtually.
Planners in our Planning, Design and Construction department are drawing up diagrams for physical distancing in specific CU Boulder buildings, classrooms, study spaces and hallways.
These diagrams depict the capacity of a classroom or study space given physical distancing and maximum group size guidelines, model seating arrangements, and take into account traffic patterns around classroom spaces.
Offering classes in a variety of methods
Moving classes to larger spaces
Splitting classes into multiple sessions
Limiting the number of students present in person on a rotating basis
Extending class scheduling to use the full day from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., thus reducing the number of students on campus at one time
If students are enrolled in fewer courses at one time, they have fewer contacts with other students in the classroom.
This diminishes the opportunities for virus spread. In addition, shorter sessions create natural “breakoff points” within a semester if we need to end in-person instruction.
A contingency team made up of the leads for each implementation team will prepare a contingency plan for the possibility of a fully remote fall semester.
Yes. Fall break will be shortened to Thursday and Friday only, with classes continuing through the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. After fall break, all classes will be remote (synchronous) or online (asynchronous) through the end of the semester.
This discourages travel during break, and allows students to travel home and remain there until the spring semester, reducing the chances of carrying the virus back and forth between home and campus.
We are committed to delivering on our mission of educating the next generation, and many of our students want this conducted in person. We are planning a flexible model that can pivot to fully online/remote if necessary and can also enable increasing hybrid/in-person instruction, based on a strong mitigation model to isolate and contain COVID-19 spread, in line with recommendations from public health entities.
To promote the safest possible conditions on campus, we are continuing to provide enhanced cleaning throughout campus with increased attention to frequently touched surfaces.
This means that, based on recommendations from the CDC, Boulder County Public Health and medical staff, our custodians continue to clean and disinfect all bathrooms daily. These recommendations include routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, countertops). Additionally, we are increasing use of disinfectant (in addition to our normal multipurpose cleaner) in common areas to ensure that they are disinfected daily.
To help promote hand hygiene, the university will provide more hand sanitizer in areas of public access in campus buildings.
We recommend that our international students refer to the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) for the most current and updated information. If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have concerns or are unsure about your instructor’s plans for remote teaching, stay in touch and ask questions. You and your instructor know best where you are in the class. It’s best to reach out yourself rather than having someone else do it for you.
Here are a few tips for communicating your concerns with your instructors:
Before reaching out, check Canvas and other communication from your instructors to see if your question or concern has already been addressed.
If your instructor has a preferred communication method (such as email), use that channel.
Students should use their colorado.edu addresses to email their instructors to ensure compliance with student privacy regulations.
When emailing your instructor, be genuine and detailed. Include the name of the class, your full name and the reason for your email.
Express your concerns and give context about your situation. If possible, offer solutions.
Open the door for conversation, and be open to working with your instructor to find other solutions and ideas.
Remember that this will be a dialogue. As we work through transitions to remote learning, your questions might not be resolved in one email or message.
If you are already registered with Disability Services, please consult Student Accommodation Resources for Remote Learning, and contact your access coordinator with specific questions.
If you are not registered, you will need to register with Disability Services.
See also Tips for Excelling in an Online Learning Environment for advice on how to succeed in online courses.
Yes, you can order textbooks, school supplies, Buff gear and technology from cubookstore.com. CU Book Store staff can answer questions via live chat on the website and email@example.com. The bookstore is shipping orders as quickly as possible and if you would like to shop at the store, view store hours here.
The textbook department is closed to in person shopping, for your convenience and safety all textbooks must be ordered. All you will need is your IdentiKey to place an order. You can choose your preference of rental, used or new books. Receive FREE ground shipping on orders of $49 or more through September or choose in-store pick up. Please make sure to bring your Buff OneCard when visiting the store and your order number for in-store pick up. The bookstore has also extended their return policy for textbooks, Buff gear and school supplies.
- Will rapid testing be available when the fall semester begins?
- Studies suggest a second outbreak is likely. What does CU Boulder have planned in case it becomes a hot spot during a second wave?
- How will you address students who break social distancing by partying off campus?
- Will the libraries be open to help students who might not have study space in their homes?
To ensure a COVID-19-ready campus experience this fall, we will have in place: on-campus capability for COVID-19 testing of students, faculty and staff with symptoms, with a goal of increasing capacity to have a robust testing program.
