On June 1, campus employees will begin their “soft return” to the workplace in preparation for in-person operations during the fall 2021 semester. To offer guidance to returning faculty and staff members, a panel of eight Lynx Together task force members and other experts recently presented the latest safety protocols that will be in place during the summer. If you were unable to attend the May 24 information session, a full recording is linked below.
Soft Return—What Does This Mean?
Beginning June 1, all schools, colleges, and administrative units will begin their gradual return to in-person office operations, with staff coming in approximately one or two days per week. In July, staff will increase their number of days in office to two or three days per week. This will allow employees to establish and adjust to our next normal before welcoming back students in the fall.
Summer Safety Protocols
CU Denver’s vaccination efforts have proven remarkably effective, with a COVID-19 vaccination rate of approximately 80% among our students as of late May, according to aggregated data requested of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment. This metric indicates we are well on our way to meeting the deadline for all students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated by mid-August.
Guidelines for Vaccinated Individuals
Effective June 1, vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to submit the daily health attestation or wear face coverings in most situations. This change reflects the latest guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Guidelines for Unvaccinated Individuals and Visitors
Unvaccinated individuals and visitors will continue to conduct the online daily health check and wear face coverings at all times while indoors. Though routine COVID-19 testing is not required during the summer, it is encouraged for anyone who has not yet scheduled their vaccine. Weekly testing will be required throughout the fall semester for all unvaccinated individuals, including those who seek an exemption from the vaccine requirement.
Mask Requirements in Classrooms and Meetings
Regardless of vaccination status, face coverings will be required for everyone in classrooms, elevators, restrooms, and designated communal spaces inside the residence halls. Additionally, based on the latest public health guidance, there are no longer any physical distancing restrictions or capacity limits for offices. During meetings, face coverings are optional if every meeting attendee has been vaccinated. But anyone can request that masks be worn and respectful compliance is expected from their colleagues.
We rely on everyone to be honest and respect these protocols. Any violations will be handled through employee discipline processes and the Student Conduct and Community Standards office.
Other Important Questions
During the information session, audience questions around topics such as transportation and ventilation were addressed by panelists. Below are just a few of the questions answered during the session:
Will masks be required on public transportation to and from campus, such as RTD buses and light rail?
Yes. Federal mask guidelines remain in place for public transportation through at least Sept. 13.
How effective are the air filters at providing safe airflows for classrooms and workspaces?
All heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems for both CU Denver and Auraria-owned buildings have been updated to include air filters that provide a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of at least MERV-13, which is the rating that is typically used in hospitals. Additionally, CU Denver Facilities Management is able to monitor system function at both the building and individual room levels in order to make any necessary adjustments
What if other members of my household have not yet been vaccinated?
At this time, everyone 12 years or older is eligible to receive the vaccine, and on-campus appointments are available to students, faculty, and staff, as well as their family members and members of the community. The likelihood that a vaccinated individual will contract and transmit COVID-19 is extremely low, public health experts say, which is why CU Denver will require all members of the campus to be vaccinated before the fall semester begins in August. Also, vaccinated individuals are welcome to continue to wear masks on campus and can request that their colleagues wear masks during in-person meetings, too.
To find out more, watch the recording, or visit Lynx Together for the latest updates on planning for the fall 2021 and the return to on-campus operations.