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Universities, colleges move to online classes, close dorms and cancel graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus

Several campuses in Colorado transitioned to online learning for the rest of the semester and closed on-campus housing.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Many Colorado colleges and universities are taking action to help limit the spread of the coronavirus. 

RELATED: BLOG: Tracking the coronavirus updates in Colorado

NUMBERS: Colorado COVID-19 cases

Air Force Academy

Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 the Air Force Academy announced they would begin to dismiss a large segment of the cadet population. 

On March 13 the superintendent released the lower three classes at the academy to their home or an alternate location of their choosing within the DoD Travel Guidelines. The first-class cadets were held in place on campus. The Academy said this was done with 2 goals in mind: 1) protect the health and safety of the population, and 2) graduate the class of 2020 on time. 

The Academy will be providing remote (distance learning) classes and training to all cadets starting on March 25. The classes and training will be provided through a myriad of online sources to continue to provide the best training, education and development for our future Air and Space Forces leaders.

 The 2020 graduation ceremony details have not been determined at this time.   

CU Boulder, CU Denver

The University of Colorado announced Wednesday that it's taking several actions to limit the spread of COVID-19 on the campus in Boulder and Denver.

The campuses will remain open, but the school said it's aiming to drastically limit the number of students utilizing facilities including residence halls, dining and university libraries. CU Boulder closed its recreation center, and its reopening is to be determined.

The following actions are being taken to limit the spread of the virus:

Commencement canceled

Following Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ press conference held Monday, which restricted large public gatherings in the state, CU Boulder’s chancellor announced on Tuesday the cancellation of the May 7 commencement, as well as all college, school and department-based recognition ceremonies. CU Boulder is looking at virtual alternatives for remote celebrations, which the university promised to follow up on. Updates will be posted on colorado.edu/coronavirus.

Students advised to move out of residence halls

CU Boulder’s chancellor urged students to return home in an email sent Monday.

In an effort to reduce the number of students on campus, the email asked students to “begin the process of checking out of the residence halls and [move] back to their permanent homes,” effective immediately.

The email added that Housing and Dining Services will follow up with a plan for those who are unable to leave campus and need to utilize the residence halls and services.

Remote teaching and learning

CU Boulder had already encouraged its faculty to teach remotely. Beginning March 16, the campus will transition to remote learning for the remainder of the semester.

CU Denver will have full implementation of remote learning by March 30.

Remote work

The university said it will begin the transition of all non-critical employees to remote work by March 18.

Domestic and international travel

The campus is suspending all university-funded travel either foreign or domestic.

Education abroad

Effective immediately, CU Boulder is suspending education abroad programs in Japan, Czech Republic, France and Spain for the remainder of the spring semester.

CU Boulder suspended programs to China, South Korea and Italy through the summer of 2020.

CU Boulder also said they are suspending all events with 150+ people effective immediately.

Colorado State University 

Colorado State University will extend online course delivery through to the end of the Spring 2020 semester. Online classes begin Wednesday, March 25. 

Online teaching and course delivery will remain in effect until April 10. 

All university-hosted off-campus events involving 20 or more people or targeted toward an at-risk population are suspended effective March 23 through April 10. CSU said exceptions to this policy may be granted based on "significant need."

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Effective Monday, March 16, MSU-Denver will suspend any remaining in-person, on-campus classes for MSU Denver students. Many faculty have already moved their classes online and the remaining are working toward the March 30 transition deadline. Students should contact their instructor to determine what interim steps are needed to transition their class from in-person to remote instruction online.

> Updates from MSU Denver can be found here.

The University of Northern Colorado (UNC)

UNC announced changes Monday to help keep staff and students safe as well as prevent the spread of the virus.

UNC campuses close and classes move online after spring break

UNC closed its campuses in an announcement Monday with the exception of essential personnel.

