We write to you this morning to ask for your continued cooperation with campus risk mitigation protocols and to share that we are at a critical junction in our management of this pandemic.
We have seen an increase in infections among students this week in connection with large social gatherings. Our ability to finish the semester in-person, and for students to spend fall break at home, depends to a large extent on your willingness to adhere to our science-based risk mitigation protocols.
As of Thursday evening, 22 students have received positive test results in addition to 8 earlier this week. We currently have 30 new weekly cases, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic. Currently 37 students are in quarantine or isolation.
Risk is cumulative and it is within our power to limit the spread. Every action we take to reduce our risk of exposure matters. By continuing to adhere to risk mitigation protocols on and off-campus, such as indoor mask wearing, testing, social distancing, and handwashing, you are doing your part to secure a safer in-person learning experience.
To slow the spread, we ask that you:
- Temporarily limit your social interactions;
- Avoid engaging in unmasked indoor activities and wear a mask when interacting indoors with people who are not from your household;
- Do not come to class when experiencing any cold-like symptoms;
- Get tested for COVID-19 if you have any cold-like symptoms such as cough, fever, sore throat etc. Call the Student Health Center (719) 389-6384 to make an appointment (M-F 8 a.m.-noon, 1-7 p.m.; Sat/Sun 11 a.m.-4 p.m.).
As a community we have done a tremendous job adhering to risk mitigation protocols and keeping case numbers low. However, our campus exists within the broader context of El Paso County where COVID-19 incidence (377/100,000/week), positivity rate (12%), and transmission levels are at an all-time high. Governor Polis has issued Public Health Order 21-02 Concerning Hospital Capacity and Access to Care in response to the shortage of hospital beds throughout the state of Colorado. At the time that the order was issued, 90% of Colorado’s ICU beds were occupied and 88% of medical/surgical beds were occupied.
At this time, classes may continue to be taught in person, however, it is up to each professor to decide whether a class may need to be moved to remote delivery temporarily.
Students with positive test results will need to isolate for 10 days. They should reach out to their professors to discuss with them the need for support, adaptation, or assistance with the course.
Regarding the contact tracing process, please keep in mind that contact tracers reach out only to people identified as close contacts of community members with COVID-19. If a student receives a positive test result, the whole class will not be notified – only close contacts.
Please send your questions regarding COVID-19 policies to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will keep you updated about new developments.