Published: Sept. 17, 2020

Through the fall semester, campus officials are providing weekly updates, including dashboard stats and items of note on positive cases, isolation, contact tracing, mitigation measures and more. 

Additional information on the self-quarantine

Isolation space

  • As of the morning of Thursday, Sept. 17, the university had 151 beds in use of the 267 beds available for on-campus residents in need of isolation space. The majority of reserved isolation spaces are on campus. There are 16 spaces in use at local hotels, where the university reserved space for additional housing this year.
  • The initial assignments for isolation space were single occupancy. As the need for isolation space increases, the university will begin to assign spaces as double occupancy.
  • The university will, in collaboration with public health officials, consider designating additional spaces for isolation if the case counts require this action.

Sources of transmission

  • Last week’s update on Sept. 10 included outdated information on what researchers have indicated is the most common source of the spread of COVID-19. With input from experts at CU, the article was clarified with the following information:
    • COVID-19 most likely spreads between people who are in close contact with one another through respiratory droplets when an infected person talks, sneezes, or coughs. These droplets are inhaled or land in the mouths and noses of nearby people.
    • COVID-19 is commonly spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
    • Read more about the research.


  • The CU Boulder COVID-19-ready dashboard was revised on Wednesday, Sept. 16, to provide information in a new way that more easily provides historical data and allows for automated updates.
  • The new format allows for an automated update to occur when information from each day of testing is reported. In general, dashboard information is updated by 8 a.m. with results from the previous day of testing. The automation allows testing information from Fridays to be updated on Saturday mornings. There will not be updates to the dashboard on Monday mornings because there isn’t on-campus testing on Saturdays or Sundays.
  • There may be periodic updates at other times to reflect new information received.
  • The new version includes information on the total public health referrals that results from the monitoring tests. The referrals reflect the number of cases referred to CU Boulder Medical Services for diagnostic testing.
  • To best meet community needs, the dashboard will continue to be reviewed for potential changes to what is provided and how the information is presented.

Reported outbreaks

  • According to the state database for COVID-19 outbreaks, Boulder County has reported a total of four outbreaks at sorority houses in Boulder and one outbreak at a fraternity unaffiliated with CU.
  • Boulder County Public Health is responsible for investigating potential outbreaks off campus, and the university is working closely with the health department.
  • CU Boulder Medical Services is available to offer medical advice or other services to students as needed, whether they live on campus or in a private residence off campus. The university’s office of Fraternity and Sorority Life is in close contact with the impacted chapters to ensure the members are accessing any needed services or support from the university. 

New testing sites off campus

  • Boulder County Public Health opened two free testing sites this week, available for anyone in Boulder County who would like to be tested.
    • The 1205 Pleasant St. site is walk-up, open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 7 days a week through Sept. 30. 
    • The 2445 Stazio Dr. site is drive-thru, open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 7 days a week through Oct. 2, but can be extended depending on case positivity rates.
  • Residents do not have to have symptoms to be tested.

Wastewater monitoring

  • Data from the wastewater monitoring continues to be part of the university’s approach to understanding the status of COVID-19 on campus.
  • The use of wastewater monitoring as part of the overall surveillance strategy is adapting to the current increase in cases. At this time, levels of COVID-19 in wastewater continue to be monitored, but outreach to specific halls has shifted as we have expanded our residential testing capacity to test every residential student once per week.
  • The researchers managing this effort will look for indications that there is a need to expand the current schedule of weekly testing of on-campus residents.

Contact tracing

  • The campus contact tracing team works during the week and on weekends to follow up on positive cases and complete outreach to people who may have been in close contact with an infected individual.
  • For most individuals contacted by the contact tracing team, immediate testing is not recommended when the person contacted is asymptomatic and does not meet the criteria for having been exposed. For asymptomatic individuals identified as exposed to an infected person, the recommendation is to complete a COVID-19 test seven days after the known exposure. This delay represents the time it takes a potential infection to be detected through testing.

Student conduct

  • The Student Code of Conduct is in the process of being updated to include a requirement that students follow public health directives.
  • The Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution office will start issuing more interim exclusions from campus, or exclusions from large portions of campus for residence hall students, for alleged violations of public health orders. Conduct officers consider the severity and egregiousness of a violation when determining sanctions for a person found in violation of the student code of conduct. The strong recommendation by Boulder County for students to quarantine is a factor we will consider that increases our assessment of the severity and egregiousness while sanctioning if a student is found responsible for violating a public health order, particularly in cases where a student is hosting a large gathering or party.
  • The assistant dean of students (ADOS) has met with about 50 students this semester from 10 residences where the Boulder Police Department issued warnings. One landlord declined to provide tenant information and five landlords have not responded to outreach. The ADOS will be in contact with nuisance abatement properties when tenant information is available. 
  • The Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution (SCCR) received about 12 summons on Monday, Sept. 14, where students were in violation of a public health order. This means that the number of students going through a conduct process for public health order violations related to nuisance parties or noise violations increased to about 67 students. SCCR is prioritizing these cases.
  • As reported in the chancellor’s update to the campus, there were a total of 422 students referred to SCCR for public health order violations as of Tuesday, Sept. 15. This includes on-campus residents and students who live off campus.

City action

  • In response to a rising number of COVID-19 cases, the City of Boulder issued a mandatory self-quarantine order for a duplex on University Hill.
  • The property has repeatedly engaged in activities that violate public health orders.
  • Read more about the city’s order.