All of UNC’s classes are canceled for the remainder of the semester. Their alternate course delivery will begin Wednesday, March 25, after the students’ spring break. Classes prior Monday and Tuesday have been canceled to allow faculty time to prepare for the alternative delivery method of courses. Classes that were already scheduled to occur online will continue to be held, as scheduled.

Students encouraged not to live on campus

According to UNC’s website, students who are away for spring break are “strongly encouraged not to return to live on campus after spring break,” but are not prohibited, especially those who are unable to return to their home for any reason. 

For residents remaining in the halls, dining options will remain available.

Due to concerns regarding social distancing, students who live on campus are also encouraged not to return immediately to retrieve their items after spring break but to wait until they hear from the Division of Student Affairs mid-week.  

Only essential personnel allowed on campus

UNC closed their campuses to all students and faculty, except for essential personnel. The closure will go into effect 5 p.m. Tuesday. All nonessential faculty will either begin remote work or be placed on paid administrative leave.
Employees currently away will be able to come to campus to retrieve their belongings.

Commencement ceremonies canceled

As a part of its announcement Monday, UNC has canceled all Spring 2020 undergraduate and graduate ceremonies. The university is working to accommodate affected students by working to plan an alternate celebration on a later date.

Domestic and international travel

University-affiliated domestic travel outside of Colorado is suspended unless deemed to be essential. The school encourages all members of the UNC community to consider using video conferencing, phones, or other alternatives to meeting in person when possible.

University-sponsored or affiliated international travel is suspended through June 30, 2020. Personal international travel is strongly discouraged given the associated risks of possibly being unable to return for some period if the situation changes. Travelers returning from countries designated Level 2 or 3 by the CDC are subject to 14-day self-quarantine off-campus upon return.

Other than for students returning home, personal travel outside Colorado is also discouraged.

Education abroad

University-sponsored or affiliated international travel is suspended through June 30, 2020. Personal international travel is strongly discouraged given the associated risks of possibly being unable to return for some period if the situation changes. Travelers returning from countries designated Level 2 or 3 by the CDC are subject to 14-day self-quarantine off-campus upon return.

University updates and other resources related to the university’s response to COVID-19 can be found on the dedicated UNC webpage.

Events and Meetings

All University events scheduled on campus from March 23 through April 5 are canceled. Athletic events will follow the guidance of their conference governance and public health officials. Meetings that are necessary to the continued operation of the University or to comply with specific academic requirements may still be held, although alternatives to face-to-face meetings should be utilized when reasonable and appropriate. Please confer with your division vice president regarding whether a particular meeting falls within these limited exceptions.

During this time, visitors to campus are discouraged.

Colorado College

Colorado College announced that all students should leave campus no later than the end of the day Wednesday, March 18. After March 18, students who do not have permission to remain living on campus will not have access to campus buildings.

All students 

  • Block 7 classes will be delivered via distance learning. Students should plan to remain off campus from spring break (begins March 12) through the rest of the academic year. 
  • Students should take essential belongings – including medications and items needed for study –  now. They may wish to take all belongings. The school will allow extra time – until 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 18 – for students to leave.
  • Canceling large events: In order to reduce risk, most, if not all, large campus events scheduled between now and the end of Block 7 will be canceled, including admission open houses. Fewer in-person meetings will be scheduled W, and a decision on commencement will be made soon. Commencement is slated for May 17.

 Read the full news release from the school

The University of Denver (DU)

The University of Denver's (DU) campus will remain open, but it canceled in-person final exams, which begin on Tuesday, March 17, and will instead move to remote or on-line exams. Spring quarter begins March 30, with classes online until at least April 10. Classes at the Sturm College of Law will be offered online or remotely beginning March 17. Online interterim classes will continue as scheduled, DU said. 

Winter quarter exams will be completed online or remotely, spring break in-person interterim classes have been canceled, and all classes will be held in an online format for the rest of the academic year. 

All admissions-related programs are cancelled through April 10.

