Operations

Building A Community of Care: Fall Return to Campus

The University of Denver’s vision is to be a great private university dedicated to the public good. The challenges of COVID-19 provide us with an opportunity to lean deeply into our vision – taking precautions to care for one another’s health & well-being while we support advancement of the public good through our education, research, scholarship, creative work, and service.

To that end, our first safety net is to support our entire community’s collaboration and education in all the ways the university is working to guide, support, and protect alongside a clear understanding of public health ordinance, individual responsibility, and community engagement. In this comprehensive document, we provide our fall return to campus framework. This living document will be regularly updated as we work alongside our health partner, scientific leaders, and with careful attention to federal, state, and local ordinance and guidance. We look forward to our fall return of vibrant on-campus living, academics and co-curricular experiences. 

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Our Four Areas of Focus

Return to Campus FAQs

  • How do we ensure students abide by University guidelines?

    We are working with several student groups, which are grateful the University is providing multiple options for course types (online, hybrid, hyflex, and in-person). While college students do appreciate having a social life, many have been taking this very seriously because they want to be able to return campus safely.

    During the first summer session, we did not see any issues with the small cohort of students that attended class in-person wearing face coverings. However, we remain realistic in our expectations. All students will be asked to sign a pledge which commits the student to the protocols for safety on and off campus. Extra disposable face coverings will be available at the entrance of every building so students who forgot their face coverings can have quick and easy access, keeping the class moving safety. Incidences referred to student rights and responsibilities will have a variety of outcomes from interim measures of suspension to educational-based habit adaptation. In extreme circumstances, campus safety will be called and assist with the situation.

  • Will faculty and staff be able to enforce the wearing of face coverings?

    Yes. We encourage a supportive, collaborative and caring interaction that directs students to get a disposable face covering located at the entry of every building.

  • Will DU require students to sign a community compact/contract, agreeing that they will comply with community rules?

    The University of Denver is working on a pledge campaign that will be available before the fall quarter return.

  • How have students helped develop and implement the action plan?

    Students are involved in the Canvas course development. Students are serving on the Chancellor’s advisory task force, and we are regularly reaching out to leaders of the student governing bodies. Students have also designed and are leading a campus campaign.

  • Why is DU holding any in-person classes when every interaction contains risk?

    We are not insisting that people take classes in person. Both instructors and students have choices. Some people evaluate the situation and do not want to or are unable to be in person. Others would like to. Having a comprehensive plan prioritizes our community member’s safety.

    Sharing these plans openly and gathering opinions, questions and suggestions allows us the best chance for success. This does not mean the University is not continuously assessing the safety of this approach nor developing triggers based on various thresholds to move the University to a different phase in our Campus Access and Support Plan. We developed the phased approach recognizing that we will need to pivot and react appropriately as conditions change.

    We have typically been more cautious in our reopening compared to the State of Colorado to ensure that our protocols were best placed to mitigate risk as we increased the number of people on campus.

  • With case levels at the same level as mid-April, why is DU reopening campus?

    Conditions in mid-March/April are far different than they are currently in July. In Mid-March/April relatively no testing was available, so we had no sense of the number of symptomatic or asymptomatic cases. Test results took more than 14 days to return which provided no capability for effective contract tracing. The University had no comprehensive plan and safety protocols in place. There was no symptom monitoring to proactively keep people from campus, and hospitals were becoming overwhelmed. All we had was a clear directive for hand hygiene, and we did not have social distancing or face covering mandates. In addition, supply chain issues were so severe that we had limited disinfection capabilities and no ability to secure face coverings for more than the few essential personnel on campus. Our risk susceptibility because of the lack of underlying infrastructure, policy, and experience made moving to remote work and learning the most prudent action until we brought all these needed and essential capabilities on line.

    For the fall, the University has our new action plan, refined twice-daily symptom monitoring, robust contact-tracing capabilities, and access to a health partner guaranteeing testing capabilities. We now also have clear policies around enforcement, work/learning environment alterations that support social distancing, and supplies on campus to support disinfection and face coverings. These are not simply procedures or policies on paper but extensively tested and refined across months to be as prepared as possible. Based on an assessment from the John Hopkins preparedness assessment tool, the University of Denver is sufficiently prepared to be considered at low risk for a fall opening.

 

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