Feb. 28, 2022
Dear CU Boulder community,
In recent weeks, we have witnessed several encouraging trends with regard to COVID-19 transmission. These include a rapid decline in transmission on our campus, in Boulder County and across the state, as well as a significant decrease in COVID-19-related hospitalizations.
Additionally, we maintain a high level of vaccination, including boosters, among our students and employees, thanks to your commitment. The latest state modeling estimates that 90% of Coloradans are currently immune to infection by the omicron variant through either vaccination, previous infection or both. And on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance, with Boulder County no longer classified as an area in which masks are recommended.
Because of these factors, and in consultation with our campus Public Health Office and scientific advisory committee, we are announcing that the CU Boulder campus will become mask-optional at 6 a.m. on Monday, March 7. Until then, masks continue to be required in all public indoor spaces, classrooms and laboratories. It’s also important to note masks will continue to be required after March 7 at the Wardenburg Health Center.
As we have since the start of the pandemic, we will continue to monitor COVID-19 metrics at the campus, local and state levels, in case changing conditions require that we reassess our protocols.
Respecting each other
The increased availability of testing, vaccines, boosters and COVID-19 therapeutics has enabled us to move gradually into a new phase in which our operations have become more like they were before the pandemic––and in which COVID-19 becomes an aspect of life that we must manage on an ongoing basis, rather than the disease managing us.
At the same time, we recognize that members among our students, faculty and staff have different comfort levels in public spaces and that some members of our community have personal circumstances that would counsel in favor of continued masking. While wearing masks will soon be optional on campus, we encourage those who prefer to do so to continue wearing them, and we support their decision.
Properly fitted N95 or KN95 masks remain an effective tool for preventing transmission, especially in conjunction with vaccination. In fact, for those who want the extra layer of protection, one recent study noted that those who wear a well-fitting N95 or KN95 indoors are 83% less likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those who do not wear a mask.
We ask that everyone respects the choices of their colleagues and peers as our campus makes this transition.
While we go mask-optional, we know we cannot let our guard down completely. As a campus, our current COVID-19 vaccine booster reporting requirement remains in place. We continue to provide both testing and vaccines on campus, as well as contact tracing and case investigation. Campus continues to provide KN95 and surgical masks at five distribution sites. And we continue enhanced cleaning and ventilation protocols in our buildings.
We recognize, too, that new variants could cause future COVID-19 surges. As noted, we will continue to track the evolution of this disease and work with campus, local and state health officials to ensure we are making the decisions that best protect our community. We will also continue to provide timely updates and maintain our COVID-19 Information webpage as a continuing resource for information.
As COVID-19 metrics, mitigation measures and our own scientific understanding of the virus have evolved, we’ve adjusted our campus protocols accordingly and appreciate the flexibility and commitment our campus community has shown. Thank you for continuing to do your part to ensure our campus navigates this pandemic as Buffs together.
Chief Operating Officer