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  • Is wearing a face covering mandatory for all?

    Yes, though the rules for when face covering is required differ for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. In the case of a documented medical exception, accommodations will be provided. These accommodations, however, cannot include attendance at in-person classes or events.

    Vaccinated individuals

    Indoors: Face coverings will only be required for vaccinated individuals while in:

    • Classrooms
    • Community spaces in residence halls
    • Shared office spaces (two or more individuals in a common workspace at closer than six-foot distance if vaccination status is unknown by all parties)
    • Elevators
    • Restrooms
    • Coors Fitness Center
    • The Ritchie Center for the June 9 - 12 Commencement ceremonies

    Of course, vaccinated individuals are free to choose to wear a face covering at any time.

    Outdoors: In nearly all outdoor situations, vaccinated individuals do not need to wear face coverings. Certain large events and congregations—such as the 2021 Commencement ceremonies in the Ritchie Center on June 9, 10, 11, and 12—will require vaccinated individuals to wear face coverings. These expectations will be shared on a case-by-case basis.

    Unvaccinated individuals

    Indoors: Unvaccinated individuals are required to wear face coverings at all times while indoors, except in private offices or residential rooms. This will be enforced through an honor system, and we trust our community to follow this requirement to protect themselves and other unvaccinated or immune-compromised members of the community.

    Outdoors: At events and in large groups, unvaccinated individuals must wear face coverings at all times, including outdoors.

  • Will the University require temperature checks daily?

    Yes. We are operating under provisions for self-monitoring given the size and distributed nature of our campus (as compared to businesses with a single point of entry, for example, that instead used centralized temperature checks). This is also necessary as relatively few members of our community are on standard shifts. The University has twice-daily symptom monitoring in place. One symptom is temperature. The threshold is 100.4F or above, as recommended by the CDC, but many other symptoms can trigger a notification to not come to campus.

    We have also distributed infrared thermometers to many buildings on campus where there is a need and more regular operations. All students have been asked to pack a thermometer. Please contact for assistance. Please refer to the symptom monitoring protocol and the comprehensive plan.

  • How is DU ensuring the COVID-19 data is accurate?

    Data accuracy is very important. We use a range of data sources—state, federal, and independent sources and we communicate directly with the state’s epidemiologist to triangulate. In addition to relying on publicly available information, we have been building our own models from trusted sources, such as the state, independent sources like John Hopkins, and the CDC. These models allow us to form independent forecasts, build scenarios, and confirm the information we are provided by others.

    Data is now available in greater detail than ever before, including key statistics on the number of positives daily, number of tests daily, percent positivity, number of hospitalizations, respirator use, and the like. We have more confidence in data than we did through March, April and May.

  • What is the data source that is driving the key decisions?

    Different data sources are used for different decisions. For example, at this time, for travel restrictions, we are looking to a CDC site where we download the data and do some simple math. We also use independent sources like John Hopkins and Worldometer. As we work to develop triggers for more and less opening, we will use additional data (e.g. percent positivity, hospitalizations) to also capture how the virus is impacting our community.

  • And how will DU protect and support frontline staff?

    The University has taken seriously the needs of all of our essential employees who, from early March 2020, have been at most risk due to their jobs. Approximately 800 people were Phase I essential personnel, which included many essential managers, including the chancellor and provost.

    In addition, as PPE supply chains have improved, we are seeking greater protections all the time. To further reduce risk, we have also deployed staggered scheduling and implemented occupancy limits that are even lower than the state mandates. We have developed response teams for cleaning, food delivery, etc., providing specific training for those engaging in the highest-risk activities. We have developed protocols and provided N95 face coverings for those most at risk to support safety and other equipment as fits job requirements.

    Most importantly, we continue to engage these employees in seeking to address their concerns.

  • What do I do if I feel sick?
  • How do I keep myself and others healthy and safe?

    Please continue using everyday guidance for preventing illness.

  • What if I have underlying health issues or am caring for someone who does?

    According to the CDPHE in conjunction with the CDC, people with preexisting health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are at higher risk to develop complications from a COVID-19 infection. They recommend that people at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from public places. 

