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Important Winter Term COVID-19 Updates

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University of Denver

News  •

Email highlights

  • Three steps you need to take before winter term
  • DU has established a vaccine working group
  • DU has expanded its alert levels to more closely mirror CO’s
  • Information about our mandatory COVID-19 testing is available online
  • A new version of Everbridge is available for download

Dear DU community members,

I hope you were able to find some relaxation and restoration over break and are feeling recharged for the new year. I recognize, for many, 2020 included loss and sickness and challenges stemming from discrimination and inequity, as well as those resulting from unexpected isolation and remote learning. As we turn to 2021, I hope that together we can each remain healthy, take steps to help protect and look out for one another and, in so doing, strengthen our community of care. Below are a few important updates related to our COVID-19 protocols.

Before returning to campus, follow the three steps

Get your flu shot, quarantine and receive a negative COVID-19 test. In addition, we are now operating at phase II in our campus access plan and will move to phase III on January 7. Log into Pioneer Web and select “winter campus access status” to check your clearance status and review what steps you need to take to return to campus.

We have established a COVID-19 Vaccination Working Group

This group will develop DU’s vaccination distribution practices, which will include prioritizing and protecting those most at risk. Our abiding commitment to equity will guide their work and planning. This group is comprised of physicians from National Jewish Health and DU, as well as members of DU’s governance groups. You can review the working group’s membership here

The University, in partnership with National Jewish Health, Kaiser Permanente, and other local distribution venues, has already helped vaccinate a small set of individuals on campus who meet Colorado’s Phase 1 priority vaccination criteria (e.g. medical and COVID-19 lab personnel).

DU will provide personnel who meet the most current eligibility requirements with a verification letter of their relevant role on campus. As vaccines become available, you can download this form on Pioneer Web to give to your healthcare provider. We will continue to provide updates from the Vaccine Working Group as their work progresses, and as vaccine availability increases.

We have increased our alert levels from four to six

We did this to better align our system with the state of Colorado’s alert levels. This change also reflects our better understanding of how to contain the virus, which includes our plan to increase testing by 300 percent compared to the fall. We are well prepared for the demands of the winter and spring terms, and conditions in Denver are much improved since November. However, given the possibility of increased cases following the end-of-year holidays, the University has decided to remain at alert level orange at this time.

We are increasing mandatory testing for COVID-19

We shared information about this decision in December. You can find detailed information about our mandatory testing protocols here. It is also important to recognize that historically—and contemporarily—communities of color have borne undue burden and trauma related to mandatory medical procedures. DU is committed to ensuring these communities feel safe, protected, and that their voices are heard in our mandatory testing protocols. If you have any questions or concerns about any aspect of the testing process, please connect with support through our COVID-19 resources specifically for minoritized communities.

Download the latest version of Everbridge

Please update Everbridge (Android and IOS) and Contact Tracer (IOS only) on your phones.

In addition, Contact Tracer now uses iBeacon technology to improve the accuracy of its Bluetooth-enabled proximity tracing. While iBeacon requires location technology, the app does not track your location. To turn on iBeacon, open Contact Tracer, go to settings, and turn on “Improve Proximity Tracing.” When prompted, select “always allow.”

Get support or ask questions

As always, to report a positive test for COVID-19 or to ask urgent questions call our COVID-19 emergency line at 303-871-COVD. For all other inquiries regarding COVID-19, email or call the COVID-19 Information Hub at 303-656-7137.

I am looking forward to seeing the community on campus again and to turning the corner on these most extraordinarily challenging times.


Sarah Enos Watamura, Ph.D.
University COVID Response Coordinator