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COVID-19 Update: Plans for summer and fall

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University of Denver

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Dear DU Community Members,

This month marks a year of living in the “new normal” made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful to look forward to the summer and fall with increasing optimism as vaccination distribution gains momentum. Below, we share our current plans given what we know and can safely assume about the state of the pandemic in the coming months.

Summer 2021

Much like the past fall and winter terms, DU will offer a combination of in-person, hybrid and remote courses for summer 2021. Students can see the designated course modality when searching the summer class schedule. As public health guidelines allow, opportunities for student activities will also increase during the summer term.

Fall 2021

For undergraduate students

The University of Denver is committed to a robust in-person, residential experience for undergraduate students in fall 2021 during which courses will be predominantly in-person.

The extraordinary diligence of our community around aggressive testing and hygiene practices has been exemplary, and we are seeing the tremendous benefits of these efforts. Given the continued decline in the positivity rate, increased vaccination, and recognition that, at DU, not a single case of COVID-19 has been traced to transmission in a classroom, there is general agreement that in-person learning in the fall will be safe for our community. Naturally, we will continue to provide accommodations for those with medical conditions.

Please note, undergraduates enrolled in the University College Bachelor of Arts Completion program will continue with their traditional mix of in-person and online classes.

Students currently residing in University housing will receive information in the next week about arranging to live on campus during the 2021-22 academic year. At this time, we anticipate a year of programming and on-campus life that much more closely resembles DU prior to COVID-19. We look forward to sharing more information with students soon.

For graduate students

What we have also confirmed during the pandemic is that our graduate and professional students often have different needs and interests than our undergraduate students, and these vary from college to college. We will look to our schools and colleges to provide more guidance to their particular communities on what to expect for the fall.

While there will still be great variation across programs, and recognizing that online teaching has been growing, the expectation is that courses that were taught in-person before the pandemic will again be taught in-person, and that decisions to offer additional courses online will be based on pedagogical and programming needs as determined by each of the schools and colleges.

Additional info

While conditions are trending in a positive direction, face coverings, a degree of social distancing, and testing will, to some extent, likely continue through the fall term.

DU is not currently making vaccination for COVID-19 mandatory, but it is strongly recommended.

For staff working remotely, return-to-work plans and expectations are still in active discussion with governance groups and leadership. More details will be provided as soon as possible.

Study Abroad

Study abroad is a transformative part of the DU experience. We know that the loss of these options for our students during the pandemic was keenly felt.

Looking ahead to fall 2021, nearly 700 DU undergraduate students have applied to study abroad. The Office of International Education (OIE) is conducting regular risk assessments of our study abroad partners’ sites and keeping students informed of the operating status of their intended programs. Find more information about study abroad here or by emailing


In closing, we want to acknowledge that the pandemic remains a dynamic force. We will need to continue to be agile and responsive to changes. This has been a traumatic moment in history for so many of us—a moment defined sharply by loss, confusion and fear.

We are deeply moved that our community has risen to this challenge with such grace and fortitude. Thank you to all for your remarkable commitments to our community, to our students, and to one another. We are deeply grateful for all that you have done and continue to do.


Jeremy Haefner

Mary Clark
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor