Chancellor's Communique

Important Operational Updates, 3-16-20

Dear CU Anschutz community:

We are writing today with an important operational update for those faculty, students and staff not already remote working or learning.

Effective today at 6 p.m., and through March 27:

  • All university buildings will be essentially closed, including lab facilities.
  • Badge access will now be required, and only individuals approved by supervisors as critical to operations and those with clinical responsibilities should be in the buildings.
  • Badge access will be required to the Strauss Health Sciences Library and access will be monitored and limited.
  • By Wednesday morning, clinical and critical staff ONLY should be in university buildings on the CU Anschutz campus.
As a reminder, university operation decisions do not apply to clinical operations. Please check with your clinical supervisors with questions.

As the only site that combines the missions of patient care, health sciences education and biomedical research, the CU Anschutz Medical Campus has a unique role in the state of Colorado. When questions arise about health issues, people look to us for answers and for the best medical care available. We therefore have a special obligation to implement the evidence-based practices that will reduce the impact of the current viral pandemic.  

Although the research has moved rapidly, with identification and sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the early descriptions of the COVID-19 syndrome, it is clear we have entered a phase of community spread and that neither a vaccine nor a specific antiviral therapy will be immediately available.  

Data for prior pandemics demonstrate that early institution of “non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI)”, i.e. social distancing, can have a substantial impact on the pace and magnitude of spread. In light of that, we have made the difficult decision to reduce research and operational activities, as we have for elective clinical care and in person education.  

Additional Guidance for Researchers

By Wednesday morning, all activities other than critical maintenance (liquid nitrogen top offs to preserve cell lines, maintenance of colonies) and programs directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic will be suspended for a period of at least two weeks.  

Exemptions for researchers may be considered by leadership in extraordinary circumstances and can be requested at

Please note that access to the vivarium for ongoing critical work will be addressed in a separate communication sent by OLAR staff. In addition, exemptions for critical clinical research staff access will be addressed in a separate communication from the Clinical Research Administration Office (CRAO).

Additional Guidance for Students and Operations

By Wednesday morning, all non-critical students and staff should be working and learning remotely. 

Exemptions may be considered for students or individuals in administrative and business operations and can be requested by contacting Terri Carrothers, executive vice chancellor for Administration and Finance at, or students may contact Jan Gascoigne, assistant vice chancellor for Student Services at Deans and administrative unit leadership will be receiving a separate communication explaining this process in more detail. As a reminder, employees working remotely should register here

These decisions are difficult, but we believe the continued ramp down of our operations is warranted. While so much about the coronavirus remains unknown, we do know that fewer people on campus means fewer risks to our entire community.

Wherever you may be studying or working, we still need to do our part to prevent the spread of this virus. As a reminder:
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wipe down surfaces with disinfectant products.
  • Do not share cups, utensils, lip balm, etc.
  • Practice social distancing when possible.
  • Watch for cough, shortness of breath and fever. If you feel ill, call your health care provider before going in for an appointment.
  • And to keep others healthy, stay home when you’re sick
We will continue to provide information as it becomes available, as well as a status update every Friday afternoon. Thank you as always for your support in these extraordinary times.

Please stay current on all campus updates at
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