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COVID Update: Response to New CDC Recommendations

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Jeremy Haefner

News  •

May 18, 2021

Dear DU community,

As you have undoubtedly heard, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) made significant changes to its recommendations regarding mask-wearing late last week. Fundamentally, the CDC announced that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or physically distance in most indoor and outdoor settings, “except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” This decision is based on scientific evidence showing that vaccinated people are at a very low risk of contracting COVID-19, as well as increasing evidence indicating that vaccinated people are not likely to transmit the disease. This is very good news as it is substantial progress for all of us coming out of the worst parts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the CDC announcement, both the state of Colorado and the city of Denver have essentially adopted the CDC’s recommendations. As a result, many organizations in the city and state have relaxed their mask requirements for vaccinated individuals; other organizations have stated that they are retaining their mask mandates; and still others are taking a “wait and see” approach. 

While the science on infection strongly supports that vaccinations work, and that facial coverings and physical distancing are no longer needed for vaccinated individuals, many people are understandably wary and perhaps not quite ready for such an abrupt change, particularly in indoor settings. For the University of Denver, we will take the next 10 days to allow people to absorb this change and carefully consider its implications. Because of this, the university will continue with its current protocols through the month of May. We intend to send a follow-up message on Thursday, May 27, indicating whether we will relax the facial covering and physical distancing protocols further, beginning Tuesday, June 1.

Finally, we wish to remind everyone that the campus did relax the outdoor facial covering requirements allowing individuals to not wear facial coverings in groups of four or fewer.

Thank you for all you are doing to help keep our campus safe and vibrant as the spring term winds down.


Jeremy Haefner