COVID-19 Update: January 2022 Return Steps
Dear DU community members,
We recognize that conditions, including with the new omicron variant, present additional challenges and concerns for many in our community. We continue to closely monitor COVID-19 conditions on campus and in Denver, including cumulative and daily case rates, positivity, rates of serious illness, and capacity. And while our online dashboard is temporarily unavailable due to a security issue, I want to share that, likely because of omicron, we are seeing higher on-campus positivity mirroring national trends.
Alert Level Yellow
To reflect these conditions, DU is moving to alert level yellow, which means:
- Additional required review and mitigation for events
- Required wearing of face coverings indoors at all times, except while actively eating and drinking, when alone or with roommates in your residence hall room, or when alone in a private office.
Omicron is more contagious than prior variants, but there is no indication that it results in more serious illness. Importantly, there is also no reason to think our existing mitigation strategies (frequent required testing, tracing, and isolating positive cases) will be insufficient. DU has the tools to reduce transmission while allowing in-person instruction and events. Therefore, at this time, we will continue with the plan I shared on Dec 9:
- Residential move-in on Sunday, Jan. 2
- Undergraduate courses begin remotely on Monday, Jan. 3 and move to in-person on Wednesday, Jan. 5
- Graduate courses and events begin remotely on Monday, Jan. 3 and in-person on Friday, Jan. 7 (Jan. 10 for the Sturm College of Law)
DU will hold appointment-only booster vaccination events (Pfizer) at the Ritchie School of Engineering on Jan. 5, 8 and 12. Let us know if you’re interested here and we will send you details. Following these events, the Health & Counseling Center will offer additional appointments for boosters via myhealth.du.edu.
Upcoming Required Steps
As we prepare for winter/spring term, everyone living, learning or working in person must complete the following steps:
- Be vaccinated for COVID-19.
As of Sep 1, 2020, everyone is required to have a verified vaccine record or approved exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine. New students or personnel need to complete this step to receive access to campus.
- Get your booster.
As well, everyone living, learning or working in person is required to receive a booster vaccination dose as soon as you are eligible. Upload record of receiving your booster no later than Jan. 31, 2022 (instructions below). If you are not eligible until after Jan. 31, upload your record within 14 days after your date of eligibility. The updated vaccination protocol can be reviewed here.
Additional details regarding boosters:
- You are eligible for a booster six months after your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or two months after Johnson & Johnson/Janssen.
- If you have tested positive for COVID-19, delay your booster until 28 days after your positive test. If you must delay any longer, submit a request for a medical exemption. For example, a further delay might be necessary if you have received antibody treatment.
- If you have an existing approved exemption, you do not need to file additional paperwork.
- If you need to file a medical exemption for just the booster dose, please follow the directions here. Note that DU will not accept requests for non-medical exemptions from the booster requirement.
- Be vaccinated for the flu.
The flu vaccine is required as of Dec. 15, 2021. Upload your flu vaccine record (unless you were vaccinated on campus) or obtain an approved exemption. If you have not yet received your flu vaccine, we will have clinics available on Jan. 3 & 4, see details here. To upload a request for exemption for the flu vaccine, please follow the steps here.
- On-campus pre-arrival testing.
On or after Dec. 27, before you return after the holiday break, including for field experiences and clinical work, you must receive a negative PCR test result from a test taken on campus. We anticipate a very high volume of testing and will expand our hours. Visit the spit lab webpage for up-to-date hours and locations. Please be patient and plan for a longer wait at testing locations and to receive results.
Additional details regarding testing:
- Individuals who have tested positive are exempt from this testing requirement for 90 days following their positive result.
- On-campus residents can move in and pick up grab-and-go food at an assigned location while they wait for their test result. However, access to other campus buildings and activities will require a negative test result.
- From Dec. 27 to Jan. 14, we will not accept external test results for campus access.
- We will offer limited, appointment-only nasal swab testing at the Carepod in the first half of Jan. To make an appointment, visit myhealth.du.edu.
- Get tested again.
Since the fall of 2020, we have repeatedly seen a spike in cases between the first and second arrival test. With a quick double test, we have been able to rapidly bring this initial positivity down. Therefore, everyone must take a second test shortly after receiving their first negative result. We will assign your second test date based on your first test date, your vaccination status, and your role on campus. You cannot test earlier than your assigned date and you must test on that date.
- On-going Testing & Campus Access.
Testing is one of our most powerful tools to mitigate transmission. Therefore, we will maintain a required testing schedule. As in previous terms, you will receive email reminders and will have a short grace period to accommodate schedule constraints. We understand that testing frequently presents some inconvenience, and we appreciate your cooperation with this requirement. After your second negative test, to retain campus access for the term, please be sure to test on or before your assigned testing date. After you have completed your second “return” test, you can choose a day of the week that is most convenient for you going forward. After Jan. 14, we will accept external test results to increase convenience.
We appreciate that these additional steps, the need for a brief remote start to accommodate return testing, and the increased transmissibility of omicron are conditions we all wish were avoidable. Together we have made our campus a place where we can confidently live, learn and connect even in these most trying times and as we enter the third year of COVID-19. Thank you for completing these steps and for your contributions to our vibrant community. As always, we are here to answer your questions. Email COVIDCoordinator@du.edu. For COVID -19 emergencies, 24/7, call 303-871-COVD. For Spit lab questions, call 303-549-8867, and for general COVID-19 questions, call 303-656-7137.
Sarah Watamura, COVID-19 Coordinator
& the COVID-19 Response Team
How to Submit Vaccine Records
- Log into your myhealth.du.edu portal
- Select MEDICAL CLEARANCES on the left side bar
- Click UPDATE next to Immunization Record
- Click UPLOAD
- Attach and upload your file(s)
- Click SAVE
- To speed up the process, please also
- Click UPDATE next to the Influenza clearance
- Enter date you received the vaccination.
- Select the matching vaccination type (from the drop down menu)
- Click DONE
If you are unable to upload, you may:
- Email your record to firstname.lastname@example.org
- or send by fax to 303-871-4242
Please include your DU ID number, first and last name with all communications.