July 10, 2020
Dear CU Boulder faculty, staff and students,
We want to reiterate our thanks for your patience and perseverance as we plan for the university’s operations in the coming months. CU Boulder programs, policies and procedures will look very different this fall to ensure we are creating an environment that helps mitigate the risks of spreading COVID-19. We have more clarity on our COVID-19 testing plans and want to share updates with you.
It is critical for everyone to remember that these plans supplement what is the best way to protect yourself and others. Protect yourselves and each other by:
- Wearing a cloth covering over your nose and mouth.
- Staying 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact and crowded settings.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
Students moving into residence halls received information yesterday from Student Affairs about the move-in process and testing. The move-in period has been extended this year to allow for greater social distancing and scheduled check-in options for families.
Students living on campus will be required to complete a COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) RT-PCR test, also known as a molecular test, within five days prior to moving into the residence halls or they will need to complete a test upon arrival on campus. Recognizing that it may not be possible for some students to get a test in advance, the campus is preparing to provide a limited number of RT-PCR and rapid-response tests on campus for residence hall students prior to their check-in. More information on this process will be forthcoming.
Additional testing and ongoing monitoring
The campus has not yet made a decision regarding testing requirements in advance of the fall semester for off-campus students, but we expect to make a decision soon. We are continuing to monitor public health requirements from the state that may include testing of students living off campus and state guidance on students arriving from certain geographical areas who may need to be quarantined.
As part of ongoing campus monitoring and contact tracing, employees will be able to be tested on campus. For example, if an employee is identified as having potentially been exposed on campus the individual would be informed of testing options as part of the campus contact tracing process. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.
We are working on plans to conduct surveillance testing to monitor up to 9,000 students, staff and faculty higher risk for infection using pooled testing, a population-based strategy to detect the presence of infection within small groups. We will also be offering testing when students present with COVID-19 symptoms.
In an effort to identify potential outbreaks on campus early, we’re preparing to implement daily wastewater monitoring at 20 locations across campus with a focus on residence halls and select high-use buildings.
In developing our testing protocols we’re fortunate to have world-class researchers in these fields who are developing technologies that will enhance our capabilities.
Contact tracing, isolation
We are also developing contact tracing capabilities that will serve in conjunction with contact tracing through Boulder County Public Health. Under the guidance of expert epidemiologists, we are training contact tracers and will be entering into a memorandum of understanding with the county health department. We have students involved in this effort and they will support our expanded ability to conduct contact tracing.
We will have facilities designated for isolation and quarantine for students living on campus. When testing or contact tracing identifies a student in a residence hall as being at risk of transmitting COVID-19, we will use isolation and quarantine to reduce the spread of the virus.
These combined strategies will support our effort to maintain the health and safety of the campus and the community.
These protocols, developed under expert guidance, will need to be aided by personal responsibility, respect and compassion for your fellow campus and community members.
We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we support each other as Buffs Together during these historic times.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer