The University of Colorado Boulder is switching to remote learning for at least two weeks, the campus announced Monday morning, as COVID-19 cases among students surge and drive a county and statewide uptick in the number of people contracting the virus.
“At the moment this is a temporary situation, but it could become permanent if we continue to disregard public health guidelines,” Chancellor Phil DiStefano said in a video message to students.
All undergraduate and graduate courses will switch to online instruction beginning Wednesday, campus leaders said. Labs, studios and performance classes will be remote unless otherwise approved to learn in-person by the appropriate college’s dean.
Research and research-related activities are not impacted by the shift.
In-person classes will meet Monday and Tuesday unless faculty and instructors are able to make the change to remote beforehand.
Campus residence halls, dining halls and the student recreation center will remain open.
“During this time, students living in university housing are asked to remain in student housing and comply with local and state health guidance,” CU officials said on a webpage explaining the move to the university community. “Do not leave your halls other than for essential tasks outlined in the county’s stay-at-home/self-quarantine directive.”
CU officials are strongly encouraging students who want to move home to stay on campus to prevent the spread of the virus, but added that first-year students living on campus may apply to move out of their dorms.
“Students who wish to move home during this time are strongly encouraged to get tested for COVID-19, and have a negative result before moving in order to help prevent spread of the virus to other communities,” CU officials said. “Students should complete the test two to three days before departure. Students should think through the risks of traveling home and ensure that the people they’ll be living with agree to allow them to stay.”
Students who want to return to campus after being at home must contact their health care provider to receive testing if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Those who are not experiencing symptoms must complete a monitoring test and receive a negative result with 24 to 48 hours of returning to the Boulder campus, the university said.
The most up-to-date COVID-19 information Monday morning comes from Friday’s testing numbers on the university’s dashboard. As of Friday, 765 students had tested positive for the virus since classes started Aug. 24, with 68% of on-campus isolation space in use.
On Friday, Gov. Jared Polis said during a news conference that despite surging cases on the CU campus, sending tens of thousands of students in a COVID-19 hot zone scattering across the state and country was “very dangerous.”
Meanwhile, nearly 200 CU Boulder students living in the Darley North residence hall were informed late Thursday night that they would need to vacate their dorm rooms by Sunday to make way for more COVID-19 isolation space. Impacted students would either be moved somewhere else on campus — potentially moving in with a new roommate — or have the option to apply to go home and finish classes remotely.
Earlier in the week, county health officials urged all CU students to self-quarantine for two weeks to stem the rising infections tied to the campus.
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