    The State of Colorado revised its orders that COVID-based accommodations to work remotely be provided to all those individuals who are at risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, which now includes those who:

    • Are 65 or over;
    • Have cancer;
    • Have chronic kidney disease;
    • Have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
    • Have serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies;
    • Are immunocompromised;
    • Have a body mass index of 30 or higher;
    • Have sickle cell disease;
    • Have Type 2 diabetes mellites;
    • Or are otherwise determined to be at high risk by a licensed healthcare provider. 

    The State of Colorado has also encouraged employers, and DU has likewise embraced, providing COVID-based accommodations to work remotely to all those:

    • Residing with or caring for individuals who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19;
    • Or who are facing childcare needs when schools are closed or online.

    If you are immunocompromised or caring for someone who is—or if you have other health issues that make you particularly vulnerable to COVID-19—you will not be required to return to campus once we begin slowly bringing employees back.

  • What if I've had close contact with someone who has been confirmed positive with COVID-19 or is awaiting results?

    DU employees who have had close contact with an individual confirmed positive for COVID-19 or who are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test are asked to quarantine at home for 14 days. A shorter quarantine may be applicable, but will require documentation of symptoms and a negative test.

    Close contact is defined as “within six feet for more than 15 minutes over a 24 hour period” to a person with COVID-19 symptoms “during the period from 48 hours before symptoms began until an individual meets criteria for discontinuing home isolation.”

  • How will non-compliance with prevention measures, such as wearing face coverings, be handled?

    For faculty and staff, non-compliance with DU COVID-19 policies will be handled by the faculty or staff member’s supervisor, as would any failure to adhere to DU policies. For students, non-compliance will be handled like any violation of the student honor code. However, medical amnesty will apply, so students can receive important medical care even in situations where COVID-19 policies have been violated. All students are asked to commit to helping create a community of care at DU with the Protect DU Pledge.

  • Will face coverings be provided for free?

    The university has purchased several thousand branded, reusable face coverings of various types which have started arriving, but the shipment will not complete until August due to supply chain issues. The university will also have disposable face coverings available in every building to support those that might have lost or forgotten theirs.

  • Why are face coverings required outside of buildings on campus?

    Face coverings are very helpful in stopping the transmission of aerosols from one person to another. Even outside, these aerosols can infest, although at a lower rate than indoors. Because we are planning to use our outside spaces to support students, faculty and staff, it is important to keep viral particles in the air to a minimum. In our guidance, we do articulate situations where removing the face covering is authorized.

  • What protections are available to individuals working front desks with high volumes?

    Plexiglass shields have been installed on many front desks that deal with large numbers of clients, students or customers. This protects the employee when others might not comply. Signage is distributed on all entry doors and lawn signs all over campus reminding everyone that face coverings are required by the University and that they are now required by the Governor.

    Compliance protocols have been developed to support individuals to align with response activities, and disposable face coverings will be available in every building to assist individuals who may have forgotten their coverings. If an individual working at a front desk would like additional support, they should email

  • Does face coverings include face shields or just face coverings?

    Face shields were tried this summer in some classes. We learned that face shields are not a replacement for face coverings like face coverings, and they are not recommended at this time by the CDC or aerosol experts. Because we seek to be a community of care, face shields will not be allowed as a replacement to cloth face coverings.

  • How do people protect themselves if they have to use public transportation?

    The CDC has put out excellent guidance that can be reviewed here.

  • Can DU install the hands-free (foot) door openers on doors and/or restrooms?

    Hand washing/disinfection is our priority, and we have installed hundreds of additional dispensers and wipes in every building and at entrances. We have evaluated the installation of “foot” door openers for high-volume doors.

  • Who will be the campus epidemiology/public health officer?

    The University of Denver has partnered with National Jewish Health to allow consistent access to epidemiologists, pulmonologists, virologists and public health experts. We also have direct communication with the state’s epidemiologist, Rachel Herlihy, and consult regarding positive cases and symptom clusters with the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) via our deputized reporter, Christopher Short. Questions can be submitted to

  • What's the difference between quarantine and isolation?

    Quarantine applies to people who may have been exposed to someone positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. Quarantine means remaining in an individual’s residence to the greatest extent possible during the time between when the individual was exposed to but is not symptomatic or has not tested positive for COVID-19. 

    Isolation applies to people who have tested or are presumed positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. Isolate means staying home (away from others) by not attending classes or going to work and following instructions from a medical provider.