Colorado College announced plans in mid-October to responsibly bring as many students as possible to live on or near campus for the Spring Semester so that they may experience the full, distinctive CC liberal arts education. The college’s intent is to allow seniors to finish their last year at CC, and new and international students to become better established in their first year.

During the fall, CC modeled density, capacity, testing capabilities, and processes to develop a plan that emphasizes “de-densifying” the campus and continues its rigorous testing program, says Andrea Bruder, professor of mathematics, associate dean of the faculty, and chair of CC’s COVID Scientific Advisory Group.

This includes testing students upon arrival; randomized testing of students, faculty, and staff; response protocols; creating pods/cohorts, and conducting wastewater testing and other measures to quickly identify, pinpoint, and isolate cases of the virus. Additionally, CC has established four CC Alert Levels, which the campus follows in addition to El Paso County’s alert levels. The number of new weekly cases at CC is the primary criterion for determining the CC Alert Level. Other campus criteria include the availability of space where those with positive test results can isolate; the total number of quarantined individuals and the college’s capacity to provide them with sufficient support; and COVID-19 cases, positivity rates, and hospitalization rates in El Paso County, says Brian Young, CC’s vice president for information technology/chief technology officer.

While CC has students living on campus, they are spread out, with the college carefully spacing rooms to maintain low density, a component of the risk-mitigation plan. Students also are allowed to live off-campus, as the college is waiving the three-year residency requirement this year. The college anticipates having approximately 1,040 students on campus and 330 in supplemental housing.

CC’s Spring Plan also includes the cancellation of the 2021 Spring Break, in order to reduce the risk of massive outbreaks and quarantines. After obtaining input from faculty, staff, students, and CC’s Scientific Advisory Group and national medical advisers, it was determined that the risk of a major virus outbreak and large quarantines outweighs the benefits of a lengthy Spring Break. There will be a regular block break between Blocks 6-7.

During summer 2020, CC planned to bring students to campus in phases, with the intention of having all students on campus by Block 2. However, after a few cases of COVID-19 led to the quarantine of entire residence halls, CC followed scientific and medical advice to “de-densify” campus, sending some students home.

J Block runs Jan. 4-27, with CC’s Half Block running Jan. 12-22. Testing and move-in for Winter Start students is Jan. 25, with Winter Start Orientation running Jan. 26-30 and Block 5 beginning Feb. 1. CC also is offering 10 blocks for the price of eight so that students have additional flexibility when scheduling classes.