From the Provost and COO - Fall 2021 update: Shifting away from pandemic operations
March 29, 2021
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
This fall we plan to return to a more traditional in-person experience at CU Boulder, with a few continuing precautions.
The fall academic calendar will be back to normal, including fall break. Fall semester classes will begin Monday, Aug. 23.
A group of faculty experts––who have helped guide our pandemic response in conjunction with local, state and federal public health agencies––supports increasing capacities and shifting to largely in-person experiences this fall.
We believe, informed by the guidance of our Pandemic Response Office and faculty experts, that the progress of the vaccine rollout and the downward trend of COVID-19 cases will make such a transition safe. We will continue to monitor public health guidance and adjust our plans as needed based on health and safety.
We expect by August there will be enough supply available so that every adult who wants to be vaccinated can be vaccinated. We conservatively estimate that prior to the beginning of the fall semester, 75% of the campus population will have immunity to COVID-19 either through vaccination or prior infection. Given this estimate, current models show, even with decreased physical distancing within classrooms, risk of transmission would remain extremely low.
Here are some details of the campus plan for fall 2021:
The majority of courses will be in person. However, some larger lecture classes will continue remotely because we will be maintaining 3 feet of distancing in the classroom, which impacts the capacity of lecture halls with theater-style seating.
Departments offering multiple sections of the same course are working to designate some of those sections for remote mode to provide flexibility for students.
Students should not assume they will be able to take all of their courses online or remotely unless they are in an online degree program or have a documented need requiring such an accommodation.
We continue to adjust room assignments and class times for the fall and appreciate your patience and flexibility during the registration process as tweaks occur.
Residence halls will be near full capacity, with some spaces reserved for isolation.
The campus will continue to optimize ventilation and air filtration in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, as well as enhanced cleaning protocols in our buildings.
Student life activities, including sport clubs, intramural sports and other student programming, will return to more traditional in-person opportunities as allowed for within the county and state’s regulations and COVID-19 dial framework as we enter fall.
Decisions about events, athletics and large gatherings will be made in accordance with evolving public health guidance.
Medical Services will continue to offer diagnostic testing on campus, though the campus will discontinue its surveillance testing program.
More employees will be able to return to campus in support of the student in-person experience we are offering this fall, and university leadership will be working to provide plans for their specific units. Until these plans are in place, employees who are currently working remotely should continue to work remotely.
Thanks to everyone who has made it possible for us to begin to transition this fall to the type of experience that we all covet on our world-class campus.
In the meantime, as more people in our community continue to be vaccinated during the spring and summer, it is especially important to continue to follow Boulder County and campus public health guidance so we can all be safe and continue our educational journey uninterrupted.
Let’s continue being Buffs together and stay safe.