Masks Required Indoors for Everyone to Defend Against Delta Variant

Aug. 6, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:  

One of the most important things we’ve learned about COVID over the past 18 months is that conditions related to this virus change rapidly. And we must adapt protocols quickly to stay ahead and reduce its devastating impact. 

So here we are again, one week after the CDC has reported that the spread of the Delta variant is changing the game. After reviewing the data and conferring with public health experts, Chancellor Marks and our campus leadership have decided to follow the CDC’s recommendation and require face coverings for everyone on our campus (regardless of vaccination status) effective Monday, Aug. 9. This is not a semester-long mandate, but rather one that will be revisited at least every month as we review the public health data and recommendations from CDC and state/local public health agencies. Community College of Denver, MSU Denver, and the Auraria Higher Education Center have also aligned on indoor mask requirements effective next week.  

For now, masks will be required in all indoor spaces. Masks are not required outdoors.  

  • Everyone must comply with this requirement, including visitors and contractors. 
  • Vaccinated individuals may remove their masks indoors when able to maintain 10 feet of social distancing. Faculty members and event speakers may remove their masks when teaching or speaking, provided they are comfortable doing so and appropriately distanced from attendees. 
  • Faculty and staff with private offices with a door may work mask-free when alone.  
  • Events can continue to be held indoors and outdoors. However, eating and drinking will only be permitted for outdoor events.   
  • We do not anticipate this mask requirement changing classroom/office work modalities or department operations gearing up for the fall semester. 
  • We are looking into specific rules on masking and testing for the Lynx Crossing and City Heights residence halls and will provide further details next week.  

We are taking these actions because the Delta variant is far more infectious than prior variants and can break through to vaccinated individuals, who can further spread the virus. We need to do more to protect our community, including our students’ and colleagues’ young children who are not yet eligible for the vaccine. After all the hard work we’ve done, we do not want to put in-person academic experiences at risk. 

We are proud that the vast majority of students and employees are already vaccinated. In fact, about 87% of CU Denver students have received at least one COVID vaccine dose. Data from our new vaccine verification and exemption process shows that 97% of employees who have self-disclosed their status (which includes over half of our workforce) have been vaccinated. These are very strong numbers and show our community’s commitment to not only keep themselves safe, but their colleagues and families, too. As public health officials have said, strong vaccination rates are the only way we will eradicate this pandemic. Unvaccinated individuals who file for an exemption will be required to participate in weekly COVID testing.  

If you haven’t been vaccinated, please do this as soon as possible. Free vaccinations are available at the Health Center at Auraria in the Plaza Buildingmobile vaccine bus visits to campus, and through the  CDPHE website for locations through the state.  

Remember to check the Lynx Together FAQ page and weekly Lynx Together newsletter for ongoing updates. For any news that is more urgent or requires immediate action, we will communicate with you in real time via email. Please send any additional questions to Thank you for doing your part to keep our campus safe.  

Chris Puckett  
Managing Associate University Counsel & Co-Chair, Lynx Together Task Force 

Pamela Jansma  
Dean, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences & Co-Chair, Lynx Together Task Force