Published: Jan. 14, 2021

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

Boulder County remains in Level Orange 

Boulder County, following an order from Gov. Jared Polis, shifted to Level Orange: High Risk on the COVID-19 state dial on Monday, Jan. 4. 

You can learn more from the county’s news release. It is important to continue following public health guidance by wearing a face covering, practicing physical distancing and following the guidelines on personal gatherings. Under Level Orange: High Risk, a personal gathering is limited to a maximum of 10 people from no more than two households. 

Spring 2021 semester

In-person courses will resume Feb. 15 following the remote start on Jan. 14

Courses designated as in-person or hybrid in-person for the spring semester will begin their in-person format on Monday, Feb. 15. Courses designated as remote or online will continue in those formats for the entire semester. Read the full announcement from CU Boulder’s provost and chief operating officer.

New COVID-19 strains

CU Boulder’s Pandemic Response Office (PRO) is monitoring information regarding new COVID-19 strains that have been identified globally and locally. 

Buff Info now available

  • To provide the CU Boulder community a centralized point of connection and information, the campus established Buff Info, a team of dedicated professionals to answer questions and provide connections with campus resources.
  • Buff Info liaisons can be reached at 303-492-INFO (4636) or via email from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The university will extend these hours when needed.
  • The Buff Info team is available to answer questions on a wide variety of topics related to CU Boulder and to help faculty, staff, students and parents connect with the appropriate campus office for additional information or assistance as needed.

CU Buff Pass

New testing expectation

To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, all faculty, staff and students who will be coming to campus will need to participate in the campus COVID-19 monitoring program weekly. 

Students who are living in residence halls or Bear Creek will continue to be required to test weekly as well as certain staff who have been identified by their departments for participation.

Details about how to access the campus surveillance monitoring program are included below. Additional details regarding this new expectation are in development and will be shared in advance of our return to in-person classes on Feb. 15.

Testing information

CU Boulder faculty, staff and students with a Buff OneCard and their immediate family/household members can participate in the campus surveillance monitoring program. The option to bring family/household members will continue as long as testing capacity permits.

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/household members. For individuals with difficulty providing a sample in a tube, such as young children, as long as the participant is able to provide the necessary amount of saliva, the test can be processed.

There are four sites available, Monday to Friday. Testing sites will be closed Monday, Jan. 18. Hours of operation are 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 (for students) or Human Resources (for 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 the COVID-19 monitoring email address 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. 

Contact tracing continues

The Public Health Clinic at Wardenburg continues to provide services related to COVID-19. Contact tracing and case investigation will continue to be available for faculty, staff and students.

Other testing options


  • Boulder County Public Health has requested CU Boulder be a part of its vaccine distribution plan. The Pandemic Response Office is working with county and state partners on how the university will collaborate.
  • Right now, the state is prioritizing first responders and people over 70 in the first stage of the 1B group. 
  • People who live in congregate housing, such as residence halls or certain off-campus living situations, are currently considered part of the "general public" in the state's vaccine distribution plan.
  • The Pandemic Response Office is seeking clarification through the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment as to whether CU Boulder faculty are included among educators as defined in the state’s Phase 1B distribution.
  • Thus far, the university has received 100 doses of vaccine and provided them to staff in Medical Services who provide direct patient care and are part of the state’s Phase 1A and 1B. Once Phase 1A is completed, the focus will be on Phase 1B.
    • As vaccines become available for eligible employees to receive according to the state framework, the employees will be notified of the option for receiving the vaccine through CU Boulder.
  • Updates regarding vaccines will continue to be shared. Vaccines will be a focus in the COVID-19 weekly update articles, in campus Q&A webinars and through additional communications. A CU Boulder vaccine webpage is available and will be updated as new information arises.

Updates to the COVID-19 dashboard

As of Jan. 14, the dashboard will display data for the spring semester only. Access to the fall 2020 semester information is available separately.

Contacting the Pandemic Response Office

CU Boulder departments or units working on or planning any new protocols, operations or programming related to the COVID-19 pandemic should email the Pandemic Response Office.

Building access

  • As of Jan. 13, and running through Friday, Feb. 12, all CU affiliates have general access via Buff OneCard to the Engineering Center and SEEC from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, as well as the CASE building from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays.
  • This access provides students the use of these facilities for study space and use of computer labs during the fully remote start to the spring semester.
  • Prior access preferences established on Buff OneCards for students, faculty and staff will remain in place. Students, faculty and staff who normally have weekend and after-hours access to specific buildings will still have access to those buildings.
  • Anyone needing special access to a specific building is asked to contact their building proctors, C-CURE operators or department chairs to request the authorization/access needed on their Buff OneCards. 
  • University Libraries, the Recreation Center and the UMC publish their respective hours on their websites.
  • More information is available on the COVID-19 campus building access webpage.

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.

Exposure notification service available in Colorado

Contact information:

Available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, contact Buff Info via email or by phone: 303-492-INFO (4636).