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Update on Coronavirus 2/28/20

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Jeremy Haefner

Letter  •

February 28, 2020

Dear DU Community,

With increased news coverage and mounting questions over COVID-19, which is known to most as Coronavirus, we want you to know that the University of Denver has been actively communicating with our students abroad and their families. As we implement our planning efforts, we deeply appreciate if you can help us limit the spread of misinformation.

As of February 28, the United States has more than 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Many of them are persons repatriated to the U.S (on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and from China). There are no confirmed cases in Colorado or the University of Denver, but CDC officials said they expect to see the number of cases increase as the disease spreads, while also stressing that the immediate risk remains low.

The University of Denver, in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is monitoring the situation to ensure the health and safety of the University community. Many of the symptoms of COVID -19 mimic those of the common cold or the flu with cough, fever and difficulty breathing. While the risk of contracting COVID-19 is extremely low, Influenza B (flu) has more than 15 million reported cases.

To protect yourself and others, we are asking members of the campus community to:

  • Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing fever, cough or having difficulty breathing.
  • Not attend classes, work, or University events if you are ill. You should stay home and avoid contact with others except when seeking medical care.
  • Cover your mouth or nose with a tissue or with your shirtsleeves – not your hands – when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

DU is Taking Precautionary Steps

While there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases with a connection to DU, the University is taking the following steps across campus to assist in keeping our community healthy.

  • To help prevent the spread of germs during cold and flu season, the facilities staff has refilled hand sanitizer stations across campus. Dispensers are near main entrances and/or nearby elevators. If you have concerns or would like additional dispensers, please use this work order form.
  • Facilities staff have increased the number of cleanings in restrooms and facilities across campus.

International Travel Updates

While University officials continue to monitor this rapidly unfolding situation, we have updated our international travel policy to reflect currently prohibited travel, which includes mainland China, South Korea and Italy. Please check regularly for changes to the travel policy.  

Staff from the Office of Internationalization and our International Travel Risk Analyst have also been in touch with all students currently abroad on OIE programs, as well as those departing in the next few weeks, and other current community members known to be traveling abroad to affected regions and will continue to do so as considerations for their current locations warrant.

If you are intending to travel internationally in the near future for research, study or other university-related business, you are required to register your travel in DU Passport (student platform) and Pioneer Travel and Expense (DU employee platform) and it’s recommended that you also look into obtaining travel insurance through a reputable vendor

Since we are a campus with global reach, we ask for kindness and respect from our community, as there are faculty, staff and students with direct connections to the impacted region.

  • Compassion and Care: The University community will remain steadfast in its commitment to provide care and offer empathy to our international students, many of whom are facing incredible challenges, including not being able to travel home as well as daily worry about their loved ones back home.
  • International Student Support: Dozens of faculty and staff are working hard to accommodate the needs of our international students who may be unable or unwilling to return home during the summer due to the virus. For our graduating seniors, we are working to build pathways to graduate enrollment, allowing them to keep their visas and advance their education. For matriculated students, we are identifying summer housing, classes and work opportunities, should they choose to stay in Denver.


Student Outreach & Support is a University resource where trained staff members ensure that students are connected to appropriate campus resources, have a plan of action to meet their goals, and learn how to navigate challenging situations. Activate these services by completing a SOS Referral at or by calling 303-871-2400.

Students with additional questions or concerns, should contact the Health & Counseling Center at (303)871-2205.

Faculty and staff, if you or a family member have traveled recently to an area of risk, or if you think you may have been exposed to the virus and have symptoms of respiratory illness, you should call the advice number on your Kaiser Permanente membership card for further instructions. It’s important to call us before you come in. Calling ahead helps us direct you to the most appropriate care, and take precautions to protect other members, patients, and employees.

We will continue to share updates here as this situation is very fluid.


Jeremy Haefner, Chancellor
Corinne Lengsfeld, Interim Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor