COVID-19 update: New restrictions & first-week updates
Dear DU community members,
We have made it to the end of the first week of the fall quarter. In the age of COVID-19, this is no small feat. As we settle into routines both familiar and new, I want to express, first and foremost, my gratitude. Many of us, most of us, find ourselves with more on our plates than ever before. This is hard. It is tiring. I encourage all of us to remember to take time to rest and look after our health and wellbeing, physically and mentally.
I’d also like to share some new decisions we’ve made in light of the latest COVID data on our campus. In addition, below this message are some takeaways and updates from the first week of the fall term.
- We are currently at alert level green, but due to the increase in cases on campus, and the pressures such increases cause, we may need to elevate to alert level yellow. You can learn more about what this means here. To be frank, our behaviors and choices over the next few days will determine whether we need to make this elevation—and I sincerely hope we don’t. Now more than ever is the time to #DUYourPart. Do not gather in larger groups, maintain physical distance, and wear your face covering.
- We have asked our fraternities and sororities to conduct recruitment and intake largely virtually, with some exceptions. More information can be found through Student Affairs and Inclusive Excellence.
- For outdoor events, we are reducing the maximum number of attendees to 50 (previously 100). This new maximum will be in place until at least October 1.
The updates above are not ideal. But, I want to recognize that, in a short time, we have achieved an incredible feat to provide the highest quality education to our students. We’ve also worked to make the on-campus experience as fulfilling as possible. I recognize the Herculean effort this took. Good work, everyone.
Going forward, I hope such updates will be rare. We are DU! Serving the public good is who we are. So please, #DUYourpart so we can continue to enjoy our campus together.
COVID-19 Campus Updates
Faculty members are reporting a largely successful first week. For in-person classes, while the distancing and masks take time to get used to, adherence to the protocols is high, and students are happy to be in classes among their peers. Online classes have gone smoothly as well. Despite the challenges of a virtual modality, students seem engaged and eager to begin their learning.
Housing and student affairs
To help students connect and have fun even as they socially distance, Student Affairs and Inclusive Community launched virtual events. There were over 1,000 people at student organizations virtual fair. Students have also enjoyed a socially distanced dance event, as well as a movie screening on the lawn this past weekend. Additional events and programs can be found through Crimson Connect.
Student protocol and regulation adherence
We continue to work with our student leaders to help educate students on behavioral expectations to help keep our community safe and healthy. One repercussion for failing to follow DU, state, or city regulations and protocols is the issuance of a Location Restriction Order by Students Rights and Responsibilities (SRR). SRR will continue to issue “location restrictions” for students hosting or attending unauthorized gatherings. To date, 118 students have been given location restrictions.
These location restrictions constitute a written directive to not enter university premises, except as expressly permitted, for the duration of the order. Before the location restriction ends, a negative test for COVID-19 is required. Other measures considered include interim suspension, probation, trespass from campus, removal from housing, suspension or dismissal from the University. Unfortunately but necessarily, I expect these measures to be deployed in the coming weeks.
To prepare for our fall campus return, we required every member of our community to be tested for the virus that causes COVID-19. We conducted over 9000 tests at our testing care pod. Of these, 120 individuals have been found positive. Of the positives, 85—a significant majority—were individuals completing their pre-screening who had not yet returned to campus. This underscores the effectiveness of our strategy and regular testing.
Currently, the cumulative positivity rate is 1.38 percent. For the last seven days it is 3.26. We are retesting individuals in higher touch contexts (e.g. athletes, students living in group housing, RAs). Overall, test compliance has been very high. Thank you, students! If you think you may have been exposed, you can make a voluntary testing appointment five to seven days after the possible exposure.
We launched our contact tracing app, Everbridge, this week. So far, just over 5,200 DU community members have downloaded and used the app. For the app to be effective, a bare minimum of 60 percent (approximately 6,500 people) of the community needs to use the app. You can #DUYourPart to get us there by downloading the app today. Find instructions to download and use Everbridge here.
Quarantine and isolation
Based on helpful feedback, we are improving our on-campus isolation and quarantine experience for students. We are improving how we communicate with students and their families during a potentially anxious time. We are also facilitating time outdoors for those in quarantine, and making sure all isolation and quarantine rooms are outfitted with necessary items such as sheets, shower curtains and other personal effects. A new housing protocol coordinator is helping oversee the isolation and quarantine process. Their team is helping students packing for isolation or quarantine and set up meal delivery through Sodexo.
We appreciate and welcome the many suggestions of students and parents as we work to support students’ health and safety, as well as their comfort.
Mental Health Support
Mental health supports and resources remain available. Students will have access to both in-person and/or telehealthcare at the Health & Counseling Center and faculty and staff can use our partnership with SupportLinc.