Health, Wellness & Prevention
There are a variety of tactics all members of the DU community should use in order to minimize any potential spread of COVID-19.
Safer at Home & Support for Immunocompromised Community Members
If you are immunocompromised or caring for someone who is—or if you have other health issues that make you particularly vulnerable to COVID-19—you will not be required to return to campus as we slowly bring employees back.
Is wearing a face covering mandatory for all?
Yes, excepting children under three years of age and those with documented medical exceptions. In the case of a documented medical exception, accommodations will be provided. These accommodations, however, cannot include attendance at in-person classes or events.
Will there be COVID-19 testing?
Yes. Details regarding costs are still being finalized, but testing will likely be no- or low-cost. The University will work with our health partner, National Jewish Health, to support testing with, initially, a focus on symptomatic community members.
Will the University require temperature checks daily?
Yes. We are operating under provisions for self-monitoring given the size and distributed nature of our campus (as compared to businesses with a single point of entry, for example, that instead used centralized temperature checks). This is also necessary as relatively few members of our community are on standard shifts. The University has twice-daily symptom monitoring in place. One symptom is temperature. The threshold is 100.4F or above, as recommended by the CDC, but many other symptoms can trigger a notification to not come to campus.
We have also distributed infrared thermometers to many buildings on campus where there is a need and more regular operations. All students have been asked to pack a thermometer. Please contact COVIDcoordinator@du.edu for assistance. Please refer to the symptom monitoring protocol and the comprehensive plan.
How is DU ensuring the COVID-19 data is accurate?
Data accuracy is very important. We use a range of data sources—state, federal, and independent sources and we communicate directly with the state’s epidemiologist to triangulate. In addition to relying on publicly available information, we have been building our own models from trusted sources, such as the state, independent sources like John Hopkins, and the CDC. These models allow us to form independent forecasts, build scenarios, and confirm the information we are provided by others.
Data is now available in greater detail than ever before, including key statistics on the number of positives daily, number of tests daily, percent positivity, number of hospitalizations, respirator use, and the like. We have more confidence in data than we did through March, April and May.
What is the data source that is driving the key decisions?
Different data sources are used for different decisions. For example, at this time, for travel restrictions, we are looking to a CDC site where we download the data and do some simple math. We also use independent sources like John Hopkins and Worldometer. As we work to develop triggers for more and less opening, we will use additional data (e.g. percent positivity, hospitalizations) to also capture how the virus is impacting our community.
How often will bathrooms and common areas be cleaned?
There are updated cleaning protocols in place that outline increased frequency and advanced protocol for all spaces if an individual who is positive for the virus has entered them. This is outlined in the Action plan. Additionally, the disinfection and cleaning protocol and DU COVID Protocol for Phased Campus Access contains more information.
And how will DU protect / support frontline staff?
The University has taken seriously the needs of all of our essential employees who, from early March, have been at most risk due to their jobs. Approximately 800 people were Phase I essential personnel, which included many essential managers, including the chancellor and provost.
As PPE supply chains have improved, we are seeking greater protections all the time. We have also deployed staggered scheduling and implemented occupancy limits that are even lower than the state mandates to further reduce risk. We have developed response teams for cleaning, food delivery, etc., providing specific training for those engaging in the highest-risk activities. We have developed protocols and provided N95 face coverings for those most at risk to support safety.
Most importantly, we continue to engage these employees in seeking to address their concerns.
Will DU clinics remain open during this crisis?
The Health and Counseling Center (HCC) remains committed during this public health crisis to promote student success by providing comprehensive and integrated healthcare, counseling, advocacy, health promotion, and recovery support and services. The HCC continues to provide holistic care in the following ways:
The HCC is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m Monday through Friday except for Tuesdays when we are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are available to schedule either in-person or via telehealth.
- What do I do if I feel sick?
How do I keep myself and others healthy and safe?
Please continue using everyday guidance for preventing illness.
What if I have underlying health issues or am caring for someone who does?
According to the CDPHE in conjunction with the CDC, people with preexisting health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are at higher risk to develop complications from a COVID-19 infection. They recommend that people at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from public places.
If you are immunocompromised or caring for someone who is—or if you have other health issues that make you particularly vulnerable to COVID-19—you will not be required to return to campus once we begin slowly bringing employees back.
How should I clean and disinfect communal spaces?
View the Disinfection & Cleaning Protocol.
- Do you have information regarding Kaiser Permanente's response to COVID-19?
What if I've had close contact with someone who has been confirmed positive with COVID-19 or is awaiting results?
DU employees who have had close contact with an individual who has been confirmed positive for C19 or is awaiting results of a C19 test are asked to quarantine at home for 14 days or until an outstanding test has come back as negative.
Close contact is defined as “within six feet, for more than 10 minutes” to a person with symptomatic C19 “during the period from 48 hours before symptoms began until an individual meets criteria for discontinuing home isolation.”
Will there be quarantine?
