March 20, 2020 @ 6:23 p.m.
Dear CU Denver community,
We are experiencing something that most of us could not have imagined. As you know, the COVID-19 situation changes daily, sometimes hourly. While we simply do not know what will happen next, we are dedicated to helping our students continue their CU Denver education and progress toward their degrees, even at a distance.
I am so grateful to all of you–faculty, staff, and students alike–for your flexibility and resiliency in dealing with the ongoing changes brought on by our challenging circumstances. Many of you are working 24/7 to resolve challenges as they arise. You’re readily transitioning to remote working and learning; OIT reports that we have as many as 1,500 meetings per day, with 13,000 users, occurring on Zoom. The Office of Digital Education says they’ve “been bolstered by the kind and caring responses from our faculty colleagues as we work together to move courses to a remote format.” Just this week, they’ve logged 48 consultations, 76 email questions, and 500 attendees for webinars and virtual trainings. There are innovations emerging in the ways we teach, learn, and work, coming from the creativity of our faculty, staff and students. The silver lining may be that we’ll come out of this with new sets of future-ready tools.
We see our community–and partners throughout Colorado–stepping up to help others in wonderful ways. Gov. Jared Polis has launched two programs to respond to the coronavirus on a statewide level. The first, Help Colorado Now, directs people interested in volunteering to needed roles, and the second, Colorado COVID Relief Fund, is a fund people can contribute to that will help support citizens across the state who are impacted by the virus.
And here on campus, members of the CU Denver community and beyond are contributing to the Loving Lynx Fund, to directly assist our students who are especially hard hit by the ripple effects of COVID-19. I hope you will consider joining them if you are in a position to make a contribution to the fund.
Below are important updates and reminders; please read all the way to the end.
Access to campus has been drastically reduced. Do not come to campus at all if your presence on campus is not deemed “critical.” No watering plants, retrieving items, etc. is permitted. Exceptions must be requested through Jennifer Sobanet (for administrators), Linda Bowman (for students) or your dean (for schools/colleges.)
Maymester classes will be held remotely. There will be no in-person classes. No decision has been made about remote teaching and learning for the summer session; the decision will depend on the evolution of the pandemic. In the meantime, faculty who teach summer courses are encouraged to think ahead about new offerings and opportunities for students using remote learning.
University travel is suspended. Personal travel is highly discouraged, particularly for those considered high-risk by the Centers for Disease Control. (Excepted are our international students who may be choosing to return to their home country.) The U.S. State Department issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory advising against all travel abroad.
Under guidance from Colorado public health agencies, as of March 19, CU Denver (and all Auraria entities) will no longer be reporting to you on individuals who tested positive for COVID-19, and public health departments are no longer contacting people who’ve been exposed to positive cases.
Mental Health: The rapidly evolving situation, including pressures due to working and studying remotely, may cause stress and anxiety.
The CU Denver Student and Community Counseling Center is providing remote, online counseling services. Mental health services will be available via telehealth/online video calls from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Call 303-315-7270 for additional information.
You can also talk to a medical professional or counselor at the Health Center at Auraria. Call 303-615-9999 and indicate that you would like to schedule a “Coronavirus Consultation.” There will be no charge.
For students, You | CU Denver is a 24/7 digital resource connector, supporting you in coping with the very real impacts of COVID-19.
For employees covered under any of CU’s medical plans, the Real Help Hotline gives you access to professional counselors who can offer assistance finding local resources or provide immediate crisis counseling. It’s a free and confidential service and it’s available 24/7.
Loving Lynx Fund: CU Denver students currently facing unanticipated financial emergencies in general or as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (including accidents, medical or dental emergencies, and/or a need for temporary housing) may qualify for assistance from the Loving Lynx Fund. Please check the website to see if your needs qualify, then complete the application. All student applicants will also be referred to community resources.
Laptops: The university is seeking resources to help meet technological needs and will try to accommodate student requests. Students needing a laptop should email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. We are working with partners to identify ways to obtain additional computer resources so please let us know if you are in need.
Internet Access: In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Comcast will offer two months free Internet access to new customers of its Internet Essentials program (which provides low-cost Internet access for low-income families). If you receive approval after filling out their online form, you will be shipped a self-install kit that includes a cable modem and a WiFi router. For more information, click here. If you do not qualify for this opportunity and are still in need of internet access, please email email@example.com.
Food Pantry: See information on the Mobile Food Pantry for CU Denver Students, which will operate every other Tuesday.
I’m seeing this crisis bring out the best in us: our shared humanity, compassion, generosity, resolve, and resourcefulness. We may be physically distant, but we have come together in a spirit of support and collaboration. I’ve never been more grateful—or proud—to be part of our Lynx community.
As we head into Spring Break, I hope each of you has a chance to catch your breath and make time to do something good for yourself. Please do your best to keep healthy and safe.