DU asked faculty to remain lenient with students for in-class instruction through the few remaining days of the term.

  • The on-line classes that were scheduled for Spring Break will continue as planned. The in-person interim classes are canceled.
  • Additional information will be provided shortly by the Dean of the Morgridge College of Education to families with students at the Ricks School for Gifted Children and Fisher Early Learning Center.
  • Decisions about whether or not DU will continue online instruction for the remainder of the Spring term will be made no later than March 31.

In the interim, DU will hold faculty workshops to facilitate the transfer of all learning material online. The university is making an effort to videotape lectures and to eliminate the use of paper due to health concerns.

Visit DU’s COVID-19 website for ongoing updates to frequently asked questions and other important information.

Support Resources

DU is supporting faculty, staff and students during this time or anytime.

For students: Regardless of your status on campus, students have the resources of the Health and Counseling Center by calling 303-871-2205 or reaching out via email at info@hcc.du.edu. This central office will connect students to any additional resources needed.

For faculty and staff: SupportLinc is DU’s Employee Assistance Program for you and your immediate family members. All requests for information or assistance through the SupportLinc program are free of charge and completely confidential. You can contact SupportLinc anytime, around-the-clock. To get started, call 1-888-881-LINC [5462], or log in to the SupportLinc website or eConnect® mobile app (iOS/Android) with the username universityofdenver.

Colorado School of Mines

The Colorado School of Mines will move to remote delivery of all classes effective Monday, March 30. Course delivery will occur mostly through Zoom and Canvas.

Spring break will remain as scheduled from March 23-27.

All campus events and conferences, including athletic practices, club meetings, Discover Mines and in-person interviews, are suspended until at least April 5

All homework and exams assigned for March 16-20, including take-homes and online, are postponed until after spring break.

All non-essential university-affiliated travel (out-of-state domestic and international) is suspended.  

Reminder: No class March 16-20 for faculty training and preparation. 

Johnson & Wales University

Johnson & Wales University (JWU) announced precautionary and proactive measures telling staff and faculty to not report to campus unless directed by their supervisor and no in-person. 

Students in all classes should check their JWU email and uLearn for updates and assignments from their instructors. No on-campus activities will take place.

Regis University

Regis University is extending virtual learning for its on-campus students to May 1, the end of the current semester. Final exams will also be conducted online. The University’s existing online academic programs will continue as scheduled. University housing will stay open for any students who want to remain on campus. Residential students who have already left campus are asked not to return. Residential services, such as food and health services, will stay open for the rest of the semester. 

Regis is also postponing its commencement ceremonies and celebrations, which were scheduled to take place May 1 to May 3. 

Other measures being taken include:

  • Surveying students about recent travel and any health concerns;
  • Increasing the frequency of facility cleaning services to high-traffic and group congregation areas;
  • Providing information about washing hands and other recommended ways to avoid spreading disease;
  • Purchasing additional flu tests for the student health clinic;
  • Setting aside rooms for quarantine (for any communicable disease) if needed
  • Banning food sharing (e.g. potlucks) and other steps to help protect people.

Colorado Community Colleges System

CCCS oversees 13 community colleges in Colorado, including Arapahoe, Aurora, Front Range, Pikes Peak, Denver and Red Rocks.

CCCS said they are taking "immediate actions" across the 13 colleges, including limiting large group gatherings, implementing travel policies and possibly extending spring break for students so staff can utilize the extra time to transition appropriate courses from in-person to remote instruction and exams, and implement risk reduction plans tailored for each campus.

Due to varying institutional size, location and programming across CCCS colleges, some courses may not be appropriate to transition to remote learning, such as welding and nursing labs. To provide students with the opportunity to continue their educations in which they have invested so much time, money, and effort, while ensuring safety for students in these career and technical education programs, courses will be held in spaces that allow for adequate social distancing.

Check with your specific community college for details.

CCCS' full announcement can be found here. 

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