Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
We are just six weeks away from the start of the fall semester, an experience we anticipate will be largely in-person and one that will help us rebuild a sense of community after much time behind screens. A return to in-person learning is critical for our community and we appreciate that everyone, in the Lynx community and surrounding areas, is doing their part to come back safe.
The Lynx Together Task Force, informed by the latest public health data and guidance and with Chancellor Marks’ approval, has decided to no longer require face coverings on our campus (including in offices and classrooms) for vaccinated individuals effective Aug. 1. We will also move to pre-pandemic classroom capacities.
Here’s what else you need to know:
- Our community is largely vaccinated (see data below), and we remain well above city and state vaccination averages.
- Vaccinated individuals can go mask-free in all areas of campus starting Aug. 1 if they choose, in keeping with the latest science, or they can continue to wear masks if preferred.
- We are heartened to know that studies show a very small percentage of vaccinated individuals have been infected with COVID, and they have generally been asymptomatic or experienced mild symptoms. Still, we should operate under the assumption that a couple of people in every classroom or office are unvaccinated.
- Unvaccinated individuals still must wear face coverings in all indoor settings, submit a daily health attestation, and comply with a weekly COVID test. The exemption process for our vaccination mandate will open later this month.
- Anyone who wants to wear a mask on campus, regardless of vaccination status, is welcome to do so. As a community we must respect anyone who wears a mask, for any reason. Likewise, RTD follows a federal mandate requiring everyone to wear a mask while on the bus or light/commuter rail.
- CU Denver will actively monitor the community’s vaccination status and any virus spread, should it occur, and will proactively communicate any concerning trends to faculty, staff, and administrators. We will not disclose the vaccination status of any one individual.
- The university will continue to remain agile in its approach as public health guidance evolves and will continue to be in close coordination with city and state health officials.
- We encourage you to look at our Lynx Together FAQ page, which we will continue to update, for further detail.
There are several factors that led us to this updated mask decision:
- Nearly 85% of CU Denver students have received at least their first dose of a COVID vaccine, according to aggregate data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
- In Denver County, 73% of the eligible population has received at least their first dose. And the surrounding metro counties show similar numbers.
- Infection rates have dropped significantly since pre-vaccination times. Denver County currently shows around a 1% positivity rate for COVID tests and logs just a couple dozen new COVID cases each day.
- As a campus community, we’ve been responsible and safe. While other higher ed campuses saw outbreaks in large volumes, we have had only one outbreak during the entire pandemic and it was among two roommates in Lynx Crossing who fully recovered this past spring.
Due to these welcome trends, state and county officials have curtailed public health orders. As you know from a visit to your local grocery store or movie theater, masks are not required anymore for vaccinated individuals. Furthermore, social distancing is no longer necessary.
In the meantime, if you have not yet received your vaccination, please do so as soon as possible.
Free on-campus vaccines are available at the Health Center at Auraria in the Plaza Building, room 111 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Friday. There are also many other convenient options around the Denver metro region. Thank you for your commitment to safety so we can be Lynx Together this fall.