For individuals traveling to DU from states or countries with high and increasing infections (defined as 10 cases per 100,000 residents per day by the CDC), a 10-day quarantine will be required before returning to campus. A continually updated list of designated high-risk places are available on our COVID-19 website. DU community members who are symptomatic or who have been in contact with people who have either tested positive or are presumed positive for COVID-19 must also follow public health quarantine requirements. As we work with National Jewish Health in the coming weeks, we will also develop more specific protocols for the return of the DU community to campus, including pre-arrival quarantining. Those plans will be shared broadly and will also be added to our COVID-19 website. We will send a separate communication about our quarantine protocols no later than July 23.
How will non-compliance with prevention measures, such as wearing face coverings, be handled?
For faculty and staff, non-compliance with DU COVID-19 policies will be handled by the faculty or staff member’s supervisor, as would any failure to adhere to DU policies. For students, non-compliance will be handled like any violation of the student honor code. However, medical amnesty will apply, so students can receive important medical care even in situations where COVID-19 policies have been violated. All students are asked to commit to helping create a community of care at DU with the Protect DU Pledge.
When will DU share its fully developed testing, tracing and tracking protocols?
The University has now selected its medical partner and is close to selecting a contract tracing vendor. Existing protocols will be reviewed by the partner and released in the next few weeks. (No later than August 1.)
Will face coverings be provided for free?
The university has purchased several thousand branded, reusable face coverings of various types which have started arriving, but the shipment will not complete until August due to supply chain issues. The university will also have disposable face coverings available in every building to support those that might have lost or forgotten theirs.
Why are face coverings required outside of buildings on campus?
Face coverings are very helpful in stopping the transmission of aerosols from one person to another. Even outside, these aerosols can infest, although at a lower rate than indoors. Because we are planning to use our outside spaces to support students, faculty and staff, it is important to keep viral particles in the air to a minimum. In our guidance, we do articulate situations where removing the face covering is authorized.
What protections are available to individuals working front desks with high volumes?
Plexiglass shields have been installed on many front desks that deal with large numbers of clients, students or customers. This protects the employee when others might not comply. Signage is distributed on all entry doors and lawn signs all over campus reminding everyone that face coverings are required by the University and that they are now required by the Governor.
Compliance protocols have been developed to support individuals to align with response activities, and disposable face coverings will be available in every building to assist individuals who may have forgotten their coverings. If an individual working at a front desk would like additional support, they should email COVIDcoordinator@du.edu.
Does face coverings include face shields or just face coverings?
Face shields were tried this summer in some classes. We learned that face shields are not a replacement for face coverings like face coverings, and they are not recommended at this time by the CDC or aerosol experts. Because we seek to be a community of care, face shields will not be allowed as a replacement to cloth face coverings.
How do people protect themselves if they have to use public transportation?
The CDC has put out excellent guidance that can be reviewed here.
What will building access be like in the fall?
The University is currently in phase III, and we don’t anticipate being in phase IV at the start of the term. Building access in phase III is voluntary and limited to the building that the individual has their class or office. Broad access to all buildings will not be granted. Please consult the Phase Campus Access and Support Plan, the Access Protocol and a comprehensive plan.
Can DU install the hands-free (foot) door openers on doors and/or restrooms?
Hand washing/disinfection is our priority, and we have installed hundreds of additional dispensers and wipes in every building and at entrances. We have evaluated the installation of “foot” door openers for high-volume doors.
What HVAC changes are being made?
Facilities Management and Planning (FMP) is following guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers to assist with decision making on how to operate HVAC systems and how to determine appropriate modifications.
Three mechanical engineers are evaluating each building and have already made several changes and upgrades. The DU campus has more than 90 buildings, totaling over four million square feet aging from 1892 and with many different ventilation systems. FMP has increased the ventilation rates and the use of outdoor air as much as systems will allow for proper operations. MERV 13 filters are currently being used in the buildings on campus that have been designed to use them, and in-room air purifiers are being deployed in other spaces. Changes to HVAC systems are a part of the FMP plan, but not the only piece. Symptom monitoring, face coverings, proper personal hygiene, and maintaining distance are critical individual responsibilities and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols are essential institutional responses.
Who will be the campus epidemiology/public health officer?
The University of Denver has partnered with National Jewish Health to allow consistent access to epidemiologists, pulmonologists, virologists and public health experts. The DU-National Jewish Health Liaison, led by Deputy Covid Coordinator Bobbie Kite, is the primary point of contact with National Jewish. We also have direct communication with the state’s epidemiologist, Rachel Herlihy, and consult regarding positive cases and symptom clusters with the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) via our deputized reporter, Christopher Short. Questions can be submitted to COVIDcoordinator@du.edu.
Why is the out-of-state case data being updated weekly instead of daily?
The CDC guidelines for setting the thresholds for low-to-high incidence and low-to-high growth are predicted on a seven-day average. We are using the methodologies encouraged by the CDC and the state epidemiologist. Variability depending on the days of the week is a result of variability in human behavior according to the day of the week (vs. a changing trend). A seven-day or weekly average removes those anomalies and provides a better set of data from which to draw trend conclusions.