CU Boulder will reduce in-person activities if public health agencies decide that is needed to rapidly address a potential outbreak.
Planning has begun to create modeling for a fully remote fall semester, so the university can be prepared to ensure the health and safety of the campus community.
We expect everyone who comes to campus to observe our campus safety protocols.
Likewise, we expect that our students will adhere to public health orders in the community, and expect that they will be held accountable by local law enforcement in a manner equal to any other resident.
Our plan also calls for an updated conduct code and related policies to include compliance with COVID-19 public health requirements and sanctions/public health consequences for noncompliance.
Select libraries spaces will be open for use, with cleaning/sanitizing protocols in place and expectations for appropriate social distancing. Users will be able to place online requests for print books and other physical materials, as physical collections will not be directly accessible by users.
The CU Board of Regents sets tuition and fees for all CU campuses each spring as part of the regular budget cycle. This year, the board approved a zero percent tuition increase for incoming and returning students. CU Boulder’s four-year undergraduate tuition guarantee provides additional certainty for incoming and continuing students by ensuring tuition doesn’t increase over a student’s first four years.
The blend of in-person, hybrid, remote and online courses that will be offered in fall 2020 will not diminish the quality and value of a degree from CU Boulder.
The main criteria for our courses remain the same whether they are taught in person, online or remotely: our courses must involve regular and substantive instructor interaction with students. With remote and online teaching, faculty and instructors are still able to:
- Provide regular instruction and interact regularly with their students.
- Provide full and substantive assessments and regular feedback on students’ coursework.
- Be proactive and available in providing information or responding to students’ questions about the content of the course.
Faculty across campus continue to incorporate best practices for teaching and learning in various teaching modalities into the design of their courses.
In addition, the Center for Teaching & Learning has partnered with Continuing Education, the Office of Information Technology and the Office of Academic Innovation to offer workshops and provide resources and individual consultations for faculty on effective, evidence-based practices for remote and online teaching.
We are also prioritizing classes for in-person delivery whose academic outcomes are difficult to achieve virtually (e.g., computer labs, performance classes, studios).
Finally, the Boulder campus is going to great lengths to modify our campus operations in a way that will allow us to safely provide on-campus experiences for our students. The Boulder campus continues to make significant investments in our COVID-19 health and safety infrastructure in order to provide a safe learning and working environment for our students, staff and faculty.
Students and faculty traveling during fall break and then returning to campus could put the health and safety of the campus at risk. For this reason, the decision was made to move all instruction to remote and online after fall break. In-person teaching will happen as much as possible before Thanksgiving, while promoting student, faculty and staff safety.
Students will still receive the full fall semester curriculum, including taking finals, using the latest instructional design modalities and tools to maximize engagement between students, their peers and professors. Please visit Teaching Modalities & Technology Mapping for more information.
Shortening fall break and conducting all classes remotely or online after fall break will help us avoid potential COVID-19 outbreaks toward the end of the semester as much as possible. Students will still receive the full benefit of class instruction through the end of the semester. To see the updated schedule for fall 2020, please visit Shortened Fall Break 2020 & Downstream Calendar Changes.
There are no plans to adjust or remove fees for the 2020-21 academic year. Student fees did not increase for the upcoming academic year, despite the fact that changes for fall required expansion of infrastructure that supports student activities both online and in person.
The Student Activity Fee, managed by CU Student Government (CUSG), is voted on and paid for by all students in support of a variety of resources and services. Those services will still be available to students, although the details about how they may change to promote the health and safety of campus are still being decided. Some services already existed online prior to COVID-19. Other services may move some elements online for this fall while some will still be available in person. Examples of student-fee-supported services that will still be available this fall include:
- Access to the Student Recreation Center with possible changes to hours along with changes to some services in order to protect the health and safety of students.
- The Center for Student Involvement will continue to host events and support student organizations.
- The Volunteer Resource Center will still serve as the central point of volunteer opportunities and food assistance during this time.
- Off-Campus Housing and Neighborhood Relations and Student Legal Services continue to support students in person and online.
Other student fees support services like student health management and information technology infrastructure, including remote learning guidance for students, staff and faculty. Fees also assist with costs to maintain facilities and debt obligations, as well as salaries and benefits for student and staff employees who support these services. For these reasons, student fees will not be adjusted for fall 2020.