Spring Quarter Public Health Update
Dear DU community members,
We are writing today to inform you of changes to DU’s COVID-19 testing and isolation policies and to celebrate our successful transition from a pandemic emergency response to an endemic response.
Beginning Saturday, March 18, 2023, the DU Care Pod will cease operations and DU’s isolation housing will close. Students who feel symptomatic may schedule an appointment at the Health and Counseling Center (HCC). The healthcare team at HCC will work with students to determine appropriate testing and treatment options and the associated costs. Beginning with spring quarter, residential students who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate in place in their residence hall room. Sodexo meal delivery will be available to COVID-19 positive residential students.
Closure of the Care Pod and isolation housing represents the final phase in our transition to an endemic COVID-19 response. We started this process in August by pausing mandatory testing, accepting COVID-19 at home tests (antigen tests) as proof of a positive result, allowing for early release from isolation, and enabling more residential students to isolate in place. All of this aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations issued on August 11, 2022.
Positivity rates for COVID-19 have been receding for several months and continue to decline even as new variants appear. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment terminated the public health orders on February 23, 2023. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has announced that the federal Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 will expire on May 11, 2023, noting that since the end of January 2022, daily COVID-19 reported cases have decreased by 92 percent.
DU’s public health team will continue to serve the DU community through the implementation phases of the JED Campus efforts, focusing on mental health promotion and suicide prevention, and the Coordinated Campus Response Team, addressing interpersonal violence, in partnership with the Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX. Click here for more information on the Jed Foundation.
Since July 2020, the HCC, Care Pod, and the Spit Lab have processed more than 535,783 test results, representing thousands of hours of scientific creation, operational stability, and community support. While the DU Public Health Network will continue to monitor COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, today we recognize those who worked diligently over the past three years to support the Care Pod, the Spit Lab, contact tracing, and isolation housing. Their dedication and efforts allowed DU to maintain in-person living, learning, and working throughout the pandemic and provided many of us with a purpose and sense of belonging during difficult times. Thanks to all of you for doing your part.
Executive Director, Enterprise Risk Management
Public Health Project Manager, Enterprise Risk Management
What These Changes Mean for DU
Testing for COVID-19
Although there will no longer be COVID-19 testing at the Care Pod, COVID-19 test kits are readily available through various retail outlets nationwide. Students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 may make an appointment at the Health and Counseling Center (HCC); the costs of testing and treatment depend on the student’s insurance plan.
In January 2023, the federal government began distributing a second round of free at home COVID-19 test kits with every U.S. household eligible to order four tests. If you have not yet received those tests, please click this link to order.
If You Have Symptoms
When a student feels symptomatic, they may take an antigen test, if they have one, or make an appointment with HCC through email@example.com and a provider at the HCC will discuss testing and treatment options as well as associated costs.
Faculty and staff should contact their own healthcare provider to determine which tests and treatment are appropriate and follow applicable procedures for absence from work due to illness.
If you receive a positive COVID-19 test result, follow the isolation instructions below. If your COVID-19 test is negative, please stay home until your symptoms subside.
If You Test Positive For COVID-19, You Must Isolate
Residential students who test positive for COVID-19 should email firstname.lastname@example.org with the date they tested positive.
All community members must stay home and isolate in your home/living space for at least 5 days after you test positive, and must follow the CDC isolation guidelines on when to end isolation. Click here to access the CDC Isolation and Exposure Calculator.
Unless you are a residential student, you are no longer required to report your positive COVID-19 tests to DU. However, employees must follow applicable procedures for absence from work due to illness.
Meals for Residential Students Isolating In Place
When a residential student tests positive for COVID-19, the student must notify the DU’s Public Health team by email at email@example.com to receive instructions for ordering Sodexo meal delivery for the duration of the isolation.
If You Are Symptomatic and Test Negative for COVID-19
Stay home until your symptoms subside.
If You Have Been Exposed to COVID-19
Wear an N95 or another high-quality mask for 10 full days from the date of exposure. You do not need to quarantine or isolate, regardless of vaccination status. Consult the CDC Isolation and Exposure Calculator for specific instructions.
If you begin to feel symptomatic, isolate immediately and test for COVID-19. If the COVID-19 test is positive, isolate as directed above.
Isolation/Exposure Procedures and Vaccination Status
The isolation/exposure/testing rules are the same for those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.
Vaccination requirements have not changed.
Contacts for More Information or Questions
Public Health Project Manager
Health and Counseling Center