These Colorado Colleges Are Bringing Back Campus Mask Requirements

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A statue of the University of Colorado Boulder mascot Ralphie in front of a temporary outdoor study area. The campus shifted has to a two-week all-online class schedule driven by climbing coronavirus infection rates. Boulder, Tuesday, Sept 22, 2020.

After dropping mask mandates earlier this summer and planning for a more normal fall semester, some Colorado universities are bringing them back after the CDC updated guidance for vaccinated people. 

The new recommendations strongly encourage that people — including the vaccinated — in areas with substantial or high community transmission mask up in indoor settings, due to a new wave of cases and hospitalization caused by the spreading delta variant.

That applies to most of Colorado. The state has largely left it up to cities, counties and businesses to implement their own mandate. 

The Auraria campus in Denver, which houses three higher education institutions, announced on Aug. 6 that masks would again be required. The University of Colorado Boulder, the state’s largest university, told students, faculty and staff of a renewed requirement a couple days later. 

Most colleges and universities, with the notable exception of any of campuses in the Colorado Community College system, already require students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus for the fall. Institutions that have self-reported vaccination rates say 80 to 90 percent of students, faculty and staff have provided proof of vaccination, giving campuses a disproportionately higher vaccination rate than the communities they’re in. 

But these renewed mask mandates aren’t identical to the ones made during the height of the pandemic. Across the board, masks aren’t required outdoors and vaccinated people can remove them if they’re in private spaces like offices. Additionally, the University of Colorado Boulder is allowing vaccinated faculty to unmask while teaching if they can maintain six feet of distance between themselves and students. 

Here are the colleges and universities that we know are bringing back a mask mandate. The list was last updated Aug. 12 at 5:36 p.m.

  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Colorado Denver
  • Community College of Denver
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Colorado College
  • University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
  • Colorado State University
  • University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
  • Adams State University
  • Trinidad State College