Coronavirus Update March 15, 2020: No in-person classes or meetings (Until April 13)

Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus Update March 15, 2020: No in-person classes or meetings (Until April 13)

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation - Remote learning, working update (3 p.m. March 15, 2020)

Good afternoon,

Your safety is our priority.

Given a significant change in the COVID-19 situation on campus, we are taking important additional measures to protect our students, faculty and staff. Please carefully review the information below.  

No members of the UCCS campus community have tested positive at this time, but a few members have been in direct contact with a laboratory-confirmed positive COVID-19 case in the broader Colorado Springs community. These individuals were on campus last week and are now in self-isolation. The buildings primarily impacted were Centennial and Columbine. These buildings are the focus of extensive cleaning. Because of the potential exposures to others: 

  • For your safety, the campus will only be open for critical and essential operations until April 13. There will be no on-campus classes, meetings, labs or events this week.
  • All classroom buildings will be closed. Critical services that will remain open to support students living on campus are: Residence halls, the Roaring Fork Dining Hall, Student Health Center and the Counseling Center portions of the Wellness Center, Lane Center and the library.
  • Classes that can go remote will do so as soon as they are able. Some remote classes will begin on Monday. Others may be delayed as faculty develop the resources needed to go remote. On-campus labs are suspended for the week and will be evaluated to see if they can resume after Spring Break. Students can contact their individual faculty members for more information on their specific class and lab. 
  • Remote learning will continue through April 13, unless that is extended. The cabinet, in coordination with the deans, will decide by the middle of this week if that is extended.
  • The Kraemer Family Library is open in order to provide computer and internet access to those students, staff and faculty who do not have this access at home. If you do not need to come to the library for this purpose, we ask that you please stay home. Research assistance and access to our online resources will be available to remote users. If you need an item on reserve, please use the request form on the library’s website to request a digital copy. Access to the library will be restricted to members of the UCCS community. Please be prepared to show your UCCS ID at the entrance.
  • Faculty and staff who normally have key access to their building will be able to access their offices and laboratories to get their items needed to work remotely or check on their research. Please don’t plan to work, hold meetings or interact with students or coworkers. Please collect your essential work items and leave the campus as soon as possible.   
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to use Microsoft Teams to continue their current and future meetings remotely. 
  • UCCS Facilities Services will use this week and Spring Break to perform increased cleaning operations across campus with a focus on the areas that remain open for students living on campus.  
  • Please note that the campus is not closed. Essential staff required to maintain operations for students living in the residence halls and to maintain campus operations will still report to campus. All other employees will begin working remotely with a work plan created by their supervisor. This remote working status will be in effect at least through Monday, April 13. 
  • Students living in the residence halls will be able to stay in the residence halls. If students choose to go home, they may do so. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, difficulty breathing and/or shortness of breath. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Risk factors for severe illness often include older adults and those with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk. Steps to protect yourself from COVID-19 include: 

  • Avoid contact with sick people and stay home when you are ill. 
  • Maintain at least 6 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.  
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. 
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol.  
  • It is especially important to clean your hands after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.  
  • There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to practice prevention strategies described above and avoid being exposed.  
  • If you are exposed to COVID-19: The university is following the CDC's recommendations for exposure.  These guidelines identify what steps you should take if you are exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case. If you believe you have been exposed and are experiencing symptoms including a fever, a cough or are having shortness of breath or difficulty breathing: 
    • Do not come to campus 
    • Seek medical care. Call ahead before you go to the Wellness Center, a doctor's office or ER. 
    • Avoid contact with others.  
    • Follow the recommendations of a medical professional while continuing to communicate with your supervisor or faculty members via email.  

If you need to talk to mental health professionals, do not hesitate to reach out to those organizations. For students, reach out to the Wellness Center’s Mental Health Services. For faculty and staff, CU offers support through  The Real Help Hotline and the state offers resources through the Colorado State Employee Assistance Program. 

This is a rapidly changing situation, and we understand that the adjustments in the campus operating conditions have caused stress and anxiety as you plan out your day-to-day lives and activities. Our UCCS family is over 14,000 strong, we make these decisions to maximize the safety of the entire family. I want to thank you as we work closely with our public health partners in El Paso County and the State of Colorado to determine the best ways to coordinate a regional and state response that aligns with the national efforts. Please be patient with us, as we work hard to ensure your safety. 

The ability to test is still at the discretion of a health care provider and we have learned that, due to the volume of ordered tests, results may be delayed by 10 days or more. Because of that, the preventive measures listed above are critical.  
I continue to be impressed and grateful for the resilience and compassion of our UCCS community. I want to express my deep appreciation to the many colleagues who are working tirelessly to support our campus community, continue our mission and keep us all safe.

Venkat Reddy