Published: Dec. 17, 2020

Through the fall semester, campus officials are providing regular updates, including dashboard stats and items of note related to COVID-19.

Boulder County remains in Level Red: Severe Risk 

Boulder county remains at Level Red: Severe Risk on the revised COVID-19 state dial. University operations and decision making for the spring semester are directly impacted by the county’s status on the state COVID-19 dial.

For Boulder County to move from Level Red: Severe Risk to the less restrictive Level Orange: High Risk, the community needs to reach certain metrics for 14 consecutive days:

  • A positivity rate of 15% or less in the county.
  • 175 to 350 cases per 100,000 residents in the county.
  • No greater than a 25% increase in the county’s referral hospitals, or no more than two new COVID-19 hospital admissions per day in the county.

Surveillance monitoring testing available for faculty, staff, students and immediate family/household members 

Through Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, CU Boulder faculty, staff and students with a Buff OneCard and their immediate family/members of their household can participate in the campus surveillance monitoring program. All participants must be asymptomatic and arrive at the testing site accompanied by their CU Boulder affiliate/Buff OneCard holder. Buff OneCard holders seeking testing must first complete their Buff Pass. Surveillance monitoring tests are free to CU Boulder Buff OneCard holders’ immediate family/members of their household.

There are four sites available, Monday to Friday. All testing sites will be closed from Dec. 24 to Jan. 3. Hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at all sites:

Parking for surveillance monitoring testing

Those visiting campus for testing may park at parking meters and pay-to-park lots located throughout campus, and should be prepared to follow short term parking guidance

Testing notifications

The surveillance monitoring test laboratory looks for signs of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Notifications of results are provided as follows:

  • If a Buff OneCard holder’s own sample indicates signs of the virus, the Buff OneCard holder will receive an email by the end of the next day from either Medical Services (students) or Human Resources (faculty/staff).
  • If a Buff OneCard holder’s test result shows no signs of the virus, is inconclusive or is unable to be processed, a notification email is sent by the end of the next day from
  • If a family or household member’s test result indicates signs of the virus, the associated Buff OneCard holder will receive an email by the end of the next day from for every person whose test result indicates signs of the virus.
  • If a family or household member’s test result indicates no signs of the virus, is inconclusive, or is unable to be processed, no notification is sent.

About surveillance monitoring

The surveillance monitoring program involves a saliva-based polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test that looks for signs of SARS-CoV-2 among asymptomatic individuals. The test is not diagnostic and cannot medically determine if a person is positive or negative for COVID-19. 

Other testing options

New Pandemic Response Office centralizes campus planning and coordination for testing, data management and more

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the university’s management of COVID-19 response and planning has followed the campus Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). The EOP outlines the decision-making and policy-making process for the campus in an emergency.

As the campus prepares for the spring semester—including increasing testing capabilities, working to prevent and contain further outbreaks, and planning for the availability of vaccines — the new Pandemic Response Office will play a central role.

The Pandemic Response Office will serve to coordinate and facilitate management of major campus efforts related to COVID-19, including but not limited to: the surveillance monitoring testing program and containment strategies; coordination with public health agencies; data management solutions; policy recommendations for campus leadership; and short-term and long-term planning and support. 

The Pandemic Response Office will mainly serve as an internal operational hub for how the campus approaches COVID-19-related needs as an institution.

Departments or units working on or planning any new protocols, operations or programming related to the COVID-19 pandemic should email the office.

COVID-19 vaccine initial planning, coordination underway

Initial planning and coordination has begun for the future rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine for the campus. A committee will be working on setting timelines and developing distribution plans in preparation for vaccine availability for CU students, faculty and staff. The state of Colorado has developed a phased approach to vaccine distribution.

  • An executive committee has been formed to oversee this process and the project will be managed by the Pandemic Response Office. 
  • A project team and subcommittees have been created that represent key offices on campus including, but not limited to: the Division of Student Affairs, Facilities Management, Health and Wellness Services and the Pandemic Response Office, Human Resources, the Office of Infrastructure and Sustainability, Integrity, Safety and Compliance, Strategic Relations and Communications, and the Office of the Provost.
  • Subcommittees will focus on operations and logistics, policy and guidance, safety and security, and communications.
  • The committees will work to provide recommendations and guidance related to future vaccine distribution for the CU Boulder community. All of this will be done in coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and Boulder County Public Health (BCPH).
  • Updates on the committee’s work will be shared as new information becomes available.
  • Information is available from the state about COVID-19 vaccines and the status of their availability in Colorado.

Spring 2021 semester

Due to COVID-19 case projections by the state, and in consultation with state and local health officials, the first four weeks of the spring semester (which begins Jan. 14) will occur in a remote-only format for all courses.The campus intends on returning to a mix of in-person, remote and hybrid courses on Feb. 15.

Spring 2021 commencement

The spring 2021 commencement ceremony will occur virtually, as it did in 2020, because indications are that large gatherings, such as commencement, will not yet be safe by early May.

Buff Pass replaces daily health form

Building access

  • Most buildings on campus are locked. As of Monday, Dec. 14, campus is operating on weekend/holiday access protocols through the remainder of winter break. 
    • Students, faculty and staff who normally have weekend and after-hours access to specific buildings will still have access to those buildings during this time. 
    • CU affiliates needing special access to a specific building, lab or after hours not previously granted on their Buff OneCards are asked to contact their building proctors, C-CURE operators or department chairs to request the authorization/access needed is added to their Buff OneCards. 
  • Spring semester building access protocols will be updated as the semester nears. 

Exposure notification service available in Colorado

Whom to contact:

  • For campus technology issues or concerns, call the Office of Information Technology at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP).
  • For health questions, contact your health care provider or Medical Services at 303-492-5101 (24/7 nurse line available for students) for advice and recommendations.
  • For mental health questions or concerns, call Counseling and Psychiatric Services at 303-492-2277 (24/7 support available for students).
  • If you are experiencing trauma related to a crime or relationship, please call the Office of Victim Assistance at 303-492-8855 (24/7 support available for all students, faculty and staff).
  • For faculty and staff, call the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program at 303-492-3020.
  • For families, New Student & Family Programs will be happy to assist you. Call or text 303-492-4431 or email
  • For employment and payroll questions, call Human Resources at 303-492-6475.
  • Have additional questions about how COVID-19 affects your studies or work with CU Boulder? Use LiveChat at CU's COVID-19 website or submit your question via the ask a question form.

For students who need assistance or who may be in crisis, please contact Students of Concern at 303-492-7348,, or visit the Students of Concern Team webpage.