CU Boulder’s Fall Coronavirus Plan Starts On Campus, Goes Remote After Thanksgiving

Coronavirus CU Boulder Cancels In-Person Classes
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Signs advising CU Boulder students at the University Memorial Center Wednesday March 11 2020 to wash their hands in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. CU Boulder has cancelled all in-person classes starting Monday, March 16.

Classes will begin as scheduled on Aug. 24, 2020, at the University of Colorado Boulder campus. After that, the plan is to shorten the fall break and move classes to remote online learning after Thanksgiving.

“This is a moment in which our imperatives to lead, innovate and impact humanity are coming together for the future of our university. All of us must embody our vision to be a leader in the humanitarian, social and technological challenges of the 21st century. Our success depends on all of us working together,” said Chancellor Phil DiStefano in a campus-wide announcement.

The Road Map to Fall 2020 plan says masks will be required for all students, faculty and staff. There will be a campus-based rapid response team to test, monitor and isolate students who have tested positive for COVID-19. Some interested junior and senior students will even be trained to do contact tracing and get class credit for the work.

For students, the fall semester will look different. Classrooms will likely have more physical distancing between desks. Classes could be spread out between the hours of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. to prevent student density on campus. Courses will be offered in a variety of in-person, online and hybrid versions. Campus officials will ask fraternity and sororities to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Boulder County Public Health prevention guidelines.

First-year students will be arranged in social cohort groups depending on what courses they’ve signed up for and whether they live on or off campus.

“So really based upon their interests, how they register for courses will largely frame or structure how they’re cohorted during the first year,” said Associate Professor of Integrative Physiology Matthew McQueen.

There will be mandatory training for faculty, staff and students on social distancing, wearing face masks and hand washing. 

The COVID-19 changes will cost an estimated $10-15 million for the fall semester alone, according to campus officials.

Earlier this month, CU regents approved a 0 percent tuition hike for students. Fall enrollment is a big question mark, but campus officials are hoping that a clear plan for how students can return to campus this fall will help steady enrollment. CU regents are expected to approve a budget for each of the campuses next month.