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Return to In-Person Learning and New Accommodations

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Jeremy Haefner

Letter  •

Dear DU community members,

Starting the winter term with remote instruction is not what we wished for, but I sincerely hope that despite this delay to our in-person experience, the DU community is feeling energized by a new term—and a new year.

Returning to an In-Person Experience

We are on track to return to in-person learning and instruction on Tuesday, January 18. As expected, our robust testing requirements over the past two weeks have proven incredibly successful at mitigating the spread of the virus and controlling campus positivity. Our daily positivity rate has come sharply down and is currently hovering around 5 percent. When compared to the current 28% positivity rate in Denver, we can be reassured that our mitigation efforts are protecting the health and safety of the DU community while on campus. Over 60 percent of our residential students are here, and nearly 75 percent of our campus community has returned to regular testing. We look forward to welcoming the rest of our community throughout this next week.

COVID-19 Work Accommodations

While we plan for a return to campus, there are those in our community watching the current surge with anxiety given their own health condition, or that of their dependents. To be responsive to these concerns, we will temporarily reopen our COVID-19 work accommodation process through Jan. 31 to sync with the booster requirement deadline. We understand ADA or FMLA accommodations may be unavailable in some cases and that approval under those processes will require additional documentation.

For those who would like to request continued remote work due to personal medical conditions, or for those serving as a caretaker or living in a household with a vulnerable individual, or those facing temporary child care needs due to isolation or quarantine or while schools are closed or engaged in remote learning, HRIC will be sending out a message providing more details on this COVID-19 work accommodation process within the next day or two. We will continue to assess the current conditions on campus and locally, extending the COVID-19 work accommodations as needed to best serve the community.

Temporary Adjustments for Students

We have also updated the temporary adjustment process for students. Disability Services will review requests for temporary adjustments during the omicron surge for immunocompromised students due to an underlying medical condition, treatment plan, medication regimen or who are otherwise determined by their licensed health-care professional to be at a heightened risk with respect to COVID-19. These adjustments may include class attendance modifications, preferential seating in classes, and/or housing adjustments.

This information can be found on the Disability Services website.

Protocol Updates

We have recently asked our residential students to increase their testing to every three days. We are incredibly thankful to our students for their diligence and patience. We have updated our isolation protocols, dropping the requirement from 10 days to 5 under certain conditions following changes in the latest CDC guidance.

Sarah Watamura, our COVID-19 Coordinator, will send a message to the DU community later this week with more details on our current and updated protocols for students, faculty and staff.

Since we first heard of COVID-19 two years ago, so much has changed in our world—and at DU. But I continue to be astounded by how this community met the challenge. And as with any challenge, we can take from this experience confidence that we are, as a community and as individuals, truly and deeply capable. Let that strong foundation and sense of self guide us through this new term.

I look forward to seeing you all on campus again very soon, where we can continue to learn, lead, and serve the public good—safely and in good health


Jeremy Haefner